What you see here in this book review of The City on the Edge of Forever, is the teleplay of an episode from Star Trek that Harlan Ellison had originally written before it got changed a bit for the filming. It’s the story from an episode of Star Trek that might just be the most beloved one among fans ever.
Harlan Ellison has had tremendous success in his years of being an author of many short stories, novels, essays, teleplays, and has received many awards for some of them.
As we embark on the journey in the vast world of Star Trek, this episode written by Harlan is one that is very dear to the fans thanks to the very thrilling story it describes. If you are interested in Ellison’s work, take a look at our selection of the best Harlan Ellison books.
The majority of the thrill in this episode comes from the discovery of a time machine by the USS Enterprise Starfleet officers Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock while they are transporting a criminal to a planet to receive his punishment for the crimes caused. The time machine they find is in an ancient city, in its remains more accurately. A civilization of alien species lived there called Guardians of Forever.
The action finally starts as the criminal somehow escapes them and runs through the time machine, sent into the past and altering Earth’s history and as a result of that, endangering its future. When the Captain and Mr. Spock pursue this criminal, they find themselves in the 1930s, the depression times of New York City where a woman called Edith Koestler crosses their path who is related to everything that is going on.
The episode begins to turn into a more interesting one as Captain Kirk develops great feelings of love for this woman but he eventually must sacrifice her life to save so many others and restore the natural order and balance of the universe that this criminal almost ruined drastically.
The thrill of this episode cannot be described enough as it holds a story that won the Writers Guild of America Award for best teleplay and a Hugo Award as well. However, the aired version is actually a re- write of this original one by Harlan Ellison and here you finally get to see what Harlan actually wrote in his original version. This version also holds an expanded introductory essay by Harlan that explains a lot on his mind.
However unjustly Harlan was treated by his work being re-written, now his original story is in the clear as it is a story that ended up being one of the most adored episodes of Star Trek, watched by many and described as positively as it can.
This review of The City on the Edge of Forever book is the original version for the teleplay, but rest assured that it is still as good as the episode aired, if not even better.