||Visually, this coffee table book is stunning. I know that line has been used before (the visual...stunning combination) but this book really deserves it. From the sweepingly broad vistas of Vulcan's forge, the exotic artefacts of ancient Cardassians, to the water-soaked skies of Ferenginar and lastly a childlike rendition of San Fransisco rebuilding after the Breen attacks, the artwork succeeds masterfully in communicating the artists' interpretations or an incredibly diverse galaxy. The text however isn't as well done. It's good, but it also seems that Michael Jan Friedman was simply trying too hard to be literary. It works at the beginning when you haven't read many of them, but it was a bit too much by the middle. However, since this is a coffee table book, it was probably not meant to be read straight through, so I only docked it half a star. The other half-star (well, I guess I'm fortunate that there aren't any partial marks available) is due to the fact that the introduction states that the book was meant to celebrate the end of the Dominion War by looking at Federation worlds and celebrate the diversity of the Federation, but it goes to Cardassia, Ferenginar, Kronos and even the Hirogen! Such inconsistency can't easily be ignored. It would have been much better to have said that in the spirit of peace experienced with the recent treaty with the Dominion, the book looks at various worlds, both inside and outside the Federation, to show that the galaxy is one great kaleidoscope. However, this is simply the introduction, and so not necessarily deserving of this much attention. On the whole, it really is quite a remarkable book. The text definitely provides fascinating insights in the various worlds, and the homage to the strength of the human spirit in adversity, in this case that of San Fransisco and the Breen attacks, is quite touching in light of the disasters that have hit us in the past five years (namely 9/11, the Tsunami, Katrina). Just sitting down and looking at the pictures is a few minutes (or half an hour...) well spent. Despite the minor nits (that I of course had to point out right?) this book is definitely recommended-not necessarily to put on the coffee table, but certainly to include in the collection.