Spoilers TNG: Slings & Arrows Bk 3: The Insolence of Office Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by youngtrek, Jul 6, 2022.

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  1. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Review thread for Star Trek: The Next Generation: Slings and Arrows Book 3: The Insolence of Office, by William Leisner (2007).
     
  2. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Summer 2022 Reading Entry #8. The Insolence of Office (Star Trek: The Next Generation: Slings and Arrows, Book 3: The Insolence of Office) by William Leisner (2007). The third of a six-book series of ebooks (still not available in print form as of this time) released in 2007-2008 as part of Pocket Books' commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" television series.

    Each of the books in this series is written by a different author (or team of authors), and they all take place in the first year of service of the U.S.S. Enterprise-E (so, following the film Star Trek Generations, in which the Enterprise from the tv series, NCC-1701-D, was destroyed, and prior to the following film, Star Trek: First Contact, in which its replacement, the Enterprise NCC-1701-E, was introduced).

    The third of the six "Slings and Arrows" novellas welcomely brings the focus back entirely to two of the established "Star Trek: The Next Generation" characters (although we do get a few nice scenes with the Enterprise-E's new security chief, Lt. Pádraig Daniels, who was introduced and was basically the lead character in Slings and Arrows Book 2: The Oppressor's Wrong), that being ship's counselor Deanna Troi and chief engineer Geordi La Forge.

    The first of the shorter novellas in the series (books one and two were both close to 150 pages long, while books three and four are eighty-five and forty-four pages, respectively), The Insolence of Office feels much like an episode of "Next Generation" where they took two of the typical "B plots" and put them together. Which is by no means a bad thing as both of these "B plots" here fill in interesting gaps in what was shown on screen in the tv shows and films.

    First, while on the way to conference of many Starfleet vessels regarding the looming threat of war with the Dominion, Deanna Troi gets word from Worf, now stationed on space station Deep Space Nine, of her mother's pregnancy. This (Lwaxana Troi's marriage to a Tavnian man, pregnancy, and breaking off of that relationship due to disagreement over Tavnian customs regarding the raising of children separately based on gender) was seen on the "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" episode, "The Muse". Deanna Troi (played by Marina Sirtis, was not featured in that episode, however, and no mention was ever made again to either Troi's mother or the half Tavnian child she had in subsequent Next Generation films. Upon learning of this, Deanna Troi immediately informs Picard, who willingly diverts the Enterprise on its way to the conference to drop her off to visit her mother.

    Once the Enterprise reaches the conference, Picard and La Forge are called into an unexpected meeting with a high ranking admiral who, to their surprise, gives La Forge an ultimatum: voluntarily get ocular implants surgery so as to be able to no longer need his VISOR device to see or be reassigned from his current position as chief engineer of Starfleet's flagship to a much less sensitive lower target (and less desirable) post at a planet or starbase. This is because of the recent use of La Forge's VISOR by the Klingon renegade sisters in the film, Star Trek Generations, to access the vital deflector shields frequencies aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise-D which allowed them to breach the Enterprise's shields. They were able to defeat the Klingon sisters but the Enterprise-D was also destroyed in the process. This plus an earlier instance in which the VISOR was used in a plot to temporarily brainwash Le Forge into attacking his shipmates (from the TNG tv episode, "The Mind's Eye") has convinced the admiral that the VISOR must go.

    La Forge, who has worn a VISOR his entire adult life, is at first quite resistant to the idea and (rightfully) angry at the coercion tactics the admiral is using to force him to make the change. Given that the next time we see La Forge in the film, Star Trek: First Contact, he is no longer wearing the VISOR and instead has the ocular implants, it should be rather obvious just how this story ends up going. But, as I said, it fills in a "gap" in what we saw between the two films, that of how exactly La Forge made the change from the VISOR to the implants and how he came to the point where he did indeed voluntarily agree, despite the admiral's ultimatum, to the surgery.

    Back on Betazed, Deanna Troi finds her mother resistant to talk about what all happened back on Deep Space Nine and on Tavnia. A Tavnian oficial shows up, insisting that when the child is born he must be turned over to him to ensure that he gets a proper Tavnian upbringing. In the midst of all of this, of course, Lwaxana goes into labor.

    What's nice about The Insolence of Office is that it is two "smaller", more personal stories, a welcome break from the over arching plot concerning the Dominion, which I'm sure we will get back to in books five and six of this series. Leisner does a good job capturing the voices and personalities of both of the Trois and also of La Forge. And, I have to admit, it was a treat to see Lwaxana's mute but gargantuanly tall manservant, Mr. Homn (played in the tv series by seven foot tall actor, Carel Struycken, who also played the part of Lurch in the Addams Family and Addams Family Values 1990s films) again. And (SPOILERS), we also get a bit of Odo in this in what is presented as being the first time Deanna Troi and Odo meet. (They never meet on screen in a "canon" Star Trek tv episode of film but I'm thinking that they were shown together in at least one of the TNG/DS9 comic book crossovers prior to this).

    Again, an enjoyable novella. I gave it four out of five stars on GoodReads. Up next: Book 4: That Sleep of Death by Terri Osborne.

    (Previous Summer 2022 Reading Entries: #1: Star Trek: Avenger by William Shatner (1997; novel); #2: Batman vs. Ra's Al Ghul by Neal Adams (2019-2021, six-issue comic book limited-series; 2021 collected hardcover edition); #3: Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid, Leinil Francis Wu, and Gerry Alanguilan (twelve-issue comic book limited series; 2003 to 2004; read on DC Universe Infinite, also available in hardcover and softcover editions); #4: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Slings and Arrows Book 1: A Sea of Troubles by J. Steven York and Christina F. York (2007; novella), #5: The Orville Season 1.5: New Beginnings by David A. Goodman and David Cabeza (2019, four issue comic book limited series; 2020 collected trade paperback edition), #6: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Slings and Arrows, Book 2: The Oppressor's Wrong by Phaedra Weldon), #7: Superman: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, and Jon Sibal (2009-2010, six-issue comic book limited series; 2019 "Deluxe Edition" collected hardcover edition).

    —David Young
     
  3. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Shoot. I just noticed that spellcheck or auto complete wrote Insolence to Insolvency in the thread title. Could an admin or a mod please correct that for me? Thanks. (I don’t understand why there isn’t an edit option for the originator of a thread to edit the thread’s title.)

    —David Young
     
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  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, that explains why there are two or three VISOR-wearing crew members on the Cerritos in Lower Decks. It's a less sensitive target, so that's where they all end up!
     
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  5. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Vice Admiral Moderator

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    Fixed!

    IIRC, that's a premium membership perk.
     
  6. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks!

    —David Young
     
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  7. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yes, that, plus I’m guessing the Dominion War is over by “Lower Decks”. :-)

    —David Young
     
  8. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    ^ Long over. LD takes place shortly after Nemesis. Also, they probably upgraded the VISOR software in the interim.....
     
  9. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    BTW, thanks for these reviews, @youngtrek! Slings and Arrows kind of fell by the wayside, so it's nice to see it getting some attention for a change.
     
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  10. DEWLine

    DEWLine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, the California-class ships would be considered "less sensitive" postings...
     
  11. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    You’re welcome. I’m enjoying reading them. It’s too bad S&S never did one of those big print omnibus collections of these like they did for Mere Anarchy and most of the S.C.E. eBooks.

    I already have some questions percolating from reading these but I’ll put those in the threads with the appropriate threads.

    —David Young