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

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

  1. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks! There's more on the way... :)
     
  2. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Cool, can you say anything about when we might be able to expect some reveals?
    I just found a video of William Shatner's SDCC panel where he read some excerpts from the books. I only watched a couple minutes, but it is pretty cool getting to hear Kirk himself read from the book.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  3. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    I just finished this. I blew through it. What a fantastically fun read! Bring on more "autobiographies"!!!
     
  4. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oooooooh, teaser! :techman:
     
  5. Danlav05

    Danlav05 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Any word on Mr Shatner reading an audiobook? Sounds like a no brainer!
     
  6. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I just finished this up last night, and I loved it. It did a great job of capturing the voice and character of Jim Kirk.
    It did a really good job put together some of the bits and pieces we got over the years. The two things I was most curious about Kirk's early life were Tarsus IV and Carol Marcus, and I was pretty happy with how those were handled here.
    I was really curious to see how the book was going handle the episodes and movies, and I was pretty happy with the way it gave us important bits and pieces of the different episodes and movies. It was also nice to get a few new bits and pieces of some of the points in his life we never saw, like the post-TMP/pre-TWOK stuff and his relationship with Antonia.
    The way the book dealt with The Final Frontier was hilarious.
     
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  7. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Was Ruth given a last name?
     
  8. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't remember Ruth being in the book at all. It goes overall quite a bit of stuff in a fairly short amount of time, so my memory of some of earlier parts is pretty fuzzy.
     
  9. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    She is given a last name, although I don't recall it off the top of my head. She's...
    an older woman, an instructor who Cadet Kirk becomes involved with at the Academy.
     
  10. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Finished this today. There was lots in it I liked, and a few bits I didn't - but most of them are because David A. Goodman dared to deviate from how I perceive certain events in Trek to have unfolded and thus don't really matter. Here are my incoherent ramblings...

    I both loved and hated the Star Trek V thing, since I'm a big fan of that movie despite it's flaws, and think it makes more sense of Spock's backstory with his father (why would Sarek, a reasonable man, be so determined that Spock live the Vulcan way? Because his firstborn, full-blooded Vulcan son was exiled for daring to reject logic. He's afraid he'll lose Spock and then maybe Amanda too). That said, seeing Kirk, Spock and McCoy...
    ...go see a Star Trek movie with a bunch of Trekkies in homemade uniforms
    Is awesome fun.

    I can't imagine Starfleet ever allowing Kirk to discuss time travels, or secret missions to steal Romulan cloaking devices in his book. The outcry if it was discovered that Starfleet had exclusive access to a magical time donut would probably lead to a Federation civil war, not to mention desperate invasions by the Klingons and Romulans who would be obliged to to everything and anything in their power to prevent their enemies using it against them.

    On the other hand, I can see how those stories were vital to Kirk's lifestory, and that casual buyers would probably expect stuff like "City on the Edge of Forever", STIV and others being in there. Still, I'd have liked a bit more creative dancing around certain "sensitive" things.

    Overall, it was the stately but safe autobiography one would expect from a Starfleet legend. It was an enjoyable and easy read. What I really want to read, though, is the trashy tell-all autobiography, packed with "shocking revelations" that gives all the lurid details about the characters you'd never see on TV. It'd make an awesome counterpoint to this.
     
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  11. Shatner_Fan

    Shatner_Fan Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I finally got around to reading this, and as it was published in 2015, I hope it's ok to post a few mild spoilers. I'm sure someone will let me know if I'm breaking protocol. First let me say I thoroughly enjoyed it. To my knowledge, Kirk's life story has never been presented in as much detail. That said, I did have a few (relatively minor) issues. First, what worked:

    The characterization: Not just Kirk, but also McCoy & Spock (who "write," respectively, the memorable foreword and moving afterword. Spock, at times, is depicted as being as distant as we've ever seen him (by undergoing the Kohlinar, he was willing to leave his friends & family forever), while McCoy displays impressive insight (the moment he figures out Kirk is a father is a highlight). The other TOS regulars are there to much smaller degrees, but perhaps better served than Scott, Sulu, Chekov and Uhura are one-time guest star characters like sad Ben Finney, tough Matt Decker and roguish Gary Mitchell. The book does a great job of fleshing out these characters, informing us of the large roles they played in Kirk's life & career. Mitchell, in particular, is portrayed so well it makes you wish he'd at least made it through season one before getting offed. He was just a cool, fun guy, distinct from any of the other TOS characters, and one can only hope he'll turn up again someday in a prequel, like Discovery (pitch a Mitchell story, Goodman). Kirk's parents (as seen in ST 2009) are also present throughout the story (more on them later).

    Tidy continuity: I like how Kirk's peers, characters who later appeared in the movies as leaders themselves, are described as having been present throughout Kirk's career, working various Starfleet roles even though the viewers were as yet unfamiliar with them. These include Cartwright (TVH & TUC), Morrow (TSFS) and Smillie (TUC). Although his face was never shown onscreen, Nogura (TMP) is the most prominent of these characters in the book; he's depicted as being the top dog at Starfleet for a large part of Kirk's service. Will Decker gets a fair amount of coverage, and even Captain Esteban (TSFS) is given an unexpected intro that makes him more likeable than he was onscreen.

