Review: STTNG: Cold Equations #3 – The Body Electric

Star Trek the Next Generation: Cold Equations – The Body Electric
by David Mack

Product Description (from

A planet-sized Machine of terrifying power and unfathomable purpose hurls entire star systems into a supermassive black hole. Wesley Crusher, now a full-fledged Traveler, knows the Machine must be stopped . . . but he has no idea how.

Wesley must enlist the aid of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the Enterprise crew, who also fail to halt the unstoppable alien juggernaut’s destructive labors. But they soon divine the Machine’s true purpose—-a purpose that threatens to exterminate all life in the Milky Way Galaxy. With time running out, Picard realizes he knows of only one person who might be able to stop the Machine in time to avert a galactic catastrophe—-if only he had any idea how to find him. . . .

My Thoughts:
The conclusion of David Mack’s Cold Equations trilogy was sort of TNG meets Doomsday Machine with Androids on the Side and a serious callback to Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Humanesque!Data, still searching for a way to resurrect Lal, tracks down a splinter group of the group of Artificial Intelligence coalition and has to choose between the guy we originally knew as Flint and the android girlfriend who is “the only woman he ever loved” while saving the universe from a planet-eating monster-machine.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the return of Data, even if Mr. Mack did choose a book I disliked as his jumping-off point, but his whole relationship seemed so contrived, and Data as he is presented in this book seems so over-the-top with the melodrama that I had a hard time willfully suspending enough disbelief to truly enjoy this last entry in the trilogy.

On the one hand, Mack’s story was a good story, but on the other hand, I just couldn’t get invested in the new characters, which was my problem with the trilogy as a whole.

In fact, I find myself more interested in the story of rainbow-haired Ensign Scagliotti (so obviously an homage to the actress from Warehouse 13 than in Data, Flint, or the AIs.

And yet, if I hadn’t read this trilogy, I’d have missed the return of a beloved character, and I do agree with the choice to have Data NOT return to active duty.

So, overall? Glad I read these books, but kind of wanted something more satisfying.

Goes well with…lemon meringue pie…doesn’t everything?