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32 review for Six Science Fiction Plays

  1. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    This is a really excellent anthology of six plays in traditional dramatic format. I believe it's Elwood's finest book. Reading plays is subtly different than prose fiction, but well worth it. (It's worked out okay for that English guy Shakespeare so far, right?) You are challenged to picture so much more with your own imagination rather than having it described for you. There's an excellent piece by the famous Paul Zindel that reminded me somewhat of del Toro's The Shape of Water, a terrific Fri This is a really excellent anthology of six plays in traditional dramatic format. I believe it's Elwood's finest book. Reading plays is subtly different than prose fiction, but well worth it. (It's worked out okay for that English guy Shakespeare so far, right?) You are challenged to picture so much more with your own imagination rather than having it described for you. There's an excellent piece by the famous Paul Zindel that reminded me somewhat of del Toro's The Shape of Water, a terrific Fritz Leiber robot story, a very entertaining genre piece by Tom Reamy (who passed tragically too soon), a very different and interesting John Jakes offering, and a very good traditional one-act by Theodore R. Cogswell and George Rae Cogswell. The big drawing card of the book when it appeared was the first publication of Harlan Ellison's famous Star Trek script, The City on the Edge of Forever, but the other five are well worth the read, too. I'd like to have had the opportunity to see productions of all six.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gregory

    After many decades, finally got around to reading this and what a treat! I got it from the library for 'City on The Edge of Forever' but I found the other five plays were just as outstanding! As for 'City'...I really wish Trooper could have been worked into the shooting script. I remember a man who looked like his description in the early '60s at Delmont Village in Baton Rouge. Perhaps he was at Verdun... After many decades, finally got around to reading this and what a treat! I got it from the library for 'City on The Edge of Forever' but I found the other five plays were just as outstanding! As for 'City'...I really wish Trooper could have been worked into the shooting script. I remember a man who looked like his description in the early '60s at Delmont Village in Baton Rouge. Perhaps he was at Verdun...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul Riches

    Six Science Fiction Plays contains some interesting history A long time ago in a place nearby, I bought a book with a Star Trek story in it. More specifically, in the 1990’s I paid fifty cents at my local library for a used paperback because it had a version of a Star Trek story in it. And being a punctual person, I read the book recently. Finally. Six Science Fiction Plays is a paperback collection published in 1976 and edited by Roger Elwood. It contains, and this is blurbed on the front cover, Six Science Fiction Plays contains some interesting history A long time ago in a place nearby, I bought a book with a Star Trek story in it. More specifically, in the 1990’s I paid fifty cents at my local library for a used paperback because it had a version of a Star Trek story in it. And being a punctual person, I read the book recently. Finally. Six Science Fiction Plays is a paperback collection published in 1976 and edited by Roger Elwood. It contains, and this is blurbed on the front cover, the original script by legendary writer Harlan Ellison for his classic Star Trek The Original Series episode City On The Edge Of Forever, which is why I picked it up of course. But before I dive into that story and all the controversy, let’s look at the rest first. For something dark, we have Contact Point by Theodore R Cogswell and George Rae Cogswell. A man on a space ship who is going crazy and how it affects the Earth. It is also a predictable ending, but still reads real. Also in the darker vein, but with added humour and some interesting morals on display, in The Mechanical Bride by the famous Fritz Leiber, where a woman seeks revenge on an ex via a robot. This one is involving and also has a predictable ending that still works because of Leiber’s skill. A surprise comes from Paul Zindel, a noted youth author, who gives us Let Me Hear You Whisper, in which a cleaning woman discovers something in a science lab. This one has themes of animal welfare and a slightly enigmatic ending. An absolute favourite, penned by famous writer John Jakes, is the touching Strangers With Roses. Taking place in an alternate future in a rebuilt society after a devastating war where changes are hinted at, a couple takes in a mysterious boarder. The wife notices things that seem strange, and finally her husband agrees, which leads to the shocking secret of the stranger, a confrontation, a question left lingering and an emotional ending. A very well told tale that is heartfelt. And now for the main attraction, Harlan Ellison’s final draft of Star Trek’s City On The Edge Of Forever. Ellison does an introduction about how wonderful and right he is, which is typical Ellison, and gives his version of the scripting process. His story was of time travel and Captain Kirk having to choose the universe or love, and is considered on the best Star Trek episodes ever, and it rightly is. But what we saw on television had been rewritten over his objections, not just the characterizations were off, but because the budget would not allow it. Both of those issues are readily apparent here. Ellison had worked on shows before, so he knew the limitations, and he knew so many things here were not necessary and could be cut or changed. That is blissfully obvious and actually distracts from the story. The alternative Enterprise and the overdone Guardians Of Forever are completely unneeded. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, told Ellison that in his future drugs did not exist, so therefore the Starship Enterprise would have no drug dealers. And definitely no Starfleet officers as diabolical and evil and remorseless as this drug dealer. Now, the original Star Trek did have some insane officers doing evil deeds, but they were insane, this guy is simply evil and gets some truly Old Testament justice in the end, but still it feels off Star Trek, even this early on. It is an interesting experiment to read Ellison’s draft, but the far superior and much more logical and exceptionally emotional was the revised City On The Edge Of Forever that was filmed and aired. The acknowledged classic. It may have taken me over twenty years to consume this fifty cent purchase, but it was worth it. Scoopriches