    The book also does a good job of explaining several infamous Star Trek mysteries, such as why Rand left the Enterprise early and how Khan remembered Chekov. It also raises a few new ones, including one I admit had never occurred to me - what if Saavik was indeed pregnant by the time of ST IV, but it wasn't Spock who was the father?

    The addendums to classic episodes: such as what happened after the credits rolled on The Naked Time and Who Mourns for Adonais, are nice. The best of these addendums is reserved for Space Seed, though - it's pretty amusing what Kirk & Khan share during their weeklong journey to Ceti Alpha V.

    The subject of the episodes brings me to my small criticisms:

    I understand that in the interests of keeping the book a readable length, some things had to be omitted. But it's during the five year mission (and movies) that a lot gets left out. Only brief summaries of certain episodes are presented. Just one season three story is mentioned, and it isn't the one where Kirk marries and impregnates Miramanee - which, amnesia or no - I would think would be a fairly important moment in any person's life.

    Furthermore, one of the movies seems to be completely decanonized. Ironically, it's the one Shatner helped develop the story for, and here it's suggested it didn't really occur, and was nothing more than a 23rd century movie! I can't say I cared for that. I've always believed that, good or bad, if it made it to the screen, it's canon. (Plus, I happen to like that movie.)

    I also have never been a fan of the idea that there was a second five year mission that we simply didn't see. That is what is stated here, and two voyages are reported from that second five year tour, neither of which are particularly interesting. In one of them Kirk does little more than have a viewscreen conversation with Kor. The book even makes a throwaway comment about a third five year mission which Kirk sat out and Spock commanded! This means there were 10 years worth of Enterprise adventures fans just have to imagine. I get that there are some long gaps in onscreen continuity, and writers want to fill them in, but I'd prefer to hear Kirk was just taking it easy for awhile versus the old 'you didn't see it, but it happened.'

    My last observation is not a criticism, just a fact of (Kirk's) life. Goodman doesn't draw attention to it, but the book has a sad ending, not so much because Kirk goes missing (we've all had since 1994 to process that one), but because we learn that Kirk's parents (picture an 80 year old Chris Hemsworth & Jennifer Morrison) "outlived" him in the Prime Timeline, as he was presumed dead. If you think about it, that means they lost both their sons (Kirk's brother Sam is of course part of the story), as well as their grandson David, all in pretty violent ways. That is a lot to bear in one's old age.

    All in all, a good, page-turning read. Recommended for any TOS fan. I like TNG, though not as much as TOS, but after reading this book I may check out the Picard bio as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  12. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Isn't there already a thread this can be merged with? I seem to recall one.
     
  13. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    Bound to be, I should think - I'll hunt around.

    Turns out there wasn't an official review thread as such, but people were using this one, so I've edited the title.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  14. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ...I guess we know what this comment was about now, huh? :)
     
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  15. jaime

    jaime Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hmm. This review makes me reconsider reading it...the treatment of V and the smell of politics around it , as well as my lack of enjoyment for Federation had put me off.
    Maybe I can just rewrite the ST V stuff in my copy should I get one.
     
  16. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My late and entirely unnecessary review:

    THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CAPTAIN KIRK is a work which I very much enjoyed and is something which long-time Trekkies will have a great deal of fun with. It chronicles the career of the eponymous captain from his time as the son of a Starfleet officer to his time on Kodos' colony to his days captaining the U.S.S Enterprise to his time in the movies.
    It weaves together a staggering number of references without ever touching on the novels (which would make it a ridiculous work in size) and creates a coherent continuity of a man who very much would often have new details arise about his past as the story justified. I appreciate he took the bare bones of the Abramsverse as well so, technically, the characters from that story's intro on the U.S.S Kelvin are canon as well.

    David A. Goodman makes a wise choice of instead of trying to raise Jim Kirk up, he instead brings him down below. As far as this book is concerned, he's an ordinary man who just so happened to live an extraordinary life. This is mostly reflected in the fact Jim Kirk comes from a broken home that didn't so much disintegrate as it did fall apart due to very simple issues of career. It's later reflected in the fact Kirk, himself, is a terrible husband as well as father despite his best efforts.

    There's one serious flaw in the book, which is an enormous "take that" at Star Trek: The Final Frontier where it's revealed to be an in-universe movie about Kirk and his crew which the entirety of his staff find ridiculous. There's something to be said for the argument it's the worst Star Trek film (I go with Insurrection personally) but it's kind of annoying THAT'S the place to draw the line.

    I mean with "Spock's Brain", the fact two 20th century space probes were remade by godlike aliens, and whales being the most important thing in the galaxy--you could have just not referenced it. I mean, I'd happily love to erase "Dear Doctor" from Jonathan Archer's biography but I wouldn't do it as part of an official tie-in. Hell, if I had that sort of authority I'd rewrite Captain Kirk to surviving Generations like Shatner did.

    In conclusion, I recommend this book for people who have an overwhelming love of the Original Series and it's sequels. People who haven't watched the entirety of TOS and the movie (i.e. Not Trekkies) won't be able to get nearly as much out of this book as others but why would you be buying it in the first place?

    8.5/10
     
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  17. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

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    I'm about a third of the way through this and really enjoying it thus far.