Will­ful Child

Carry On Star Trek

SFX - - Books -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

348 pages | Hard­back/ ebook Au­thor: Steven Erik­son Pub­lisher: Tor

Some books are worth check­ing out for cu­rios­ity value alone. Chew on this one: Steven Erik­son, he of doorstop- sized, multi- vol­ume fan­tasy sagas fame, has writ­ten a Star Trek spoof. Don’t pre­tend that you’re not in­trigued.

The con­ceit is sim­ple. When Earth makes the leap into deep space ex­plo­ration far too early ( thanks to aliens crash- land­ing on Earth) young Hadrian Saw­back – who’s been brought up on Star Trek – be­comes a cap­tain, mod­el­ling him­self on Cap­tain Kirk. He takes com­mand of the star­ship Will­ful Child and has a se­ries of episodic and oddly fa­mil­iar ad­ven­tures in­volv­ing fake rocks on plan­ets that all look like North­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

While there are some fun con­cepts ( es­pe­cially the way the book’s ver­sion of the Borg are de­feated), amus­ing sec­ondary char­ac­ters and snappy one- lin­ers here, Erik­son is no Dou­glas Adams. Think more Spaceballs, with such blunt satire as a sword- wield­ing of­fi­cer called Zulu, Hadrian solv­ing the Mish­mashi test at the academy and wink- at- the- cam­era di­a­logue like, “I can feel an episode com­ing on.”

Erik­son also stran­gles the life out of run­ning gags un­til you’re beg­ging, “Please! Don’t men­tion the ripped shirt again!” And yes, okay, Hadrian’s libido may be Kirk- in­spired lam­poon­ery, but after a while he’s just a te­diously sex­ist buf­foon.

If Will­ful Child was self- pub­lished fan­fic you’d be rea­son­ably amused. But from a ma­jor au­thor it feels a lit­tle em­bar­rass­ing. Dave Golder

In the early days of The Next Gen­er­a­tion, Erik­son sub­mit­ted a script fea­tur­ing the “dooms­day ma­chine” from TOS.

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