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

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

  1. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I didn't say I disliked it, just that it challenged some of my preconceived notions about the characters I've held for the better part of the last decade. And besides, some of those differences I saw in The Autobiography I liked better than the other way.
     
  2. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I didn't say you disliked it either, I said you "liked it mostly". But thanks! I'm glad you liked some of the differences. As Star Trek fans we all fill in the blanks about the characters left by the original series and movies ourselves - there's lots of choices, there's no right or wrong way. The challenge for this book for me was finding a narrative that said something new about Kirk & company that still fit with what we all already are so familiar with.
     
  3. Vger23

    Vger23 Commodore Commodore

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    I bought this on Sunday afternoon and finished it in roughly one day.

    I have been a Star Trek fan almost since birth (1975) and I count James T. Kirk as one of the most influential "people" in my life, right up there with my parents and my high school football coach. He was and still is a great hero of mine. So, needless to say, I went into this book with some trepidation...hoping for the best but still concerned that I would be disappointed.

    I thought the book was outstanding. It was a 9.5/10. A tremendous amount of care and thought went into tying things together and making this really flow in and out of the events we "know" about Kirk and those we don't. The book really fits into two buckets: one is the pre-TOS era, which is really engaging. All of the incidents that were mentioned or inferred on-camera are there, but filled out logically and entertainingly. There are some completely original elements mixed in as well, but just the right balance to not go off the map of what we know are the major general life events of the character. For the most part, the book fills in the details of the things we have known about the character's early life, and does so in an entertaining and logical fashion. There's some pretty emotional stuff going on too, particularly Kirk's relationship with Carol and the mirror between his choices regarding Carol and David and those of Kirk's parents.

    The second bucket is the TOS era and beyond. Some readers might think that this is a dull or repetitive section, because it is "just a recap" of the shows and films we've seen hundreds of times, but I think of it quite differently. I think the gift of this book was that, in the "retelling" of those stories, we get to see them from a fresh perspective,that being from Kirk's thoughts. It's like experiencing the episodes and movies again for the first time, and that is a truly wonderful side benefit of the book.

    The thing I think the author got "the most right" was Kirk's inner struggles, faults and insecurities. I think, from day one, Kirk was a flawed man who happened to be a great leader and brilliant explorer. But, there were plenty of moments that revealed, even if for a brief moment, his inner vulnerabilities and burdens (Where No Man, Balance of Terror, Obsession, Requiem, COTEOF, TMP, TWOK, TSFS, TFF, TUC). It was powerful to immerse yourself in the world of Star Trek and imagine that Kirk really had written this and was acknowledging to the world (galaxy) all of the doubts, flaws and imperfections that he, a regular human being, possessed...even as one of history's greatest heroes. I also like that it trashes the misconception that Kirk was just a generic hero who was filled with cockiness and bravado and always got the girl at the end. Instead, we get a picture of a complex, flawed, but great hero who lived a great but somewhat sad life. In many ways, intentional or not, I think it sort of mirrors the life of Shatner himself, where he was wildly successful in his career, but somewhat filled with doubt, insecurities and at times an inability to truly connect. Very cool stuff.

    I also thought the ongoing story about his regrets over his decisions regarding David and Carol were very well-done and emotional. The author got this one spot-on, and as a relatively new father...this stuff really resonated with me and made me appreciate Kirk and his motivations a lot more. There were moments where I got misty-eyed. Well done.

    The only elements I struggled with (and obviously my previous praise indicates these are not show-stoppers) were:

    1. Kirk's strangely inexplicable Picard-like snobbery about religious or spiritual beliefs. I always interpreted Kirk as a man of some spiritual faith....perhaps not a "religious man" by any means, but certainly someone who has a belief in a higher purpose or power. He certainly has several lines of dialogue that would indicate this.

    2. I thought the handling of the TFF / Sybok Incident was amusing and creative, but I was bummed that was the direction taken. I am one of the rare people who adore the fifth film, and I was actually reading through the movie era chapters eagerly to get to that part of the story...eager to hear about Kirk's feelings of learning that Spock had a brother, learning about the decisions McCoy had made regarding his ailing father, and how that mission may have changed his relationship with his closest friends and given him the realization that, even after all this time, they were still growing as brothers and comrades. That said, I can't fault the author for such a creative way of addressing his "personal canon." If not for my own bummer factor, I probably would have loved it.

