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University of California Press Hardbound Cover
Gene Roddenberry: The Last Conversation
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Harrison gives an overview of the book:

From the Book Jacket: More than merely a popular television show, Star Trek has evolved from its original subculture status to a cultural icon, a modern American mythology, and a prescient leap into the future.  From the beginning, it was a forum where its creator and its viewers could explore the fundamental questions of human existence: What is the difference between sexuality and love? Should governments exist? What are the limits of personal obligation? And, most often, “What does it mean to be human? The Last Conversations is a poignantly beautiful exploration of the inner life of Gene Roddenberry as he faced the end of his life. It is his last address to humanity - his final legacy to the world he left behind. Insisting that no one could really know him without becoming part of his private life, he invited Yvonne Fern to live with him and his wife, Majel...
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From the Book Jacket:

More than merely a popular television show, Star Trek has evolved from its original subculture status to a cultural icon, a modern American mythology, and a prescient leap into the future.  From the beginning, it was a forum where its creator and its viewers could explore the fundamental questions of human existence: What is the difference between sexuality and love? Should governments exist? What are the limits of personal obligation? And, most often, “What does it mean to be human?

The Last Conversations is a poignantly beautiful exploration of the inner life of Gene Roddenberry as he faced the end of his life. It is his last address to humanity - his final legacy to the world he left behind. Insisting that no one could really know him without becoming part of his private life, he invited Yvonne Fern to live with him and his wife, Majel Barrett, in order to enter a world of which Star Trek was but one manifestation. “I want you to write me” he told her, and upon reading what she had written, told her she had. The Last Conversations is more than the portrayal of a singular life - it is an intellectual embrace, a shared journey into the meaning and worth of all human life, and a stunning look into the future Gene Roddenberry envisioned.

Written as a philosophical dialogue, this book is a last confessional call upon centuries of attempts to codify our understanding of contact between people - and contact with what lies beyond human experience. Well matched in the velocity of their imaginations and the depth of their understanding, they began this book as a collaboration, but as Gene receded from life, Yvonne’s increasingly solitary task was to convey the richness, the insight, the radiant beauty they together saw in humanity, and in each other.

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There is a sense in which time is always present as space. Quantum physicists and astronomers describe the time/space differential as the result of space travel at (or near) light speed. And yet the point at which space becomes time (and the reverse) exists as a constant in everyday life as the verb "to be".  

"Where are you?" carries within it the word, "now."

"What time is it?" implies both "now" and "here, in this space."

Among the many  unanswerable questions I have pondered over the years was one posed by my son when he was about six years old. When asked: "What time is it?" he replied,"What time is what?"
 
This is the very heart of the spiralled and unending quest of Gene Roddenberry:  "What does it mean to be ? In this time, in this space, who are we?" His struggle to answer those questions is a tale of time slippage and alternate space; a delicate and determined unravelling of current quantum theory -  physics to metaphysics and back again.

harrison-solow's picture

This book was written under the name of Yvonne (Harrison) Fern which changed when I married and became Yvonne Harrison Solow. I don't use the name Yvonne at all anymore, thus "Harrison Solow."

About Harrison

Dr. Harrison Solow’s writing awards include the Pushcart Prize for Literature (2008). She is published by Simon & Schuster, The University of California Press, Harper Collins, Carpe Articulum, AOL, Cinnamon Press, AGNI, The Pushcart Press and several others in the USA,...

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Published Reviews

Mar.23.2010

Praise for Felicity and Barbara Pym

"A splendid book! Original, controversial, academic, readable, serious, light-hearted, sensible, charming..." - Hazel Holt, Literary Executor of the Barbara Pym...