Book Review: The Impossible Has Happened: The Life and Work of Gene Roddenberry

The Impossible Has Happened: The Life and Work of Gene Roddenberry, Creator of Star Trek by Lance Parkin

Synopsis:
This book reveals how an undistinguished writer of cop shows set out to produce ‘Hornblower in space’ and ended up with an optimistic, almost utopian view of humanity’s future that has been watched and loved by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Along the way Lance will examine some of the great myths and turning points in the franchise’s history, and Roddenberry’s particular contribution to them. He will look at the truth in the view that the early Star Trek advanced a liberal, egalitarian and multi-racial agenda, chart the various attempts to resuscitate the show during it’s wilderness years in the 1970s, explore Roddenberry’s initial early involvement in the movies and spin-off Star Trek: The Next Generation (as well as his later estrangement from both), and shed light on the colourful personal life, self-mythologising and strange beliefs of a man who nonetheless gifted popular culture one if its most enduring narratives.

Review:
I didn’t know much about Gene Roddenberry other than the basics, so I was interested in learning more about the man and the history of my favorite futuristic universe. While Parkin didn’t have a relationship with Roddenberry, he obviously did extensive research and cited all of his information thoroughly. I was impressed with the amount of detail, all backed by other published works or recordings. This is not a book that idolizes Roddenberry or makes him a villain, but seems to be an honest look at a human man. And this is a detailed journey of the early years of Star Trek to The Next Generation. There was some jumping around, but for the most part the timeline flowed well. I appreciated this candid biography and enjoyed learning more about Roddenberry and the others who worked so hard on both the Original series and Next Gen.

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