Night of the Living Trekkies – Audiobook Review

There’s the old saying that nobody hates a fandom more than its own fans. You can see this in Star Trek and especially in Star Wars. In Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall’s book Night of the Living Trekkies, you can can listen to all the irritating gatekeeping fans get devoured by a horde of flesh eating zombies. That’s a huge win in my book!

Night of the Living Trekkies was published in 2009 by Quirk Books. This is a publishing company who captured lightning in a bottle with Pride, Prejudice and Zombies. They quickly followed up with Dawn of the Dreadfuls, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and so forth. They make, er, quirky books and to my surprise, they are still going strong.

The thing about Quirk Books – I don’t really like them. The genre bending does not work for me. The big part of the “humor” is the actual book title and for the majority of the books I’ve read, the stories fall flat. It’s all concept fluff that lands far short of anything remotely meaningful so I was a little dubious when I stumbled on Night of the Living Trekkies.

To my wonderful delight, this book is the exception. It shines where so many others have fallen flat.

References Abound

Night of the Living Trekkies focuses on a former soldier named Jim Pike. He’s a bellhop at the Botany Bay hotel. After two tours of duty in Afghanistan, he’s haunted by nightmares of dead soldiers, lost under his command.

Did you notice anything about that introduction? The main character’s name is Jim Pike, a combination of Jim Kirk and Christopher Pike. They were two commanders of the Enterprise. The Botany Bay refers Kahn’s (as in the wraith of) ship. It held him and his fellow genetic super humans.

Christopher Pike (left) + Jim Kirk (right) = our hero

This book is filled to the brim with Star Trek references. In most fan books, this is a giant red flag. For me, it’s equivalent of when movie editors add the famous Wilhelm scream to films. It immediately takes me out of the narrative at the expense of a joke.

In this book, the references are masterfully used, for they illuminate the holy triumvirate of writing: plot, character, and theme. The character name Jim Pike lets us know that he’s decisive (and flirty) like Kirk while also harboring a troubled past (like Pike). All the chapters are named after various Star Trek episodes and if you know the cited episode, then you will have an idea of the general tone and theme for the upcoming chapter.

Star Trek is used as a framing device for everything that happens. It’s echoed in the character choices and even the overall themes.

What’s It About

As mentioned, Jim works at a hotel that is hosting a Star Trek convention. Even though he’s a solider, he’s not out of place amongst all the Trekkies. He knows the lingo and can banter with the geekiest of attendees. He used to be a Star Trek geek himself, but the horrors of war took that love from him.

Rena, his sister, visits along with a few friends and they plan to spend the convention together. Jim finds himself doing double duty for all the missing staff members. The convention’s opening numbers are low. And soon, strange happenings are reported throughout the hotel.

Like all good zombie stories, the zombies appear in a slow trickle until the pages are flooded with them. Jim and his friends face a life and death survival to escape. While the book shifts gears into the zombie genre, it still manages to weave in all the optimistic Star Trek overtures.

This book manages to tell an awesome Star Trek story but also tells a kick-butt zombie story, too.

Along the way, Jim rescues a woman named Leia who is cosplaying Princess Leia from Star Wars. It’s a hilarious weaving of fandoms with gentle ribbing on both sides. Needless to say, if you like Star Wars, you’ll also have a good time.

The Audiobook

Zach McLarty does the read and he’s great. His voice is both smooth, yet grizzled. He sounds like he is smiling the whole time, enjoying the book as much as I was. Plus, he does some great voices. There are a bunch of different characters and they all sound unique, and not forced.

When tragedy does occur – this is a zombie book after all – he amplifies it. Like all good readers, Zach makes the book better in ways the authors couldn’t have foreseen.

TL;DR

The Beautiful: Excellent writing from both Anderson and Stall, read by a talented narrator …
The Good: … that combines the best of two different genres.
The Bad: Every so often, the story trips over itself, telling too much for non-trek fans (a minor quibble)
The Ugly: The reputation of naval Commodores. You’d think one may have keyed Gene Rodenberry’s car.

Verdict:

4.5 out of 5 Vulcan Salutes

The audiobook is awesome, and I highly suggest you listen to it. That said, it’s like a great tasty burger. You’ll completely love it as you consume it, but after it’s over, you’ll forget about it. Which is actually kind of awesome when you inevitably listen to it again.

Get it here (audible.com)

By Brian Moakley

Brian Douglas Moakley is a writer and technologist who lives amongst the quiet hills in New England. When not reading tales of high adventure, he is often telling such stories to all who will listen.

Related Post

Leave a Reply