A stand-alone humorous science fiction book

Publication year: 2012
Format: Audio
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Running Time: 7 hrs, 42 m

The book starts with the starship Intrepid’s command crew and a couple of ensigns on away team, on an alien planet. Land worms eat the young ensign Davis, after grieving him for a couple of minutes, the command crew realizes that they need more crew members.

Among the new ensigns are Andrew Dahl, Maya Duvall, and Jimmy Hanson. Soon after arrival they notice that strange things are happening aboard the Universal Union startship Intepid. Most of the crew avoid away team assignments so much that they even use the intercom system to alert them when a member of the command crew is approaching. That’s because many of the junior members tend to die during the missions, by ice sharks or by vaporization or by shuttle accident. Also, sometimes the command crew speaks in excessively dramatic way and usually around the same time the natural laws bend and break. And then there’s poor Lieutenant Kerensky who seems to have some sort of medical emergency regularly (sometimes he’s beaten up and sometimes he contracts a horrible disease) but heals in just a couple of days. He’s the ship’s navigator. Yup, the Intrepid isn’t like the other starships.

I found the book hilarious. I’m a Star Trek fan, not to mention a fan of various other science fiction shows, so a lot of the gags and cliches are quite familiar to me. It’s also refreshing to read about the junior members instead of the command crew. The ensigns are a likable bunch and Davis is determined to find out just what is going on. If there’s one thing that slightly annoyed me, it’s that the characters and the ship are never described at all. It’s a bit strange considering how looks are something of a plot point later in the book.

The second half and the three coda parts at the end are very, very meta and perhaps not to everyone’s tastes.