With all the “in-universe” Star Trek reference books that have been published over the decades, starting with the classic Star Fleet Technical Manual in the mid-1970s, it’s a bit startling to realize that a comprehensive history of the United Federation of Planets has never been published until now, with Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years.
David Goodman, perhaps best known for his six years as head writer and executive producer on the Trek-loving Family Guy, jumped at the opportunity to write this book and produce the definitive history of the first 150 years of the Federation. That’s a timeframe that covers the TV shows Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: The Original Series. You’ll find no Next Generation, Deep Space Nine or Voyager references here, only sly allusions to events that time travel by characters in those series managed to impact, such as Earth’s first visit by Vulcans in the film Star Trek: First Contact. And never mind the chronology of the alternate universe presented in the last couple of Star Trek movies, that’s straight out.
This is specifically the history of the Federation in the Star Trek Prime Universe, and should serve as a balm of any fans offended by the J.J. Abrams reboot.
Goodman knits together the chronologies of Enterprise and The Original Series in a way that manages to explain discrepancies between the two series. From the days of the Eugenics Wars, to the aforementioned First Contact, through the era of the Romulan War and forward to the era of Kirk and Spock, every major event in Trek history is covered. If there’s a reference to a lost vessel and the actions of an earlier crew in The Original Series, it’s covered as part of Federation history in this handsome and lavishly illustrated volume.
Although presented almost as a history textbook, Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years still features Goodman’s trademark sense of humor. SF media fans will find chuckle-worthy sideways references to other shows. Portions of newspaper articles, scientific reports, Captain’s Logs and the like are presented as sidebars and they’re all worthy of attention to spot the Easter Eggs. For example, both Doctor Who and Space: 1999 get references with an article titled MYSTERY COMMANDOES STEAL ADVANCED SPACESHIP by one Sarah Jane Smith, featuring a quote from Victor Bergman, chief astronomer at the Anderson Space Command: “It’s left Earth’s orbit, we’re sure of that.” You can almost imagine the brief Family Guy cut-scene featuring the joke.
Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years is a delight and should provide hours of happy browsing for Trek fans who long for the era when the best ship in the universe was just the U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701, “No bloody A, B, C, or D!”