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Shatnerquake : RevolutionSF Interviews Writer Jeff Burk
© Joe Crowe
September 01, 2009

Shatnerquake is a novel about William Shatner fighting his movie and TV characters. In the book, Captain Kirk fights with a lightsaber. But if for some reason that does not convince you to buy it, here is the RevolutionSF review .

RevolutionSF talked to Jeff Burk, the creator of Shatnerquake. His answers brim with Shatnitivity.

RevolutionSF: Who's your favorite Shatner besides Kirk? It's OK to say T.J. Hooker.

Shatner himself. I think he is just as much of a fictional character as any role he has assumed. Can anyone really tell when Shatner is acting? I can't.

How far did you immerse yourself in Shatnerism? Did you watch it nonstop for days?

Dear God. I lived and breathed Shatner for weeks before and after writing Shatnerquake. Once you get going on a serious Shatner obsession, it's hard to stop.

I wrote the entire first draft of the book in three days during a marathon writing session. I like to write with music playing that has the feel I want from the story I'm writing. I had Shatner's The Transformed Man and Has Been albums on repeat for three days. Expect when I wrote the fight scenes. I listened to Wu-Tang Clan then.

In writing the book I did a lot research into Shatner's career and personal life. I learned so much about him that made me respect him much more as a creative individual. Some people just laugh at him, but he's paid his dues.

After Star Trek was canceled, but before the movies, Shatner lived in a trailer and had to take jobs at private parties to make ends meet. He had already had what we now view as his career defining moment but was still years away from success. He stuck with it and look at where he is now.

This should be an inspiration and lesson to anyone looking for a career in the arts or entertainment.

What is it about Shatner? How is he appropriate for this story, as opposed to, say, Brad Pitt?

My response to the first question was half-joke/ half-truth. Shatner's career has evolved to the point that he is primarily known for being himself. He can almost be regarded as a meta-human.

Shatner is always playing Shatner. It is his blessing and curse. That is what separates Shatner from almost every other actor ever. He has a cult of personality that is unique. Some may say that Bruce Campbell and Adam West are close to Shatner in terms of meta-acting but neither has the kind of mass recognition Shatner enjoys.

Have you heard from Bruce Campbell fans about your treatment of their hero?

Actually, I have. Overwhelming, Campbell fans love the concept of Campbellians. I kind of hope they adopt the term, along with the tenets of cutting off one hand and killing other cult icons. It would make the world a much more interesting place.

The title Shatnerquake totally sums up the tone of the book. What titles did you discard before you settled on Shatnerquake?

The title was the very first thing I came up with. I was participating at a writing workshop led by Carlton Mellick III at BizarroCon. The idea of the workshop was to think of a title, pitch-line, and back-cover description for a book that doesn't exist. This was designed to get the writers involved thinking about their stories in terms of "high concept" ideas.

I was brainstorming for the workshop and wrote down a bunch of funny titles. "Shatnerquake" was just a word that popped in my head (most likely I was thinking about Star Trek, I normally am).

It made me giggle and the story of William Shatner fighting his roles just wrote itself. After the workshop, I had several other participants tell me I had to write the book and Eraserhead said they'd publish it.

Plug your non-Shatnerquake stuff. What's coming up next from you?

My main project is editing The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. It is a quarterly publication that publishes bizarro fiction, comics, and nonfiction. Bizarro is the literary equivalent of the cult section of your video store. You can find out more at Bizarro Central.

My next book is Super Giant Monster Time. It is the second book in Eraserhead's Choose-You-Own-Mind-Fuck-Fest series. It is my tribute to Japanese giant monster movies, punk rock, and super-heroes. And yes, it is really written in choose-your-own-adventure style. Hopefully, it will be out sometime around the end of this year.

After that, I plan on writing HomoBomb. It will be about a bomb that is attracted to other bombs when it is suppose to be attracted to people and buildings. That will be sometime in 2010.

If, Heaven forbid, Shatner could only sing OR act, which would you rather he do?

I choose C, None of the Above. I want to see him run for office. His campaign slogan can be, "He's the Shat!"

Thanks very much to Jeff Burk. Go ahead and buy Transformed Man and Has Been. You deserve it.

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