cover image Beam Me Up, Scotty

Beam Me Up, Scotty

James Doohan. Pocket Books, $12 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-671-52056-4

This is clearly meant to supplement the already fairly extensive knowledge possessed by your average Trekkie: e.g., the book presumes you know who Majel Barrett is (Number 1/Nurse Chapel/Deanna Troi's mother/Gene Rodenberry's wife) and that you're up-to-date with earlier gossip about the crew dynamics, which allows Doohan to gloss over his feelings about William Shatner: ""I have to admit, I just don't like the man. And, as has been well-documented elsewhere, he didn't exactly have a knack for generating good feelings about him."" As evidenced by the above, the writing leaves something to be desired, but there are insights and trivia enough for the fan. Actually, the best part predates Star Dates, as Doohan recounts a youth defined mostly by his family's poverty and his father's alcoholism. In 1939, motivated, no doubt, by equal parts devotion to duty and desire for escape, Doohan joined the military, where he spent five years in training before seeing action on the beaches of Normandy. On returning, he trained at a theater in New York City, worked with Leslie Nielsen, Jackie Gleason, Tony Randall; got a few TV roles; and even had a run-in with the entertainment industry's red-baiters. Doohan's a basically sanguine guy, with real insights into the extremely sharp double edges of his fame. After Star Trek limped to the end of its third season, Doohan said he was ""saddled with all the disadvantages of a popular series (namely, being locked into a particular characterization) and none of the advantages (namely, continued employment)."" With the old crew now unlikely to appear in any subsequent movies, Doohan clearly hopes this will clear the decks for a new acting career, sans brogue. (Dec.)