To get a sense of Lee Goldberg's DEAD SPACE, imagine combining the essences of "The Player" (Robert Altman's 1992 satire of Hollywood studios) and "Galaxy Quest" (the 1999 take-off on a Trek-like series and its devotees), then draining off any residual seriousness and replacing it with pure testosterone. Shake (or stir), load into an ink cartridge, hand the pen to someone possessed by the ghost of Raymond Chandler, and let the hijinx ensue...
which is what they do in DEAD SPACE (originally published in 1997 as BEYOND THE BEYOND), a wild ride through the world of Hollywood deals and the egomaniacs who make them. A studio that is not Paramount decides to lauch a TV network that is not the UPN, proposing to anchor its prime-time line-up with a resurrected sci-fi series that is not "Star Trek." Some obsessed fans who are not Trekkies, marshalled by a washed-up actor who is not William Shatner, are prepared to wreak havoc if the new incarnation of their beloved program-- ominously slated to be cast with youthful teen-idol types-- is in any way unfaithful to the original. Meanwhile, a talent agency apparently set on taking over the world seems determined to start with this venture, making big trouble for any associated parties who won't sign onto its roster. Assorted freelance crazies fill out the novel's cast, at the center of which sits the one sane man in Tinseltown, studio security guard and ex-cop Charlie Willis (whom Mr. Goldberg's more devoted fans will have met in a previous novel set in this milieu). Assigned to the set of the re-booted "Beyond the Beyond," our likable hero attempts to stem the ever-rising body count and save the show by joining its cast and boldly going where he's least welcome: straight to the helm of the starship that is not the Enterprise, to face enemies who make the Klingons look like, ummm, Care Bears.
Warning-- This tale is immense fun, but it includes enough gore, sex, profanity, explosions, and unfair stereotyping of nerds to completely put off most of the gentle souls I'd ever be likely to recommend a clever book to. To be sure, the tone is high satire (and, on reflection, I guess most of my friends could probably handle that nerd-mocking thing without much difficulty), but DEAD SPACE is definitely not for the squeamish. As to whether it's for *you*, a mere $2.99 investment will get you the Kindle version and the chance to find out.
Full disclosure-- I got my e-copy for free from the author (whom I do not know personally) as part of a give-away campaign connected to the book's re-release. In return, I promised to give it an honest review anywhere online.