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The City on the Edge of Forever Hardcover – 1 Dec 1995

3.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Borderlands Pr (Dec. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880325020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880325025
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,244,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Harlan Ellison has been called one of the great living American short story writers by the "Washington Post." In a career spanning more than fifty years, he has won more awards than any other living fantasist. Ellison has written or edited one hundred fourteen books; more than seventeen hundred stories, essays, articles, and newspaper columns; two dozen teleplays; and a dozen motion pictures. He has won the Hugo Award eight and a half times (shared once); the Nebula Award three times; the Bram Stoker Award, presented by the Horror Writers Association, five times (including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996); the Edgar Award of the Mystery Writers of America twice; the Georges Melies Fantasy Film Award twice; and two Audie Awards (for the best in audio recordings); and he was awarded the Silver Pen for Journalism by PEN, the international writers union. He was presented with the first Living Legend Award by the International Horror Critics at the 1995 World Horror Convention. Ellison is the only author in Hollywood ever to win the Writers Guild of America award for Outstanding Teleplay (solo work) four times, most recently for Paladin of the Lost Hour, his "Twilight Zone" episode that was Danny Kaye s final role, in 1987. In 2006, Ellison was awarded the prestigious title of Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. "Dreams With Sharp Teeth," the documentary chronicling his life and works, was released on DVD in May 2009." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an interesting read for anyone interested in the story behind one of the two most popular episodes of original series Star Trek (the other one, of course, being Tribbles!). First there is a very long introduction by author Harlan Ellison where he tells his side of the story for the first time. My goodness, the man is bitter! I'm not surprised, given the way he has been treated by other Star Trek people, including those he thought were his friends - even if he is exaggerating, he still has much to resent. The myth that has grown up about his original script is incredibly unfair to him, and Gene Roddenberry clearly lied in his teeth in every interview about this episode. You only have to read Ellison's original unfilmed script to see that.
Next there is the script as Ellison wrote it. The filmed episode was much the same in essentials, other than the character who changes history and how it happens, until the end - this is very different in how Kirk and Spock act. I thought Ellison's version much more moving. I also preferred his treatment of the main female character (either Uhura or Yeoman Rand depending on script version) - she had much more to do than say "Captain, I'm scared"! There are also various rewritten parts of the script as Ellison was asked to change things.
Finally there are a number of submissions from people involved with the making of Star Trek, such as David Gerrold and Leonard Nimoy, commenting either on their memories of making the episode or on their thoughts about the unfilmed script. Very interesting.
So, if you want to continue believing in the myth that has grown up over decades and Gene Roddenberry's perfection, avoid this.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
HARLAN ELLISON was an angry man when he wrote this book. But with some justification. It describes how the cosmic beauty of his original 1967 teleplay for the STAR TREK episode THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER became the victim of damaging rewrites, albeit by reluctant staff at the Desilu film studios in Hollywood (a quick glance over the fevered memos between the producers and script editors at the time indicates it was no ordinary submission). All of this was overseen by Producer/Creator GENE RODDENBERRY, the Great Bird of The Galaxy, the man behind many of the rumours and misdirections (Scotty dealing drugs/author extremely undisciplined/unshootable script, etc) that have plagued Ellison and his controversial masterpiece ever since. Ironically, BOTH versions won prestigious industry awards - and that does lend serious weight as to why the script was altered for tv, but it did not mitigate Roddenberry's harmful assertions at the time. Clearly, no love was lost between them.

Ellison could not care less about the straitjacket limitations of 1960s television production, however, he's been there and done that - now it's about setting his record straight by throwing a concertedly visceral spotlight upon the many villains of the piece. It's extreme, bruising stuff (boy, can he name and shame), but when principles and integrity are at stake, just how far do you go in the name of self-preservation? and contrast. Yes, it was a great tv episode, an unusually powerful Star Trek love story with the most tragic of endings...but Harlan's words, the ones that came first, and the belated images conjured up in the mind, well, their validity in the Star Trek universe is also beyond doubt.

Sadly, since Roddenberry's death, the underlying feeling I get reading this now is that the inexorable passage of time and tide has created one hell of a bittersweet victory.

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By A Customer on 10 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
Unless you happen to be a writer who has seen his (or her) work mutilated and/or misinterpreted, then I suggest you have no grounds for criticising Harlan Ellison's much-talked-about introduction to this excellent book. It's rare to have the opportunity to read a script for a TV programme or movie just as the author intended it; most of the time, all people see is the end result on the screen, good or bad. However, just because - for historical reasons - TV and film scripts are routinely changed, rewritten and reinterpreted, that's no reason why the original intent of the author should be ignored and (frequently) criticised. And whether or not you agree that the original script for 'City on the Edge of Forever' was better than the broadcast episode, there is much to be gleaned from seeing for yourself how the story 'developed' from original conception to finished programme. There's a well-known cliche which is worth bearing in mind, not only whilst reading this book, but whilst watching any TV show or movie: "You can make a bad film from a good script; but you can't make a good film from a bad script." As for Ellison's introduction, he has every right to put his side of the story. I'm a screenwriter, and I have personally experienced the trauma of seeing a much-loved original screenplay turned into something almost unrecognisable by a 'creative collaborator'. In my case it was a director; in Ellison's case, the producer. Either way, believe me, the sense of betrayal and loss does not heal quickly - and to have that compounded by other people claiming writing credit themselves is something which is not to be borne. Top marks to Ellison, then, for giving us a unique insight into the production of STAR TREK, and (for the layman) a much-needed insight into the thoughts and feelings of The Writer - the forgotten hero of the film and television industries.
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