The original teleplay that became the classic Star Trek episode, with an expanded introductory essay by Harlan Ellison, The City on the Edge of Forever has been surrounded by controversy since the airing of an "eviscerated" version - which subsequently has been voted the most beloved episode in the series' history. In its original form, The City on the Edge of Forever won the 1966-67 Writers Guild of America Award for Best Teleplay. As aired, it won the 1967 Hugo Award.
The City on the Edge of Forever is, at its most basic, a poignant love story. Ellison takes the listener on a breathtaking trip through space and time, from the future all the way back to 1930s America. In this harrowing journey, Kirk and Spock race to apprehend a renegade criminal and restore the order of the universe. It is here that Kirk faces his ultimate dilemma: a choice between the universe - and his one true love.
This edition makes available the astonishing teleplay as Ellison intended it to be aired. The author's introductory essay reveals all of the details of what Ellison describes as a "fatally inept treatment" of his creative work. Was he unjustly edited, unjustly accused, and unjustly treated?
For a full cast/character list and table of contents, please visit www.SkyboatMedia.com.
©1975 Harlan Ellison. © 1995 by the Kilimanjaro Corporation. Afterwords © 1995 and 2016 by the authors (P)2016 Skyboat Media, Inc.
Look, here's the deal. I have loved Harlan Ellison since before I was probably old enough to understand his wonderful prose. He was an inspiration to me in a number of ways as I grew up. This book though, isn't filled with any interesting insights other than a big "Fuck you" to Roddenberry, and implied insults to the reader if they prefer the version that aired.
Harlan, if you are reading this: let. It. Go. Jesus Christian man, do you think you are the only person who was fucked over by a job? You even came out of it ahead of the game, man. Two awards for two different scripts? Most beloved episode ever? Move on, dude. We all know you are brilliant, but also we all know that in 19-fucking-66 TV was much different. Roddenberry had to play by the rules or his show would get pulled. He made compromises, yes, but you got the credit and you got the basically story arc in place. And you know what? The telephone as filmed was pretty damned amazing. So, relax man.
Harlan Ellison is a gifted writer, no question about it, but he's also an obnoxious, vicious, bitter old man. The first half of this book was an hours-long rant by Ellison, who inarticulately mumbled his way through a multitude of reasons why Gene Roddenberry was a jerk, Shatner was a prima donna, and he, Ellison, got screwed by everyone (except Nimoy), all the while insulting any and all Star Trek fans who happened to like the version of his story that aired.
I've been watching Star Trek for all its 50 years. No one who really understands what the Star Trek Universe is about would dispute that Gene Roddenberry was not a perfect human being. We all know that Shatner is self-absorbed and loves...Shatner...most...of...all. But the point is we don't care. We love what Roddenberry left us. We loved how Shatner (and his fellow crew-mates) grew into their parts as the series moved beyond TV.
It's too bad that Ellison was screwed over by Roddenberry...and I understand his being pissed off about it, but it might be time to let it go...or at least restrict your rant to a half hour at the most.
All that being said, this book is wonderful...I said I was an Ellison fan. I loved hearing the original concept version of City on the Edge of Forever...the one that didn't get made, and while I understand why it was changed, and recognize that it was very un-Trek-like in its original form, I would have liked to see it produced.
If you like Star Trek and all the history surrounding it, then I recommend this book...listen to the rant by Ellison understanding that he is angry and bilious. There is a lot of interesting information in his tirade. Then, when it's over, you'll be treated to some great versions of one of his most interesting stories.
Say something about yourself!
The fact that many people are included in putting together a full story that eventually ends up on the big screen is evident in most productions. It is interesting to see how an original concept is changed throughout the production process, how ego is involved, and how many people want to take credit for someone else's original idea. "The City On The Edge of Forever" my favorite Star Trek episode. In my opinion, and it is my opinion, what was eventually filmed was better than the original storyline. I did like the original concept and the original story, but I still hold that what ended up on the screen held to the Star Trek franchise and held true to the characters.
Tell us about yourself!
Ok, first of all there is a lot of fussing and complaining about how Harlan Ellison was treated by Gene Roddenberry, and how the original story was treated and changed before the show was filmed. It wasn't all bad because of all the information and details behind how this was made that was revealed. I can understand some of Harlans complaints but it seemed to drag on after a while. As for his original story, It was very good indeed, but not really Star Treky. I do agree somewhat with the revisions made and that they made for a better Star Trek episode. Multiple versions of the script are performed and you can judge for yourself. I did enjoy listening to the various versions and am glad they dropped the "space pirates".
