Steven Erikson is well known for his series “Malazan Book of the Fallen”, a dark fantasy series. When I heard he had written a Star Trek parody called Willful Child, I was intrigued.
There are a few points that I should tackle up front. First, I understand there have been comparisons made between Willful Child and Redshirts by John Scalzi. To be fair, I’ve never read Mr. Scalzi’s Redshirts, so I can’t speak to any comparisons. Second, the book is considered by many to be lacking in the quality department. I don’t believe this is accurate, as I’ll explain later, but there is an element of humor related to the original series of Star Trek that many people may not catch.
With that out of the way, let me say this: I loved this book. I wouldn’t say it’s a masterpiece, as people have said about Malazan, but I would say it was entertaining and drove me to read it within a short time period.
Erikson hit a perfect stride with the character of Captain Hadrian Sawback. The character is an extreme parody of Captain Kirk. He’s brash, intelligent, extremely chauvinist, and sexually driven. He hits on basically every female character and breaks protocol to travel on away missions (despite being the captain).
Honestly, some of the jokes don’t hit. He makes many jokes and absurd situations, many of which made me smile or outright laugh. There’s many that don’t work, though, and it’s a shame.
To be fair, the book is entertaining and fun and exciting. It’s somewhat episodic (it’s a parody of Star Trek: The Original Series, remember?) but it’s a good read.
I’d recommend it if you like absurd science fiction.
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