Jeff Burk took a class I taught at BizarroCon that was about writing high concept bizarro fiction. I had students come up with ideas for possible future books that were so irresistibly out-there that anyone who read the back cover description would need to read the book based on the description alone. Jeff Burk’s idea was called “Shatnerquake.” After I read his description I told him that he had to actually write it and get it published because people would absolutely love to read a book like this.
This is the description of the book he came up with:
William Shatner. William Shatner? William Shatner!!! It’s the first ever ShatnerCon and William Shatner is the guest of honor. While promoting his latest TekWar novel, he must deal with obsessive fan boys, obnoxious impersonators, and people with an even looser grip on reality. When a meteorite collides with the convention’s theater, Captain Kirk, TJ Hooker, Singer-Shatner and Denny Crane are let loose into the real world. Their mission – kill the real William Shatner and assume his mantle. No fictional character is large enough to contain all that is Shatner, and he will do anything to prove it. No matter how many pimply geeks are maimed, dismembered, or disemboweled in the process. Will the real William Shatner please stand up? He will, with guns ablaze. Explosions, kinky alien women, and singing! It’s Being John Malkovich meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith with an all William Shatner cast!
Of course, after he wrote the book the plot changed quite a bit and the back cover was re-written by Eraserhead Press.
This is the description that was published on the back cover:
William Shatner? William Shatner. WILLIAM SHATNER!!!
It’s the first ShatnerCon with William Shatner as the guest of honor! But after a failed terrorist attack by Campbellians, a crazy terrorist cult that worships Bruce Campbell, all of the characters ever played by William Shatner are suddenly sucked into our world. Their mission: hunt down and destroy the real William Shatner.
Featuring: Captain Kirk, TJ Hooker, Denny Crane, Rescue 911 Shatner, Singer Shatner, Shakespearean Shatner, Twilight Zone Shatner, Cartoon Kirk, Esperanto Shatner, Priceline Shatner, SNL Shatner, and – of course – William Shatner!
No costumed con-goer will be spared in their wave of destruction, no redshirt will make it out alive, and not even the Klingons will be able to stand up to a deranged Captain Kirk with a lightsaber. But these Shatner-clones are about to learn a hard lesson…that the real William Shatner doesn’t take crap from anybody. Not even himself.
The book was published 5 months later and within just a few days it got down to the top 125 sales ranking on amazon.com, which is pretty damn good especially for a new small press writer.
I highly recommend getting Shatnerquake. Basically, it’s like Die Hard, but instead of Bruce Willis fighting terrorists it’s William Shatner fighting other versions of himself… In other words, it’s fucking awesome!