Star Trek: Review: The Autobiography of James T. Kirk

KirkBy David A. Goodman

Titan, out now

James T. Kirk’s story, in his own words…

Well, that’s the theory behind it anyway. David A. Goodman presents a version of a life story of someone named Jim Kirk from his birth through to the day before he attends the launch of the Enterprise-B, which is based – sometimes incredibly loosely – on the James T. Kirk who captained the USS Enterprise. It feels as if the author (Goodman, not Kirk) has started from a premise – connected to Kirk’s feelings over not having his son David in his life – and has adjusted Star Trek history to make it fit. Bits and pieces that occur off screen in the series are dramatized here (such as the way in which Kirk persuades Admiral Nogura to give him the Enterprise back at the start of The Motion Picture) in a way that doesn’t reflect the character that we saw from 1966 to 1994.

It doesn’t help that the “voice” of Kirk in the book is almost entirely unlike that of the Kirk we know from the series and films. The “commentary” on some of the incidents in the original series is disparaging – the section on the wedding in Balance of Terror is plain wrong; his dismissal of Navigator Bailey likewise – while there are internal inconsistencies regarding what the happiest period of his life was. The “oh so clever” way of dealing with Star Trek V is nothing of the sort – what would have been clever would have been a way of using what that script showed us about the relationship between Kirk and Spock and how the latter could still surprise Jim even after so many years…

There are plenty of examples of writing the core trio correctly out there whose authors would have given us a much better insight into Jim Kirk through his own words.

Verdict: An intriguing idea for a new perspective on the Star Trek universe that unfortunately doesn’t work as written. 3/10

Paul Simpson

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