Sunday, October 3, 2010

Book Review: The Kobayashi Maru of Love

(The two covers back and front
of Kobayashi Maru of Love.
To zoom in on the graphics, just click on them)

By Paul Lee

Forgive me for indulging in some geekism but I couldn’t help it since the title of CarlJoe Javier’s latest book bore the name of a certain star freighter, methinks it would be good if I would indulge in some geekism. Anyhow since many a Star Trek fan worth their dilithium crystals knows; the Kobayashi Maru scenario is a prerequisite for candidates vying for that plum position of command, the final exam that leaves many a Starfleet cadet in knots. It usually involves a would-be starship captain responding to a distress signal from the namesake stricken transport stranded somewhere in the Klingon neutral zone. Unfortunately he also has to go through a gauntlet of Klingon warships waiting in the wings and wanting to blow him apart before saving the transport. Of course it didn’t help if the transport is even there or just bait for a Klingon trap. Trouble is, in both life and relationships, there are things that prove far stickier than a posse of

Klingon warships lurking in a Neutral Zone and reality is a lot more nebulous than the Klingon Neutral Zone whilst the rewards go beyond merely taking command of a starship especially for geeks looking for a connection with the opposite sex. In a sense they are the penultimate no-win scenario; you involve yourself with someone whom you thought was the special someone turns out to be the Kobayashi Maru; with the Klingons of fundamental personality differences and peer pressure waiting in the wings. Thus give author CarlJoe Javier credit for culling from his myriad experiences with love and loss to draw the metaphor of the Kobayashi Maru while contributing his two cents worth on how we guys deal with heart break and relational land mines before deftly nailing his insights on the nebulous world of relationships.

Thus imagine guy as the starship captain wannabe whilst girl is the Kobayashi Maru; guy gets into relationship with girl and finds himself in one too many sticky situations far worse than Klingons. For one that search for the right girl leads to the comic book section where, generally speaking, the only taste women have for comics are limited to either Archie or (shudder) Boys over Flowers thus we cannot push them to liking either Watchmen or Ghost in the Shell. In which case and confronted with an outright romantic fail, we temporarily diverge to the Omega Level of the fantasy woman of our dreams; as in the X-Men’s Emma Frost. BTW; I admit having a crush on Emma Frost’s opposite number, Jean Grey as in that red-headed angel and practically everyone else’s crush amongst mutant guys. Anyhow, the refuge of healthy geekdom is universal amongst guys who’d experience some form of non-connection with the opposite sex. Even what seemed like non-geek indulgences like basketball, sports and cars can be seen as geekism; come to think of it, geekism is now the last bastion of manhood whether they be role-playing or basketball. Nevertheless, we still need to face the Kobayashi Marus life and relationships throw at us and thanks for the insights on relationships and making it easy to understand how to relate to the opposite gender.

(Paul Lee is a freelance writer. An Ateneo graduate, he is currently finishing his master's in creative writing at U.P. Diliman).

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