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"Federation: The First 150 Years" gives Star Trek fans a history of the future

December 11, 2012|Elliott Serrano, For RedEye

With the holiday season in full swing, you may find yourself looking for a special gift for the Star Trek fan in your life. I'll admit that it can be a challenge to find something new and unique for that sci-fi nerd who has a thing for pointy eared Vulcans and Tribbles. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Star Wars fan myself, but I do have several friends who are into Gene Roddenberry's legendary television franchise and know about this new Star Trek book that should thrill them!

The book is called "Federation: The First 150 Years" and chronicles the origin of the United Federation of Planets as it is known in the Star Trek Universe. It's written by Davis A. Goodman who once served as a writer and producer on Star Trek: Enterprise. The former University of Chicago grad takes on the task of covering a century and a half of continuity, starting with the the advent of "warp drive" and its use in space exploration by the human race - to the classic "five year mission" of Captain Kirk's crew. Considering that this would span a period that would spawn 5 television series (Classic Trek, Star Trek: TNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise) that's a lot of territory to cover! And I'll give Goodman some props for being being able to take such a massive narrative and weave it into a "history book" that even non-fans can read and enjoy.

The book is broken down into chapters that cover different periods of "history" in the growth and development of the UFP. One of my favorite bits comes near the beginning when we read an account of the first encounter of humans and Klingons, as told from the Klingon point of view. I couldn't help but chuckle as Goodman cleverly uses the report of a Klingon official to demonstrate the cultural differences between the warrior race and our own, in turn explaining why there would be so much friction between the two races throughout the history of Star Trek.

Following in the footsteps of the Star Wars publications "The Jedi Path" and "Book of the Sith", "Federation:The First 150 Years" is also presented in a manner that makes it more than just a book, but a highly collectible artifact. The special edition comes on a Trek-styled pedastal that emits electronic effects and narration by Captain Hikaru Sulu himself, George Takei.

If I have a quibble, it's one that has irked fans of Classic Trek for years: the likeness of the character Zefram Cochrane - the inventor of warp drive - is rendered to appear like the actor James Cromwell who played him in the Star Trek movie "First Contact." This has always annoyed me because while I'm a big fan of Cromwell's - he'll always be beloved as the farmer in the "Babe" movies - he looks nothing like the first actor to play Cochrane in the Classic Trek episode "Metamorphosis" Glenn Corbett. Of course, that's just a nerd-nitpick over continuity and shouldn't detract from enjoyment of the book.

The book is illustrated by Joe Corroney, Mark McHaley, Catt Staggs and Jeff Carlisle. It also includes 5 removable documents to add to the "museum quality" of the book.

FEDERATION: THE FIRST 150 YEARS gets a Geek Factor Rating of 4 photon torpedos (out of 4)!

Order a copy of the book for the Trekkie in your life on AMAZON.COM!

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