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I read this backward and I didn’t read all of the plays in this volume. I own a hardback copy of “The City on the Edge of Tomorrow,” and I’d rather reread it in that larger form. I loved Fritz Lieber’s “The Mechanical Bride” from 1954. It refers to robots, cyborgs as ‘mannequins,’ but it is not dated. “Let Me Hear You Whisper” by Paul Zindel is about a cleaning woman who talks with lab animals. “Stranger with Roses” by John Jakes is a time travel story and I like time travel when it’s well done, I read this backward and I didn’t read all of the plays in this volume. I own a hardback copy of “The City on the Edge of Tomorrow,” and I’d rather reread it in that larger form. I loved Fritz Lieber’s “The Mechanical Bride” from 1954. It refers to robots, cyborgs as ‘mannequins,’ but it is not dated. “Let Me Hear You Whisper” by Paul Zindel is about a cleaning woman who talks with lab animals. “Stranger with Roses” by John Jakes is a time travel story and I like time travel when it’s well done, and this is. “Contact Point” is a mostly two- character short drama set on a space ship that can’t go home. I started to read “Sting!” and stopped when it delved into a horror story. I borrowed this from Leslie.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Now that IDW Publishing is about to publish a comic book adaptation of the Star Trek episode, The City on the Edge of Forever, based on Harlan Ellison's original, unfilmed teleplay, I decided it was about time I read said teleplay. Elwood's book includes six plays, with Ellison's script up front and center, along with an introduction by the cantankerous writer. The history of the personalities involved isn't nearly as interesting as the story itself. Reading the script with all the camera and st Now that IDW Publishing is about to publish a comic book adaptation of the Star Trek episode, The City on the Edge of Forever, based on Harlan Ellison's original, unfilmed teleplay, I decided it was about time I read said teleplay. Elwood's book includes six plays, with Ellison's script up front and center, along with an introduction by the cantankerous writer. The history of the personalities involved isn't nearly as interesting as the story itself. Reading the script with all the camera and stage directions allowed me to screen the episode in my mind. I found Ellison's original story to be more high concept than the version that was broadcast, but it has all the right grace notes: the wondrous discovery of the Guardians of Forever (yes, that's right, Guardians plural), Kirk falling for Edith Keeler, Spock's logical concern for his friend and the possible consequences of Kirk's emotional state, and the ultimately tragic outcome. There is also a minor, but compelling character named Trooper, new to those of us who have only seen the television episode. Would Ellison's story have worked if filmed as he wrote it? My guess is yes, it would have been fine. At the same time, the rewritten version is not nearly the catastrophe that Ellison makes it out to be. If you are a Trekkie like me, this is definitely worth taking the time to read. There is a more recent publication that contains the script, The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay, with much more from Ellison about his involvement with Star Trek. I haven't read this book, but I have a copy buried somewhere in one of the piles of books in my home. I'm looking for it. You should too, but not in my home. Look in yours. Oh. One last thing. There are five other plays. I didn't read them. Maybe someday.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lou Sytsma

    Worth 5 stars alone just to read Harlan Ellison's original draft of the all time classic original Star Trek episode - City On The Edge Of Forever. A truly touching and poignant version that is even better than the televised version most of us are familiar with. Hunt it down and read it. Trooper is one of the greatest fictional side characters you've probably never heard of. The other stories by Tom Reamy, John Jakes, Fritz Leiber, Paul Zindel, and Theodore and George Cogswell are varying degrees o Worth 5 stars alone just to read Harlan Ellison's original draft of the all time classic original Star Trek episode - City On The Edge Of Forever. A truly touching and poignant version that is even better than the televised version most of us are familiar with. Hunt it down and read it. Trooper is one of the greatest fictional side characters you've probably never heard of. The other stories by Tom Reamy, John Jakes, Fritz Leiber, Paul Zindel, and Theodore and George Cogswell are varying degrees of solid too. But make no doubt, Ellison's piece is the stand out here. Stunning work from a master story teller.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Two gems in this collection: Ellison's original screenplay for the Star Trek episode 'The City on the Edge of Forever', and a longish screenplay by Tom Reamy. Reamy would be very well known today, but died of cancer in the 1970s after publishing 1 novel, 1 collection of SF which is one of the top single-author short story collections in the genre, and this screenplay. The others in the collection are of passing interest. Two gems in this collection: Ellison's original screenplay for the Star Trek episode 'The City on the Edge of Forever', and a longish screenplay by Tom Reamy. Reamy would be very well known today, but died of cancer in the 1970s after publishing 1 novel, 1 collection of SF which is one of the top single-author short story collections in the genre, and this screenplay. The others in the collection are of passing interest.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    It has a copy of Harlan Ellison's original screenplay for the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever," as well as an introductory essay by Ellison, which I would really, really like to read. Published 1975. It has a copy of Harlan Ellison's original screenplay for the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever," as well as an introductory essay by Ellison, which I would really, really like to read. Published 1975.

  9. 5 out of 5

    CaptKirk42 Classic Whovian

  10. 5 out of 5

    Prospero

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anthony E Farah

  12. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gary Fauteux

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark Woodland

  15. 5 out of 5

    John

  16. 4 out of 5

    William Ritch

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mara

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  21. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris Sanford

  24. 5 out of 5

    Trent Rogers

  25. 4 out of 5

    Angelle

  26. 5 out of 5

    Len Evans Jr

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sai Prasanna Kumar Malladi

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cambria

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ben Wright

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gracie

  31. 4 out of 5

    Lorne Teitelbaum

  32. 5 out of 5

    Tawnya Fugate

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