December 5, 2015


Although Star Trek was my introduction to fandom and genre television....recently, I've had a reluctant relationship with the franchise. No, it's not that I feel negative sentiment towards either of the JJ Abrams films, but I'm tired of the blatant cries of "it's not the Trek I grew up with"....and the unnecessary hero worship of William Shatner. In fact, I approached The Autobiography of James T. Kirk with some reluctance, expecting professionally written fan fiction.

Ironically, David A. Goodman's work makes this book a pristine example of Trek done right....and more importantly, helps redeem the franchise - and its more vehement critics - in my eyes.
In terms of spinoff media, it reflects Greg Cox's three books in the Eugenic Wars saga in its mix of clever narrative and clever references. Unlike the Eugenic Wars saga, The Autobiography of James T. Kirk is a much more straightforward narrative, serving as Kirk's "memoirs" shortly before the events of Star Trek: Generations.

Goodman does a clever job of mixing both Trek-references (with heavy dollops of Star Trek: The Original Series) with some clever interpretation and elaboration. With Kirk relating many "behind the scenes" anecdotes behind several stories (and a clever handling of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier which is better read than described), this book tells the kind of story Trek does best: using futuristic concepts to tell a very human tale. James T. Kirk is no longer the swashbuckling hero we're familiar with, but a man who regrets some of his choices, and possesses enough self-awareness to attempt moving forward.

To be honest, I needed a bit of an escape from the past week and a half (Mom's health issues striking hard after an especially rough Chicago TARDIS), and this book hit the spot. It's an easy read, has plenty of great references, and quite honestly....probably the greatest piece of fan appreciation I've ever read.

It's a must-read.

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