Tek War: Shatner's Future
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This, William Shatner's first attempt at writing science fiction,
is an action/adventure story of the pursuit to find a cure for the most heinous
drug of the future, tek. The hero is Jake Cardigan, a cop who was framed for a
crime and sent to prison, but has been mysteriously released only four years
into his fifteen year term. Soon Jake is teamed up with a cyborg to find the
scientists who have discovered a cure for tech, and who he hopes will also lead
him to the men behind his wrongful inprisonment.
I have never been that impressed with William Shatner. Though I was a big fan
of the "Star Trek" series, he was the actor that I always found the most to
laugh at. I was never very fond of "T.J. Hooker" either, Shatner's highly
inflected style of speaking never fit in nearly as well with the street smart
cop as it did with the testerone-for-brains captain. And then there was his
spoken word album, "The Transformed Man", which to this day is still regarded
by many critics as one of the worst albums ever made. In other words, I did not
have very high expectations for this novel. However, I was surprised, it was
not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
For the most part, Shatner keeps his love of melodrama out of the novel. None
of his characters seem to have his passion for extreme adjectives (the only
times you ever read the word "agony" or "ecstasy", two of Shatner's favorite
vocabulary words, are in the introduction). What I found in this novel is
believable dialog by characters that may not be terribly unique for this type
of action/suspense type novel (Jake is a tough cop that would rather use his
gun than his brain, his partner Gomez is a hot blooded Latino womanizer), but
are still interesting. Shatner is pretty good at moving the plot along, he
sends his character on an adventure that steadily reveals the story. He doesn't
try to make the story or characters too deep, nor reach for any concepts that
might take away from the the constant action in the story. This steady, though
predictable, plot keeps the reader interested in the novel.
There were some things in Shatner's novel that I disliked. Maybe this is
getting a little nit picky, but I am irritated that Shatner uses the cliche
"suspended animation prison". What society would make a suspended animation
prison? How could a society possibly
believe that by freezing a prisoner, and having him wake up the exact same
person, he could be rehabilitated? In addition it would have been nice if
Shatner had gone a little more into his description of tek. If tek were a
microchip, why did you have to keep on buying more, why not just reuse the old
ones? And though, Shatner keeps his natural tendency to melodrama under
control, it does manifest itself several times in the novel. At one point Jake
Cardigan is shoved into a cellar where he has to face three robot bulls; there
is a big scene where Jake avoids the bulls through clever foot work. Instead of
pushing him into a room full of robot bulls it would have made far more sense
for Cardigan's would be assassins to just shoot him in the back. In addition,
it seems that about half of the "bad guys" that come after Jake have big
cybernetic claws implanted in their hands, allowing Shatner to create fight
scenes where Jake has to avoid getting impaled by futuristic weapons. The only
question I have is, why don'
t any of these guys have guns?
In "Tek War" William Shatner creates a pretty generic action/adventure type
science fiction novel. In some ways it reminds me of "Star Trek". There are
lots of cowboys with laser guns going after villains with black hats. Although
this book will never be regarded by anyone as a great work of science fiction,
it does give some fun lite reading.
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