Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall deliver a comedic, zombie-filled ride to lovers of both horror and science fiction in “Night of the Living Trekkies.”
When choosing people to save the world, fan-boys, a slave girl and bell boys are very rarely the first choice. But when GulfCon falls prey to the walking dead, the unlikely team is the only one available.
The novel follows Jim Pike, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, during Houston’s largest fictional Star Trek convention.
Though Pike knows the Star Trek universe and is a fan, he isn’t nearly as involved as the conventioneers who show up. They’re dressed as Vulcans, Klingons, and any other manner of Star Trek character imaginable from every aspect of the series. Pike’s already precarious world comes crashing down when one by one, the costumed conventioners die and return as flesh-hungry walking dead.
Anderson and Stall’s novel is a treasure trove for die-hard Star Trek fans. Character names hearken back to obscure Star Trek heroes. Jim Pike himself has a name drawn from both iconic James T. Kirk and the obscure Captain Christopher Pike from the original 1966 Star Trek pilot.
For those who may not know the obscure heroes, there are easily caught references to more prevalent pop culture characters. Anderson and Stall seem to anticipate that most readers won’t understand the very obscure references to the old science fiction shows. Pike also serves as the audience’s guide throughout the novel, allowing for easy descriptions of more obscure references.
Star Wars fans can even find references that are easily enjoyable. The heroine and love interest, who identifies only as Leia from Star Wars, constantly quotes from the films while kicking zombie tail in her famous slave outfit. The references she spouts are very readable and surprisingly don’t become cliché when stuck into regular dialogue.
The depictions of the zombies are visceral, gory and tinted with the dark humor of being costumed conventioneers. Having to take out an entire horde of zombies dressed like the Borg can’t be anything but amusing to readers. The unlikely heroes are easily seen in the minds’ eye through Anderson and Stall’s effective descriptions as they slay the undead with weapons like a Klingon bat’leth, a Vulcan lirpa, or a more traditional Glock.
“Night of the Living Trekkies” falls into the dangerous trap of being predictable. The zombie formula has been perfected since George Romero’s, “Night of the Living Dead,” and Anderson and Stall seem unable to escape this typical story. The zombies aren’t anything new with their slow walking and head-kills. It isn’t until the very end of the novel that Anderson and Stall flip the formula on its head.
Though their writing is formulaic, Anderson and Stall execute their narrative well and recognize that clichés can help build a readable novel. Readers who know the typical zombie-apocalypse formula will find themselves refusing to believe a zombie apocalypse is starting in the first few chapters and will want to stay in the safe world of an immaculate, yet boring, hotel. The reader may know what’s going on even before the characters have fully grasped the horror of their situation, but it only adds to the suspense.
Whether a die-hard Trekkie, a horror fan, or just a person who loves science fiction, “Night of the Living Trekkies” is sure to tickle the funny bone of almost any reader.
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Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ana Faria at Ana.email@example.com.