From Publishers Weekly
Alexander was editor of the Humanist when Roddenberry (1921-1991) chose him as his biographer. The result is a panegyric in the sharpest possible contrast to Joel Engel's Gene Roddenberry (Nonfiction Forecasts, Mar. 21). In tracing his subject's career in the Army Air Corps in WW II, as a Pan Am pilot and member of the Los Angeles Police Department, the author shows Roddenberry as a brave and adventurous man who proved to be hardworking and tenacious as well. While the original Star Trek series lasted for three years and lost money every year until 1969, when it was cancelled, by 1972 it was a huge hit in syndication. Then followed a series of movies starting in 1979 and another TV series, Star Trek: The Next Generation , beginning in 1987, followed by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine . As for "warts," Alexander treats Roddenberry's compulsive womanizing as a lovable idiosyncrasy; he also presents without details a list of six science fiction writers who worked for Roddenberry on Star Trek but would no longer do so. Exhaustive but exhausting. Filmography. Photos not seen by PW. 100,000 first printing.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The authorized biography of Star Trek
's mastermind is a monumentally documented work, drawing largely from Roddenberry's papers as well as the papers of and interviews with those close to him. It portrays an ambitious and talented man, restless and unsettled in his personal life yet fixed on his career goals. Roddenberry's family, his experiences as a World War II bomber pilot in the South Pacific and an airline pilot after the war, and his relatively short but eventful career in the Los Angeles Police Department all helped shape him. Although sometimes the sheer mass of detail makes the narrative difficult to follow, that same wealth of information provides fascinating insights into not only Roddenberry and his correspondents but also the worlds of sf and its fandom and the making of TV and movies. The many letters between Roddenberry and Isaac Asimov constitute a particularly interesting bonanza, and the appended Roddenberry filmography is useful. All in all, Alexander makes a significant contribution to the understanding of an enigmatic man and his creations. (See also Engel's Gene Roddenberry
.) Dennis Winters