Friday, 9 October 2015

Book Review - The Autobiography of James T. Kirk

By David A. Goodmnan

Published by Titan Books

I'm a big Star Trek fan, but I've always leaned more towards the movies and The Next Generation and subsequent spin-offs. Recently I've been catching up on classic Star Trek and remembering just how wonderful a show it is, but to do 'The Autobiography of James T. Kirk' book justice I'm handing you over to my wife Lisa Hicks, who was into The Original Series before I was.

'The Autobiography of James T. Kirk chronicles the greatest Starfleet captain's life (2233–2293), in his own words. From his youth spent on Tarsus IV, his time in the Starfleet Academy, his meteoric raise through the ranks of Starfleet, and his illustrious career at the helm of the Enterprise, this in-world memoir uncovers Captain Kirk in a way Star Trek fans have never seen. Kirk's singular voice rings throughout the text, giving insight into his convictions, his bravery, and his commitment to the life—in all forms—throughout this Galaxy and beyond. Excerpts from his personal correspondence, captain's logs, and more give Kirk's personal narrative further depth.'

“I've already got a female to worry about. Her name is the Enterprise.”

CAPTAIN KIRK, Star Trek: The Original Series, "The Corbomite Maneuver"

I first became a trekker at the tender age of 6. My imagination had become a solid base quite evolved from the dribbling and occasional dabble of Dusty Bin and Andy Pandy. Star Trek by day and Batman by night I quickly joined the ranks of baby Uber Nerd.

My mother had felt I was mature enough to cope with the technological age which brought us Metal Mickey so I was allowed to sit at my dad’s feet and through the medium of T.V I Boldly went where no man has ever gone before.

To our household the hero was always Scotty. That institution of my father’s Scotland that held everything together in a complete shit storm and managed to get the old girl ship shape in a space second or the ever dashing Dr McCoy who was the right degree of miserable for me and perhaps formed my current persona "Damn it Jim! I’m a watcher not a writer!".

In the end it doesn’t matter who your favourite was, all characters are surpassed by the charming and sly fox known as Captain James Tiberius Kirk. To be given a glimpse into the origin story of this Starfleet bad boy is a dream come true and with this book you are given full access to his humble beginnings and decadent space adventures.

David A Goodman gives you everything, setting, story and memories. Even watching the original series again from the beginning you can’t help but fill in the gaps of what happened after the extra special episodes back on ship or to Kirk's friends who you really should NOT become attached to. You feel for him and hear more from him on his relationship with Carol and his son David and you weep a little inside when you see pictures of them included as ‘The Search For Spock’ plays in your brain. 

On a read-back I know that this review sounds like a eulogy but when you are raised on Star Trek and then raise your own children on it, it’s special to you. Kirk is a family friend. His ideals and love for Starfleet gives you a morale boost and you long to be travelling through the stars on your own journey and I would definitely choose Starfleet over anything else any day! You also feel that his relationship with his one true woman ‘Enterprise’ keeps him together and you understand why its decommissioning and his desk job would have killed him. 

This book may not be classed as canon by the hard-core of us but to me it’s perfect. It’s well researched and just brilliant. Goodman captures the brilliant and heart-warming friendship between Kirk, Spock & McCoy wonderfully and you realise just how much you miss them all every week you walk with them through good and bad times and indeed their first meeting.
For me my favourite part was the bit I prayed for when this book fell into my hands; "Please please let the Kobayashi Maru be in here”...and without spoiling it... it is. If you’re a fan of Star Trek this is a lovely little read that really does no harm but continue on the legend when you need it the most.

If this was a eulogy...I would simply say Kirk led Such a tragic but beautiful life. One that was truly lived to every potential. 

Lucky Bugger.