Stephen's Reviews > Night of the Living Trekkies

Night of the Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson
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May 21, 12

bookshelves: sf-star-trek-star-wars-and-tv, 2006-2010, dead-heads, humor-and-satire, horror
Read from May 13 to 19, 2012 — I own a copy

Star Trek + Zombies...
Kirk Spock McCoy Zombie
For...the...WIN!

This story more than delivered on everything I was hoping for going into it. It met or exceeded expectations in terms of both writing (crisp, polished and very funny) and characters (genuine, endearing, and smart), and the narrative was slick, fast paced and well laid out (i.e., twas nary a boring page). In fact, the overall quality was so surprisingly high that it made me wonder why this book isn’t better known, especially given its popular ingredients.

Speaking of those ingredients, this is where Kevin David Anderson’s novel truly shines. The Star Trek/SF culture references are well-devised, laid on molasses-thick and deployed with a real sense of comedic timing. And the Zombie mythology is fresh and clever and adds a degree of substance that sets this apart from your run of the mill gimmick book.

Even the end, where so many novels like this lose focus or run out of gas, was well handled. I left this story thinking I would pick up Mr. Anderson’s next effort sight unseen.

Anyway...here’s the set up...

PLOT SUMMARY:

An “incident” takes place at a top secret government research facility, unleashing a zombie plague all over downtown Houston. By virtue of a series of later explained occurrences, the epicenter of the infection turns out to be a massive Trek convention full of the hardest of hardcore trekkies. Despite the hokey, groan-worthy nature of this set up, Anderson does a nice job pulling it off.

Caught in the turbulence is Jim Pike (yes, Trek buffs, Jim....Pike), former unit commander in the famous 10th Mountain Division, whose carrying some heavy baggage from his tour in Afghanistan. When the fit hits the shan, Jim, along with a small cadre of in costumed conventioneers must fight their way through a horde of growing starfleet zombies.
trekkie zombie v2

THOUGHTS:

I thought it was terrific. I enjoyed the way that Anderson allowed the plague to slowly develop, giving us time to get to know the characters, and setting up a scenario that, while still fantastic, didn’t offend the suspension of disbelief. It was these touches of competence that started to clue me in that Anderson has the story telling gift.

Okay, now let’s break down the fun...

If you’re a Trekkie/Trekker...

This story will stroke all your sweet spots and give you a shuttering nerdgasm. In addition to actually describing the difference between “trekkie” and “trekker,” something I have always been fuzzy about, here are just a few of the highlights:

1. Every chapter heading is the name of a different Star Trek episode (e.g., "Space Seed", "Let That Be Your Final Battlefield", "Wolf in the Fold", "Dagger of the Mind", etc.), and the title used has some relation to that chapter’s subject matter. This is not as easy as it may sound, and I thought it was another one of those nice touches that Anderson used.

2. Trek references, trivia, and dialogue positively abound throughout the novel and will satisfy even the most severe trekophile. From iconic tidbits recognizable by even the most casual of fans (e.g., the title sequence of the show is put to good use) to obscure nuggets that will convince the hard core that the author knows his stuff (e.g., remember the lirpa from the episode Amok Time, or the creature known as a Horta from Devil in the Dark....if not, you should). These references litter almost every scene. It’s like a Trekkie brain shagging

3. A group known as the West Texas Red Tunic Club, who all dress as red shirts from the original series. What happens to them, and any fan of the show can guess their fate, is hysterical. red shirts v2

4. One of the characters is a giant metal shop worker who came to the convention dressed as Klingon officer named Martock. Martock’s side business is making real life, and real deadly, replicas of all of the various Star Trek blade weapons. From the afore-mentioned lirpa to Klingon bat’leths to kar’takins used by the Jem’Hadar.

5. One of the characters, seemingly unintentionally, is constantly quoting lines from the original Star Wars trilogy at exactly the right time. To add to the comedy, she does this while dressed, for most of the novel, in Princess Leia’s slave bikini...why is a very funny story.
thumb-Slave_Leia_Pillow_Fightv2

If you are a Zombie fan...

This is another place where the book elevates itself, from what could have been just a fun bout of Star Trek masturbation, into a really terrific effort. I don’t want to give anything away regarding the nature of the dead heads because the solving of that mystery is at the heart of the novel. However, while the zombies display the characteristically slow, awkward ambulation and a taste for skull candy that are common to the genre, most everything else about them is fresh and unique. Their background is unusual, and there is a motivation and purpose to the “attacks” that is far different and more understandable than the mindless search for “braaaaaaaains.” These zombies are much more sophisticated.
polite zombiev2

Plus, they have and “eye-popping” addition that allows them to be far more organized and uniform in their activities...almost “Borg-like” you might say.

