That’s a question that, in various forms, comes up frequently in regard to this site and the pair of PDF books I’m working on, The Complete Star Trek Chronology and The Complete Star Trek Encyclopedia (which are being compiled from the same data on this site). “Are you nuts?” seems to come in a close second.

As the titles of the PDF books suggest, this site is a complete reference to all things Star Trek — just as The Star Trek Encyclopedia and Chronology by Mike and Denise Okuda are for all things official Star Trek (often referred to as “canon”). But as much respect as I have for the Okudas — and I do have a great deal of respect for them, especially after meeting Mike in person at one of the Las Vegas conventions — I came away from their books feeling like they could have been so much more than what they were. More than half of all Star Trek fiction produced has been of the literary variety. Nearly all of it is consistent, which is astounding considering the scope of the Star Trek universe (and that which is inconsistent is usually fairly easy to explain away, often with help from trivia established elsewhere in Trek lore).

So this site, and the PDF books I’m working on, go beyond the Okuda’s Encyclopedia and Chronology and reference every Star Trek story ever produced with Paramount’s seal of approval: the television episodes, the animated series, the feature films, the novels, the comic books, and even the plot-based roleplaying and video games. Nowhere else will you find such a complete reference in a single volume, which is the answer to one of the many “whys” — “Why would this be worth my time?”

There is a lot of work involved in producing something like this, the vast majority of which is the research, which is still ongoing. There are now more than 700 episodes spanning five live action and one animated series, ten films (and an eleventh on the way!), hundreds of novels, hundreds more comic books, and dozens of games. I’ve amassed an impressive amount of the originals of much of this material, and most of what I have not been able to obtain physically, I’ve been able to find electronically until such time as I do find a copy to purchase (one thing I am not is a pirate). I created an exhaustive list of questions for reviewing each story, which essentially boil down to “who, what, where, when, why, and how,” breaking each down into sub-categories for further details. After compiling all that information (which entails watching every episode and film, re-reading every novel and comic, and re-playing each game to the best of my ability or finding detailed synopses of the games’ story elements elsewhere), then I have to type it all up. There are hundreds of entries here already, and I’ve barely scratched into Captain Pike’s tour on the Enterprise. Once they’re all typed up, then they have to be presented online, and I’ve tried to make this site as simply designed as possible for maximum browser cross-compatibility and download speeds, yet still give it a distinctly “Trek feel.

Like I said, it’s a lot of work. And that doesn’t even cover what goes into producing the book versions. Professional publishing houses have dozens of people working on a project like this — writers, editors, designers, etc. This project has only one: me. No profit is being made here; this is being freely released online.

Which brings us to another of the many “whys” — “Why spend so much time on something for which you can’t make any money?” The answer is fairly straightforward: I’m a fan. I love Star Trek so much, and have come to know the material so well, that I want to share that knowledge with other fans. Also, I am a fervent supporter and user of open-source software, which I use heavily to produce both this site and the PDF books, and I’m releasing them in the same spirit. This was created using the Linux operating system, the Gnome user interface, the gedit text editor, the Totem and VLC media players, and the GIMP graphics suite.

To all the people involved in creating these and other outstanding open-source programs, you have my thanks. To everyone who supports and encourages me as I continue to work on this project, thank you. To my mom, for introducing me to science fiction — and Star Trek in particular — while I was still a boy, thank you. And to everyone who downloads and reads this, thank you.

Finally, to all the fans — you know who you are — thank you. Without you, there would be no Star Trek, for it is far more than a television show, a series of films, or a collection of novels or comic books. It is an idea, a dream, a goal, for a future we can all work together to achieve. Above all, however, it can simply be a lot of fun. So for all of you fans out there: enjoy!