Spoilers TNG: The Light Fantastic by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Jun 15, 2014.

?

Rate The Light Fantastic.

  1. Outstanding

    39 vote(s)
    52.0%
  2. Above Average

    21 vote(s)
    28.0%
  3. Average

    13 vote(s)
    17.3%
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
    2.7%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I loved every character in this book. I would honestly read an entire novel of just Data, Geordi, Lal, Alice, Moriarty, Regina, Albert Lee, and Shakti just sitting in the same room telling stories at each other. What a wonderful cast of characters!

    Story was good too, if a little too conveniently neat at the end. All the conflict resolving on some other planet offscreen felt a little unearned, I think.

    But really: I haven't laughed so hard at Trek dialogue in years. Data, Shakti, and Albert especially. The character arcs were brilliant, the continuity references very satisfying, and the appearances of the Doctor and Vic were perfect.

    Outstanding. Excluding Beyer's Voyager novels, which are still in a league of their own for me, this is my favorite Trek novel in a solid couple years. Well done, Jeff Lang, and welcome back to the fold! I sincerely hope that Margaret Clark lets you take on the next book after this one; this was a hoot.
     
  2. Jeffrey_Lang

    Jeffrey_Lang Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I bow my head in gratitude, Thrawn. Many thanks for the comments. Apologies to other posters for not replying. It's been a complicated week. My beloved Albert Lee, the real one, my dog and friend, passed away this week. To give you all an idea of what he was like -- he wouldn't have cared about ANY of this. But he would have liked knowing we're talking about him.
     
  3. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Location:
    In the future's past
    Really sorry to hear about Albert Lee Jeff :( .It's never easy losing a furry friend. Condolences.
     
  4. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    I finished it. I see it as a highly intricate tale but did not have the same impact as "the immortal coil". I find it difficult to take that Mudd is still alive even with my affinity for TOS stories and characters. Neutral toward Alice. Whether civilized or not Moriarty still strikes me as a villain. I am fairly certain that I do not understand Data but that discussion maybe should be in the Tech board.
     
  5. varek

    varek Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Danville, IN, USA
    I got this book a few days ago and began reading it. I'm about one-third of the way through it. It is a great story, but the jumping back and forth keeps me a bit off balance. So, I try to follow one of the plot lines at a time, until it reaches a breathing-space, then I go back and read one of the other plot lines.

    That reminds me of a man I know who had to move 2 cars by himself. This is a true story, his wife said! He drove to near the second car, then walked back to it. He then drove the second car past the first car (a far distance) and parked it. Then, he walked back to the first car, drove it past the second car, and repeated this process until he finally got both cars back to where he wanted them to be! I thought that was amazingly brilliant!

    While I'm not claiming to be brilliant, I am sort of following his example in the way I am reading this book.
     
  6. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2003
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Jeffrey: my thanks for a good read, and my condolences on the loss of Albert Lee. I remember the pain of that kind of loss...
     
  7. ainmneacha_Nollag

    ainmneacha_Nollag Living the Irish dream. Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Location:
    Dimesdan is in The Republic of Ireland
    Not long finished this and thought it was brilliant, loved the humour, loved the reference to Into Darkness about Kirk leaving things out of his log if they're not important and the other, rather cliched comment regarding the xenolinguistics. I also love the morally ambiguity of the "new and improved" Data.

    Also am I right in thinking the Exo III "blanks" where in reference to the Blanks from The Worlds End, which if so, was a nice touch.

    Overall I thought it was just brilliant and probably the best Trek Novel released in quite sometime.
     
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Not quite as enthralling as my experience with "Immortal Coil", but touched all my fannish bases, including brief mentions of Andorians and Aenar! I was kinda hoping/expecting a B-4 scene, though.

    I was excited to have this novel in time to accompany me on my current trip to USA (from Australia) and look forward to getting Jeffery_Lang to sign it at Shore Leave in August!
     
  9. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Yorkshire, UK
    Somewhat tangential, but do we know whether Mudd had a daughter in the primary universe, too?
     
  10. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    It's not mentioned, but I was almost expecting a reference.
     
  11. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Pets become part of the family, a friend, someone you love very dearly. Sorry for your loss.... :(
     
  12. Ben

    Ben Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Toileton
    Wouldn't it have taken him less time to drive one car where he wanted it, walk back, then move the second one? He still does the same amount of walking, but he doesn't waste time getting in and out of cars over and over again.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^I assume the distance would've been too great to walk all at once. It is stated that the second car was driven "a far distance" past the first car, presumably something close to the driver's maximum comfortable walking distance in one go.
     
