I am pretty much the biggest nerd there is.
That said many of my heroes are nerd heroes. Nicholas Meyer is one of them.
For the uninitiated Nicholas Meyer is the one responsible for making Star Trek good again, or maybe making it good enough to keep going? He wrote and directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan where, famously, Spock dies. He co-wrote Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and returned to write and direct in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He is arguably the reason why the ‘every even number Star Trek is awesome’ mantra started (or conversely ‘every odd numbered Star Trek sucks’).
When I heard he had written memoirs I bought the book without reading anything else about it.
Nicholas Meyer is not the most prolific writer, he’s written a few novels and a handful of screenplays, but he makes up for it in quality of story. Not only are his scripts fun, but they also mean something.
Star Trek, at it’s heart is about something (forgive me if this descends into a rant about the new movies, I’ll try to keep it under check) and, like all good science fiction, can give a message about social, political, economic, and even literary upheaval with power and conviction that is simply not possible in other genre. Throughout its convoluted history many writers have forgotten that but the general sense of Star Trek is a story that is fun and entertaining but also about change, race, slavery, political and religious freedom, equality, justice, etc.
What Nicholas Meyer brought back to Star Trek was that aspect. He turned it into a movie about people aging together, dealing with being obsolete, and in the middle of it he also taught us about revenge, creation, death, sacrifice, and life.
And that was only one movie.
Meyer writes with an easy, friendly voice that made me sad this book wasn’t longer. I would have gladly read three hundred more pages of his stories and memories, even if they didn’t talk about Star Trek. Which is a good thing because there are only three chapters about Star Trek, because Meyer has done other things and he has had other experiences.
This is one of my favorite books. Probably I am biased because he is one of my heroes, but it is also a touching look at the life of a man who has tried to do his job the best he can and the struggles, successes, and downright heartaches that he has had along the way.
Read this if you are a fan of Star Trek, or movies, or writers, or Meyer himself. If you are none of those things then you should read it anyway. It will be worth it.