Mount Readmore Book Review, 2018 110/200
The City on the Edge of Forever by Harlan Ellison
Finished on 7/3/2018
For the first time ever, a visual presentation of the much-discussed, unrevised, unadulterated version of Harlan Ellison’s award-winning Star Trek teleplay script, “The City on the Edge of Forever!” See the story as Mr. Ellison originally intended!
Genres: Star Trek, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction, Time Travel
A bittersweet ending for the greatest love story of all time
Recently Mr. Harlan Ellison passed. He was a notable (and irascible) member of the science fiction community, having written countless famous stories both on page and for film. One of those stories was Star Trek’s ‘The City on the Edge of Forever,’ a live action production which Mr. Ellison believed never passed muster when compared to his original script. In light of his passing, I decided to read something of his. So here we are, with me reading the graphic novel rendition of his original script.
This was a gorgeous story, cleanly intermingling drug dealing and philosophy, time travel and the consequences for choices. I’ve never seen the episode which was based upon this script, so I came into this fresh. And, oh man, this graphic novel’s ending was a punch in the gut. The author and artist did a really good job of selling Kirk’s love affair with Edith as the genuine article. The poignant ending for the story, which involved Kirk inevitably accepting the death of the love of his life in order to preserve the timeline, really hit home.
The art was seamless. After the first few pages it really sucked me in, making me think I was watching an old school episode of Star Trek. The characters are Kirk and Spock, but in a gorgeous artistic rendition which is simultaneously lifelike and more vivid than reality.
Time for constructive criticism. This story was dark when compared to a lot of Star Trek that I’ve watched. It involves drug addiction and willingly sacrificing one woman for the greater good- things which aren’t so squeaky clean when compared to the bright-and-shiny Federation. While I liked the philosophical backbone which underpinned this book (indeed I think that it was the strongest part of this book), it was totally out of place in the canon of Star Trek as it set the wrong tone. I’m not surprised the producers for the show changed this script significantly to make it fit the tone of the show.
Highly recommended, and not just for big Star Trek fans. If you have an even iffy understanding of Star Trek characters and want to read a good graphic novel, check this out.