USS Enterprise manual published -

I have to admit that when the news editor asked me to review this book, I thought he was having a cheap laugh at my expense. After all, last time I took the company vehicle out to a press conference it broke down en route and I was three weeks late getting back to the office.

But now, thanks to workshop manual publisher Haynes, I know exactly what the problem was, and it's infuriating to realise that a simple restart of the subspace compression coils would have solved the problem in minutes.

I might have missed out on meeting those hunky Neptunian repairmen, but I wouldn't have been forced to eat the photographer after the on-board fridge went on the blink.

But with a copy of the USS Enterprise Owners’ Workshop Manual now stowed permanently in the glove compartment, at least I won't have that problem again. The book is remarkably clear and concise, and chock full of all the detail required for those niggling minor repairs.

"This fascinating Haynes Manual features cutaway drawings, technical illustrations and photographs along with comprehensive background information and specifications on the technology used on board the USS Enterprise, in all its various incarnations," the company promises.

It's written by Ben Robinson and Marcus Riley, who enlisted the help of former NASA designer Michael Okuda for some of the more specialist sections.

The manual covers all seven versions of the Enterprise, which is good for those who, like us, haven't yet traded up to the latest model, the NCC-1701-E. In fact, the original Enterprise gets the most detailed coverage - unsurprising, given its well-documented tendency to breakdowns.

We tested out the book's instructions for an upgrade to the impulse engines, and found it admirably easy to follow, with clear cutaway diagrams that made the job a cinch.

If we have one gripe, it's that some of the screw fittings appeared a little different to those in our own ship, although this may have something to do with the custom exhaust that our previous technical editor thought would impress the girls (it didn't).

But, this apart, the diagrams made it all very clear. The job was completed within the day, and the engine firing seems vastly improved as a result. Full of enthusiasm, we're now carrying out a general service - who knew that dilithium crystals needed cleaning?.

The book is available for twenty quid, here.