Thursday, September 23, 2010

what have you read by Gene Roddenberry?

The guy didn't write all that much for print (or that was published), from what I can tell.

But I am really enjoying at the moment the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, purportedly by Gene Roddenberry.

I hate to question the intellectual property of so great a man (in my worldview), but I have become fairly skeptical of "ghost writers"

I need to do some research into the matter, as I am doing while I am blogging today, but whatever the matter, the matter stands that Gene Roddenberry had quite a hand in this book and film and I can feel fairly confident it is truthful to how Roddenberry viewed things.

This novelization is a few decades old, and as such doesn't "jive" well with the current Trek universe, the one I've come to know. Such disparity strikes me as jarringly as if the author wrote in different laws of physics than I know are accepted.

Actually, it's a bit refreshing. But, moreover, I have been made to see, thru this book and others, especialls Echos and Refractions, that Captain Kirk as a character has been handled quite inconsistently. Remember Kirk's son, David? I (like many fans I imagine) had let that memory slip to the back of my mind, and didn't consider Kirk's lingering pain over the loss. Or was there lingering pain? It wasn't discussed. And the novelization talks about Kirk as a lover of books, a visitor of historical sites, someone who enjoys research in a museum for pleasure. That's not the Kirk that's been shown to me, that I can recall. I mean, there are glimpses and suggestions, but few things that bring that to the fore, except that Kirk always seemed quite well-read and wise as far as strategic decisions go.

Well, then again, this is all all all fiction and entertainment and storytelling by many different people. So, it hardly matters to much, except insofar as my own entertainment goes. It DOES matter to me, but not in a universal way that really matters, if that makes any sense.


  1. It does make sense.
    I can't comment further as I've not read anything written by the man.

  2. The only book of his I've read is that TMP novelization.

    I think the cultured Kirk is one we've seen on the show and in the movies. He's a Shakespeare fan and goes to the theater. He receives an antique Dickens book in ST II. He often makes classical or ethnological allusions.

    The pain over his son's death is handled in the last three films, either overtly in his prejudice towards Klingons or more subtly in the theme of mortality running throughout.

  3. Siskoid, although I have a high regard for your opinions, I have top disagree. To a point.

    Although everything you say is true, I still don't think it was portrayed very often in Trek.

    Two phrases come to mind: "You're grasping at straws" and "Somebody dropped the ball."

    I think most writers and directors (etc.) were more interested in the soldier Kirk. Audiences, too, I'm afraid. The cultured Kirk was only present in a few episodes or a few movie moments. Now, this does suggest that maybe the soldier Kirk knew to supress the cultured Kirk for military sake. But I think it's more than that. The same with his personal tragedy. It just doesn't add up. Not to me, at any rate.

    Do you know if Roddenberry wrote anything else for print?

  4. No I do not.

    I don't think I'm grasping at straws at all. Maybe it's that the show is about commanding a ship and landing parties, NOT about going to the theater every week. We still have Kirk making allusions to the changeling in the NOMAD episode, etc. Starfleet captains are generally presented as Renaissance Men (and Women). It's in his background, but it's not always applicable to the stories being told.