Nicholas Meyer’s Star Trek Memoir

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Meyer, you may or may not remember, directed and co-wrote Wrath of Khan and Undiscovered Country and co-wrote Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Now he’s written a memoir called The View From the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood. The book is out in August, but I have an advance copy here that I’ve been thumbing through.

Meyer is an actual writer, and this book is much much better-written than a lot of Trek memoirs. In fact it’s quite enjoyable on a purely non-Trek level. But I still, as with all Trek memoirs, find myself skimming through it and flipping pages to get the Trekkiest chunks of Trek goodness. Like the fact that the initial script for Star Trek IV had to be discarded because it contained a huge part for Eddie Murphy, and the studio was “reluctant to put their two biggest franchises in one basket.” Or that Leonard Nimoy hated Spock’s cheesy looking stateroom. And why they had to rip up steel gratings by hand to load a photon torpedo in Star Trek II. (Meyer wanted it to be like when they “ran out the guns” in Horation Hornblower, which he now admits is silly.)

There aren’t any bombshells here, and it’s not exactly a warts-and-all backstage tell-all. But it’s not Pollyanna-ish either. It does contain some wart-related content. Meyer yells at Leonard Nimoy over editing issues. He yells at Deforest Kelly when he keeps blowing the line “Those people back there bought time for the Genesis with their lives” over and over again. In sum:

Though the crew of the Enterprise functions in space as a crack team, equal to any of the challenges it must confront, once off camera and subject to earth’s gravitational pull, the cast was a microcosm of any other society, riven by factionalism, allegiances, and jealousies.

Riven! Riven I say!