Appearing in the original series, the original cast films, the Abrams films (portrayed by both Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto), and Discovery (Ethan Peck), not to mention two consecutive episodes of The Next Generation, Spock is arguably the most prolific character that the Star Trek IP has to offer. We’ve seen him interact with several ship crews over the course of five plus decades. We’ve seen him live, we’ve seen him die, we’ve seen him live again. Now, courtesy of Titan Books, The Autobiography of Mr. Spock allows we the reader to learn the life story of our favorite Vulcan in his own words.
Edited (and likely written) by Una McCormack (Picard: The Last Best Hope, Doctor Who: The Way Through the Woods), The Autobiography of Mr. Spock is presented as a “t’san a’lay” which roughly translates from Vulcan as a “wisdom book.” The text is broken up into several chapters, each chapter titled after and centered around an important figure in Spock’s life. We read the requisite pages on Spock’s stern Vulcan father, Ambassador Sarek, his human mother, Amanda Grayson, and his questionable half-brother Sybok. Among the summations of his pointy eared kin, perhaps the most interesting is Spock’s recounting of his past with Saavik.
Introduced to audiences in The Wrath of Khan (then portrayed by Kirstie Alley) and making brief reappearances in The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home (this time played by Robin Curtis), the half Vulcan, half Romulan Lieutenant Saavik served as ship navigator aboard the USS Enterprise. In the chapter on Saavik, we learn of the complicated history between the Vulcans and the Romulans, both of whom have a shrouded shared ancestry. Spock first came to know Saavik as a feral child roaming the ruins of the deserted Romulan colony, Hellguard. Spock befriended her, educated her and sent her on her path to Starfleet.
We naturally get a chapter entitled “Bones” detailing the ongoing love/hate relationship between Spock and Dr. Leonard McCoy. We see how, despite McCoy’s oft cantankerous demeanor, his abilities as a surgeon and a physician, not to mention his “expertise in exobiology and space psychology that would put specialists in these fields to shame” more than make up for it. Spock fondly recalls when his father was saved by McCoy after suffering the Vulcan equivalent of a heart attack. The backend of the book also features Dr. McCoy’s recipes for been stew and mint juleps.
My favorite portion of the book is in the section titled “Picard.” Spock and Jean-Luc have crossed paths before, in the TNG two-parter “Unification,” however this was their only canonical meeting. Still, Spock refers to Picard as “the one that knows more about me than anyone other than my mother, or else the two men with whom I shared the best years of my life” (presumably Kirk and McCoy). This is in no small part due to Spock’s mind-meld with Picard (who had previously mind-melded with Spock’s father Sarek). Fans are quick to point out Data as a stand-in for Spock, even Worf and Seven of Nine, however the author does a great job of showcasing the many shared commonalities between Spock and Picard. Their predisposition toward logical thinking, their strained paternal relationships, their latter life focus on Romulan diplomacy. Much of the book, not merely the chapter title “Picard,” is written either directly to Picard or with Picard in mind as the biography’s chief beneficiary.
Of course, no collection of Spock’s close personal affiliations would be complete without a closing chapter on Captain (sometimes “Ambassador”) James T. Kirk. While this chapter is surprisingly brief (as Spock himself puts it, “so much has been said about James Kirk that I almost persuaded myself that there was no need for anyone else to add to the general melee”), Spock wistfully recounts his first encounter with Kirk, what could have been his last separated by glass and receiving the sad news of his untimely death on Veridian III in the climax of Star Trek: Generations. Spock laments the notion that, were he there, he may have prevented Kirk’s death and mentions having never visited Kirk’s grave under the auspices of permitting himself at least “one illustration in life.”
The author does a great job maintaining the stoic matter-of-factness Spock’s known for, all the while layering In his subtle undercurrent of warmth and (for lack of a better word) humanity. What’s also captured in the writing is Spock’s wry sense of humor. He recalls his reunion with McCoy during “the V’Ger crisis and how “Bones” McCoy claimed to be pleased to see him. “This was one of the chief means by which I was able to deduce that we were in the direst of straits,” thought Spock.
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