Star Trek Memories

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Many books have been written about the phenomenon of STAR TREK, most unabashedly worshipful of the cast, or given to examining the episodes in minute detail. William Shatner, who has a unique insider’s perspective, decided to write a different book, examining the genesis of STAR TREK as an idea and a technical accomplishment.

Using his friendships and contacts with the people who made STAR TREK work, the surviving producers, writers, art directors, and, yes, some of his fellow actors, Shatner pieces together the history of STAR TREK from beginning to end. Extensive, block-set quotations create a more objective, though affectionate, reportage than fans of the show may be accustomed to, but there are plenty of personal and often humorous anecdotes to satisfy readers.

Central to the story is the history of Gene Roddenberry, creator of STAR TREK. Shatner offers a thumbnail sketch of a sickly, bookish boy who grew up to become a writer. Roddenberry worked hard as a television writer, eventually developed pilots, and became a producer. From this position he could launch his dream of a meaningful science fiction series, and the long, difficult road of STAR TREK began.

Shatner details the technical innovation needed to bring STAR TREK to life and the frustrating struggle with studio heads and budgets to keep the show true to Roddenberry’s ideals.

There are many surprises, among them tales of special effects labs who could not deliver, and the real reasons why an early cast member left the show, as well as a moving story of why another remained. The most surprising comes at the end, when Shatner reveals the anger and frustration some of his colleagues still feel toward him. Photographs are included throughout.