Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fighting Fiction In Space

Hello all!  I think I have time for a quick rambling before I head back to the grind.  Today's book is Gulliver's Fugitives Star Trek: The Next Generation by Keith Sharee.  Summer by the pool always puts me in the mood for SciFi and I love Star Trek TNG so this sounded like a good idea.  Was it a good read?  First, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
First of all, I'm gonna just say I'm gonna write this like anybody reading it is already a Trekkie and knows the characters I'm talking about.  The books are written with the assumption that the readers, if not already fans of the show, at least have a basic knowledge of the cast and setting.  If you are not part of this's on Netflix so you have no excuse :-)
Councilor Troi finds herself in a trance that seems to transport her mind to a world filled with fantastic beings.  She manages to wake herself up, but is disturbed and goes to the Captain with her feelings of concern about a possible alien presence.  Meanwhile the crew has discovered a planet where a lost ship may have crashed ten years earlier. The crew contacts the planet and they are told that a boarding party will have to come aboard the Enterprise to make sure that no contraband or instances of the dreaded Allpox are present.  Two men and a couple of machines beam on board and fairly quickly start freaking out.  Apparently, the planet (called Rampart) is populated by a human colony that left year many many many years ago and established a world built around a lack of any fiction.  To maintain this strict adherence to facts, the government uses a combination of filtering helmet's that filter out any supposed "fiction" and deadly machine's called one-eyes that pretty much shoot lethal blasts of radiation at anybody's who's brain waves register in the fiction zone.  All kinds of hell breaks loose when the one-eyes detect the ever present fiction that thrives aboard the varied enterprise, and considering that the people of Rampart believe that even aliens are a work of fiction, you can see how a ship that employ's various races and species is in trouble.  The Rampart crew captures Captain Picard and the one-eye's wreak destruction upon the Enterprise.  A landing crew consisting of Riker, Data and Troi goes down to rescue Picard and are immediately captured themselves.  All except Councilor Troi who falls in with the Dissenters, a group of people who take on the names and persona's of various fictional characters and rebel against the fictionless government. Picard and Riker are to be "blanked" a process in which people who suffer from the Allpox (which is what they call fiction) have their mind completely erased and a new personality is inserted.  This is the only way the government can work around killing most of it's population.  More chaos and crazieness ensue.  The Dissenters stage a major demonstration and Picard and company are rescued.  Geordi and Worf with some help from the crew save the Enterprise and it is revealed that one of the Rampart guys is actually the brainwashed captain and sole survivor of the missing ship.
Troi discovers her trances are a result of a strange movie she watched based on the mythologies of Earth and the crew moves on to their next adventure.
Soooooo...this book was stupid.  I can't think of a nicer way to put it.  I usually enjoy the Star Trek books, they let me explore a vast universe that I love in greater detail, but this book was very very juvenile.  I think what really killed it for me was the writing.  For most of the book the writing felt cliched, trite and stock.  The author only attributed the simplist of emotions or thought process to very well established characters, dumbing down people who have been shown over and over to be smart, making characters with great depth one-dimensional, attributing all kinds of insta-relationship emotions to characters who were only around for a short while.  It actually took me a really long time to read because I kept having to put it down to unroll my eyes.  The concept was ok I guess, even though we all know that humans are creative by nature, and the standards of fiction on Rampart are especially strict, though I will give it to the author that he acknowledged if the government killed all the dissenters there would be no one left.  I'm not going to spend a lot more time on this 'cause there was just not a whole lot to it.  Essentially I felt like I was reading a very very basic fan fiction version of a Star Trek story.  I give this story a 3 out of 10 Zen bows and am looking forward to reading a GOOD Star Trek story.  Happy Reading Everybody!

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