Willful Child : Willful Child

  • by Steven Erikson
  • Narrated by MacLeod Andrews
  • Series: Willful Child
  • 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

These are the voyages of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms, to boldly blow the...
And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through "the infinite vastness of interstellar space".
The New York Times best-selling author of the acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence has taken his lifelong passion for Star Trek and transformed it into a smart, inventive, and hugely entertaining spoof on the whole mankind-exploring-space-for-the-good-of-all-species-but-trashing-stuff-with-a-lot-of-high-tech-gadgets-along-the-way, overblown adventure. The result is an SF novel that deftly parodies the genre while also paying fond homage to it.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Loving, biting, very funny parody of classic SF

This was an unexpected treat.

Erikson, who I know from his well-regarded grim and gritty fantasy work, turns out to be a very funny writer with an obvious deep love for science fiction. This book is both parody and pastiche, primarily of Star Trek (mostly Kirk-era Star Trek), but there are nods to other subgenres as well, from military SF to cyberpunk. To get full enjoyment out of this book, a passing knowledge of Star Trek is a must, and the more you know (and love) science fiction in all of its occasionally cheesy glory, the more fun you will have.

The story itself is surprisingly compelling, as are the characters, given that the book is essentially a parody. Erikson somehow manages to send up many genre conventions (the entire bridge crew beaming down to new planets, the tough space marines who shout "hooah" at every challenge, rogue AIs, and more) by having a main character who manages to be in on the joke, but in a more subtle way than the characters in Scalzi's similarly-themed Redshirts. Indeed, the captain is a complete bastard, albeit an endearing one, an over-the-top parody of Kirk that makes even Futurama's version seem well-behaved. Erikson puts his skills to work, ensuring that the plot remains engaging and the characters interesting, even as the story lurches from bizarre encounter to bizarre encounter. At the same time, he doesn't shy away from occasionally sharpening his parody to more biting satire at the expense of some more worn-out SF tropes.

I don't usually laugh at Audible books, but friends have repeatedly stopped me to ask why I was giggling with my headphones on in the street. This is not only due to Erikson's writing, but also the incredible, multi-voiced (and occasionally enhanced) MacLeod Andrews, who delivers the best comedy performance I have heard on Audible.

So, if you are a Star Trek fan, or at least are familiar with it, this is a no-brainer and probably the funniest science fiction since Hitchhiker's Guide. If you aren't as familiar with the conventions of the genre, or have never seen any Star Trek outside of the J J Abrams reboots, I have a feeling that a lot of the humor would pass you by. For the right kind of listener, however, this is pure gold.
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- Ethan M. "On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through"

Willful Child ridiculous, unbelievable, explicit

WARNING: If you take hard science fiction aka space opera, or whatever you want to call it, very seriously. Do not listen to this audiobook.

Willful Child is a ridiculous, unbelievable, explicit, romp through the galaxy. Captain Hadrian Sawback and his crew stumble from crisis after crisis some how finding a way out of all of the trouble they find themselves in.

The main premise is this. Defiant new Captain of a brand new ship set sail to claim and pillage whatever they can com across in the name of the Alliance. Eventually get assigned a mission to take out a 20th century sports jersey counterfeit operation. Find that it is being run by a very self willed AI (Artificial Intelligence), that hijacks their ship in search of it’s maker.

If you try to compare this to anything you know as familiar, you will be disappointed. However if you can have an open mind, even I had trouble with this, you will be in for laugh out loud hilarity and adventure

Think Star Trek plus Pulp Fiction multiplied by Galaxy Quest divided by The Hunt for Red October. Hard to picture, totally the point.

I have never heard an audiobook performance like the one performed here by MacLeod Andrews. I am almost in all of how you can keep all the characters straight with their above average characterizations. Simply mind blowing.

I don’t know if he got notes from the author of how to make all these alien creatures sound when they’re speaking or what was going through his head but it paid off immensely. So many added sounds grunts, moans, I don’t even know what some of they were some of those were.

Particularly the ships doctor, Printlip, who’s race is some sort of multiple armed, eye stemmed, airbag of sort. Who has to take a gigantic breath before speaking and will often run out of air before he finishes. Then the alien race who apparently profusely spew slime from there mouths and other orafaces. A few time I swear Andrews was making the sound that is called many different things; finger raspberry, flap face, dweeberlips, kazoo kiss, etc.

In my opinion this was listening to Andrews at the top of his game because I have never heard anything like it from any other narrator and all the audio books I’ve listened to in the past. And sadly his performance was one of the only things really keeping me engaged to the whole story.

Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.

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- AudioBook Reviewer "All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-04-2014
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio