The City on the Edge of Forever The award-winning original teleplay that produced the most beloved episode of the classic Star Trek series—with an introductory essay by the author.
USS Enterprise Starfleet officers Capt. James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock escort a renegade criminal to a nearby planet for capital punishment, and they discover the remains of a city. This ancient civilization is inhabited by the alien Guardians of Forever, who are tasked with protecting a time machine. When the criminal escapes through the portal into the past, he alters Earth’s timeline, damaging humanity’s future role among the stars.
Pursuing their prisoner, Kirk and Spock are transported to 1930s Depression-era New York City—where they meet pacifist Edith Koestler, a woman whose fate is entwined with the aftermath of the most devastating war in human history. A woman whom Kirk has grown to love—and has to sacrifice to restore order to the universe.
In its original form, The City on the Edge of Forever won the Writers Guild of America Award for best teleplay. As aired, it won the Hugo Award. But as Harlan Ellison recounts in his expanded introductory essay, “Perils of the ‘City,’” the televised episode was a rewrite of his creative vision perpetrated by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and the show’s producers. In his trademark visceral, no-holds-barred style, the legendary author broke a thirty-year silence to set the record straight about the mythologized controversy surrounding the celebrated episode, revealing what occurred behind-the-scenes during the production.
Presented here as Ellison originally intended it to be filmed, this published teleplay of The City on the Edge of Forever remains a masterpiece of speculative fiction, and a prime example of his uncanny ability to present humanity with all its virtues and faults.
Harlan Ellison has been called “one of the great living American short story writers” by the Washington Post. In a career spanning more than fifty years, he has won more awards than any other living fantasist. Ellison has written or edited one hundred fourteen books; more than seventeen hundred stories, essays, articles, and newspaper columns; two dozen teleplays; and a dozen motion pictures. He has won the Hugo Award eight and a half times (shared once); the Nebula Award three times; the Bram Stoker Award, presented by the Horror Writers Association, five times (including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996); the Edgar Award of the Mystery Writers of America twice; the Georges Melies Fantasy Film Award twice; and two Audie Awards (for the best in audio recordings); and he was awarded the Silver Pen for Journalism by PEN, the international writers’ union. He was presented with the first Living Legend Award by the International Horror Critics at the 1995 World Horror Convention. Ellison is the only author in Hollywood ever to win the Writers Guild of America award for Outstanding Teleplay (solo work) four times, most recently for “Paladin of the Lost Hour,” his Twilight Zone episode that was Danny Kaye’s final role, in 1987. In 2006, Ellison was awarded the prestigious title of Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Dreams With Sharp Teeth, the documentary chronicling his life and works, was released on DVD in May 2009.