  14. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    I really enjoyed this except for one element - part of the story arc of Alice is that she has escaped her servitude to Harry and let at the end when she is forced back into it and her agency is removed, nobody (within the story) comments upon it at all - a stance that seems at odds with some of the other themes presented in the book.
     
    Rowan Sjet likes this.
  15. Stoek

    Stoek Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Stoek
    I realized the other day that the author did a very nice job of making the novel feel like an episode of TNG. A very nice bit of technique was by using a B level guest star in the person of Vic Fontaine rather than having any of the main cast of DS9 appear (Now I'm certain that the main reason for this is that Quark etc. were not germane to the story, but still it very much made it feel like an episode which was kind of nice in its way).

    I have decided after much pondering that I really really really want Mr. Geordi, voice of morality LaForge verbally bitch slapped, seeing as how he is so quick to insinuate and nearly lecture Data with his disapproval about how he's handling a very very difficult situation, while at the same time gets all pissy whenever anyone dares to mention that the whole thing when you get right down to it is his and Picard's fault.

    I loved the relationship between Data and Lal. Very complex. I loved seeing the return of Kivas Fajo. The Harry Mudd stuff was good but I have to admit that I wish a reference to Mudd's Passion had been worked in. I think it could have been handled with a single line about the one time that Harry got away from Alice and that she later regretted being stupid enough to actually go and find him.

    Finally after much soul searching I have decided that I would very much like it if Lore was brought back. In the past before Data had the ability to translate his native emotional experiences into a context relateable to organics, Lore mainly existed as part of a grossly over simplified dualism. Data was the perfect one with no messy "emotions" to get in the way of his devotion to duty etc and Lore was the selfish, and out of control one. Well I want to see Data have to deal with Lore now that he has all these feels, and maybe to come to realize that he's more like his brother than he wants to admit.

    Anyway, very well written. A worthy successor to both Mortal Coil and Cold Equations. I for one am very much hoping for another installment in the New Data Saga.
     
  16. STR

    STR Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Location:
    Out there. Thatta way.
    The only characters defined by simple loyalty were the likes of Kim and Chakotay. Even though the latter REALLY should've known better. TNG? Data would be far from the only character with divided loyalties. Worf's entire TNG arc was about his loyalties to his adopted and native worlds and families. If anything, the crew NEEDS someone who is on the inside, yet is weary and critical of the culture and establishment. An outsider by choice, instead of an outsider by birth.

    To put it another way, I agree that you can't go back to the pre-Nemesis personality or dynamic. It's not only lazy, but it robs you of new interactions and stories. But the cliche that 'you can't go home again' is a tired one. The new Data is interesting enough that I'd like to see HIM (and not his predecessor) on the Enterprise, where his many skills can be put to good use.

    Having seen Brent's sagging jowls and baggy eyes in Nemesis the other day (which as a movie wasn't as bad as I remember, at least until the last 15 minutes), I'd agree with him. Can't expect a mortal to play an immortal. That's just not fair. Recast the role.

    Given that Mudd will die any day now, I wouldn't be too concerned either. Penance for pulling a gun on Lal. Threaten an innocent with death and you lose some agency for a while.

    Point taken though.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
  17. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    But we lock up criminals, we don't force them into slavery - especially with men who want to have sex with them.
     
  18. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    That's assuming Mudd didn't end up in an android body.

    I know that there have already been a few sequels to What Are Little Girls Made Of. But is there some antecedent I've forgotten, to establish that Exo III was running out of slugs? (Or for that matter, one establishing that term?)

    Incidentally, my assumption is that the spinning platform was intended to be in some way analogous to the way a gunstock lathe works. Not to mention a relatively cheap way to show the slug being shaped into a duplicate of Kirk, without actually showing anything at all.
     
  19. BuckBokai

    BuckBokai Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    I finished this book a short time ago and really enjoyed it! Immortal Coil was a great book as well and I feel like Jeffrey Lang has a great feel for Data as an evolving character. While reading the novels from The Fall series, I thought a bit about how I wished Data was involved in what I feel is the main ongoing storyline in trek novels. Now I'm much more torn. Reading this novel was such a fun side adventure and a cool revisit to some minor trek characters. I can't decide if I'd rather see Data reintegrated to the Enterprise-E novels or if I'd rather see more novels that feature just him, like this one. Obviously the last chapter leaves the door open for the latter, but it seems like there are a lot of options as to where the character might go from here. Wherever it does go, I look forward to reading it and I hope Mr. Lang will be the one telling the tale! (Not only because he apparently lives one town over from me, which I thought was cool)
     
  20. Jeffrey_Lang

    Jeffrey_Lang Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Hi BuckBokai - Glad you liked it. Which town?

    JL