‘U.S.S. Cerritos Crew Handbook’ Review: A must-read Star Trek: Lower Decks fans

Image credit: Titan Books

Review: Star Trek: Lower Decks – U.S.S. Cerritos Crew Handbook

Have you ever wanted to get the full U.S.S. Cerritos onboarding experience? Ever picture what crew members who come aboard to join the lowly ranks must know as they start their adventure aboard the hardest-working California-class ship in Starfleet? Then you need Star Trek: Lower Decks – Crew Handbook, the guide to our favorite modern-day starship crew we didn’t know we needed.

The secret to this book’s success isn’t the brightly colored graphic design, with stills taken from the show populating its 174 pages, or the surprisingly diverse swath of material it covers. Rather, writer Chris Farnell has perfectly captured the self-referential and nerdy humor of Mike McMahan’s hilarious show, no small feat for tie-in media. This feels like a natural extension of Lower Decks. Considering Lower Decks is our favorite show from the new Star Trek era, that’s a win in our books.

This handbook covers quite a few subjects for recruits to the U.S.S. Cerritos, starting with a message from Captain Freeman and moving to other command staff, what to do on the Cerritos, and various Starfleet areas of interest. Tying this all together is our favorite aspect of this book –Microsoft Word-esque comment bubbles on basically every page from Brad Boimler, the author of this handbook, and his uninvited commenter, Beckett Mariner, along with some other guests for good measure.

Image credit: Titan Books

“The Lower Decks have always been here. We were there in the TOS (Those Old Scientists) era, the TNG (Those Newer Guys) era, and way back in the ENT (Earth’s Newbie Travelers) era.”

– Beckett Mariner, in her introduction to the handbook.


A few highlights from our time with this handbook include:

  • Reading in the “Spirit of Cerritos” section about the history of the Cerritos name, including one Miranda-class Cerritos whose claim to fame was being at the Battle of Wolf 359 – or rather, being the first ship to arrive at the battleground after the massacre.
  • Seeing a beautiful double-page spread of the Cerritos’ Master Systems Display.
  • Seeing Shaxs redact the entire two-page description of the mysterious Rubby Ducky Room.
  • Having some of the Cerritos’ non-human cast engage in the chat bubble conversation on their respective alien race entries. For example, T’Lyn offers thoughts on the page describing Vulcans; Sh’reyan joins in the fun on the Andorian page; and Durango briefly but uncooperatively contributes to the Tellarite entry.
Image credit: Titan Books

This is a fun read, for sure, and this book is a perfect fit for exploring the Star Trek: Lower Decks universe while adhering to the fun audiences have come to expect from the show. A handbook is an apt way to expand this show’s universe since our heroes are mainly the less-important and newer crew on the Cerritos.

This book will look great on your shelf thanks to a sensible, monolithic, and subdued design on the front and back cover, and the contents within will provide a couple of hours of chuckles. If you are a fan of Lower Decks’ ethos, this book is for you.

Star Trek: Lower Decks – Crew Handbook is available now on Amazon.

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