Saturday, 12 October 2013

A Splash of Targ Soup or Gagh Curry for Boxing Day?

This has to be one of, if not THE most, bizarre books ever to grace the printing presses at Simon and Schuster. 

Yes, I have noticed that it's not even November let alone December but I did ask pester the Better Half last week in the supermarket if we could have some mince pies (They're only £1 for six!) so Christmas isn't that far away at all. Indeed, present lists are already been typed (not written any more) up and emailed to Santa - but would this new tome be welcomed in your stocking?

First of all I would place your tongue firmly into the side of your cheek and allow it to remain there for a short time. A Very Klingon Khristmas is not a book to take seriously in any respect, galaxy or dimension; not even one rebooted by JJ Abrams.

So let's dive straight in. If you were expecting a  linear narrative story then I would halt you at the front cover. This is more Night Before Christmas than A Christmas Carol with a distinctly alien twist. It's a song rather than a story played for laughs from the first word.

Now for an admission - I read this through out loud the first time to my 21 month old son. He seemed to enjoy it so that's got to be a tick, right?

Under the guise of celebrating the birth of Kahless (replete with mek'leth) this is a journey into Klingon territory as never seen before or likely to see again. I would hasten to point out that you can't blow out a Jeffries tube and hark on about what is and isn't canon here. It's very obvious this is designed to be off-the-wall especially when there are references to Klingon Shakespeare and mulled blood wine thrown in amongst other things.

I think the big draw here is seeing how the familiar elements that we know of the Klingons are woven into the poetic narrative (but no bat'leths unfortunately). Even tribbles get a mention and will be waiting for naughty Klingon children on Khristmas morning. It really is as if every aspect of Christmas (with a C) is warped here with a Klingon touch. Carol singing, mistletoe, Khristmas dinner are all given the Qo'no'S treatment however my favourite part of it has to be reserved for Santa Qlas. 

Saint Nick gets a blanket makeover for the Klingon version (which we humans have clearly stolen) as you can see above. The concept for his sleigh and its "reindeer" is a great take on the story with the illustrations attached very well done. I do think they are a work of genius to be given the makeover we see here. Santa Qlas does have an odd (and maybe intentional) resemblance to the recently departed Michael Ansara. It only adds to a great feel and I would have liked to have seen maybe a thinly disguised Gowron, Worf or Martok dropped in here just for a nod to the audience.

There is a decidedly festive feel to the images (as you would expect) but the appearance of Klingons in Christmasy garb is a surprise whatever you were anticipating. Patrick Faricy has managed to capture the essence of this warrior race at their celebratory and cheery best...unusually....

While it all has that Star Trek spin, the pictures which accompany each verse of this tale from Paul Ruditis remind me of some of the more cliched, sickly sweet cards I might expect to see in the festive season. It's the more "romanticised" side to Christmas filled with oddly cheery and confused warriors tangling with twinkle lights in white and red striped battle armour. It also fits into that niche of the cheesy Christmas books that you start to see around that tell all the old, famous seasonal stories surrounded by snow and merriment. There's a lot of cheese here but it's in good measure to suit this most random of material.

Ok, this won't ever be lined up on your official reference shelf but it's certainly different and absolutely unexpected (even more than that Neelix Cookbook) and both Paul Ruditis and illustrator Patrick Faricy should be applauded for daring to even THINK of doing something as random as this book. My only concern is that some of Star Trek fandom might see this as barrel scraping rather than a quirky library addition intended to make a fast bit of cash rather than a novelty item.

It won't take you more than 15 minutes at best to read with a handful of pages only half of which have script on them. I would say it's appreciated the most if you speak it loud rather than say it in your head!

The jokes might not be that funny but if you understand the background material it will all make more than enough sense and raise a smile for being geniunely inventive nontheless. A Very Klingon Khristmas might not be at the top of Star Trek fans lists to find under the tree on December 25th but I would think it would make many a Trekkie happy as a quality stocking filler. I myself might choose to settle down with a little port or blood wine on Christmas Eve for a reading to the family....or YouTube....

A Very Klingon Khristmas is available now from Simon and Schuster priced £9.99 ISBN 9781476746807.

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