Spoilers TNG: The Light Fantastic by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread

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

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Rate The Light Fantastic.

  1. Outstanding

    40 vote(s)
    51.3%
  2. Above Average

    23 vote(s)
    29.5%
  3. Average

    13 vote(s)
    16.7%
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
    2.6%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. BuckBokai

    BuckBokai Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'm in East Falls right by Manayunk. I saw in the "about the author" section of the book saying that you're in Bala Cynwyd. Definitely got a kick out of that, I think in my mind I picture all the authors of the novels I read as being recluse writers who live far far away from anywhere I've ever been haha. I'll be on the lookout for anyone writing Trek whenever I'm on City Ave from now on!
     
  2. Masiral

    Masiral Captain Captain

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    Wasn't a remote control device used to frame someone for Bacco's assassination in The Fall? That's what I thought Albert was talking about, not the Breen assassination attempt in Cold Equations.
     
  3. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Did this novel or any previous ones in the story arc reference the Omega 9 from Double Helix: Double or Nothing or Xyon's sentient ship Lyla in New Frontier?
     
  4. Markonian

    Markonian Commodore Commodore

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    I don't remember the Omega 9 but I kept an eye out for Lyla and she didn't pop up.


    Also in terms of references: Data asked the Doctor about his mobile emitter. However, the Federation has been possessing primitive mobile emitters since at least 2377, when they were used by Baines's HoloRevolution following Voyager's return. Would these devices have been an option at some point?
     
  5. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Oh and what about the Borg, the Choblik, Cren Veruda's AI from DS9: Mission: Gamma: Lesser Evil, Wesley Crusher's nanites from TNG: "Evolution", automated personnel units from VOY: "Prototype", Dejaren from VOY: "Revulsion", the sentient ship Alice from VOY: "Alice", and the Chiar from VOY: The Nanotech War?
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  6. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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    I love this book. Jeffrey_Lang continues to make me a Data fan. I eagerly await his adventures and how they will play into the larger universe. Outstanding!
     
  7. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, yes we do. People held in for-profit prisons can be made to perform forced labor at low or no wages, generating those corporations revenues of up to $40,000 a year.
     
  8. Jeffrey_Lang

    Jeffrey_Lang Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Glad we turned you into a Data fan, Matt. Look forward to talking again next week.
     
  9. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

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    Would that be per person a year or per prison year? If per person per year, that's a fair whack, if per prison per year, that's not really that much is it, also, it doesn't mean they make "all that money," it could be a lot lower than that.

    As for "forcing" criminals to do "forced" work, we actually do that here too, means you get better perks in prison and the like and can learn new skills.
     
  10. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Finished this novel yesterday, and I really enjoyed it.

    Although the plot sometimes felt a bit thin (especially the way it was resolved "off-screen"), the main themes of family, loss/grief, letting-go, growing (up) and continuing on etc and their various variations depending on the character's point of view resonated quite a lot with me. And it's really good to see Data again - he is my favourite TNG-character. While I haven't condemned TPTB for their decision to kill him off in Nemesis, I haven't had any interest in TNG-books sans Data, Riker and Troi, either, as the remaining characters except for Picard don't interest (Geordi, Beverly) or even annoy (Worf!!) me. And the new ones... Might not be a popular opinion around here, but I read tie-in lit (i.e. series based on the TV-series, not necessarily also the book-only series that are set in this universe) because of the TV-characters, not because of original ones, so the latter ones really have to offer something beyond average, like Vaughn did for example. But I digress. Suffice it to say that I haven't read any TNG-book other than the 2 Mack-trilogies after Nemesis.

    Data's whole focus is on Lal, in that way I guess he's not really that much different than other new fathers. Except, of course, for the fact that he has to deal with Rhea's death, with his father's, his own in a way and coming to terms with his new life. Much of what he has now is based on sacrifice, after all, and in a way Data has as much growing up and growing beyond the recent circumstances to do as Lal does. Only that Lal is way less weighed down by what has happened that made her resurrection possible, so she's just acting like a "normal" adolescent and child needing nap times, all in one.

    And if Lal's suffering from Stockholm's syndrome, I was as well since Moriarty (and the countess) were essentially emprisoned with the key more or less thrown away, not caring too much if all systems remained operational. I realize back in "Ship in a Bottle" the solution was ingenious, but I guess, after watching the plight of the EMH, having Vic as another self-aware hologramm, it is also quite ruthless. And instead of criticizing everything Geordi should also have recognized his hand in the whole mess - after all, had it not been for him, Moriarty would never have existed in this way.