If you’re both a Star Trek AND a Zombie fan...

If this is the case, you probably stopped reading this review after the first 3 words, and speed-typed your way online to download a copy onto your kindle...so I’m not going to waste my breath on you, except to say that leaving like that was rather rude.

And...finally...

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.

ADDED BONUS:

If everything else above wasn’t enough, Anderson also ties into the story a government conspiracy involving scientific black ops, alien visitations and even a tactical nuke.

Bonus.

So, it’s a mash made in heaven for fans of trek and zombies...
Set phasers brains v2

Enjoy

4.0 stars. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 50) (50 new)

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message 1: by Marts (new) - added it

Marts  (Thinker) this sounds like a good one Stephen...


Stephen It was, Marts. Much better than I was expecting.


message 3: by B0nnie (new) - added it

B0nnie Stephen, oh wise one, you are the best! "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."
Yeah!


Melki I'm not a Star Trek fan, but I somehow ended up hitched to a trekkie.
For the sake of marital harmony, I shall give this a shot.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Like Trek, hate zombies...only half a f*ckup then?


Stephen I hope you can access your inner Trekkie and enjoy it, Melki. It's a fun story.


Stephen B0nnie wrote: "Stephen, oh wise one, you are the best! "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 u..."

Thanks, Bonnie. I was just trying to help.


Stephen Richard wrote: "Like Trek, hate zombies...only half a f*ckup then?"

No...this is not a 50/50 allocation as Trek counts for more. By my quick calculation, I'd say your 76% awesome and 24% mildly confused.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Oh okay. I didn't know the statistical breakdown. Thanks. Oh hey...do I get extra points for representing two sold-but-unproduced TNG scripts?


Stephen Extra points?!...Holy Shatner, that's bonus points galore. That might be enough to actually make you a Trek "insider." I am honored to have you on my thread.

I'm not worthy...


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Stephen wrote: "Extra points?!...Holy Shatner, that's bonus points galore. That might be enough to actually make you a Trek "insider." I am honored to have you on my thread.

I'm not worthy..."


I so wanted them to make this one particular one...remember how Odaan the Trill couldn't use the transporter because the symbiont would've been all edited out or whatever? In the script my guy wrote, there was a throwaway line from Chief O'Brien about how he installed the quantum biofilter to enable Dax, who worked with him on the design, to transport.

Loved that. Still wish they'd made it. Crossover goodness and a continuity glitch addressed. *sigh* What might have been.


message 12: by Contrarius (new) - added it

Contrarius Ohhhh, for the days of Betamax. I stayed up for...24? 48?, I forget -- hours once when I was in high school, so that I could tape every episode of the original Star Trek being shown on a Trek marathon. Of course they were all on Beta. Sigh.


Stephen I have certainly done my fair share of Trekathoning, but that is very impressive.


message 14: by Contrarius (new) - added it

Contrarius Fat lot of good it did me. If I had just put them on VHS, I'd still have them today!


message 15: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Oh Stephen, Stephen, Stephen.........whatever shall be done with you.


message 16: by Melinda (new)

Melinda Le Baron Stephen, your review is impressive! The only problem is I liked the original Star Trek show but hated all the others, and I love zombies - so should I slit my wrists by your calculations, or keep on going the way I am? I'm not clear if I have a serious character flaw, or if I'm okay to go about my business. Waiting with bated breath for your response.


Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) Glad you liked this one, Stephen. I was also surprised at how solid the writing was. I figured it'd peter out towards the end, but was pleased when it stayed strong to the end.


Stephen Melinda wrote: "Stephen, your review is impressive! The only problem is I liked the original Star Trek show but hated all the others, and I love zombies - so should I slit my wrists by your calculations, or keep ..."

You loved TOS and zombies so you are completely in the clear. Please carry on as you are...and thanks for the kind words on the review.


Stephen Stephanie wrote: "Oh Stephen, Stephen, Stephen.........whatever shall be done with you."

But, but, but....it's Star Trek AND zombies. That makes it okay, right?


Stephen Kat wrote: "Thanks for bringing this one onto my radar screen, Stephen!"

My pleasure, Kat. This was a lot of fun.


