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The City on the Edge of Forever


In 1967, Ellison wrote what is generally considered to be the best episode of the original Star Trek series -- the one in which Kirk, catapulted back in time to the Great Depression, must choose between the woman he loves and the universe in which he exists.

As aired, "City on the Edge of Forever" was drastically different from what Ellison imagined. As Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry told it, Ellison's script was unfilmable on a TV series budget, and besides, "He had Scotty dealing drugs." Fully one-third of this book is devoted to Ellison's rebuttal of those allegations. It's a long, poorly edited tantrum that will seem incomprehensible to anyone not already steeped in Trek lore or Ellison's personal history with the show.

What about Ellison's script? It is a masterpiece: dark, poetic and complex -- which is to say, totally inappropriate for a late-'60s shoot-em-up-in-space. It's no wonder William Shatner objected to Ellison's draft: As an actor, he never could have handled such challenging, profound material.

For a lame adaptation of Roddenberry's version of the script, see Star Trek 2.

Collector's Notes

Unobservant or unscrupulous online booksellers often describe the White Wolf edition as "autographed" by Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner. The inscriptions on the cover are, of course, reproduced from the original photo, not on the book iteslf.

Like all things Trek, "City on the Edge of Forever" has been merchandised and spun-off in countless permutations, from an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series in 1973 to a pewter and porcelain figurine of the Guardian of Forever issued by the Franklin Mint in 1992.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Would You Buy a Used Galaxy From This Man?
  • Introductory essay
  • Treatments
    • 21 March 1966
    • 13 May 1966
  • The City on the Edge of Forever
    • Teleplay, 3 June 1966
  • Appendix
    • Second Revised Draft, 1 December 1966
  • Afterwords
    • Peter David
    • D.C. Fontana
    • David Gerrold
    • DeForest Kelley
    • Walter Koenig
    • Leonard Nimoy
    • Melinda M. Snodgrass
    • George Takei

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Borderlands Press hardcover1995 (first limited edition)

White Wolf hardcover and trade paper 1995 (first mass market editions)

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