There was a time in my life when I read every Star Trek novel that came out. That time has long passed. I think I stopped when I couldn’t keep up, and when Star Trek: The Next Generation started putting out a couple of novels a month, I stopped buying the books altogether.
What I like about reading a TV-tie-in novel is that you don’t have to work too hard as a reader. You are already familiar with the characters and the basic settings, so it’s all about plot and adventure.
The down side, of course, is that the author has to be very ‘spot-on’ with the characters. If a character in a novel says or does something that seems out of character to what the reader is already familiar with, it’s easy for the reader to lose interest.
I have to admit that despite being an out-of-the-closet Trekkie, I am not uber-familiar with the Next Generation series. I remember watching the first few seasons when they first came out, but i don’t know that I’ve seen them all (which I suppose a true Trekker would never admit). That said, there were times that I felt like someone (specifically Worf) said or did things in this book that didn’t seem in character at times. Not often, but enough for me to re-read a passage or two to try to hear his voice.
Tying this novel (or novella) to an incident that most of us remember because it was a movie moment, definitely helps bring the theme in to focus. And as with nearly any sci-fi book that treads in timeline history, it poses problems that can make the mind reel.
Despite being a short novel, it took me some time to get involved in the story (in large part due to my feeling that the was out-of-character action), but maybe half way through, it got much more interesting and onvolving.
For ‘escapist’ fiction (which is how I see a TV-tie-in book), this served its purpose and I mostly enjoyed my time with the familiar characters.
Looking for a good book? This might work if you want to get away with some old ‘friends’ for a bit.
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Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Stuff of Dreams
author: James Swallow
publisher: Pocket Books
ebook, 94 pages