An absolute must for any Star Trek fan.



“Boldly go where no man has gone before”: the oral history of the Star Trek franchise.

Gross (Voices from Krypton: Superman on Film and in Comics, 2015, etc.) and Altman, a writer and producer, have done yeoman’s work selecting and chronologically arranging this massive compendium of hundreds of comments from over 200 actors, directors, writers and producers involved in creating Star Trek—a “franchise that has literally changed the world,” as Seth MacFarlane, who played Ensign Rivers of the first Starship Enterprise, proclaims in his foreword. The authors’ goal was to “tell the real history of Star Trek in a way that no one else would be able to.” As readers learn, it almost didn’t happen. Studios passed on Gene Roddenberry’s pilot script, and Desilu Productions executives would have if Lucille Ball hadn’t greenlighted it. Roddenberry had written some Have Gun—Will Travel scripts, and he specifically drew on Paladin’s passion, intelligence, and bleeding heart to provide Kirk, Spock, and McCoy with their major personality traits. Roddenberry was a Navy pilot in World War II and was “particularly fascinated by the story of the Enterprise…and wanted to use the name.” The original show lasted three seasons, until 1969. There would eventually be four live action spin-offs (e.g., The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine) and an animated series, the latter of which was produced before Star Trek became a big budget motion picture. Leonard Nimoy said of that film, it was a “trial for the actors.” James Doohan (Scotty) said it was “boring.” The reviews were harsh, but the fans loved it. This volume ends with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Some quotes are just lame, while others are priceless. The editors have written numerous notes, providing solid context to quotes and historical background information. The book warmly invites jumping in anywhere to just sample, but it’s best approached from the beginning to hear from those in the know how the phenomenon unfolded.

An absolute must for any Star Trek fan.

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-06584-1

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...


The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

Did you like this book?