    But then again, Geordi's presence wasn't really necessary, except that every Data/Sherlock needs his Watson when confronting Moriarty - and the most poignant moment was perhaps Geordi's realizing that while a Data might be back, that doesn't mean his is. As much as Data needs to figure out what to make out of his life, Geordi (and by extension the rest of the old TNG-crew) must come to terms with the knowledge that Data 2.0 can't replace the one they lost and that they need to form a new relationship.

    The old Data thought small, his goal was to become more human, being a good officer but I can't really remember whether the fact that he's going to survive his mortal friends by centuries and more, ever seriously came up within the series. At the end of this novel Data is very much aware of that fact and because of that, even if he joins the Enterprise at one point (which will undoubtedly happen since I doubt a Data-only series of books is in the plans beyond the next 2 or 3 at most), he'll do so with a very much different outlook on things. And I really hope he'll also finds joy in the future because my overall impression of him was that of a driven man, a dedicated father but also of a sad and lonely person. Which fits with the thought that he's not really let himself grieve yet.

    What I especially enjoyed:

    * the countess' conversation with Lal and her regaining color - very poignant and moving scene
    * grandpa Soong sending Lal off for a nap and the countess holding her hand
    * Data's reaction to Kivas Fajo - fear, revulsion... what other traumas stemming from his earlier experiences will there be for Data? For me easily the best of the cameos.
    * Shakti - brilliant scenes, bribing any- and everyone, creating shortcuts and workarounds etc - Data and her are a real dream-team
    * the cameos

    What I didn't like so much:

    * as I said at the beginning, the plot felt rushed at the end.
    * and that may seem strange, as I also cite them under the positive aspects: the cameos... there were so many at every twist and turn of the story that I gained the impression the story was built around the cameos instead of them helping flesh out the story. Doesn't help that I really hate Mudd.
    * Alice's fate: returning her to a life of servitude was harsh and perhaps the one point in Data's actions that's really questionable.

    Overall: More please!
     
  11. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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    Hey Jeffrey Lang, I haven't read the above posts. How is it people are not talking about this book! Anyway I'm about 60 percent through it (loving it btw) but I wonder if you could help me. Lal, in your opinion, is she like teen, pre-teen? It's taking me out of the story only because I'm trying to grasp her relationship with a couple of main females players in the book. I'm being vauge so not to spoil it.

    If you could tell me where you think Lal is currently in development. As a fellow Jeffery (that's how I spell mine though I go by Shane, my middle name) any help would be appreciated.
     
  12. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    110 posts (and 48 votes) sound to me like lots of us are talking about this book.

    Mmmm, it seems to me that part of Lal's problem, as often addressed in the novel, is that she doesn't really know if she's teen or pre-teen. Lal has previously gone nightclubbing with Alice, so she is accepted as a girl/woman of late teen/early 20s, but in some ways she lacks experience and maturity.

    Keep reading!
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The book's flashbacks seem to assume "Mudd's Passion" never happened. Harry is said to have been on the planet for 1242 days before his escape, which is nearly three and a half years, putting it in maybe early 2271, after the 5-year mission; and later, it's implied that Uhura would've been surprised to see him off the android planet, as if that was the last time she'd encountered him.

    But it can be reconciled. One way is to assume that Harry was returned to the android planet after "Mudd's Passion" and later escaped a second time. The other is to assume that the planet's days are a lot shorter than Earth's and the escape flashback comes before "Mudd's Passion" (though that doesn't explain Alice's use of hours and minutes in listing the duration of his stay). As for Uhura, she wasn't actually in "Mudd's Passion"; she appears briefly in a stock establishing shot of the bridge, but that's probably an animation error, because M'Ress is featured in the rest of the episode (and Alan Dean Foster's novelization has M'Ress on the bridge in that particular scene). Granted, Uhura was presumably aware of what had happened after the fact, but the flashback in the book was from Alice's POV, so maybe Harry never told her about the events of that episode (they were evidently separated at the time).
     
  14. Jeffrey_Lang

    Jeffrey_Lang Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    With regard to Lal: Yes, she's an adolescent AND an adult AND a child AND a super-intelligent artificial intelligence all at the same time. That's what I was trying to convey, hopefully with some success. She's supposed to seem confused and self-contradictory, incredibly sophisticated and simple all at once. If I had to pick an age that I think falls on a median point, at her worst, 13 or 14 and, at her best, 25-30.

    As to Harry Mudd and his activities: Er, what Christopher said...? Honestly, though, I didn't try to account for Harry's movements between the end of "I, Mudd" and the point where we find him in the book. Frankly, if Margaret doesn't bug me to account for something, I'm not going to fret about it.
     
  15. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks for answering. So I'm not crazy. That's why I had to stop and ask because Lal was quick to be one way then quick to be another.

    So now I can get back to it. Oh, BTW, this book has one thing the book line has needed in a long time...heart.
     
