The Enterprise is assigned a diplomatic mission to the Planet Lorca, which is practically foisted on them by the highly dodgy appearing character AmbaThe Enterprise is assigned a diplomatic mission to the Planet Lorca, which is practically foisted on them by the highly dodgy appearing character Ambassador Lewis. Lorca is a highly unusual planet where the entire population wear masks all day every day to show their rank and their job. In fact its considered extremely taboo to see a person's face 'naked' without a mask. So the enterprise away team (Picard, Worf, Deanna and Ambassador Lewis) is sent down with their own masks to search for the planet's only real leader - the wearer of the Wisdom Mask, and to begin diplomatic relations. The snag is that no one has seen or heard of the Wisdom Mask in years.
To add yet more difficulty, soon after landing, a volcanic eruption on the planet causes the away team to lose all contact with the ship, and are left to make their own way. After a period of non contact a second away team beams down to search for them (Riker, Data, dr Pulaski and 2 red-shirts). So then there are 2 separate away teams blundering about on the planets surface, trying to blend in with the locals, neither with any contact with the ship, and no one with any clue as to the whereabouts of the mysterious Wisdom Mask that was the original mission.
At first the Lorcan civilisation seemed like a slightly daft, but somewhat interesting concept, I was very interested as to whether the author could actually build it into a believeable novel. Unfortunately the whole masks concept didn't improve at all upon further reading, and if it had been anything other than a star trek novel I would have binned the book in disgust. The major problem with a civilisation like the Lorcans is this: That the mask you wear determines your status and role in society, ie wear a healer's mask and you're a healer, wear a mask maker's mask and you're a mask maker and so on. But anyone can be challenged to a duel (they can't refuse), and the winner of the duel takes the other's mask and has the right to wear it. Masks change hands so often due to these duels, that renders the entire civilisation laughable. Surely now everyone's mask (and therefore their role in society) depends entirely on their skill in swordmanship, and nothing else. How could a society like this possible continue? When so many people own and wear masks for which they cannot fulfil the job description, surely people would simply cease to put any value on the mask at all?
Hence the entire premise for the novel falls apart upon the mildest of scrutiny. I wouldn't even be sure that a short story would stand up founded on such an idea.. ridiculous to attempt a whole novel with this concept.
It might have been redeemed for it's Star Trek content, but it failed constantly on that point too. There were so many instances that were out of character, The computer constantly referred to itself in the first person "I do not understand", Data was constantly making mistakes and was half an hour late to the transporter room! And several other miscellaneos blunders.
Maybe I'm being harsh, but I think its only reasonable to expect an author to be able to keep everyone in character, seeing as this is set during season 2 (it's not like characters are not fully established). It truly read like the author had watched perhaps one episode of ST TNG before deciding to write a novel for the franchise. And some novels have been really quite good, so there is a certain standard to expect!
In conclusion, very disappointed. Would likely avoid other ST novels by this author in future.
See my other reviews of the Star Trek: The Next Generation novels: ← #6 Power Hungry | #8 (Plan to read soon!)...more
The Enterprise is called to deliver aid to Thiopia, a planet struggling with famine and ecological disaster. Before transferring the food supplies, PiThe Enterprise is called to deliver aid to Thiopia, a planet struggling with famine and ecological disaster. Before transferring the food supplies, Picard and his bridge crew are invited to a great banquet hosted by the planet's government, complete with a very marie-antoinette 'let them eat cake' speech, which leads them to question who needs the aid?
An interesting young scientist seems to have answers to the ecological disaster, proposing an innovating climate control system. Data immediately takes an interest in her research. And Riker is sent out inspect the warehouses (that will store the food aid), where he promptly gets caught in the middle of dissident terrorist attacks, and ends up captured.
I found this to be one of the least memborable TNG books so far. It was hard to dredge anything up out of my memory banks to write this review. It's not that it lacks a plot, but just that it's fairly predictable. The characterisation is fine. There simply isn't a whole lot to get excited about, either in a bad way or a good way.
The amount of tng plots (in the books and the tv series) concerning dissident political factions does make it a little repetitive after a while. But at least the Enterprise crew don't dismiss the dissidents as mere terrorists like in a certain of the episodes I could think of! Like the old saying goes "One man's terrorist, is another man's freedom fighter". And I'm glad for a moment they can actually see that.
As another reviewer notes, the book cover is misleading because this is not a plot about Riker and Troi. She is barely in it. They would have done better to put Riker, Data, and maybe Picard, as the main characters in this novel.
Not amazing, not terrible. It was just an okay novel.
The Kreel discover a cache of weapons on a deserted planet, left there by much a much more advanced race. They then use the weapons against their longThe Kreel discover a cache of weapons on a deserted planet, left there by much a much more advanced race. They then use the weapons against their long-time enemies - Klingons. The Klingons ask the federation to intercede, and aid diplomatic resolution to avoid all out warfare. So the Enterprise ends up with a ship of Kreel and Klingons at eachothers throats.
Found this one difficult to rate. On one hand, Peter David is a very funny writer. serveral scenes made me laugh out loud. It almost had the tone of star trek written by Terry Pratchett. But by imposing his own humorous style on things, it managed to lose out a bit on what makes StarTrek... well.. StarTrek. Certain things happened that were totally unreasonable within the federation. For instance, A doctor threw something at an injured Klingon and ordered him out of sickbay while he bled all over. I know in this case he wasn't exactly the good guy, but there is such a thing as the hypocratic oath, and especially with a federation doctor, this was very shocking.
There was also some really really awful lack of basic scientific knowledge, which was pretty much the worst part of the whole book. This comes where Geordi is attempting to scan an alien artifact, but it reflects everything that he tries to scan it with..
"[...]Yeah I can see it. But all I'm picking up is the exterior. Now it's obviously not repelling all light. If it were..."
"It'd be invisible," said Riker.
You don't need a science office to know that the ability to see something is dependent on the light reflecting back off an object. If the light passes straight through, then its invisible. But for all light to be reflected, that makes it about as invisible as a Bolian at a Betazoid wedding.. which is to say.. not.
So yes, incredibly let down by the blatant lack of scientific knowledge
All in all, +4 stars for being funny -1 for bad science and ethics = 3 stars.
The ruler of a non-federation planet requests starfleet intervention in a civil uprising, Tasha Yar and Data get sent on their own to see whats what.The ruler of a non-federation planet requests starfleet intervention in a civil uprising, Tasha Yar and Data get sent on their own to see whats what. As usual things are not to to be taken at face value.
I knew I'd like this book from the outset, because who can deny that Tasha and Data were two of the most interesting characters on TNG. And that we never saw enough of Tasha, and that we could never have enough of Data.
Of course theres always the impending doom hanging over this book, as I knew it was set only slightly before the episode where Tasha Yar dies, so I wasn't waiting for the perfect happy ending, but it really good none-the-less.
See my other reviews of the Star Trek: The Next Generation novels: 1# - #3 not reviewed :( | #5 Strike Zone →...more