Stephen Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "Glad you liked this one, Stephen. I was also surprised at how solid the writing was. I figured it'd peter out towards the end, but was pleased when it stayed strong to the end."

Thanks, Karla. Do you know if Anderson has a sequel in the works?


Rebecca Huston Thank you. You've just sold me this one. Love the additional pics as well. Star Trek and Zombies -- who would have thunk it?


Stephen My pleasure, Rebecca. This was a book that HAD to be written...and now it has to be read.


Rebecca Huston Being that I am an olde tyme TOS fan (hell, I was there at the start) and a former conventioneer, I simply couldn't pass this one up.


Stephen With that background, Rebecca, I think you will really enjoy it. It's like a love letter to Star Trek...........................................with added zombies.


Rebecca Huston Well, it bumped to the top of the Nook list -- there's the book I'm reading right now, and then Pratchett's Small Gods, and then there will be this one. This one will give me the impetus to get through the others, albeit, I don't think they'll be dull reading either.


message 27: by Marts (new) - added it

Marts  (Thinker) Stephen wrote: "It was, Marts. Much better than I was expecting."

If Stephen says its good, i've gotta get it...


message 28: by Natalie (new)

Natalie while we're throwing xtra points around I think you should get one for illustrating this awesome review w the nerd pillow fighting leia's poster . What a truly awesome graphic deserving of a place above someone's mantle !

Triple bonus points 4 you !


Stephen That was actually the last image I added, Natalie. It almost didn't make it in. I'm glad it did and that you enjoyed it.


Stephen Marts wrote: "If Stephen says its good, i've gotta get it..."

The pressure is on...now I really hope you like it. :)


message 31: by Marts (new) - added it

Marts  (Thinker) cool...


Wesley I've had this waiting for a while now, guess I should give it a go. Excellent review.


message 33: by Contrarius (new) - added it

Contrarius Wow, I just found out that this is even available in audio format. Who could ask for anything more?


message 34: by Trudi (new)

Trudi LOL! Too awesome :)


Stephen Wesley wrote: "I've had this waiting for a while now, guess I should give it a go. Excellent review."

Thanks, Wesley. I think you'll like it.


Stephen Contrarius wrote: "Wow, I just found out that this is even available in audio format. Who could ask for anything more?"

I just saw that as well. I'm a little bummed I didn't know before, because I think audio would have been a great way to experience this. Oh well, it's good enough that I might give it another go at some point.


Stephen Trudi wrote: "LOL! Too awesome :)"

This is a solid batch of fun, Trudi. Definitely worth a go.


message 38: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol Thanks from a big Star Trek fan. I will definitely give this a try.


Sesana Please tell me that early in the book somebody says, "I have a bad feeling about this."


Stephen Page 53, bottom of the page..."I’ve got a bad feeling about this."


Stephen Carol wrote: "Thanks from a big Star Trek fan. I will definitely give this a try."

I hope you love it, Carol.


Sesana Stephen wrote: "Page 53, bottom of the page..."I’ve got a bad feeling about this.""

I think you just made a sale.


Kelly  Maybedog I just read and reviewed this last month and I, too, was pleasantly surprised.


Stephen I saw that you had marked it to read, but I didnt see you had read/ reviewed it. Did you review a different edition?


Kelly  Maybedog I noticed that after I commented. I am very confused. I swear I read it in the past 30 days and I've been pretty good about reviewing everything. I probably typed it in and didn't save it. I've now marked it to review later but I gave it 4 stars as well.


message 46: by Bill (new)

Bill Okay, three things, Stephen:

1) This looks like a lot of fun.
2) Reading this review reminded me of Bimbos of the Death Sun, a mystery that pokes fun at the trekkie folk...it was a lot of fun too.
3) One of the prime benefits of having you as a friend is the almost daily expansion of my vocabulary: I will be using 'nerdgasm' at my earliest convenience. Thanks again.


Stephen If I may respond in kind, Bill:

1. It really is fun...I think you'll like it. Much better written than I expected.

2. Thanks for the heads up about Bimbos of the Death Sun...I just bought after I clicked on the link.

3. *Bows*...thank you, my friend. Use it wisely and in good health.


message 48: by Kelly (last edited May 22, 2012 11:03PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kelly  Maybedog I didn't like Bimbos as much but I definitely thought of it when I picked his book up. Good recommendation.


Rebecca Huston Well, about three quarters of the way through this one, and laughing my head off along the way. Great recommendation, thank you.


Stephen You are very welcome, Rebecca. I'm glad you're enjoying it.


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