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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Favorite Non-Fiction Books, #99: Star Trek Memories

About to sit on a tribble.

I can't speak rationally about my love for William Shatner. More specifically, Shatner's depiction of the swaggering, libidinous, conflicted, iconic James T. Kirk. Over the decades, this portrayal has been endlessly lampooned and mimicked, with the halting delivery and dry-heave physicality that Shatner brought to the Enterprise's top man. Shatner's lines of dialogue are battalion of commas in search of parenthetical phrases to bracket, with mixed success.

And yet, and yet, it's easy to overlook that Shatner came to Trek as an accomplished stage and screen actor, a handsome and vain and talented leading man who brought the raw star power and charisma that Jeffrey Hunter's Captain Pike lacked. When joined by Nimoy's Spock and De Kelly's McCoy, Shatner's Kirk became a compelling creature. I've outlined the character in previous profiles, and explained elsewhere why Shatner's the only one ever to make Kirk work. Pity Chris Pine - there's no way to reboot this guy.

Shatner is a prolific author, with a variety of TekWar books as well as entries into the Star Trek universe. Most of these are essentially Kirkporn fanfic, with Captain K coming back from the dead in Picard's time, getting younger through nanotechnology, and you can imagine the rest. My favorite book of his, though, is the one pictured here. I'm a sucker for nostalgic storytelling, and Shatner's romp through his experiences before and during Trek's original television run delivers. We get insight into his supposed feuding with the rest of the bridge crew, as well as a chance to experience the bootstrap nature of network TV in the late 60s. It's entertaining stuff. I have to find the audio version, though. I suspect this prose is best heard as read by the author.

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