Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at a time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
In our last chapter we finally got information we needed and not as much showing off. Of course it required a character I don’t expect to see again but I could be surprised. Luckily Sid is fine, and given how few friends Jake has at the moment that’s a good thing.
This week we’re going to meet Walter Bascom, the head of the Cosmo Detective Agency that was so nice to free Jake from the Freezer and give him a second chance. In the TV movie adaptation, Bascom was played by Shatner himself, and he also took on the role for the MS-DOS FPS video game I don’t recommend you play. Here’s a sample of Shatner as Bascom in a set of cutscenes from the game, to give you an idea of how he played him.
And he should know the character better than anyone, so let’s meet him for ourselves. Bascom, not Shatner. He’s too busy losing at The Masked Singer.
Something strikes me funny for reasons you won’t get unless I get semi-cultural for a moment. It starts in the waiting area of the agency with a woman who decided to have her skin dyed silver to see if it was a good look for you. It kind of speaks to how lame the whole skin color issue is with the human race. One comment I tend to make is that we have hair dye and contacts that change your eye color, so my little joke is that they should just make skin dye and make the whole “race” thing a moot point. Well, that wasn’t the intention of this receptionist looking so silver she gets mistaken for a robot but I’m still calling it a point in my favor. “Race” should be even more outdated than we’re now told gender is, but which one keeps the race war going? Okay, enough social commentary on my part, let’s get back to why we’re here: guy played by Greg Evigan meeting guy played by William Shatner…kind of like meeting your own father in a weird sense.
Bascom in the book is rather different from how I remember Shatner’s portrayal, but I haven’t seen the Tekwar movie since the original “Action Pack” airing. Shatner played him like…well, the way Shatner acts in more recent years. It’s possible he put his own sense of humor into the role but again, it’s been years. This Bascom apparently lives in his office, with clothes and various belongings all over the place. It’s quite a mess from the description, and he apparently slept in his clothes last night, which Jake’s notes that his research into Bascom says is not unusual. He plays the saxophone, is a bit disorganized, and while he tests Jake now and then he agrees with Gomez about the frame-up. Bascom is the fun boss. I like him already.
Officially Jake is trying to find the Kitridges to make the insurance happy, but Bascom was about to brief Jake and Gomez (they call him Gomez instead of Sid, even the receptionist, so I’m using his last name…he’s Latino, you know) that there may be more to the disappearances. That was obvious with the whole suicide bombing androids but it seems the good doctor may have created a device that can neutralize Tek chips. I’m not sure how and apparently even Bascom doesn’t have all the details, but while Bascom can’t officially have Jake look for it, unofficially he won’t stop him, though that’s not his top priority over his life.
We also have two names tied to Jake’s past that’s tied into these proceedings besides Warbride. Bennett Sands is Jake’s ex-wife’s ex-boss, who disappeared around the same time after moving operations to Mexico, while Sonny Hokori is the Teklord Jake was falsely accused of working for when he was sent up, and apparently a bigger name in the business than when Jake went for his cold nap. What part they have to play has yet to be seen of course but if they were brought up I’m guessing we will see them again or at least they’ll have an influence on the story. Perhaps one of them is responsible for the robotic cabbie that kidnaps Jake at the end? I knew Johnnycab wasn’t to be trusted. Quaid was right to smash one!
I did notice a few questionable typos but I can’t remember where they are. It would be my only complaint against the chapter as it actually comes off pretty good. While they still have to sneak in The Future with the holograms of Kitridge instead of just plain old photographs (which would be easier to carry around since they don’t need a “stage” to project from) and the aforementioned skin dye, it’s all about moving the plot forward. This was a good chapter. Next time we’ll see who kidnapped Jake and why.