By Steven Erikson
When it comes to SF mythology, the voyages of the Starship Enterprise are unrivalled (though you may get some argument here from Star Wars aficionados). Since its television debut in 1966, Star Trek has gone on to become a media universe of its own, with an endless string of TV series, movies and novels.
In 2013 John Scalzi won the Hugo Award for Redshirts, an affectionate send up of Star Trek dealing with the metafictional fates of the “away teams.” Willful Child is a work in a similar vein, following the newly-minted and outrageously politically incorrect Starfleet Captain Hadrian Sawback as he boldly goes where the franchise has often gone before, but this time with even more reckless abandon.
This is not a gentle or particularly sophisticated parody. It is Douglas Adams-style slapstick: outrageously over-the-top and loving it. Steven Erikson has a professional background in anthropology and archeology, but that informs his strange new worlds and new civilizations less than his thorough grounding in the original Star Trek series. Trekkies everywhere will want to beam up.