Sunday, September 5, 2010

Review: Night of the Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall

I've been itching to read Night of the Living Trekkies since I got the e-mail from Doug a few weeks ago, asking me if I was interested. My reply: "Oh my god, yes!"

Trekkies? Zombies? Trekkies + Zombies? There was no way I was going to miss this.

Jim Pike was the world's biggest Star Trek fan - until two tours of duty in Afghanistan destroyed his faith in the human race. Now he sleepwalks through life as the assistant manager of a small hotel in downtown Houston.

But when hundreds of Trekkies arrive in his lobby for a science-fiction convention, Jim finds himself surrounded by costumed Klingons, Vulcans, and Ferengi - plus a strange virus that transforms its carriers into savage, flesh-eating zombies!

As bloody corpses stumble to life and the planet teeters on the brink of total apocalypse, Jim must deliver a ragtag crew of fanboys and fangirls to safety. Dressed in homemade uniforms and armed with prop phasers, their prime directive is to survive. But how long can they last in the ultimate no-win scenario?
If you're a Star Trek fan, you can tell just from the blurb that there are a ton of Star Trek references in this book - and they are wonderful. From the very nature of the main character's name (Jim Kirk? Christopher Pike?) to one-liners whilst being chased by zombies, or as a pep talk, or as a character, it really begins to feel like you're in one, massive, bizarre episode of Star Trek yourself. And it's awesome. I think I was grinning and chuckling from start to finish of this book, enjoying all of those moments that felt like they were put there just for us, for the fans - even when the authors are poking fun at the fans themselves.

Not only was I squee-ing over the Trekkiness of the book, but I was very happy with the writing itself. The plot is fast-paced and exciting, very much like a traditional zombie book should be. The dialogue is great - very quick and witty, and each of the characters have very distinct personalities, akin to the way a Starfleet crew might be assembled. All of our characters, even most of the minor ones, are pretty well developed. They become people you could see yourself going to a convention with, and I love that.
"...Now let's put aside your personal baggage and try to think about how Kirk would handle this.
"Who?" Jim said.
"James T. Kirk, commander of the USS Enterprise."
Jim shook his head. "I get it now," he said. "I'm dead and in Hell, trapped for all eternity with a Star Trek nerd. We're going to spend the next thousand years debating whether the Squire of Gothos was actually Q in disguise."

Our main character, Jim Pike, is a complex guy struggling with guilt and trying to figure out how to fit into the world now, knowing that he can't go back to the hopeful Trekkie he was before he experienced combat. This is really his story, and throughout the book we find him struggling with the feeling that he is in a zombie movie, or a Star Trek episode, and what he discovers is that although he's been trying to avoid living in reality, once it's gone, it's all you really want to get back to. I think that all of this is a great metaphor for fandom - for walking the line between escapism and obsession. I don't know if that's what the authors had in mind when they were writing this, but I think it's an interesting way to look a the Trekkie phenomenon itself.

If Trek is your thing, and if you even remotely think that zombies are cool, this is one book I would put at the top of your reading list. I'm hoping that the authors decide to put Trek into some similar genres - how about Interview with a Trekkie, or An American Trekkie in London? I think those could work.

There is a contest running on the Night of the Living Trekkies facebook page! The grand prize is Two Troublesome Tribbles (they move around, squeal, etc!), an official Trekkies t-shirt, and a signed copy of the book. Two runners up will recieve an unofficial Trekkies t-shirt, and a copy of the book. All you have to do to enter is join their fan page on Facebook Here.

I'll be following this up with a contest right here on SciFiGuy.ca. So put on your red shirts, arm yourself with your favorite bat'leth, and prepare to battle it out for a copy of Night of the Living Trekkies!

Publisher: Quirk Books
Date: July 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
ISBN #: 978-1594744631

8 comments:

  1. Hi Lisa!

    I've been thinking of picking this up since I saw it on B&N's site, lol. I'm a trekkie from way, way back, I'm talking the beginning of time here. It sounds snarky, funny, quirky and a little appalling all at the same time, LOL! Thanks for the great review and the contest information!

    Dottie :)

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  2. Now I am going to have to go out and buy a red shirt and read the book. Love the idea of crossing other genres.

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  3. This looks great! Thanks for the review. OMG, I need to read this thing.

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  4. Thanks everyone! Dottie, if you're that much of a Trekkie you definitely need to pick it up. All the references are a real treat. Doug, I think you'd look great in a red shirt - just make sure you don't go on any away missions while you're wearing it. ;)

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  5. LOL! Doug, we need to see you in a BLUE shirt, no any are you expendable.

    Dottie :)

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  6. I came thisclose to picking this up over the weekend, having heard people talk about it at DragonCon, but as I waffled between eating lunch and buying a book, lunch won.

    However, I get paid this week, so I'm definitely picking this up. It sounds like a great read.

    Thanks for the review and information!

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  7. I just finished this one and really, really enjoyed it. I was a little worried that my excitement about the Trekkie/zombie combo might lead to a major letdown, but no, the writing was great, the story was solid, and the whole thing was just tons of fun. I'm glad you enjoyed this, too!

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