Harlan Ellison, The City on the Edge of Forever script

I am reading the book of the various versions of the script again.
I did not previously notice that Trooper has a sign on his cart, “I Fought at Verdun”.
The battle of Verdun was February-December 1916. The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917.

Was Trooper lying, was he serving in the English or French army?

Maybe a blunder, or maybe he went over to fight, the same way Young Indiana Jones did.

Write him. I’m sure he’d appreciate the correction.

Or just call him. His home number is not unlisted.


After the Battle, the front remained barely two miles north and northwest of the town of Verdun. It remained there until the Meuse-Argonne offensive of 1918, in which many Americans participated. A fictional American fighting in the latter action could be forgiven for saying he fought “in the Verdun sector”, or even “at Verdun”.

A valid explanation, thanks!

UK/Commonwealth soldiers did not fight at Verdun, that was purely a French battle, and a French victory (in as much as anyone won any major battle in WW1).

Harlan Ellison has the rep of such a sweet, lovable old guy, I’m sure he would love to hear about a perceived error on his part.

You should also mention all of the great work that Disney does and how much you love them.

Walter Koenig mentions words like “Volcanic”.

Harlan explained all that in the intro to The Last Dangerous Visions. Ask him where you can buy a copy.

Perhaps a reference from Gene would help pave the way.

Also tell him that the episode was WAY better.

Because it was. Verdun is the least of the problems with his original script. The lazy, artificial tension building of the constant cutting back to the crew still on the planet, how they are constantly this close to being killed, all to show the urgency of our heroes mission back into time, was just unnecessarily stupid. Especially because, if the mission is successful (and you know it will be) none of it will have never happened.

Having the antagonist and driving force (the “random factor”) be a drug dealer is just about as bad. Roddenberry was correct in this case. There are no drug dealers in Starfleet.

Riker. Unintentional, but he did get the entire ship (minus 2) addicted.

The graphic novel is worth a look. Rather amateurish art, but an interesting take on Ellison’s original story. He even makes a cameo appearance: http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-City-Edge-Forever/dp/1631402064/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458071755&sr=1-1&keywords=ellison+city+edge

I don’t recall that but twice, involving blasting the door.
Like Ellison, I miss Trooper.

I admit I haven’t read it in a while, but I remember being annoyed at the effect. And still am. :slight_smile:

In one version they were “space pirates” and in another they were “Rouges” or “Barbarians” or “Mimes”, or something and they were damned irritating even for two scenes, but Janice Rand was in charge of holding them off, which beat only showing off her ass when Kirk signed things. I do prefer the filmed version, “What happened, Sir?” “You only left a minute ago.” “We were successful.” “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

Tell him how much you enjoyed his Star Wars books. He loves that.

I haven’t read the original script and hated the TV ep.'s reliance on a deus ex machina. Was that in the original script as well?

Has Ellison recovered much from that stroke he had recently?


Plus the original script had everyone acting out of character, a failure of the author to be familiar with the basic “rules” of the universe (Star Fleet simply doesn’t have skeevy 1950’s style drug-pushers in their ranks), preachy, completely ham-fisted anti-Vietnam stuff and a totally horrible climax.

Y’know how, in the filmed ep, Spock has to stop Kirk from saving Edith and how powerful it was that Edith was the one woman Kirk was willing to consider sacrificing the Enterprise for? In the Ellison version, Kirk just…freezes in indecision. Whee. Big drama there. And totally in character for Kirk. :rolleyes:

Also, there was some torture porn thing about the drug dealer being sent to the heart of a star and being forced to die over and over again.

Trooper, the double amputee?