This book has over 70 pages (in the hardcover edition) of introductory essay in which the author complains about Gene Roddenberry "and his minions," the "Bimbo Queen Joan Collins," and the Star Trek universe in general, and how they mistreated his screenplay by revising it. The intro is not particularly well-written, coherent, or entertaining. He is just mad, and the essay is just sad and bitter. The original screenplay is interesting to read, to see what all the fuss was about.
The original screenplay does not fit in the Star Trek universe very well, and does not make a very good story for a number of reasons. Here are the reasons in order of importance (spoilers follow, if you can spoil something that started off this bad): 1. A drug dealer who is killing people while trying to evade capture by Kirk and Spock would not suddenly and in the presence of Kirk and Spock attempt to save Edith Keeler. Supposedly Kirk and Spock prevent Beckwith from saving Edith, and the timeline is restored and all is well. 2. The explanation given for the fate of Beckwith when he escapes from Spock and jumps back into the time vortex is just plain stupid. You can't dial in the same exact time when you go back into the vortex or you'll create a fracture and end up burning repeatedly and eternally in a supernova. Come on! 3. The crew calls up to the Enterprise to ask to beam up, they are beamed up to a ship called the Condor, and the Condor captain says "Welcome to the Condor. Whoever you are, you shouldn't have come aboard." Well how dumb is that. How about if you didn't want us on board, you shouldn't have beamed us up. In two separate shifts. 4. Rand uses her tricorder to produce feedback and blows up the transporter console with a shower of sparks that throws the technician "half across the room," and yet after a short fight where the Enterprise crew locks the Condor crew out in the corridor, Rand is able to repair the damage she caused in a few seconds. Ridiculous. 5. The scenario with Rand defending the transporter room while Kirk and Spock go back to the planet and back into the vortex was cut back to one time, but was never resolved. 6. A suitable explanation of why Edith must die was not covered adequately. The conjecture was simply too thin and unsubstantiated. Beckwith never established a relationship with Edith.
With more holes than a block of Swiss cheese, I don't know how this script could have received a Writers Guild award. It must have been pretty slim pickings that year. If it was the "Readers" Guild maybe they would have actually read it, and decided not to give out an award that year at all.
Everything about the final televised version was much better. The final televised version was not included in this book.
I'm glad I bought a used copy.