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Get a Life! Hardcover – May 1, 1999

59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

For years, William Shatner's attitude toward Star Trek conventions was strictly professional: he'd typically fly in the day of his appearance, go straight from the airport to the stage, and then leave as quickly as possible. But when he went on an extensive tour to promote Generations, he became "Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning." Soon he was talking to fellow cast members, convention organizers, and the fans themselves, discovering how love of a science fiction show had helped create a tight-knit community.

In the course of this book, Shatner gives us a short history of Trek fandom, reveals the thinking behind Paramount's decision to kill off James T. Kirk, briefly explains the origins of the infamous Saturday Night Live sketch that gives the book its title, holds a seminar with the three other starship captains, and even takes lessons on the proper way to imitate Kirk from the master, Kevin Pollak, an actor/comedian. (Among the insights gained: those dramatic pauses in Kirk's speeches were the result of Shatner trying to remember his next line.) And there are plenty of jokes at the expense of Leonard Nimoy, as well as a few skewering Shatner. (The "elephant story" is a classic in itself. Once, when Shatner was on a photo safari in Africa, an elephant did number two on his head. He tells the story at cons, and the fans seem to love it, for some reason.) But the most touching segments of Get a Life! are Shatner's interviews with the fans, particularly those to whom the show and the fan community have given a social and emotional lifeline. Once you've read the conversations with the shy veterinary student who made friends by dressing his cats in Star Trek uniforms, or with a young woman whose severe emotional and sexual trauma had led to the development of multiple personalities that included three healing presences in the form of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, you will never be able to make a Trekkie joke quite so readily again. --Ron Hogan

About the Author

William Shatner is the author of nine Star Trek ® novels, including the New York Times bestsellers The Ashes of Eden and The Return. He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including Get a Life! and I’m Working on That. In addition to his role as Captain James T. Kirk, he stars as Denny Crane in the hit television series from David E. Kelley, Boston Legal—a role for which he has won two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. Find more information at

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; First Edition edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671021311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671021313
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #817,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. Johnson on June 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Wow! I sat down at a local bookstore waiting for my wife with "Get A Life" in my hands thinking I'd read a few pages to pass the time. 5 chapters later, my wife was waiting for me--I had to buy it and read the rest at home. This book makes me laugh out loud (aforementioned wife thinks I'm nuts). I'm happy to see that Mr. Shatner enjoys the love, affection, and Star Trek subculture which he had a hand in creating. His self-deprecating humor is funny and refreshing, his insights (and those he interviews) are heart-warming and dead-on. Kudos to Mr. Shatner!!!!! This book should be interesting to even "casual" Star Trek fans.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rabbi Yonassan Gershom VINE VOICE on May 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It took the death of James T. Kirk in Star Trek Generations for William Shatner to finally become -- oh no! -- a TREKKIE! In this candid and hilariously self-depreciating book, Shatner admits that, for all those years as a cast member, he had been totally clueless about what Trek fandom was all about. To find out, he dons a really tacky rubber alien mask in order to mingle anonymously with the crowd. (The book has photos of him wearing it -- I wonder how many fans will see them and think, "Oh no! I was standing right next to Bill and never even got his autograph!") When the undercover experiment is over, he has a new respect for what happens at a Trek convention. And when he asks the fans what to call the book, they suggest, "Get a Life!" So he did.
One of the funniest parts of the book is in the first chapter, where he describes going to a typical speaking engagement, from panic on the plane (this ex-starship captain hates flying!) to being met at the airport by an enthusiastic fan who invaribly can't find the car, then being driven at top speed to the convention, where he is smuggled in the back door past the smelly garbage dumpsters, through the hotel kitchen, then along the "secret" passageways used by the cleaning staff, to emerge backstage -- all choregraphed by security teams using codes like "The Eagle has landed" to try to keep his exact arrival time a secret from the crowd. Whew! No wonder he had to put on a mask to enter the real Trek universe! I, for one, am glad he did, because this is a very entertaining book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By lordhoot on October 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
William Shatner's love hate relationship with the show that made him famous or notorious depending on his mood under went a strange metamorphic change that came ironically after his character was killed off in Generations movie (Star Trek VII).

Shatner's book tell that story of his changing attitude toward Star Trek, its fanatic fans and the phenomenon that the show created all over the world. Its well written, often filled with humor as he reflects on what he have learned since his changed of heart. It also a great book since it deal with coming to terms with his past and how it was all catching up to him. I think Shatner finally began to realized that no matter what he does for the rest of his life, he will always be connected with Star Trek, always be known as "Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise" and that the way it will be long after he's dead and buried.

So with that in mind, this book comes recommended. Its story of William Shatner and not Star Trek in general. He writes on his experiences regarding the phenomenon he helped create over 37 years ago and how he think about it when he wrote the book. (I thought his impression on autographs was very interesting.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Savary on April 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Like the two other volumes before it ("Star Trek Memories" and "Star Trek Movie Memories"), the third installment in the Shatner Chronicles is informing, intriguing, and funny.
Shatner and co-author Chris Kreski have painted a picture that may or may not truly reflect Shatner's views or life events, but is entertaining nevertheless. However, I did think it interesting that Shatner seemed open to teasing himself about his ego, his hamminess, his lack of technical abilities, and his reported stubborn arrogance.
The history of Trek conventions is very well told, and is an insightful look into the early days of Trek fandom, and what motivated fans to go to a convention in the days before corporate marketeering took control of such fan gatherings. Also recounted is the true, behind-the-scenes tale of the famous letter-writing campaign that saved Trek from cancellation after its second season, as well as the story behind the infamous skit on "Saturday Night Live" from which the book takes its title.
Shatner tells several funny tales that (suppossedly) really happened in his life, that remind one of a humorous disaster in which Kirk deadpans a "Why me?" through the hilariaous moment before the commercial break (such as being buried in tribbles). In one such story, Shatner tells the tale of being on a Greek isle, miles away from civilization, and seeing a Trek slogan scratched on a ruined Greek edifice: "Star Trek Lives!" True or not, the humor is fun.
Shatner comes off as a good guy and a straight shooter, which is no big surprise (it is, after all, his book, written from his point of view). Still, one telling moment has to be when Shatner discusses how fans are being duped by unscrupulous dealers who trade in fake autographs.
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