One of the first black women to star in a television series (""Star Trek"") provides a valuable commentary on racism in the business, along with numerous sugarcoated stories about friends, fans, and family. Growing up in Robbins, a black-populated and black-governed town just outside of Chicago, Nichols began her singing and dancing career at the age of 14, touring nightclubs for many years. Nichols met Gene Roddenberry, later the producer of ""Star Trek,"" in 1963 when she was cast in an episode of one of his early television series. Her friendship with the married Roddenberry quickly turned into an affair. Nichols ended it when she discovered he was seeing someone else, although by her account, Roddenberry never quite forgave her for walking away. Nichols faced numerous racial and sexist barriers throughout her career, including conflict with the stuffed shirts of NBC around her role in ""Star Trek."" Only after Nichols agreed to sign the contract did NBC executives learn that Roddenberry intended to hire a black woman as fourth in command on the Enterprise. They refused to honor the contract, but Roddenberry was free to hire her on a daily basis, which he did throughout the series. Nichols admits having felt humiliated not to be working under the same terms as the rest of the cast. Nichols also reveals the rocky relationship she and the entire cast had with William Shatner. Even though she occasionally offers kind words about Shatner's character and abilities, for the most part he is portrayed as arrogant and bossy. Nichols occasionally takes herself too seriously. Her speeches at ""Star Trek"" conventions often addressed the future of the space program. By her account, ""often, by the end of my speech, the fans would be crying, and I would be crying. Then we'd all be laughing."" Nichols's story just doesn't have the expected punch from the woman involved with the first televised interracial kiss. But Trekkers will love the gossip.