Passionate, morally complex.
None. Harlan Ellison is one of a kind.
When Spock at the end tells Kirk that "No woman was ever loved as much Jim, because no woman was ever offered the universe for love."
Better then the original aired episode, buy your ticket now!
Enjoyed so much about this audio book:
Ellison reading his own delightfully candid introduction.
The full cast giving life to the Award Winning Teleplay.
Mostly it's just having this treasure on audio.
Less time listening to Mr Ellison drone on and on about how hard done by he was. The point was made in the first 15 minutes.
Yes, but only his written stories
The Actual Story Narration was excellent
Disappointment in how much time was wasted going over the same old news.
Save yourself some time and skip to where the narration of the original script and revisions begin.
I am musician and mom of several little musicians. Love good narrators. Love good stories. Love Audible.
Best Episode Ever.
Edith Keeler. She's Kirk's love and so romantic. Jean Smart is wonderful, as always.
Fabulous casting. Odd thing, though. Why does the listing not show LeVar Burton, and Jean Smart and Stefan Rudnicki, and Scott Brick???
Several. Kirk and Edith love scenes. The Guardian of Forever sequences. And the end is so sad.
This is a valuable piece of history of Star Trek. AFter all, it is the 50th Anniversary this year. I loved the aired version, but feel that this version is worth hearing, too. Harlan's backstory is angry, but justifiably so. Plus, all the added essays and original materials. I liked David Gerrold's (The Trouble with Tribbles) take on the whole drama. I think the readers and casting is brilliant. But I'd like a full list, and I found one here: http://bit.ly/28W8G7c. It was worth a credit.
I'd forgotten from half a century ago how overwhelmingly enamoured I was of Ellison's virtually inimitable verbal virtuosity, his prodigiously creative imagination, the gut-wrenching poignancy of many of his stories (and even the combination of analytical rigor and hysterical humor that pervaded his television reviews in both volumes of "The Glass Teat").
But now I remember, and having listened to this entrancing and eloquently narrated account of the truth about the appalling treatment of his original (and brilliant) script for "The City on the Edge of Forever," I can well understand some of the inspired mordancy of his reviews of television shows no more in the league of his own "dangerous visions," than Danielle Steel is in the league of James Joyce -- which is not even to insult Danielle Steel, because it was never her intent to produce timeless works of genius. Ellison, IMHO, produced virtually nothing else.
This is the best audio book to which I've listened in perhaps two years.
I would recommend this book to Startrek efficinato.
As I was born in 1960, you could almost say I was weened on Startrek. "The city on the edge of forever" was certainly one of my favourates, in the top five. Until now, I have never read any of the so called inside Startrek books. My thoughts were, let the stories rest on their own. I have never been the look behind the curten kind of guy. I bought and downloaded this book because I thought it was simply a version of the story adapted to audio book, guess I didn't read the description and comments.
Normally if it is Startrek, I just buy it.
Yes I have heard before that Jean Rodinbary was hard to get along with so I thought this book would be another example of the same. I guess if enough people are saying simular things, you start to think, maybe there is a fire under all that smoke.
As per the original scripts described in this book, I find myself wishing that version had been made. I don't know if it could have been done well as an hour show though. Could the additional characters been fleshed out enough? Would there have been enough time to explain the background of leveck... If not, perhaps it could have been made into a 2 part special for example. Is it possible that Jean thought that version of the story couldn't be sold tto the people that funded Startrek? Did they not want a strong character in yelman Rand? Was it not possible to put that mouch story into an hour show? Would it have required too mouch in the way of special effects than were possible at the time (1966)?
If so, why not just say so instead of this diatribe?
In any event, the book was a good read if not a pleasent one.
Hay, it's Startrek. For this episode it would have to be Edith Keyler.
This book had many narrators.City on the edge of forever - extended
Knooks can be nasty too.
I guess I've said it already, I wish this version had been made.
Perhaps we want our stories to be rapped up in a neet pacage most of the time with few complecations. Once in a while it would be nice to have story archs cary on or at least referenced. Characters would matter. Stories would have more impact.
I guess those are my comments having never written a book, screen play, script not even a tiny poem, ok, maybe the aud limeric or quatrain in high school.
"So bad I did not get to the main story"
I got put off this book by the moaning complaints of the author that the producers of Star Trek and Rodenburry had messed with his book. His constant moaning put me off the book so much I never got to the main story.
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