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The Klingon Art of War by Keith R.A. DeCandido
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Stuff I Read - The Klingon Art of War by Keith R.A. DeCandido Review

I got this book as something of a joke. It was on sale and I saw it and just sort of had to. As a big Star Trek fan it was just too tempting to pass by. I might be something of a sucker for "non-fiction" books from fictional settings, and especially from Star Trek. And this does not disappoint. For those wanting some further background on everyone's favorite forehead-ridged aliens, this book is a valuable resource. For those wanting a bit more of an insight into the mind of a warrior people through an examination of one of their Holy texts, this is a fascinating study. And for those wanting a fun excuse to chuckle at all the Star Trek jokes and Easter eggs, this is a fun and rather hilarious read.

That it can be read on so many different levels almost seems strange to me. Because, really, this is a Star Trek tie-in book where a fictional Klingon scholar interprets an equally fictional Klingon text using fictional Klingon history to elucidate his points. And yet because Star Trek is such a fully realized setting, none of this seems odd at all. Fans who have watched and read Star Trek will recognize instantly the various aspects of Klingon life, will see the references to episodes or books, will be treated to some events being expanded from their original throw-away lines. All the while there is an understanding that Klingon history is not always literal, for all Klingon's value honesty, there is a slight Cardassian implication to the Kahless elements at least that the truth of the story is more in the teachings and less in the historical fact.

And that's also just pretty great. I kind of want more of these now, written not only for Klingons but for Vulcans and for Romulans and for Cardassians. To see the texts that most shape them. I feel that, for the Federation, that document would be the Charter (not the Bible), which in my mind would look a bit more like the Declaration of Independence (anyone else remember that rather bad episode of the original series where the Constitution was a sacred text on some world?). It's more the philosophy of the people, as this is the philosophy of the Klingons. And it works quite well. You can really see how this could basically be given to any actor looking to play a Klingon, any writer looking to dabble in Klingons. This is a resource, both in the fictional way it strives to be and in a real sense for fans of the material.

It's clear, at last, that a lot of love went into this book. And it's certainly a lot of fun. Mostly, though, the book is something that further reveals the Klingon mindset, the Klingon way of life. It does not really draw many of those lessons out, though I suppose there is a sense where this could act as a sort of how-to guide for starting your Klingon way of life. Sort of like how some people take Buddhism or things like that in an effort to be more Spiritual. There are some obvious problems with that (as embracing your inner Klingon is in no ways a good idea). I mean, metaphorically some of the teachings might seem all right, but they are so vague as to be unhelpful. More, the book seems to be written to be light and fun while borrowing some of the tone and structure of a self-help book to be funny and lighthearted.

And it succeeds. It's not the deepest of reads, but there is a surprising amount to wade through, to enjoy. I did quite enjoy getting to learn a bit more about the history of the Klingons, and hearing the various parables that exemplify the Klingon tenants. It's a fun book, for fans of Star Trek a must-read, but for everyone else probably something that won't do a whole lot. Indeed. A 7.5/10 for me.
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Reading Progress

April 4, 2015 – Shelved
April 4, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
April 4, 2015 – Shelved as: 2015-challenge
June 2, 2015 – Started Reading
June 2, 2015 – Shelved as: science-fiction
June 2, 2015 – Shelved as: stat_3
June 6, 2015 –
page 160
100.0% "An interesting read. Very Klingon, as if that had to be said. A nice mix of fiction and "nonfiction." Indeed."
June 6, 2015 – Finished Reading
June 22, 2015 – Shelved as: reviewed

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