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.