The City on the Edge of Forever by Harlan Ellison

Back in the mid-90s when this title was released in paperback, it was the first time the general public had ever gotten to read the original versions of episode often hailed as “the absolute best Star Trek episode ever written.”  A third of the book was Harlan Ellison’s epic rant “setting the record straight,” followed by different treatment versions and the original teleplay script so that readers could see at long last the evolutions from original idea to what we eventually got.  Those differences are more than worth exploring when you consider that we got considerably less than half of it on screen.

For this audio version, Ellison himself narrates his original epic rant, revised and updated for this edition.  After that, it’s a developing idea given the closest to realization we’re likely to ever get.  The two treatments are single narrator, and then it’s full cast for the full original teleplay.  You can find details of the cast list here:

For those Trekkies and fans of Harlan Ellison who enjoy audio or have perhaps never read Ellison’s original scripts, this is a treasure trove worth having.  Ellison’s work is eloquent enough on its own.  It took 30 years to get the script.  Another 20 years later, we get the audio thanks to a labor of love and Kickstarter.  It’s a fantastic look at what might have been under different circumstances.  50 years later, it still inspires.

5 stars


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