Digital Technology Rescues a Forgotten Treasure

Digital Technology Rescues a Forgotten Treasure

He Walked Among Us by Norman Spinrad

I love Star Trek.  I grew up on the original series and The Next Generation, and I'm not ashamed to have been called a Trekkie and a geek.  It's a rare meeting of the sci-fi and fantasy book club I belong to that doesn't bring up Star Trek (or Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica) at some point during the discussion.

So when I saw on the Star Trek Facebook page that a lost script for the original series had been found, I was intrigued.  How does one lose a Star Trek script, anyway?

It turns out that the script, "He Walked Among Us" by Norman Spinrad, was never even filmed because of a comedy that essentially ruined the episode's chances of being taken seriously.  Spinrad himself recommended killing the episode, and Gene Roddenberry agreed, so it was never produced.

As Spinrad explains on his blog, the episode was written on a typewriter, and he thought the original version had been completely lost, since he no longer had a hardcopy.  Then a fan asked him to sign a copy of it that they owned, so of course he got a copy -- and made it into an ebook, available through both Amazon and Barnes & Noble's self publishing programs.

Some fans are complaining about the price of the ebook -- $9 for a script that would have been free to watch had it been made into an episode, as one fan pointed out.  (I wonder if he also refuses to buy the seasons on DVD using this logic.)  I'm sure Spinrad, on the other hand, is thinking about reclaiming some of the "tens of thousands of dollars in lost residuals," as he puts it on his blog.

Would you pay $9 to read an unproduced script recently recovered from the abyss of lost typewritten manuscripts?  It's not an easy decision for me, admittedly -- I don't often spend that much on ebooks -- but when the script is Star Trek, perhaps it's worth it!