‘Fun with Kirk and Spock’

(Courtesy of Cider Mill Press)
(Courtesy of Cider Mill Press)

Parody: the final frontier. These are the jokes of “Fun with Kirk and Spock.” Its 60-page mission: to explore familiar old episodes, to seek out old gags and old cliches, to boldly go where no satire has gone before!

Every boomer geek on earth – and off it — will want to beam up a copy of this hilarious picture book by Robb Pearlman. Using “Dick and Jane” as his base camp, Pearlman has recreated the 1960s sci-fi show in all its wonder. The whole crew is here, from Kirk and Spock to Sulu and Nurse Chapel. (Don’t get attached to the crewman in the red shirt.) You’ll even find Khan (“Khan is not a morning person”) and your favorite extraterrestrial monsters, all re-rendered in the cheery clarity of “Dick and Jane”:

See the Gorn.

The Gorn is tall.

The Gorn is green.

The Gorn is wearing a one-piece

sleeveless tunic with brocaded accents 

and matching gauntlets.

The Gorn is fashion-forward.

(Courtesy of Cider Mill Press)
(Courtesy of Cider Mill Press)

Like commander Rojan of the Kelvin Empire, Pearlman has condensed the whole crew to its crystalline essence. He’s got those troublesome Tribbles, of course, along with Lokai and Bele and the parallel universe in which “Kirk refuses the advances of a woman. This is a bad universe!”

Scotty can give the shields all he’s got, but you won’t be able to resist the tractor beam of this comedy. Even Spock would let slip a smile at this dead-pan narration.

“Fun with Kirk and Spock” is published by 9-year-old Cider Mill Press, in Kennebunkport, Maine. They’re the same frakkin’ geniuses who published “Bi-Curious George” last year. This new parody won’t be released until July 29, but Cider Mill has already received advance orders for the whole 25,000 first run, according to publishing coordinator John Whalen III. Now it’s gearing up for a second printing around that size.

And don’t worry about Cider Mill Press getting hit by photon torpedoes: “Fun with Kirk and Spock” is published with permission from Paramount and CBS, owners of the Star Trek franchise.

(Cider Mill Press)
(Cider Mill Press)

Pearlman, associate publisher at Universe Books for calendars and licensing, is also the author of “101 Ways to Kill a Zombie” and five other books. A child of the 1970s, he says, “I was, of course, in love with the space and sci-fi aspects of the show. I thought the beaming up and down thing was the best and couldn’t imagine a world where you’d walk around with a phone on your hip and have screen-to-screen conversations with people. It’s amazing that it’s exactly what we’re doing today.”

Rewatching — and rewatching and rewatching — the show as he wrote this book, he gained an even deeper appreciation for its humor, especially the banter between Bones and Spock and the other tics that have since become cultural touchstones.

See Bones.

Bones calls Spock a pointed-eared hobgoblin.

See Spock.

Spock calls Bones illogical. . . .

Spock and Bones are frenemies.

(Courtesy of Cider Mill Press)
(Courtesy of Cider Mill Press)

“I never heard a doomed red-shirt joke I didn’t like,” Pearlman says. “My goal was to distill the characters, and some of the episodes and situations, into stories that could be short and to the point – just like the Dick and Jane stories — while still maintaining the sense of fun found in each. As a fan, it was important to me to celebrate and honor the original series, so the humor had to come naturally.”

For example, he cites an episode called the “Errand of Mercy” in which the Federation and the Klingons are fighting over the planet Organia. “Some people could see the episode and think it’s about countries invading other countries or the futility of violence,” Pearlman says, “but what it came down to, for me, was the planet. This was basically a high-end real-estate battle, and everyone knows the three most important things in real estate are ‘location, location, location.’ Lucky for me that repetition worked perfectly within the context of the book.”

So true, Pearlman. Live long and prosper.

 

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.
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Ron Charles · July 11