Few works of popular fiction have enough a rich enough depth of background to warrant expanded universes beyond their source. STAR WARS definitely does and J.K. Rowling’s HARRY POTTER universe probably could (and eventually will, I imagine) but it’s easy to forget that the first to explore this territory was STAR TREK.
Since the cancellation of Gene Roddenbery’s original iconic “wagon train to the stars”, book authors and fan fictions have worked hard to fill in the blanks and flesh out the back stories of many of the elements the original series only hinted at. STAR TREK has a unique power to foster a kind of obsessive compulsive quest for exacting detail that in the past has resulted in the creation of incredibly detailed blueprints for Star ships that will never exist and the translation of an alien language no culture has ever spoken.
This tradition of attention to detail is well served in David A. Goodman’s STAR TREK FEDERATION – THE FIRST 150 YEARS from Titan Books.
Presented as a 24th century textbook that one might study as a first year cadet of Starfleet Academy, the tome chronicles the Federation’s creation starting with the first meeting of Human and Vulcan and straight on through to 2311 (essentially the last original cast Star Trek movie). It’s interesting how the book seems to purposefully steer clear of Captain Kirk and his crew. They are there of course and the book even closes with the text of Ambassador Spock’s eulogy for his “first friend”, but the book makes a good effort to stay just to the left or right of them and gains a strange kind of legitimacy in doing so.
Among the other things you can learn here is that following the events of “THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES”, which again is not DIRECTLY referenced as having anything to do with Captain Kirk and the Enterprise, the Klingons made an oath to eradicate the universe of the furry, purring, procreators and then did so – tracking them down system by system and finally laying waste to their home world.
The book is written very straight, but every once in a while (like in the example above), you can see the author toss in a subtle wink, a “hey I know this is goofy but it’s still a lot of fun for us Trekkers”! If the name David A. Goodman seems familiar to you it may be because he was the head writer of Fox’s FAMILY GUY for six years; a fact that you would never guess by the respect he shows the Star Trek Universe with this text book tribute to it’s fictional future history.
Griffin, Brian. FIRST CAPTAIN – A Biography of Jonathan Archer. Quahog: Pewterschmidt Press, 2255
It’s good to see his writing career finally took off.