  16. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    You can also jiggle it with some of "The Business, As Usual, During Altercations", the original JA Lawrence tale in "Mudd's Angels" (aka "Mudd's Enterprise") - in which Uhura meets her long-promised android duplicate.
     
  17. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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    Had a great conversation with Jeff on Literary Treks about the book!
     
  18. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Rear Admiral Moderator

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    I guess I'm a little late to the party. This one took a long time to get to my local bookstore, but I still finished it a week or two ago, and haven't posted anything yet. Time to remedy that...

    Let me start by saying... for some reason, I was never as big a fan of Immortal Coil as everyone else here seems to be. I have read it twice (once when it first came out, and again after reading book 1 of Cold Equations), and although I always thought it was OK, I never thought it was the outstanding tour de force that others seem to think it is. I would have rated it "Average" if I had voted on a voting thread for it (which I'm really not sure if I ever did).

    That being said... I really, really liked The Light Fantastic. The story was engaging. It was great to see Lal after her resurrection. Moriarty may have been the antagonist, but you could completely understand his point of view, and his reasons for doing what he did. And it was also fun seeing characters from previous stories involved. (Mudd actually made his fortune... who would've thought? :lol:)

    One minor question: I might have just forgotten this, but were we ever shown the outcome of the Uhura-Mudd discussion? It seemed from the set-up that Mudd was going to try to run a con on her by offering her an android body (which is why Alice chose that time to leave), but then we weren't privy to what was actually said, and the next time we see Mudd it's a number of decades later. What actually was his intention with Uhura? (Sorry if this was explicit in the text; like I said, I may have just forgotten.)

    And one major concern I had:

    This. This kind of cast a downer on the end of the book... I felt TERRIBLE for Alice. All throughout the book, Data took actions of increasing moral "ambiguity", but this final act was not ambiguous. He basically returned her to a life of slavery. This isn't something Data should condone under any circumstances, and his own recent experience with Fajo just makes it even more unlikely. I get that Data would do anything for his daughter (as most parents would)... a point he reiterates over and over for Geordi. But it almost seems like over the course of the book, Data's actions get increasingly worse, and at the end, he could almost be seen as more "villianous" than Moriarty. Now, I understand that we're probably not *supposed* to think that of him, since it's never really dwelled upon in the text, and the book has more-or-less a happy ending for Data and Lal. But how far can he go before he becomes "irredeemable"?

    This one issue aside, I thought this book was really enjoyable. If Mr. Lang is given the opportunity to write the follow-up hinted at in the ending, then I'll be there for the ride! :techman:

    One other thing I wanted to touch on that's only tangentally related to the book: at the beginning of the thread, there was some discussion as to whether or not Data should return to Starfleet. I just thought I'd offer my own opinion.

    Generally speaking, I am AGAINST resets. Before they happened, I didn't want:

    - Janeway to return from the dead
    - Janeway to get command of the Delta Quadrant fleet
    - Worf to come back to Starfleet (OK, their hands were tied with this one because of a movie)
    - Data to return from the dead

    (Note that this is not intended to disparage the quality of the stories in which these events happened. IIRC, I enjoyed reading them all.)

    But for some reason, I want Data to return to Starfleet, now that he's back. I guess part of that is because we never really saw him reach his full potential in the fleet, so it feels like there's unfinished business there. Any time we saw Data in command, he always excelled at it... but when he finally was to be promoted to first officer, he died. I guess I just want to see that career path continue.

    Do I contradict myself? Well, I guess I contain multitudes too. :lol:
     
  19. SD70ACe

    SD70ACe Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Shoulda posted in here earlier, since I finished the book a few days after release. Oops. ;)

    Put simply, I loved it. Lang's really got "nu Data" locked down, and the character's exploration of his new existence (which is so different than anyone else's, really) is fascinating to read from beginning to end. Bringing back Moriarty was great; his lines were so well written I could practically hear Daniel Davis' voice. And Lal as a rebellious teenager, complete with rapid changes in clothing and hairstyles? Awesome.

    My only quirks with the book: 1) why on earth would the Daystrom Insitute network the storage cube that contained Moriarty? Did they not read Picard's report about how this sentient hologram has taken over networked systems twice? They were practically asking him to escape with that blunder. ;)

    And 2), the ending just seemed a bit rushed. Moriarty got a new body quickly, got his kids back, everything's fine awfully fast, almost happening between pages. But maybe that was just my interpretation.

    Still, bravo, and I hope we get more stories in this vein.
     
  20. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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    I could see Data returning to Starfleet at some point, but for now I think is growth is going to be taking him in a few different directions before he finds himself back in the folds of a Starfleet uniform.