Last Sunday after only a brief amount of hesitation I bought, at the same huge BMV used bookstore in downtown Toronto on Bloor Street West where I found my copy of Diane Duane's TNG novel Intellivore, a copy of Stan and Fred Goldstein'sSpaceflight Chronology. I was really lucky: The book may have been printed back in 1980, but I was able to find a good copy, and cheap, too! I'd never have come across it if not for a physical bookstore where I could actually browse for books. Spaceflight Chronology is a good read. Between its detailed and engrossing chronology--progress always happens, people learn, technologies advance, frontiers retreat--and the very high qualty of Rick Sternbach's colour and sketch illustrations, both colour and sketch, I'd say it bears comparison with the classic Terran Trade Authority series. This book is a double alternate history. In the first place, Star Trek itself is an alternate history; there really were no Eugenics Wars, not because they were hidden up but because Star Trek is entirely fictional. (It needed to be said.) In the second place, the timeline and the universe that the Spaceflight Chronology recounts is radically different from the canon that has been developed in the novelverse up to 2011. * In the Spaceflight Chronology, the Eugenics Wars of the 1990s was Earth's final conflict, following which space travel and colonization flourished along with Earth's unification, with an aggressive blue-algae-driven terraforming of Venus succeeding by the mid-21st century even as the Moon and Mars were colonized and the first STL ships sent to Earth' neighbours entirely independently of any other power. * In the novelverse, Earth continued to struggle through its geopolitical turmoil, seeing space travel and space colonization develop at a rather slower rate than above finally suffering a global nuclear war before Cochrane's development of warp drive led to a rather necessary Vulcan protectorate and, ultimately, to the emergence of Earth as an autonomous power in the galaxy. Beyond these details of the past, the near-Sol environments differ markedly. In the Spaceflight Chronology, Earth's first contact is made at Alpha Centauri in 2048, when the UNSS Icarus happens upon the astonishingly very-nearly-human Alpha Centauran civilization, opening up a productive relationship that sees the Centauran Zefram Cochrane start a joint Earth-Centauri program leading to the development of warp drive. The discovery of a damaged Vulcan scout craft in Sol system by the UNSS Amity and the return of its crew to the Vulcan homeworld in the Epsilon Eridani system follows, with contact made in 2073 with the Tellarites and at an undetermined point with the Andorians. By the end of the 21st century, these five states and Rigel have bounded together to form the United Federation of Planets. By the time of V'Ger's visit just after the beginning of the 23rd century, the Federation is a thriving culture set to develop rapid intergalactic travel, ubiquitous psionic skill sets in anyone so interested, and the ability to move planets about. The novelverse is much different. Vulcan is in the 40 (or, if you would, Omicron 2) Eridani system, not nearby Epsilon, Alpha Centauri's extensive planetary system was unpopulated until Earth colonists set up an independent state there some time after the mid-21st century, contact with the Tellarites and the Andorians seems to have been limited by the Vulcan protectorate well into the 22nd century, Rigel was not a founding member of the UFP, and the development of the technologies I described at the end of the last paragraph is well, well into the future. Despite the huge differences, I think that the Spaceflight Chronology still has some influence on the form of the current novelverse. Alpha Centauri may not be home to a very-nearly-human civilization that's one of the five founding states of the UFP, true, but it is an independent state founded by successive waves of human colonists from the mid-21st century on that becomes one of the five founding states of the Federation. Vulcan might be in a different planetary system, but the Vulcans are a somewhat standoffish and secretive race possessing a high technology well ahead of their neighbours and maintaining active scouting operations among the neighbouring primitive cultures. The Romulans are a secretive culture known to exist only via Vulcan quasi-mythology, scouting out their future conquests quietly before going all out. What say you all?