Spoilers The Autobiography of James T. Kirk - announcement and reviews

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Kertrats47, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. 2of1million

    2of1million Captain Captain

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    Bought the ebook on Kobo for 99 cents. Good deal. :techman:
     
  2. Corran Horn

    Corran Horn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Almost jumped at $10 but for my giant to-be-read pile. Definitely did at $1.
     
  3. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Rear Admiral Moderator

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  4. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I got it to.
     
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  5. Gen. Zod

    Gen. Zod Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Picked this up over the weekend and finished last night. I really enjoyed it, cover to cover. I loved Kirk and Bones bonding over their children. As a new parent, even though I'm happily married, that part really hit me. I would have liked to have seen more time devoted to the movie era, but that's my favorite TOS period, so I'm biased.

    Despite having grown up with reruns of TOS and the movies, it wasn't until reading this that I was struck by how sad Kirk's later life becomes. The loss and loneliness he endures is quite tragic when you read about it in first-person.
     
  6. stardream

    stardream Commodore Commodore

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    Bought this a few days ago. I'm saving it so I have something new to read during the oncoming 'snowstorm'.
     
  7. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm enjoying the book a great deal. A very good approximation of Kirk's personality and I like the "colony" and "Iowa" switch. I also like how unsentimental but realistic the story is about relationships.

    Kudos.
     
  8. sbk1234

    sbk1234 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying this book.
     
  9. Corylea

    Corylea Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I've seen all 79 episodes of TOS many, many times, and the James T. Kirk I saw in those episodes is NOT the man portrayed in this book. The Kirk in this book is full of angst, paralyzed by self-doubt, and constantly tortured by his lack of a stable romantic relationship. He's also a mean-spirited jerk who tries to break up OTHER people's romantic relationships because he has none of his own and is jealous of theirs.

    Does that sound like Kirk to you?

    I don't know how Goodman got the contract to write this book, but he was the wrong guy for the job. He's clearly done some research and knows a lot about Star Trek in general, but he has completely missed the heart and soul of the character he claims to be portraying.

    Yes, we do see in "The Naked Time" that Kirk misses having a stable romantic relationship. But to take the things Kirk said while he was not himself because of the polywater intoxication and generalize them as being the One True Thing about Kirk is a mistake. Yes, we do see Kirk have moments of self-doubt, such as in "The Apple," when he second-guesses himself about not having aborted the mission after the first death. But those are MOMENTS of self-doubt that exist to humanize the character; that self-doubt isn't perpetual!

    The man I saw prowling the bridge of the Enterprise is a bold and confident man who absolutely adores being the captain of the ship. He's a tactical genius and a persuasive orator. He's a man who treats his crew like family and who is, in turn, adored by them and given everything they have. Unfortunately, that man is not present in this book.

    While Kirk never gets to have a stable romantic relationship, he does have deep and important relationships in his life. Though they're not romantic, his friendships with Spock and McCoy are deep and important relationships that do much to fill his heart, and he considers those two men his family. Those relationships are given short shrift in this book; their importance in Kirk's life is occasionally stated but rarely shown.

    Kirk's childhood and family background are adequate, though I have trouble picturing the Kirk we know coming out of the background he's given here. But I'm a clinical psychologist in real life, so I accept that what I consider to be a realistic background may not be the same as what other readers would want. :-)

    Aside from the mis-characterization of Kirk, the book curiously flat. The book makes the Tarsus IV tragedy ... not terribly emotionally affecting. Over and over again, events are portrayed, but most of the emotional punch that should go with those events is absent. The author writes clear prose, but it's not very affecting.

    I found this book a grave disappointment, because it misses the greatness of James Kirk and makes him a much smaller, weaker, and more mean-spirited man than we know him to be. I wish Spock had neck-pinched the author while he was writing it, so that this travesty had not been foisted on the public.
     
  10. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it. The Kirk and Bones bonding over being absent parents was one of the things I was most proud of, it's a connection I hadn't seen before (although there's so much trek lit I may have missed it).
     
  11. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    thanks! trying to tackle relationships in a realistic way was also something I took seriously.
     
