Thursday, May 24, 2012

Zombies and Star Trek: Night of the Living Trekkies

Night of the Living TrekkiesNight of the Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I remember seeing this book when it came out and then it slipped my mind. Stephen's review put it squarely back in the middle of my radar. To be fair, Stephen's reviews are always good reading, but this one was so darned enthusiastic that I paid extra attention.
If you hate both Star Trek and Zombies...

I don’t know what to tell you. You obviously have made some wrong decisions in your life that have led you to this unfortunate circumstance. Maybe you should go and take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror and figure out where things began to fall apart. It’s not too late...the first step is admitting you have a problem.
A quick litmus test is if you smile upon reading Jim Pike's name. Which I suspect anyone picking up this book did. You don't have to get every reference, but the more you understand the more enjoyable the book will be. It spans the gamut of Star Trek movies and series (and as a Deep Space Nine fan, I appreciate that).

Super-quick summary: Jim Pike felt he failed as a leader of men in Afghanistan. Retreating to a hotel security position at home, he finds himself facing first a Star Trek convention and then a zombie apocalypse. As a Trek fan, he's able to tread water. As a horror fan, he's on less solid ground when it turns out that zombies actually do exist. As someone eschewing any responsibility, he's in full retreat when people keep turning to him for leadership in combat situations.

Best of all, however, is that this is a true horror novel. Salted with Trek references and turning on several necessary Trek points, nonetheless you don't need to be a Trekkie (or Trekker) to enjoy the book. I admit it definitely will help, but the authors make it worthwhile with their fresh take on the zombie genre while maintaining solid ties to both Trek and Star Wars worlds. It's a survival story, it's an apocalypse story, it's an "us against the world" story, it's a geek story, and there's even a bit of a mystery thrown in.

A deeper litmus test is this which should make you laugh aloud and then want to read it aloud to someone.
"Have you been able to reach the outside world?"

"I've tried, but so far, no dice. Nothing but snow on the TV. Phones are toast. And no Internet, which is really strange. It was originally designed to serve as a fail-safe communications mode during a nuclear war, so it's very, very resilient. To lock it down this tight, you'd have to have someone very smart and powerful actively denying service."

"Or maybe it's gone," Jim said.

For a moment the line was silent.

"What?" Gary finally said. "What do you mean?"

"Maybe it doesn't exist anymore. Maybe it suffered some sort of catastrophic, worldwide failure."

"Oh, no," Gary said with disturbingly brittle finality. "That's not possible. Somebody's keeping us from getting to the Internet, but the Internet is still there. It will always be there."

Jim decided to back off. ...
Night of the Living Trekkies is a light, summer read and one that I will be saving on my "stress rereading" shelf for an enjoyable adventure in a world where no man has gone before.

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