Audiobook Review: Night of the Living Trekkies by Sam Stall and Kevin David Anderson

3 05 2013


2013 Zombie Awareness Month

Night of the Living Trekkies by Sam Stall and Kevin David Anderson

Read by Zach McLarty

Random House Audio

Length: 6 Hrs 41 Min

Genre: Zombie Outbreak

Quick Thoughts: Night of the Living Trekkies was a whole lot of fun, full of laugh out loud moments of true geeky joy. It’s a concept that sells itself, and the authors make it work, putting out a book that should please both Zombie fans and Star Trek enthusiasts.

Grade: B

Space may be the final frontier, but here at the Guilded Earlobe, our continuing mission is to provide you with the best, most complete coverage of Zombie Awareness Propaganda possible. Now, there are two types of Zombie enthusiasts. (Honestly, there’s more than two, but overgeneralization is my brains and buttocks.) There are the type that really want to survive by finding a well fortified isolated defendable land, learning as much about zombie weakness and vulnerabilities and creating a workable plan for zombie survival. Then, there are those who want to kill zombies because the idea of killing zombies is fun. These big, brutal zombie killing freaks are of the same sort that enjoyed setting ants on fire, picking on kids for playing Dungeon’s and Dragons, and calling everyone who didn’t fit into their ideals of manliness as "gay" while snapping their teammates on the buttocks with wet towels. I have always wanted to go to a science fiction convention, to meet authors, discover new books, discuss wide ranging topics among people who appreciate the same types of things I do. Yet, a big convention is the last place I want to be when the Zombie Outbreak hits. This is one of the biggest problems when immersing yourselves in Zombie lit, you cannot help but analyze your situation in terms of Zombie survivability. I think a science fiction convention, though, would be like the meat head, Zombie thrill killing douchebags dream house. A bunch of book laden, cosplaying, ubergeeks turned carnivorous fleshbags should be like Coors light and Steven Segal Movies to these jerks. Yet, all the geeks in the world are now giggling their awkward laughs because they know something others may not. These bullies now have to give up their home turf and come to an arena full of strategy role-playing maniacs with access to Klingon weapons ready to turn the convention into the undead Thunderdome. Well, at least in my twisted imaginings, the Geeks should inherit this undead earth.

The Night of the Living Trekkies is about a Zombie outbreak at a Star Trek Convention. Need I really give more of a description? Let me just say this, the main character’s name is Jim Pike. If this even elicits the smallest chuckle from you, you really don’t need to read the rest of this review, Night of the Living Trekkies is for you. Now, I’m a nominal Star Trek fan. I’ve probably watched every episode of every series besides Enterprise at least once. I enjoy them, and know just enough trivia about the series where I don’t seem like a total idiot among hardcore Star Trek fans. It took me a bit, maybe a half hour into the audiobook, before the Jim Pike thing clicked. So, Jim Pike is a former soldier, now wanting nothing more than working a menial job at a local hotel with no responsibility whatsoever. Yet, for some reason, people seem to want to throw responsibility at him. So, when a mysterious illness leaves the hotel understaffed during the annual Star Trek convention Jim finds himself again in charge.  As increasingly bizarre incidents lead Jim to reluctantly believe them may be dealing with a Zombie outbreak, he and a ragtag band of convention goers have one mission, to boldly get their asses to safety. This concept is so good that it could probably write itself, luckily, it doesn’t and authors Sam Stall and Kevin David Anderson fill the pages full of gags, gafts, zombie mayhem, Klingons, inside jokes, extreme inside jokes, and a rich arrogant jackass who gets his comeuppance. There were some simply hilarious moments that any science fiction fans will have trouble containing at least a chuckle over and enough strange Zombie mayhem to please Zedophiles. I really only had one negative issue with the whole thing, the unevenness of the main character. I found all the peripheral characters to be awesome, from the model dressed up as Princess Lea in the golden bikini, to the hapless redshirt who lost all his friends to a series of crazy accidents, these characters were gold. Jim Pike was another story. I liked him, but his constant self flagellation that bordered on whininess was annoying. What truly bothered me was his denial of his true Trekkiness. At times he acted as the ultimate Trek fan, with knowledge beyond what the normal fan knows, even if he denied it. Yet, other times he seemed clueless about almost everyday Trek minutiae. It just seemed uneven, like the authors had two Jim Pike characters, and exchanged the Trek savvy one for the Trek novice one when it served their story. Other than that, Night of the Living Trekkies was a whole lot of fun, full of laugh out loud moments of true geeky joy. It’s a concept that sells itself, and the authors make it work, putting out a book that should please both Zombie fans and Star Trek enthusiasts.

Narrator Zach McLarty must know his Trek. He does a good job creating a vast array of characters that seemed appropriate to the universe. I especially enjoyed his KIingon characters, and some of the geekier roles. At times his pacing was just a bit awkward, with strange emphasis on syllables that messed up some of the flow of the reading. During the slower scenes, he did his best work. yet when thinks sped up, he had a tendency to lose some of the distinctiveness of his characters, occasionally assigning the wrong voice to a character during a dialogue rich scene. Overall, these small instances did little to derail the production, but at times it muddied up the waters adding murkiness to some already confusing scenes. Yet, I think his handling of the Trek aspects of the audiobook was his saving grace, and it makes the performance worth a listen.




One response

6 05 2013
Dave Thompson

I’m friends with Kevin David Anderson and got to beta-read a very early version of it. I’ve been kind of anxious to give it another shot, because I know a lot of the stuff I loved has changed or was removed and it was so much fun. This review makes me significantly less hesitant, which is good.

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