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The first volume in "The Star Trek Reader" series brings together volumes 2, 3 and 8 of the original "Star Trek" paperback series into one volume and what is arguably the best of Blish's efforts in this series in his version of "The City on the Edge of Forever." It is actually really and truly Blish's version because he takes what he thinks is the best of Harlan Ellison's original script and the teleplay of what actually aired way back when. Blish admits this was a tricky thing to try and manage and fretted that he might owe apologies all the way around. What Blish is able to salvage is mainly Ellison's original conclusion, although we know Harlan would have liked it if the character of Trooper had made it into Blish's version. But certainly it is a valiant effort.
The other episodes from "Star Trek 2" are "Arena," "A Taste of Armageddon," "Tomorrow Is Yesterday," "Errand of Mercy," "Court-Martial," "Operation--Annihilate!" and "Space Seed." If I remember, correctly, the rationale behind what episodes were included in each volume had to do with their relative popularity, which explains why you have several first-rate episodes in this particular volume. Blish was an excellent writer, who died well before his time, and his adaptation of the Star Trek episodes prove that it was the stories rather than the specific effects that made it a special series. From "Star Trek 3" we have "The Trouble With Tribbles," "The Last Gunfight," "The Doomsday Machine," "Assignment: Earth," "Mirror, Mirror," "Friday's Child" and "Amok Time." "Star Trek 8" provides "Spock's Brain," "The Enemy Within," "Catspaw," "Where No Man Has Gone Before," "Wolf in the Fold," and "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky."
With not only "The City on the Edge of Forever" but "The Trouble with Tribbles," it is easy to make the case that "The Star Trek Reader I" is the best of the four volumes. "Space Seed," "Mirror, Mirror," and "Amok Time" are also episodes that tend to pop up on a lot of the Top Ten lists by "Star Trek" fans. In the old days, when the original "Star Trek" was in syndication in your market, if you were lucky and videotapes were way in the future, these books by Blish were pretty much all a lot of us had. So the only way to really enjoy the episodes was to collect the paperbacks with these adaptations. Now we just have to get these books reprinted again for the next generation of Trekkers to enjoy because in many ways they hold up better than the original series (better special effects in your mind's eye).
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