Rod­den­berry reap­praisal

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Ian Ber­ri­man

re­leased 21 July 390 pages | Hard­back Au­thor lance Parkin Pub­lisher au­rum Press

Do we re­ally need an­other book on Star Trek cre­ator Gene Rod­den­berry? Not long af­ter his death in 1991 came both an ap­prov­ing of­fi­cial bi­og­ra­phy and an unof­fi­cial one which hurled rocks at his statue. Any fresh work can surely only tri­an­gu­late be­tween the two, so what’s the point?

True, Lance Parkin’s por­trait doesn’t tell us much new, be­ing com­pletely based on pre­ex­ist­ing in­ter­views. The fo­cus is more on the work than the man, and at times, as Rod­den­berry is pushed to the mar­gins of the fran­chise, it can start to read like just an­other his­tory of Trek.

How­ever it does a good job of mak­ing a dia­lec­tic be­tween “Rod­den­berry was a vi­sion­ary ge­nius and phi­lan­thropist” and “Rod­den­berry was a chis­eller and con­trol freak, of lim­ited tal­ent”. And while the book cel­e­brates Trek it’s also fear­less at punc­tur­ing the fan myths it’s ac­creted about it­self (many prop­a­gated by Rod­den­berry him­self ), such as the no­tion that the orig­i­nal se­ries is uniquely philo­soph­i­cally so­phis­ti­cated (some­thing eas­ily dis­proved by sim­ply watch­ing it).

The re­sult is a well-ar­gued, fair and highly read­able sum­ma­tion.

The ti­tle is a nod to sec­ond pi­lot “Where No Man Has Gone Be­fore” – it’s the first four words of the cap­tain’s log.

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