I read the 40th anniversary edition which was originally written in 1979.
Gene Roddenberry may have created Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He may have been the driving force behind almost every incarnation of Star Trek. But he had no idea what should, and shouldn’t go into a book. He should of stuck to writing teleplays and scripts.
I didn’t get the opportunity to see the wide screen version of Star Trek The Motion Picture until a few years ago. Prior to that I had to tolerate the VHS “Special Edition”. I wasn’t overly impressed with with it, and I knew I wasn’t alone. So, when I got the book I foolishly thought it might be better.
Paramount studios had no-end of trouble with the film and Roddenberry. Roddenberry was constantly submitting ideas for the film that were very poor. Enter Harold Livingston and Alan Dean Foster. They were employed by Paramount to try and improve Roddenberry’s ideas. In the end few people associated with the film enjoyed the experience. Roddenberry’s script was tossed out, and the screenplay was written by Harold Livingston. The story was written by Alan Dean Foster who already had a few Star Trek novels to his name. All Roddenberry could do now was complain by writing a mountain of memos each day which were pretty well ignored. Part of the merchandizing of the film was the “novelization” of the film. Roddenberry took that job because nobody else wanted to do it, and it would be his last chance to make money off the film he wanted to see released.
Close to the beginning of the book an Admiral dies. This character was never in the script or any version of the released film. The book takes dialogue from a specific character and assigns it to a different character. As you read on you see area were he could have inserted dialogue. He wasted every chance and even re-wrote what is the released film. The book is supposed to be the written version of the released film. The books strays so far that I think the book and the theatrical version of the film that was initially released are two different stories. Close but slightly different. It’s a book that had I had hoped would be a lot better, and would fill in a lot of gaps from the poorly edited film. Well, the only thing the book did was make me regret I purchased it. I suppose it’s a piece of Star Trek history, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a blind man.