Franchise: Star Trek: The Original Series
Storyline: Memorial Books
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From Publishers Weekly
Known primarily for his role as the confident Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek series and films, Koenig (Chekov’s Enterprise) offers a surprisingly fretful memoir, focusing on his lifelong battle with neurosis and the toll it has taken on his personal and professional relationships. The book’s first half covers Koenig’s childhood experiences and early TV roles, with the remainder devoted mainly to his career on the U.S.S. Enterprise. Even success in early TV roles on Combat! and General Hospital failed to mitigate Koenig’s “Quasimodo” self-image, which carried over into his worldwide success with Star Trek. He often complains about his treatment on the show: regretting that producer Gene Roddenberry ignored his script ideas, feeling dismissed by Spock actor Leonard Nimoy and envying George Takei’s (Sulu) sword-wielding performance in “The Naked Time” episode. Koenig’s honesty, humor and obvious intelligence do much to enliven the book (one of several intros hilariously sends up the entire crew), as do flashes of terrific writing. But the Star Trek show and films have been reported upon innumerable times, and so this book, for all its charms, will likely appeal mostly to diehard Trekkies. Sixteen pages of color photos, not see by PW. First serial to Star Trek Communicator magazine.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Koenig, like every other Star Trek cast member, is ensured a birth in TV Valhalla regardless of the depth of his acting. He is a capable writer, though, who delivers such tidbits of interest as the disclosure that head Trekker Gene Roddenberry asked him to skew his portrayal of Lt. Chekov toward the comedic, which may seem cold mutton to most but to hardened ST-heads is valuable information. He also reveals that a factor in getting the part in the first place was a friendly makeup man’s spray-painting his bald spot and that when he auditioned, the character had not yet been named Chekov, so he wondered “why a character named Jones would speak with a Russian accent.” He gives us the rest of his life story, too, but much of his autobiography vends starship Enterprise antics. It is mostly glib, generally harmless, good clean fun. It doesn’t go where no man has gone before, exactly, but as nice Trek lore, it will be a popular library acquisition. Mike Tribby