  12. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    :sigh:
    Well, we'll agree to disagree. :sigh: I do think however there are a lot of moments of Kirk's self-doubt and critical reflection portrayed in the original series and movies - Kirk struggles with decisions in Where No Man Has Gone Before, Balance of Terror, City on the Edge of Forever, Corbomite Maneuver, Errand of Mercy, Who Mourns for Adonis, Amok Time, he looks back at his decision not to be a present father in STWOK, looks back with retret at his bigotry towards Klingons in Star Trek VI. What made Kirk human to me was that the writing and acting showed a guy making decisions, often good ones, but sometimes making a mistake and admitting it. He'd yell at a subordinate and then apologize to them - he did this in Man Trap, Private Little War, Corbomite Maneuver, Obsession - Obsession is a great example of Kirk's vulnerability as a human being.

    But you hated the book, and for that, I'm sorry you spent the money. As a reader, I know how frustrating that is when a Star Trek book doesn't live up to your expectations.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
  13. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I've had this one on my Kindle for a while and only just now did my reading schedule allow me to read beyond the first two chapters (which I plowed through the day I bought it).

    I enjoyed it for the most part, particularly the pre-Enterprise chapters. It was nice to see a concise account of Kirk's Starfleet career, and I was particularly pleased to see that Kirk spent some time landlocked as a Commander with the Strategic Plans and Policy office - here's hoping that reference gets thrown into the "regular" Trek lit-verse - and it was also, in my opinion, great to see that Kirk wasn't just thrown into the deep end and given a starship command like he was in ST09 (not that he hasn't made it work, but it was my biggest peeve about the movie). The recap of various episodes for his five-year mission was a nice reminder of what we saw on the series (although as a longtime reader of Trek fiction, I've already read those recaps multiple times across multiple books, it was repetitive, but in this particular book, it was a necessity). His later career, including his separation from Starfleet, his rejoining and his journey through the end of his career was just as interesting to me as his five-year mission.

    The one thing about this book, though, is that I have to throw out a bunch of my preconceived notions about the various supporting characters who've been expanded upon differently in the lit-verse. Of particular note is this book's portrayal of Admiral Heihachiro Nogura, who, as Starfleet's Director of Strategic Plans and Policy and later as its Commander-in-Chief, became so hawkish that he was actively plotting an invasion of the Klingon Empire which got him fired (not to mention his relationship with Kirk from the time he joined the admiral's staff to the confrontation that led to Kirk resigning from Starfleet in 2278) doesn't jive with the character portrayed in Star Trek: Vanguard and other novels. It's not necessarily a bad change, but it is like reading a different character.

    Also, while this book focuses on Kirk, it also expands upon the careers of the various officers within his command - again, not in a bad way, but in a way that differs from my preconceived notions gathered over the last 10+ years of reading Trek lit.

    All-in-all, I enjoyed it, even while needing to reevaluate some characters, and hope that certain aspects of this story get added to the overall Star Trek mythology (Kirk roommates with Thelin th'Valress at the Academy, his time on the Hotspur and with Strategic Plans and Policy, just to name a few).
     
  14. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks! Glad you liked it mostly - the decision to make Nogura kind of an adversary came really just from Scotty's line from TMP "I doubt it was that easy with Nogura," and Kirk's response. It felt to me that it implied a very formidable character, and the fact that on Star Trek VI we find out that star fleet officers conspired to undermine peace told me that Admirals weren't always perfect. And in my book Nogura isn't a villain - he believes that what he is doing is necessary for the protection of the Federation.
     
  15. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Well, to be fair, the latter doesn't imply the former. No villain sees themselves as one, after all; they all have reasons for their actions that, in their eyes, are perfectly reasonable. But "antagonist" might be a better-fitting description?
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Indeed -- "He believes that what he is doing is necessary for the protection of the Federation" can also describe Alexander Marcus, Admiral Leighton, Ben Maxwell, Luther Sloan, etc.
     
  17. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I used "adversary" in my original post, so I think we're in agreement. And I guess in my view a villain has self-centered motives, and Nogura's aren't, but I see your point, because I suppose a villain could have in his mind noble intent.
     
  18. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Point taken, though I don't see Ben Maxwell as a villain.
     
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  19. King Bob!

    King Bob! Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Neither did I. He was a broken man who saw danger.

    I just wonder why his crew went along with it? Especially once they were hunted down by the Enterprise?

    I bet that first officer has some explaining to do!
     
  20. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree, I think that's a big hole in that episode.