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Klingon Bird-Of-Prey: Owners’ Workshop Manual by Rick Sternbach and Ben Robinson (book review).

Whether it’s a lack of imagination or merely a need to keep to a combat space vessel that works, the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey in its various sizes has kept to a similar configuration throughout its development. Then again, although it’s not said here, so do the Federation Starfleet vessels are as well.

This handbook by artist Rick Sternback and written by Ben Robinson with some assistance from Marc Okrand with the Klingon language throughout the book has provided not only you, but Klingons as well, to the secrets of the B’rel-class I.K.S. Rotarran. As explained by General Martok in the introduction, that even as he rose through the ranks, he still kept this vessel as his flagship for its undeniable flexibility. Although the purchase by each clan house determines different modifications to the basic model, everything else remains the same.

The power source for the cloaking device is through the warp drive engines which is understandable because it is an enormous power drain. What is a puzzle is that it can keep going when the warp drive engines are off-line and they are flying under impulse engines which surely hasn’t got the same energy output.

When I started through the pages of deck plans, I thought the top was a bit on the small size to look at the detail. However, it became apparent that it was about right as they moved to the lower decks. Unless I missed them by a different name, the Klingons don’t appear to have toilets or using terrestrial term, heads. They do have bathrooms, so presumably they are a combined room. Unlike Federation starships, there are no toilets off the bridge, so presumably no Klingon ever gets caught short.

Things I learnt. The Bird-Of-Preys have escape pods. I wonder if the Klingon sense of honour of dying in battle would ensure that this is one thing they wouldn’t use but under its own heading, this is explained. It gives the crew an opportunity to continue fighting or if risking capture, blow the pods up as they target enemy starships. Like their physiology, the Klingon vessels is build with two systems, the second as a redundancy system should the primary fail. It’s amazing that those pesky Starfleet vessels had a chance against these them.

Reading this book though will make you think that the Bird-Of-Prey, sans its Spartan recreational area, is that it is a remarkable space-combat vehicle and what could stand against them. When I switched to that type of thinking, I hit on the ‘Sensors’ section and their Achilles heel. As good as their sensors are close-up, they are less concerned at long range. If you were in a Starfleet vehicle and stayed four light years from them, you could happily follow without fear of detection. However, when you consider the Klingons have cloaking technology, they can get far closer to a Starfleet vessel anyway, so that probably evens things up.

I should also point out that apart from diagrams and illustrations, there are also plenty of photos as well. If you have to compare to the Haynes ‘Enterprise’ book, then the most significant difference is not seeing any real close-ups of the flat screen control panels, although in situ there is enough for you to get some idea of their use. With the knowledge from this book, you could probably even fly it with a brief familiarity as all Bridge controls can be relayed through the First Officer’s position.

A fascinating book and I can’t wait to see if Haynes continues with more books of this nature in our genre.

GF Willmetts


(pub: Haynes. 121 page illustrated large hardback. Price: £15.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-85733-276-9)

check out website: www.haynes.co.uk



Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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