Metamorphosis (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Jean Lorrah
Metamorphosis takes place in the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but it’s a direct sequel to Jean Lorrah’s first TNG novel, Survivors.

In this novel, we see what Data might be like if his fondest wish was granted, and he became human, literally. Watching him adapt to being a “real boy” is both comic and poignant; watching him react to lost love is a bit disturbing. Someone said (probably in another TNG novel) that hurting Data is sort of like kicking a puppy, and it’s totally true.

In any case, at least they’ve fixed the errors with contractions – Data doesn’t use any in this novel, and it was still fun.


Survivors (Star Trek The Next Generation, No 4)

Jean Lorrah
I’ve been a Star Trek fan since birth, practically, to the point where, when I was a kid, the only television I was allowed to watch before 5:00 PM was reruns of classic Trek.

I was in junior high, or high school, when I started reading the novel tie-ins, and by the time I married Fuzzy, I had almost all the TOS novels, and a good portion of the TNG ones. At that point, I hadn’t begun to collect DS9, and Voyager didn’t exist.

When we left South Dakota, I gave my collection to Fuzzy’s brother, who also collected them. I think his collection is now complete, but I still like to revisit the series from time to time, and have contemplated beginning my collection anew.

In any case, my favorite TNG character is Picard, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Data, so when I saw the TNG novel Survivors, by Jean Lorrah, who had also written some of my favorite TOS novels, I had to have it.

It’s an episode expansion, of a sort, dealing with some of the events in the episode Skin of Evil (the one where Tasha is killed by the sentient oil slick), and also expanding the relationship between Data and Tasha, and talking about Tasha’s background. It’s also very EARLY TNG-fic, because Data is using contractions all over the place, and at one point Deanna Troi tells Tasha that Data has feelings.

Still, as fluff reading goes, it’s fun, and the insight into Tasha rounds out a character we never really got to know.

Incubus Dreams

Incubus Dreams: The Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series

Laurell K. Hamilton

I’ve been a fan of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series since 1998, when I spied a copy of The Lunatic Cafe on the shelf at the Barnes and Noble in Sioux Falls. Of course, I immediately had to go back and read the rest of the novels in the series, which was, at the time, only four books long.

Now, eight books later, I’m still addicted to Hamilton’s cast of characters and soft-porn storytelling, but I wish there was a little bit more story in this offering, Incubus Dreams.

To be fair, it is a transitional novel, and it does that job well. Anita, in this incarnation, is finally beginning to make peace with who and what she is. In fact, for the first time, she’s beginning to show real signs of maturity.

The plot, what there is of it, isn’t very obvious – there’s a string of murders, of course, but there are vast stretches of the novel where they’re not even mentioned, and the solution, when it comes, is sort of a throwaway, but the character development is much more interesting – Nathaniel is becoming three-dimensional, and Richard is ‘back’ in a sense.

I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next.

The Reef

The Reef
Nora Roberts
I picked up this novel, The Reef, by Nora Roberts, at the Half Price Books in Lewisville, TX when we were still in the apartment, began it there, got distracted, and didn’t finish it until the first weekend we were here in the house, when I literally had nothing else to read.

As romance novels go, it’s fairly predictable, though the fact that it’s a Nora Roberts novel means that at least it’s well-written predictability.

It’s also relatively early Roberts – it feels a bit dated to me.

Still, as bathroom reading, it was quiet enjoyable.