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SHATNERQUAKE
By JEFF BURK (Eraserhead Press; 2009)

You’re unlikely to find a more concentrated chunk of unadulterated nonsense anywhere, although I can’t say this lark from Jeff Burk, of the Bizarro crew, isn’t enjoyable. The Shatner of the title refers to William Shatner, the star of this 100 page goof. He plays himself here, as well as nearly all his movie and TV guises over the years (an author’s note assures us the book is “not an attempt to mock, ridicule of belittle” Mr. Shatner, and concludes with a direct plea to the man himself: “Please don’t sue me”).

     The time is the near future, the place a Shatner convention held in a giant coliseum. William Shatner himself is at the convention, speaking in his inimitable pause-filled manner (“How…are you doing? Things…going smoothly so far?”). Also afoot are quite a few “Campbellians,” fanatical Bruce Campbell fans looking to disrupt the proceedings, and a guy named Bob who looks exactly like Shatner, down to his choice of outfit (Bob closely studies Shatner’s public dress history and so knows how he’ll dress at every event he attends). But then one of the Campbellians sets off a “Fiction Bomb” in the screening area, which is intended to make all the images of Shatner disappear from existence but has the opposite effect, causing the fictional Shatners to enter into reality.

     Thus, all of William Shatner’s screen guises enter the convention: Captain Kirk, T.J. Hooker, the Priceline.com pitchman, the Esperanto-speaking guy Shatner played in INCUBUS (1966), etc. This leads to mass confusion, especially once Captain Kirk begins shooting convention-goers with his phaser while the Shatner who hosted RESCUE 911 gives play-by-play commentary on the carnage. This of course vexes the real William Shatner to no end, and also his look-alike Bob, as both are falsely implicated in the madness.

     It’s all kinda fun, although the novel looses its footing amid all the cartoony mayhem that takes up the final 60 pages. It seems like there’s a whole lot more the author could have done with this material, and indeed perhaps he did in his other Shatner-themed publications SHATNERQUEST and SHATNERAPOCALYPSE. I just wish there were more to the present book. 

     

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