    In summary- this is a great read that was written with obvious care and love for the character. Kirk's voice come through in every page, and the effort put into making this an entertaining and faithful account of the character's life is obvious.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
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  4. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, thank you! This was a pleasure for me to read for obvious reasons. I think one of the most frustrating things as the author of this book is that many reviewers on Amazon dismissed the sections of the book that were "recap" - the fact that you saw what I added was very reassuring! Thank you again!
     
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  5. Vger23

    Vger23 Commodore Commodore

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    And thank YOU for putting the effort and care into the work!

    Everyone has their own opinions and tastes, but I for one enjoy the rare and special opportunities to see these shows and movies through fresh eyes. As a lifelong fan, you become so familiar with the stories, that it's hard to get anything "new" out of them. There were moments (as I powered relentlessly through the narrative...haha!) where I was tempted to immediately put the book down and go back to an episode or movie and watch it with that fresh perspective. I resisted the temptation, but I will likely still do so now that I'm done.

    I thought you also did some really clever little "nods" as well...things like saying (I don't have the direct quote) how startling it was to learn that the Romulans were part of the Vulcan race and the Romulan Commander could have passed for Spock's father. The book is littered with those little tongue-in-cheek in-jokes that are well-placed and add to the fun of the story.

    Honestly, I never would have thought of it, but a "mini series" (maybe 4-6 episodes) adaptation of the pre-TOS era stuff in this book for CBS's streaming service would be something I'd fully support! Wishful thinking, I suppose! ;)

    LLAP
     
  6. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    David, since you're in this thread I have a quick question for you. Do you know if there is any chance of them ever doing an e-book version of Federation: The First 150 Years? I really want to read it, but I'm trying to go as close to 100% digital as I possibly can. I don't mind going physical if I have to, but I'm also willing to wait if there will be an e-book in the future.
     
  7. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    You definitely picked up on a lot, so I really appreciate it. And I'd love to do a mini-series, though I can't imagine they'd be open to recasting Kirk again.
     
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  8. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Hey JD - sorry it took me so long to respond - I don't think there are any plans to release it as an e-book. The book was published by Amazon specifically as a gift book, and I think its time is past.
     
  9. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Ok, sounds like I'll be getting the hard copy version then.
     
  10. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    David, did you sneak in any references to your Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before"? And if not, were you tempted to?
     
  11. Tracy Trek

    Tracy Trek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I just finished this.

    I wonder why the author:
    It wasn't real, it was something someone dreamed up on that planet that was a 20th century Roman Empire.
     
  12. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    He went into it in an earlier post:

     
  13. Titus Andronicus

    Titus Andronicus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I know we shouldn't bring back old threads like this, but I just finished the book today--after purchasing it last night. It was an imaginative, and reflective, view of Kirk's life. Bravo!
     
  14. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As long as the thread was active less than a year ago, it's considered okay.
     
  15. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks so much!
     
  16. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I just started reading this last night.
     
  17. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    For this forum I'm happy to be even looser on the rules of resurrection - if it's a review thread about a book you've just read, it makes much more sense to add it to the old thread than start a new one. :techman:
     
  18. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I'm coming up on the stuff on Tarsus IV, that's one of the pre-established parts of the Kirk's life I've been most curious to read about.
     
  19. ronny

    ronny Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My favorite part of the book was how it dealt with Star Trek V. I was confused at first but once I realized what was going on I found it pretty funny.

    I thought it was fine. The beginning seemed like a who's who of everyone and everything mentioned that happened to Kirk before he had the Enterprise, which is pretty much expected by me anyway, and the middle was quick mentions of things during the 5YM, which was fine, I don't need lots of recaps of episodes. The movie era picked up some.
     
  20. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    I finally got this, and I can't put it down! I'm loving this thing. I would totally read any other "Autobiographies" for other trek characters. Great job Mr. Goodman :techman:
     
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