Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Night of the Living Trekkies - Book review

Night of the Living Trekkies
Writers: Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall
Publisher: Quirk Books

After the success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which led to more novels in the same vein (Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters for example), Quirk books decided to tackle the worlds of both Dawn of the Dead and of Star Trek -  most especially its fan base, generally known the world over as Trekkies - in its newest release called Night of the Living Trekkies. The result of this mash-up is a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but takes all matter of geekiness to a higher level and provides quite a few chuckles along the way.

The book is basically a refreshing, summer blockbuster type fare, which bombards the readers, a.k.a. you, with Star Trek references (it does take place during a Star Trek convention after all), Star Wars quotes and also references other Sci-Fi and genre shows like Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica. Basically, it’s complete Geek nirvana.

The hero of the book is called Jim Pike, a clear amalgamation of the names of both Enterprise captains James T. Kirk and Christopher Pike (the Enterprise NCC-1701 one. Yes, Captain Jonathan Archer was technically the FIRST captain of the FIRST Enterprise, but it was the NX-01, but I digress).

A veteran of Afghanistan who’s in his early twenties, Jime Pike is a broken man; he is haunted by the deaths of some of his fellow team members, a unit of which he was a leader. He now works as a bellhop in a Houston hotel going by the name of Botany Bay (a clear reference to Khan’s ship in the original Star Trek series episode Space Seed).

You have the age-old Star Trek / Star Wars rivalry in the book in the form of a character that at first we come to know only know as Leia. She's a very tall 6’ girl who's introduced to us as dressed in a ''Slave Leia'' outfit from Return of the Jedi, and later she dons the white dress the princess wears in A New Hope. A love interest to Jim, she provides some of the major Star Wars quotes in the novel and demarks herself has being a strong heroine.

There's also the token red shirt guy with one (basically make that two - read the book and you'll know) of the funniest names ever, a wanna-be Klingon, bad guys, zombies, aliens and even an appearance from The Borg (they're mostly convention goers of course), as well as a character that resembles the Doctor from Star Trek Voyager. And in a fun move, the titles for each book chapters are taken from various Star Trek episodes from all five series: Star Trek TOS, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek DS9, Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise.

There’s not a lot of profound character development in the book - much like there isn’t much in most summer blockbuster movies. Some characters are introduced mid-book, others more early on and then they disappear for a good while before showing up during the second half. However, when in a zombie crisis, and when everything is an emergecy and the action has to move quickly, character development and background may impede the flow of the narrative. It's not a great loss but the characters could have been fleshed out just a bit more - pun intended.

Still, the book reads along at a quick pace, and the love that authors Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall have for Star Trek definitely shows. I wonder how long it will take Hollywood producers to get their hands on this book and decide to make a movie out of it. After all, as I said, it practically reads like a blockbuster.

All and all a good and fun read, and I would recommend anyone who loves Star Trek, zombies and who is even a little bit of a geek to pick up the book. For others who've never watched a Star Trek episode in their lives, they may miss the subleties and the many references to the series.

In the meanwhile I invite you to go check out the Night of the Living Trekkies Facebook page. There, you can chat with the authors and get updates on all things Trekkies. Everyone who joins the Night of the Living Trekkies Facebook page will automatically be entered in a contest to win some super-awesome Quirk Books prizes!

Grand prize: Human-loving Tribbles, unofficial Trekkies T-Shirt, and a signed copy of the book

Two runners-up: Unofficial Trekkies T-Shirt

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