[Review] Night of the Living Trekkies

Night of the Living Trekkies Cover
Night of the Living Trekkies

Still winding my way through my to-read list for the rest of the year. I've gone astray a bit and picked up a few books that I didn't plan to read (Generation A; Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls; No Country for Old Men; They Eat Puppies, Don't They?; Born Standing Up; and I think one or two others…), and dumped one book off my list (The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight) after deciding it sucked too badly to continue.

Night of the Living Trekkies seemed like it'd be a good one after finishing How to be Alone and Rework recently. (I'll review How to be Alone soon.) Turned out, it was a great choice for summer reading.

I will note one thing that drove me a little bonkers about the book, which has nothing to do with the writing. The book is published by Quirk Books, which you may remember from such books as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. I've thumbed through some of their other books, and they seemed professionally done. The cover and chapter headings were great, but the actual body type for Trekkies leaves something to be desired. Specifically, the kerning and/or typeface are off. The spacing, for example, between a period at the end of a sentence and the letter at the beginning of the next is too close – and it's accentuated when it's a T, W, or another letter that overhangs the previous space. Yes, it sounds like a tiny thing, but it bugged me all the way through.

That aside, Trekkies is a by-the-numbers zombie apocalypse romp. The premise puts Jim, fresh out of two deployments in Afghanistan, in a menial job in a hotel that happens to be hosting a Trek convention.

After a minimal amount of setup, things start going weird. The reader, and Jim, start getting clues that something is very wrong and it just might be… zombies. Sort of zombies, anyway.

When I say it's by-the-numbers, I really mean it. Trekkies embraces (and to some extent, subverts) both the Star Trek and zombie structures. Think Shaun of the Dead meets Galaxy Quest. On occasion, it's a little heavy handed. (In certain chapters, early on, it was like "and now we're going to set up Jim's motivation," and here we have to establish reluctance before embarking on a quest.")

It doesn't mean, however, that it doesn't work. On the contrary, I found myself enjoying the book quite a bit. If you're a fan of Star TrekStar Wars, and zombie films, there's plenty to enjoy and geek out to in Trekkies. Just check your critical lit thinking at the door (as you would for most zombie movies) and you'll be fine.

This is also a book that would work great as a film, with virtually no changes.

If you've enjoyed Shaun of the Dead and other humorous sci-fi and zombie fare, I'd strongly recommend picking this one up for a quick read. It's fun, quirky, and a great diversion.

[Review] Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness PosterOn the surface, if you don't think about it very hard, Star Trek Into Darkness is a reasonably decent summer movie. (Never mind the fact it's not actually summer, it's still a summer movie…) The movie moves quickly, has some payoffs for the Trek fans but is totally approachable for non-Trekkies, and of course the special effects are over the top. But with all the work that has been put into making things pretty, J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman take a lot of shortcuts with the characters and logic for the film.

(Spoilers below…)

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