“This job will rip the guts out of you,” he said. “You have no choice but to lean on people. This crew will become your friends.”
— Captain Christopher Pike, moments before transferring command of Enterprise to James Kirk.
This book is a labor of both fan love and professional dedication to the story. It could easily have gone silly beyond all reckoning, or it could just as easily have been rushed. It could easily have just been a simple accounting of the timeline. I’m pleased beyond words to say that none of the above is the case; this book feels right. When you read it, you hear William Shatner as Captain Kirk in your head. It feels like Kirk himself wrote it. The nods to everything we know — or think we know — are there, but it’s so much more. It’s a personal account from one of the most famous characters in modern science fiction of a life that’s more three-dimensional than many real people you can name.
There were a couple of red flags that suggested the J.J. Abrams Kelvin timeline early on, but comparing them to what we actually know, this is the Prime timeline, the classic version. Everything in here is meticulously researched and offered with respect. Could there have been more? Maybe, and I wouldn’t complain if there had been, but as this stands the brevity and the tone feel more consistent with what we’ve heard in Kirk’s personal logs, with some expansion as befitting a memoir. Also, as the conceit to this is that it was a draft found after his “death” in ST: Generations, it’s appropriate to keep it a little incomplete. The one thing that did throw me off is how the events of Star Trek V was treated, and I won’t offer spoilers except to say this book takes a big jab at that movie and dismisses it out of hand. Plenty of story gaps are touched upon, and the more familiar you are with the classic series and films, the more of a smile this will put on your face. Or perhaps even a tear in your eye.
As a bonus, there is a small section in the middle of photos, such as Kirk’s Starfleet Academy diploma and graduation photo, his Tarsus IV identification, and a photo of young Carol and David Marcus, as well others like these:
All in all, a classy book, perfect for celebrating Star Trek‘s the 50th anniversary.