THE IMPOSSIBLE HAS HAPPENED
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.