Willful Child by Steven Erikson

Synopsis: From the New York Times Bestselling author Steven Erikson comes a new science fiction novel of devil-may-care, near calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through the infinite vastness of interstellar space.

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 bestselling 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.

Review: When I saw the book, I knew immediately that it would not be for me. Ships? Aliens? Everything that is difficult for me in science fiction. Okay I admit that I struggle with many things in science fiction. Yet the summary seemed pretty funny with a main character really colorful. By cons, it is true that even if I know Star Trek by name, I’ve never seen an episode or I do not remember if it’s the case. It’s therefore hard for me to say if it comes close to it or if we have a good parody here.

Captain Hadrian Sawback embarks on his new ship with a new team he has chosen even if he doesn’t know them. Together they go into space and discover the wonders it contains or at least that’s what they believe. Oh yes, because after trying to dock a ship, they find themselves “infected” by a new entity, Tammy, who takes possession of the ship while fitting into the circuits. Everyone is a little upset by this change except Hadrian who is taking it pretty well in the end. Tammy becomes a full member of the crew to the great displeasure of some. It must be said that despite a rather determined attitude, our being is still quite pleasant to discover.

There are a lot of things in this novel, and although at times I really enjoyed it, I think it was too much science fiction for me to really adhere to all or to really understand what was going on. By cons it is true that I loved the main character! He has all of the anti-hero, he is sarcastic, does not really have very good luck and seems to find himself in incredible situations. And he has no equal to settle in difficult situations elsewhere.

As I said I loved the characters and their conversations, and even if I had a little trouble with the story, I really think people who really appreciate the genre will be conquered. It was an interesting discovery and I’m glad to see that the novel receives positive opinion because I think it is really worth it. This is the first novel of the genre where I appreciate that much the protagonists.



30 thoughts on “Willful Child by Steven Erikson

  1. I agree this book would probably appeal more to a Star Trek fan, especially of the original series. It’s a pretty relentless parody of it, but likely more funny to readers who understand certain references and jokes. I had a pretty good time with this but I can also understand how it would fall flat for others.

  2. Nope, definitely not for me… Although it’s not my fave genre, I still watch a few sci-fi movies, but then I really struggle with science fiction reads. So I’ll pass this time…

  3. I tend to struggle with hardcore science fiction as well Melliane. Stories with some sci-fi elements I usually can handle, typically YA, but straight up science fiction is sometimes hard for me to really wrap my mind around and settle into. I’m sorry this one was the same way for you, but I’m glad you loved the characters!

  4. I love Alien books but that’s the hardest thing for me in Sci-Fi too, especially when it’s to do with ships/colonies in the galaxy etc. I’ve never watched Star Trek either (though I think I did see the remake). At least you loved the main character! 😀

  5. I struggle a bit with this genre as well. It doesnt’ mean though that I am not willing to try it. I am glad you went out on a limb and took a chance with something different.

  6. Oh! I was surprised to see you read a science fiction story. lol. I’m curious about it. I think I might like to try it. 🙂 Thank you!

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