Last fall, we heard the first rumblings about a new book coming for 2014, Fun with Kirk and Spock. To be published by Cider Mill Press, this new tome was to be a light-hearted parody of Star Trek as well as the classic Fun with Dick and Jane books which have been around since the 1930s. Upon hearing the news that this was coming down from Mount Booklympus, I promptly offered my gut prediction: “Candidate for Best Trek book ever? I think so.”
Well, the book’s here, boys and girls, and now we’ve got some serious deliberatin’ to do.
Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I was contacted by one of Cider Mill’s sales and marketing coordinators, who had come across my earlier blog posting and asked if I was interested in reviewing the book. As I was predisposed to like the thing, I naturally said, “Sure!”
With that bit of business out of the way, I don’t mind saying that this book is exactly as advertised. Using the Fun with Dick and Jane template as a point of departure, Fun with Kirk and Spock is basically an introduction to the original Star Trek, in which we get to see the intrepid captain and his brave crew go. See them go boldly, I say! Robb Pearlman’s text definitely evokes the old Dick and Jane vibe as it describes the Enterprise, the crew, and many of their adversaries and adventures. Several of the show’s classic tropes are affectionately skewered, such as Spock’s incessant logic, the typical fate of anyone wearing a red shirt, and Jim Kirk’s singular fighting prowess. Even the good captain’s penchant for wooing the ladies gets a bit of ribbing along the way.
An obvious highlight of the book is the illustrations provided by artist Gary Shipman. Stylized without going all the way to caricature, Shipman’s renderings of Kirk and the gang are reminiscent of one of the Star Trek storybooks published by Random House waaaaaay back in the 1970s, The Truth Machine. There’s also a hint of the fun stuff magazines like Mad, Cracked, and/or Crazy used to do with their Star Trek parodies back in the day, and I offer these comparisons in the nicest possible way. The artwork, like Pearlman’s writing, is whimsical, charming, and at times even hysterical.
Long story short, Fun with Kirk and Spock is a cute, entertaining book for kids and their parents who still harbor a bit of kid within themselves. As I said back in November when it first crossed my radar screen, my biggest beef with the thing is that I wasn’t the one writing it. I mean, come on:
(Actually, that looks like Mister Leslie, so he might be okay.)
StarTrek.com recently had an interview with Robb Pearlman, and how he came to write the book. You can check out that, along with some more sample pages by clicking on this linky-type thing right here:
Those interested in pre-ordering the book can do so via the website Cider Mill has established, with links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as a tool to help you find a local independent bookseller in your area. Personally, I think that last one is a very nice touch, and I highly encourage you to support your local indie book pusher.
My verdict? Go and get this one. In fact, buy one for yourself, and one for that Trek fan who could use a little pick-me-up from the final frontier. We need more stuff like this, if for no other reason than to remind our Trekkie selves not to take everything so damned seriously all the time. If, in the midst of that, we’re able to introduce the next generation (see what I did there?) of fans to all the awesomeness that is–and can be–Star Trek, then that’s good, too.
“But, Dayton!” I can hear someone shouting from the rafters. “The book’s not due out until the end of the month! What if I want to get a copy right now?”
Well, as it happens, Cider Mill was nice enough to provide me with an extra copy of the book, to give away to one lucky reader as I see fit. However, it’d be kinda sorta boring if I just picked a random person for no discernible reason, right? Therefore, I announce a CONTEST!
Don’t worry, it’s easy.
Here’s the deal: I’ve selected an image from the book–one that hasn’t yet been seen on any of the other sites reporting on it…so far as I know, anyway. I’ve removed the text that accompanies the illustration.
YOUR MISSION: Provide a caption.
What are you working with? Behold:
1. The caption has to be provided here, in the comments section of the blog. Not on Facebook, or Twitter, or wherever else you happen to hear about this. Nope. Right here, down below in the comments. Anything posted anywhere else will be ignored.
2. The contest begins today (July 4th, starting when this post goes live), and will extend through Wednesday, July 9th. You can enter as many times as you like, but each entry should be its own comment. Multiple entries in the same comment will all be discarded.
3. Keep it PG-13.
4. Winner will be selected by me, so make me laugh, yo.
Your move, folks. Hit me.