When you’re on a five-year mission, with light years between planet leave, you’re going to need some books to read. Here we recommend books to grace the cabin nightstands of each major crew member of the Starship Enterprise. Further reading suggestions for Star Trek characters welcome in the comments.
Captain James T. Kirk’s subconscious search for success and popularity leads him to pore over personal development books (How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie). A born leader, womaniser, and all-American hero type, he will lose himself in classic Westerns (Silver Canyon by Louis L’amour), and American historical biographies (Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow). (Kirk and Spock went on a date to see the Hamilton musical on its 212th run. Spock complained throughout about the historical inaccuracy of the musical styles). But it was travel memoirs (All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou; The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson) that led to Kirk’s passion for exploration, whether at home or far across the stars.
Hikaru Sulu’s talent for flight and navigation was fostered by aeronaut and astronaut memoirs (An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield). Sulu’s escapism in both fencing and reading material lead Spock to refer to him as “at heart a swashbuckler out of the 18th century” (The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas).
Christine Chapel has a preference for historical fiction (The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker) and it was historical science fiction that first encouraged her to take her nursing career into space (From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne).
Keep up with the latest in science fiction and fantasy with the Swords & Spaceships newsletter, featuring book news, recommendations, and other goodies!