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Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years Book Review

Posted by T'Bonz - 01/11/13 at 03:11 am


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The Story

Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years, written by David A. Goodman, is an “in universe” history of Star Trek that celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of the United Federation of Planets.

The book “chronicles the pivotal era leading up to Humankind’s First Contact with Vulcan in 2063, the Romulan War in 2156, the creation of the Federation in 2161, and the first 150 years of the intergalactic democracy up until the year 2311. Meticulously researched, this account covers a multitude of alien species, decisive battles, and the technology that made the Age of Exploration possible. It includes field sketches, illustrations, and reproductions of historic pieces of art from across the Galaxy, along with over fifty excerpts from key Federation documents and correspondence, Starfleet records, and intergalactic intelligence.”

Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years contains a prologue, five chapters, and a selected biography.

  • Prologue: [Zefram] Cochran’s flight: 2063-2120
  • First Steps: 2120-2155
  • The Romulan War: 2155-2160
  • The Federation: 2160-2245
  • The Edge of Night: 2245-2290
  • The New Era: 2290-2311
  • Selective Bibliography

The prologue begins before Cochrane’s birth (2031) at the onset of the Eugenics Wars and World War III, and covers Cochrane’s work on the warp engine, explaining that he was able to do this while keeping the knowledge out of the hands of those who would use it for evil. The beginnings of Vulcan-Human conflict, touched upon in Star Trek: Enterprise, are also explored.

In the first chapter, the warp five engine has opened up the galaxy for human exploration. Humans meet their first Klingon in a disastrous first contact; the Andorians, Xindi, and are soon to engage (but not see) the Romulans.

In the second chapter, the Romulans begin a war when they attack Starbase 1. The knowledge that Romulans look like Vulcans is carefully kept from Earth’s population, and Vulcan is kept out of strategic consultations out of fears (which prove to be correct) that spies may be in the Vulcan government. The end of the war sees the creation of the Neutral Zone.

The formation of the Federation is explained in the third chapter, including the politicking and deals needed to garner the necessary votes to make it happen. Starfleet and Starfleet Academy are formed.

In the fourth chapter, twelve Constitution-class ships are exploring the galaxy and during this time frame: a colony faces murder by an incompetent governor, Captain Pike arrives on Talos IV for the first time, a Klingon-Romulan alliance is formed, the Organians stop a war, the Capellans choose a side, the Klingons go after the Tribble homeworld, and a Klingon-Federation Neutral Zone is established.

In the final chapter: Khan returns, Praxis explodes, Spock begins diplomatic efforts; a conspiracy is born, discovered and stopped; and the Khitomer Accords are signed. The Federation celebrates its 150th anniversary.

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The Review

Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years is a fun book and reading it is like reading a history book from one’s school days. Set before and during the original series, it touches upon incidents referenced in both the original series and in Star Trek: Enterprise. The history in the book fills in some of the gaps from the time period and fleshes out incidents from the original series and from several of the movies up to Star Trek: First Contact.

The book is easy to read, with plenty of beautiful illustrations which include photos of various Star Trek characters, and over fifty documents from archives from the Federation, Klingon and Romulan Empires. The book treats the history seriously and Trek fans will enjoy the straightforward accounts of events such as First Contact – which has no mention of the Borg incursion, Riker’s ride with Zefram Cochrane, or the presence of Next Generation crewmembers at the first contact between humans and Vulcans. A jaundiced eye is also cast at the event known to Star Trek: Enterprise fans as the Temporal War.

Goodman did an excellent job on this book, which is a must-have for Trek fans.

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The Book

Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years, published by Titan Books, is one hundred-and-sixty-seven pages long. There are two versions of the book. The first version, which sells on Amazon for $65.51, includes the book, “housed in a pedestal display complete with lights and an audio introduction by Admiral Hikaru Sulu” (George Takei).

The special edition includes an envelope with five removable documents “from the Federation Archives, including Zefram Cochrane’s early sketch of the warp-drive engine, a handwritten letter from young Jim Kirk, and the first-known diagram of a Trill symbiont.”

The special edition can be ordered here.

For those just wanting the book without the extras, it is available for $22.15 from Amazon. To order Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years, head to the link located here.

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  • Randy H.

    Although others may have different reactions, I found the book and its pedestal to be a very great disappointment.