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5.0 out of 5 starsA great read for any true Star-Trek fan.
Reviewed in Canada on July 31, 2020
The writing style of William Shatner is personable and pleasant. After years of watching the original Star Trek reruns I found this book to offer terrific and unexpected insights into the making of the original series. It is utterly amazing how successful the series became based on how little they had to work with in terms of both time and budget and it was truly a shame that the series was cancelled after only a few seasons. Little did the 'powers at be' know, obviously, what Star-Trek would eventually become and how so many fans would watch even the original series over and over and over again. I became an engineer based on my admiration of the character Scotty and am proud that both he and Captain Kirk originally hailed from Canada. This book has the inside scoop on the making of the original series and was a pleasure to read in this quality printing. My first copy was destroyed in a basement flood and I just had to purchase a replacement.
Very detailed on the background and technical aspect of the show. Really takes you through the years of Trek.
A good companion is the Movie memories, though it isn't as vibrant and memorable. As well as "I am Not Spock". Get those three, and you'll be living for hours in the great memories and moments of the Final Frontier.
You would expect a Star Trek memoir written by a cast member, especially the eternally energetic William Shatner, James Kirk, himself, to offer new insight into the early days of the Trek series. You'll probably be disappointed with this book if you have such expectations. What Shatner sets out to do in this book, co-written by Chris Kreski, whose pedigree includes writing Beavis and Butthead episodes, is to put forth a history of the original Star Trek series. I would have like to have known about the relationships between the cast members and anecdotes about the filming of the episodes. Most of the book is taken up by the story of Gene Roddenberry's fight to even get the show produced at all. We meet all the technical and production experts of the show but the whole book is left a little flat in that most of the main cast, except for interviews with Leonard Nimoy, are left out of the research of the book. In a brief epilogue at the back of the book, it becomes clear why this was so. It seems that the rest of the cast resented Shatner because he was almost solely concerned about his camera time on set to the detriment of the others. Nichelle Nichols relates about a time where they were shooting an episode and Shatner told the director that Uhura didn't need to have any scenes, that it wasn't important to the story. James Doohan flat out refused to be interviewed at all for the book. Even when he spoke to the actors that played Sulu and Chekhov it became surprisingly apparent that there was very little of the familial relationships seen on the show. Shatner seemed genuinely amazed at his lack of knowledge concerning the lives of his co-stars. In fact, the others had originally planned to use Shatner's interviews for the book to air their anger at him. It seems truly sad that the author did not attempt to write a human look at the creative process of this classic show but instead resorted to almost a fan's perspective that could have been gleaned from reading previous non-fiction works written about Trek. If you're looking for an insider's view, I wouldn't reccomend this book.
5.0 out of 5 starsAn interesting look at the other team
Reviewed in Canada on February 3, 2004
Being a fan of Star Trek means not only being conversant about the different episodes of the original series, but the fan should also have attended conventions and read the many books from the original cast members. From all my experience, I learned that not everyone liked William Shatner. With that knowledge, I read the first couple of chapters with the voice of Shatner at the Star Trek convention lampooned by the SNL cast. From the sound, Shatner still did not understand what the big commotion was for. I fully believed that the rest of the book would be Shatner tooting his own horn. The bulk of the book does not concern his specific recollections of the series, nor do most of the stories concern him. The material primarily concerns how the show finally got on the air and how it made it through three seasons. Although he did talk to some of the other cast members, the focus is more on the team behind the scenes. He discusses Roddenberry and the other producers, directors, writers, lighting technicians, dolly grip, wardrobe designers, and set designers. He gives the readers a very intriguing look at the people who helped get the series on the air and kept it going. This book is more of a salute to those who made a quality product despite studio plans otherwise, such as cutting the budget and changing time slots. Overall, the language was conversational and kept me engaged. The final chapter does mention that he understands that some of the others do, or did, not care for him that much, and he also offers an olive branch out to James Doohan. Given the year this was written (early 90s), I wonder if it was accepted. I would recommend this book to fans of the show and other fans of 60s television. The story behind the camera (rather than off) is an interesting one.
5.0 out of 5 starsSurprise! Shatner can poke fun at himself
Reviewed in Canada on June 6, 2000
Clearly William Shatner does not take himself too seriously. This book is an amusing romp through the world of the The Original Series. Not meant to be the definitive work by any means, but rather a collection of anecdotes and musings on what it was like in the early days of Star Trek. It is more effective this way, as you get the feel without being distracted by the details. I was most surprised by how candid Shatner was in presenting other points of view. The one that sticks out most in my mind is where Nichelle Nichols won't let him leave her office. "Now I'm going to tell you why I hate you," she says (I'm paraphrasing here as I can't remember the exact quote). Granted, it's mostly from Shatner's point of view, but such additions are a nice touch. I don't know how much his coauthor contributed, but the book reads smoothly and quickly. Recommended for Star Trek fans or anyone with an interest in the development of television.
It's unclear how much of the writing was done by Shatner's co-author, but the book is very well written. Two-thirds of it cover the genesis and first season of Star Trek, with the remainder devoted to the more troublesome seasons 2 and 3. Shatner (Kreski?) have also interviewed quite a few of the people involved in the series which helps make the book less of an ego trip. The epilogue is interesting as Shatner is confronted with the fact that several of the actors thought of him as an arse.