For a fan base obsessed with a fictional future, the past sure seems to matter.
More than 45 years after Star Trek took fans boldly into the 23rd century, television writer David A. Goodman has written the first detailed narrative in history-book form of events depicted in the iconic science-fiction TV and movie franchise.
"This is the history of the galaxy as it's already been painted by the writers of the original Star Trek' series, the sequel series, and the movies up to but not including the (2009 Star Trek) J.J. Abrams movie," Goodman, whose work includes writing for the most recent TV series Star Trek: Enterprise, told Reuters.
"Star Trek Federation - The First 150 Years" details the history of the founding and early years of "the United Federation of Planets" - the interplanetary alliance that has explored the galaxy and kept members safe from Klingons, Romulans, and other villains.
The 167-page book, to be published this week, connects the dots and fills in many of the black holes of Star Trek history as seen in the live action TV series, animated series and movies since 1966.
Like a precious collection of memories, the timeline of events is important to Trekkies - and they are watching.
"If I'm going to buy an official Trek History, I expect it to be true to that history," wrote fan "KingDaniel" on fan website Trekbbs.com.
Website Trekcore.com has already made its judgment, referring to Goodman's book as a "Historical Trek Masterpiece."
The book comes packed with original illustrations depicting epochal moments and iconic characters like Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Khan, Zefram Cochrane, Richard Daystrom and Solkar of Vulcan.
Inside the back cover is a pocket containing "documents from the Federation Archives," including a handwritten letter by a young Jim Kirk to his mother.
US HISTORY AS INSPIRATION
From the beginning of "Star Trek," its late creator, Gene Roddenberry, often used U.S. history and current world events as inspiration for his stories. Some of those themes are reflected in Goodman's work.
His "Articles of Federation" strike an especially familiar note.
"Our worlds hold these truths to be self-evident that all species are created equal," with the stated goal "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic and intergalactic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, and promote the general welfare," Goodman writes.
The pivotal event of Goodman's history is "The Romulan War" which, he said, has echoes of World War Two. The relationship between "Star Trek"'s Romulan emperor and his admiral was inspired by Japan's wartime admiral, Isoroku Yamamoto, Goodman added.
The class of spaceships that included Captain Kirk's Enterprise, and the way their construction was farmed out across the Federation, was inspired by the B-52 bomber program, which spread over several US states to gain wide political support.
And the character of Captain Jonathan Archer from the 2001-2005 TV series Star Trek: Enterprise is "the George Washington of the founding of the Federation," Goodman said.
The book comes housed in a plastic pedestal display which lights up with the push of a button to the familiar voice of actor George Takei as Admiral Hikaru Sulu introducing the history.
"A deluxe history book" was the idea behind the book's design, said design manager Rosanna Brockley. "We really wanted it to look elegant."
"Star Trek Federation - The First 150 Years" is published by 47NORTH and produced by becker&mayer! and has a list price of US$99.99 (NZ$122).
But if #1SheGeek's comment from StarTrek.com - "I HAVE to have this. I will die without it" - and Alexander's comment from blastr.com - "Shut up and take my money!" - are any indications, Goodman's book may be poised to explore sales numbers that boldly go where few Star Trek books have gone before.
- © Fairfax NZ News