Steven Erikson – Willful Child: Wrath of Betty

Willful Child: Wrath of Betty

Willful Child: Wrath of Betty


The Starship Willful Child, led by Captain Hadrian Sawback, goes out and does incomprehensible things to aliens.


Remember when you read that one book, and it had some really funny lines? Or maybe it was even a book that was funny overall? (Say, Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide, or Pratchett’s Nation.) Imagine someone took just the funny lines and made a book out of those, and made it a parody of Star Trek to boot. Wouldn’t that be funny?

In a word, no. While some of Erikson’s lines and situations are funny, the book as a whole is unreadable. Even individual chapters are unreadable. I tried very, very hard, but in the end, the best I could do was to skim the latter half of the book. There’s simply no effort to provide any structure or meaningful plot. It’s Exaggerated Situation followed by Exaggerated Situation – in many cases, the same situation, just with different labels. It’s not only incomprehensible, it’s dull.

This is the kind of idea that deserves a tossed-off flash piece for a convention magazine. I can’t imagine how it became a full-scale book. Even writing the thing can’t have been fun, and reading it (or trying to) is torture. And it’s a sequel!

I didn’t really enjoy what I’ve read of Erikson’s Malazan Empire, but this is much, much worse. Those books had plots, characters, concepts. What this has is one joke, repeated over and over and over. And over. I can’t recommend this unless you really, really hate Star Trek, you know it really, really well, and you can laugh at the same thing all day long. If that’s not you, don’t go near this book.

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