Mercury Arts Editor Alison Hallet's my lackadaisically updated blog column Two Page Minimum, wherein I take a new book out for drinks and give it a few minutes to grab my attention. Two Page Minimum is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)
Who's your date today?
Shatnerquake, by local author Jeff Burk, who's also the editor of The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. Shatnerquake is a slim, 83-page volume that details what happens when William Shatner attends ShatnerCon, only to find all of his fictional characters—Captain Kirk, Denny Crane, Rescue 9-1-1 Shatner, TJ Hooker, et al.—come to life. Then the Bruce Campbell fans show up, and things get violent.
Where did you go for drinks?
Beulahland. I spend a fair amount of time there. I like their nachos! And their Ovaltine!
What's your first impression?
Frankly, this is the sort of thing that you'd normally find on fanfiction.net, but better. It's a quick read—I went through 57 pages in the time it took to have one Ovaltine and two plates of nachos—and I'm still entertained, despite the one-note goofiness of its premise. I'm not that impressed by Burk's writing—which feels rote and straightforward in a way that just kind of matter-of-factly tells what's happening, without much punch—but I am impressed by how well Burk has thought out his premise, and how far he's willing to take things. This is surreal and weird and funny, and it's also super violent, in the same food-coloring-plus-corn-syrup-equals-fake-blood sort of way as Evil Dead 2 or Bad Taste.
Is there a representative quote?
It's hard to beat the cover's tagline ("William Shatner? William Shatner. William Shatner!"), but here goes:
Shatner turned to face Kirk and raised the bat'leth. Kirk looked around and grabbed a black tube from another table. A brave fanboy ran up and grabbed the object as well and the two wrestled over it. The fanboy had two feet and a good two hundred pounds on Kirk. Shatner smiled, he was finally getting some help.
The fanboy tossed Kirk about, but Kirk refused to let go of the tube. His thumb found a button on the side. Instantly a red beam shot out into the fanboy's stomach. He let go. Kirk raised the tube and the beam sliced neatly through the fanboy. He fell to his knees as his copious intestines unraveled onto the floor.
Kirk turned around and marveled at the laser-sword as the fanboy tried to put his guts back in.
"Oh shit, Captain Kirk's got a lightsaber," someone yelled.
Will you two end up in bed together?