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Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography…
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Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry (original 1994; edição 1995)

por David Alexander (Autor)

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The Authorised Biography of Gene Roddenberry
Título:Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry
Autores:David Alexander (Autor)
Informação:Roc (1995), 672 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Etiquetas:to-read, biography

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Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry por David Alexander (1994)

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Interesting read for Star Trek fans I was brought to this book due to a comic in 'The Oatmeal' where the artist told a story that can be found here. Roddenberry was a co-pilot on a plan that crash-landed in Syria. Roddenberry managed to help get some of the passengers out and took charge after the plane exploded. Luckily the survivors were not far from a village and help was radioed. This crash and others would lead Roddenberry to get out of the airline/flying business for good.
After reading that comic, I had to know more. I knew he had been a police officers and vaguely aware that he had been a pilot, but had no idea he had any experiences like this. Plus, he's the creator of 'Star Trek' and this was at the library. Perfect!!!
Well, not quite. It's an interesting look at the life and times of Roddenberry (who seemed like a really interesting guy). He served in the military, was a police officer and of course would go on to create a show millions love and know today.
I'll be blunt. I only cared about the 'Star Trek' stuff, although his pre-TV/film career was pretty interesting too. However, by the time the book gets to 'Star Trek' it really drags. In some ways the book felt unfinished. Sometimes I wanted to know more about 'ST', sometimes I was wondering about his personal life at the time (his wife, Majel, would appear on the shows as various characters). Sometimes there's way too much information (letter upon letter upon letter about the various shenanigans about actor pay) and sometimes not enough ('Star Trek: The Next Generation's casting of Picard get the only detailed breakdown, although we hear the backstory of Geordi La Forge. I would have LOVED to have seen some other info, like how Tasha Yar came about).
It's clear, though, that at the end (which was TNG's beginning, really), he wasn't as involved because he was near death. Which was probably for the better in some ways (TNG really comes out of the original's shadow around season 3, the last movie with the original cast was pretty good, etc.), and still interesting.
Apparently the author is a journalist, and that might explain why I didn't like it too much (journalists writing books is a pet peeve of mine because they often don't translate well). The author also talks about how the book was meant to show the bad with the good (which it does to some extent, Roddenberry occasionally seems controlling and downright creepy towards women and could be a real jerk to colleagues in the industry), but overall it seemed too fawning and positive.
Still, overall it's a good read for 'Star Trek' fans, but depending on your level of knowledge I wouldn't be surprised if some found it not informative (I found I could recall lots of info that is in here from other media over the years). I'd definitely borrow it unless you're a hardcore fan. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
This book has literally been around the world with me. Ages ago, I decided that it was an ideal book to take on vacation: It features a subject matter than I'm interested in -- I was an embarrassingly obsessive Star Trek fan in my youth and still have a great nostalgic fondness for the old show -- but not so deeply fascinating that I'd resent having to put it down and go do vacation-y stuff. Plus, it's over 600 pages, so there'd be less danger of running out of reading material while traveling. So nearly every time I went somewhere, I'd toss this book into my suitcase or carry-on bag, but somehow I never got around to actually reading it. There'd always be some other book I wanted to finish up first, or some more interesting book that I'd brought with me or picked up along the way. Well, I just got back from a sort of mini-road trip with my mother, during which I decided that, doggone it, this time I was finally going to read the damned thing. Of course, having done that, I have no idea what I'm going to bring with me when I travel now. I almost feel like I've lost a security blanket.

Anyway. I had decidedly mixed feelings about this biography. On the plus side, it turns out that Gene Roddenberry had a much more interesting life, pre-Star Trek, than I would have expected. For instance, during his military and civilian piloting career, he was involved in not one but two deadly plane crashes, the second of which would have made for pretty good television in itself. And once the book gets into his television career, there's a lot of detail about the process of writing and producing TV (including the uglier details involving studio politics, disputes over credit, and the frustration of projects that never get off the ground), which may be worthwhile reading if you're interested in the human story of where the shows on your TV set come from. The best parts of the book, in my opinion, are the excerpts from Roddenberry's letters to various friends and colleagues, including such science fiction luminaries as Isaac Asimov and John W. Campbell, in which he talks about writing, politics, Star Trek, and all manner of other subjects. These letters reveal much more about Roddenberry the man than any of David Alexander's biographic writing, and they provide some insight into the thinking that went into his TV projects, including Trek.

On the other hand, I have to say that this book is not terribly well-written, on a couple of levels. It's littered with misspellings, mostly words that have been mistaken for their homonyms or for other similar-sounding words. The author also repeatedly and egregiously misuses the word "ironically," which is something of a pet peeve of mine, although I admit that I may be on the losing side of a major linguistic battle there. I don't think that pointing this out is overly nitpicky of me; it really does make the whole thing feel a bit amateurish. Also, this book did not need to be more than 600 pages long. I often get the impression that Alexander thought he was writing a scholarly work in which as much information as possible should be preserved for the ages, rather than a biography of a television writer, destined to be read primarily by science fiction fans. How else to explain the pages and pages tediously spelling out the details of Leonard Nimoy's contract negotiations, or the inclusion of a multi-page itemized letter in which Roddenberry meticulously catalogs the budget differences between Star Trek and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, when a paragraph or three summarizing the issue would have been fine and much more readable?

It's worth pointing out, by the way, that this purports to be a warts-and-all biography, by Roddenberry's own request, and the author is clearly making some sort of attempt at this, but it's equally clear that he's deeply biased. The book takes something of a worshipful tone at times, occasionally referring to Roddenberry as a "genius" and generally putting the most positive possible spin on even his biggest flaws and worst moments. It's also clear that in many cases, we're only getting one side of a highly contentious story. I gather there's also an unauthorized biography out there which takes a much less flattering view, but while it might be interesting to compare and contrast them, I think I've had more than enough Roddenberry to last me for a while. ( )
1 vote bragan | Aug 30, 2009 |
If this is the authorized biography of Gene Roddenberry, best known for creating the Star Trek series, the unauthorized bio must be a lulu. Roddenberry was a man of gargantuan appetites and vision, who was marred and limited by an instinct to put the screws to those he dealt with when it came to money and credits. For example, he insisted on writing lyrics to Alexander Courage's stirring theme for the show, so that he could take half the royalties and get his name on the credits - even though lyrics were unneeded and never used. Still, he does deserve the ultimate credit for pushing this groundbreaking series through, and he was a personable man capable of great generosity as well as selfishness and tremendous ego. ( )
  burnit99 | Dec 25, 2006 |
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The Authorised Biography of Gene Roddenberry

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