In "Obsession," Spock tells Dr. McCoy that "fortunately, I read somewhat faster (than you)." Is there any evidence, in-universe, of how fast Spock can read? McCoy doesn't doubt Spock, and being a Vulcan, it seems safe to assume that he can read faster than most other known humanoids. Obviously he can't read anywhere near as fast as Data, though.

  • 8
    Only thing I can think of is Star Trek 4, where he was dealing with 3 screens simultaneously, but questions were also read out loud. Still, it did seem that he read each screen quickly and absorbed the information before the question was asked. Sep 16, 2017 at 17:59
  • 3
    Somewhat faster than you.
    – Adamant
    Sep 16, 2017 at 19:17
  • 2
    Actually, I'm part android, so I doubt it. Sep 16, 2017 at 20:08
  • @T-1000'sSon - Acually Data is Android. I think Spock is iOS.
    – iMerchant
    Sep 17, 2017 at 17:23
  • @HamSandwich Pfff, 21st century android. It's a miracle you can read at all.
    – Misha R
    Dec 16, 2017 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


In TOS episode 'Where No Man Has Gone Before', the mutating Gary Mitchell has a reading speed beyond any humans (and implicitly Spock's) which is shown as amounting to eidetic memory at a glance.

Spock's own words which we must take as logically accurate are that he reads 'somewhat faster' than McCoy. This does not imply any vast superiority.

Somewhat is defined as:

"adverb to a moderate extent or by a moderate amount; rather. "matters have improved somewhat since then" synonyms: a little, a bit, a little bit, to a limited extent/degree, to a certain degree, to some extent, to some degree, (up) to a point, in some measure, rather, quite, within limits;"

Spock's speed is probably therefore at human limits, not superhuman. Perhaps about that of John Stuart Mill - who lamented that he could not turn the pages of a book fast enough. Spock and any Vulcan would probably have better retention and comprehension at the same speed as a fast-reading human. 1,000 to 2,000 words per minute, equates to 50% comprehension in fast reading humans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_reading

  • This doesn't solidly answer the question. Can you find more sources to back up your claims? Dec 15, 2017 at 18:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.