The Autobiography of James T Kirk
By David A Goodman
The genuine autobiography of one of the bravest, most dashing and heroic starship captains to ever bodly-go into the depths of space. You may be pleased to know that this Kirk is the real one, not the imposter who has more recently been seen in the latest films. This Kirk doesn't get command of the starship 30 minutes after joining starfleet and we don't get gratuitously soppy scenes from Spock either.
This is the real, lense-flare-less, deal.
It's been penned by David A Goodman, a writer who has been involved in some of the funniest shows on TV including two of my personal favourites — Futurama and Family Guy. He has also written for more serious series such as the much under-appreciated Star Trek: Enterprise. So Kirks exploits are in safe hands.
As you'd expect, the book reads like most autobiographies and charts James Tiberious Kirks life from child to elderly captain, describing the major events along the way. The writing feels very natural and its easy to believe you are reading from Kirks own thoughts. I must admit that given the writers pedigree, I half-expected more comedy and humour than was present — it's presented much more seriously than I thought it would be.
I'm not a big fan of autobiographies in general, I am very selective about who's I read and it's the anecdotes the writer describes that I enjoy the most. These were largely absent here, instead the book sticks to the major events that have been portayed on screen (of which there are many) along with important events in Kirks life. Luckily though these events are each interesting enough to forget about the lack of meandering. It also has a few quotes that feel like perfect, classic Star Trek:
"Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you. Don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship because while you're there, you can make a difference. "—James T. Kirk, 2371
I can see why this more rigid structure has been used but that also leads me to the fact that many events haven't been given enough time, most are fairly briefly described and then it's on to the next interesting part. Not every episode is mentioned, but most of the better ones (and a few of the poorer) are present, including the films. Of course the singular episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" penned by the exceptional (if often grumpy) Harlen Elison, plays a reasonable part. While many books published nowadays could be slimmed down, there is so much to cover in Kirks life that I think this could have done with a few hundred pages more to adequately describe some of the more infamous encounters. What is covered is done well and it's nice to be able to learn about some of the motivations and trials Kirk faced.
Overall it's a fascinating journey into one of the most famous characters in science fiction, a well written book that's only held back by its lack of size. A must for any original Star Trek fan.
Written on 24th September 2015 by Ant .