An accomplished, stirring tribute to a beloved sci-fi series that will captivate fans and newcomers alike.

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THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JAMES T. KIRK

A faux memoir of Star Trek’s iconic Capt. James T. Kirk that draws on nearly half a century of the franchise’s history.

Star Trek, in all its various forms, has become an indelible part of the American science-fiction landscape. And while its fans may continue to debate which fictional captain was best at his or her job, its first, James Tiberius Kirk, is certainly the best known. This book, an autobiography presented in an in-universe style, covers everything from Kirk’s childhood to his disappearance from the Enterprise (as seen in the 1994 film Star Trek: Generations). There are plenty of nods and winks to the fandom—Goodman, the book’s “editor,” also wrote for Star Trek: Enterprise and penned a Star Trek–themed, Nebula Award–nominated episode of Futurama—but the references never get in the way of the storytelling. If anything, the book is refreshingly accessible; readers won’t need any knowledge of Star Trek in order to enjoy the overall tale. In fact, this book could just as easily serve as a primer to the entire franchise. Its strength lies in how it takes elements from disparate moments over the Star Trek canon and weaves them together in unexpectedly thoughtful and emotionally moving ways. For example, Kirk’s relationship (or lack thereof) with David, the son he had with old flame Dr. Carol Marcus, is a running thread throughout the book; Kirk himself is painted as a child of absent parents who didn’t want to repeat that mistake with his own son but who realized too late that he’d done just that. However, in a surprisingly touching afterword “written” by Spock, the Vulcan points out that Kirk’s regrets over not having a family were unfounded: “His children are the crew members who revered him and carry his legacy now to the limits of known space. His family lives on.”

An accomplished, stirring tribute to a beloved sci-fi series that will captivate fans and newcomers alike.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 9781783297467

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Titan Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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