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Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Light Fantastic

Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Light Fantastic [Kindle Edition]

Jeffrey Lang
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Returning to the story begun in the novel Immortal Coil and continuing in the bestselling Cold Equations trilogy, this is the next fascinating chapter in the artificial life of one of Star Trek’s most enduring characters.

He was perhaps the ultimate human achievement: a sentient artificial life-form—self-aware, self-determining, possessing a mind and body far surpassing that of his makers, and imbued with the potential to evolve beyond the scope of his programming. And then Data was destroyed. Four years later, Data’s creator, Noonien Soong, sacrificed his life and resurrected his android son, who in turn revived the positronic brain of his own artificial daughter, Lal. Having resigned his commission, the former Starfleet officer now works to make his way on an alien world, while also coming to grips with the very human notion of wanting versus having a child. But complicating Data’s new life is an unexpected nemesis from years ago on the U.S.S. Enterprise—the holographic master criminal Professor James Moriarty. Long believed to be imprisoned in a memory solid, Moriarty has created a siphon into the "real" world as a being of light and thought. Moriarity wants the solid form that he was once told he could never have, and seeks to manipulate Data into finding another android body for him to permanently inhabit...even if it means evicting the current owner, and even if that is Data himself.

™, ®, & © 2013 CBS Studios, Inc. STAR TREK and related marks are trademarks of CBS Studios, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author

Jeffrey Lang launched his Star Trek career with a contribution to the LIVES OF DAX anthology, and is co-author of the Deep Space Nine volume ABYSS in the phenomenally successful Section 31 quartet.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Data at his most human 5 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent story that only has a passing mention of Starfleet, but it suffers not at all for that. Well paced and excellently (imho) written, the plot leads you well into how Data has changed and fleshes out Professor Moriarty as well, with the promise of (hopefully) more to come. An excellent addition to the Star Trek universe. Well worth the read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Its all good 9 July 2014
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Its all good
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 9 July 2014
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Fantastic read
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good fun Trek heisty story 8 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Jeffrey Lang returns to Trek to follow up on the events of the Cold Equations trilogy, which in turn followed from Lang's own Immortal Coil. I've not read Immortal Coil, so I can't really say how much is referenced back to that book, but one thing this book does do is refer back to almost every android that's ever appeared in Star Trek.

Despite the serious subject matter, the narrative is quite light and the characters in particular are presented in a similar manner to some of the more jokey episodes of The Next Generation. In fact the main characters of this story are probably the best part, each having real depth and growing through the novel.

The plot is quite fun too, a cross between a heist and Sherlock Holmes, and is entertaining throughout despite posing some good moral questions in the Trek style. I really enjoyed the non-linear nature of the narrative, continue happy jumping around the characters' timelines to gradually reveal more to the reader.

I can't really pick out anything to criticise - although I thought I spotted one or two continuity glitches (but I might be the one misremembering). A great fun read, and one that I hope Lang is able to follow up on.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Light Fantastic 1 July 2014
By Joe Zika - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Light Fantastic - by Jeffrey Lang

Cast of Characters:

Data * Lal * Professor James Moriarty * Countess Regina Bartholomew * Geordi LaForge * Albert Lee * Harcourt Fenton (Harry) Mudd * Kivas Fajo * Alice (series) * Reginald Barclay * Vic Fontaine * The Doctor * Jean-Luc Picard * Worf


Alpha Quadrant * Deep Space 9 * Quark's * Veridian III * Orion Prime * Daystrom Institute

Historian's Note:

The main events in this narrative are from November 2385 (ACE). It has been a year since Data had decided not to rejoin Starfleet and instead dedicate his life to his daughter, Lal. ("Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations," trilogy.)

"The Light Fantastic" is the sequel to Lang's own "Immortal Coil." (2002), which, when I first read it was a Whoa, Nellie, seat of your pants thrill ride.

From Cold Equations:

Doctor Soong returns in the novel Cold Equations: "The Persistence of Memory, (2012)" which reveals that he survived his death by transferring his mind into an android body far more human in appearance than Data's. After his remaining 'children'- his three early prototypes, B-4, Lal, and Lore- are stolen by the Breen, he is able to rescue them with help from the Enterprise-E, but subsequently sacrifices himself to transfer Data's memories from B-4 into his own body, unable to complete the new body he had been attempting to construct due to the recent Borg invasion and the Breen's subsequent attack on his lab. This transfer results in Data acquiring some of Soong's memories and a new ability to use contractions (Although he still chooses not to use them out of habit).

Lang has done a wonderful job wrapping up a truly amazing arc, (birth, death, and resurrection) of Data's character. We get to find out how Data's been spending the last two years of his life. Data, packed his bags and left the Enterprise with Lal and is off to Orion Prime. We get a brief passing look into his life since retirement, and his subsequent parenthood. His daughter Lal, who has been giving him a rough time as a parent, is in her adolescent years.

Doctor Noonian Soong, sometimes listed as Noonien Soong and nicknamed "Often Wrong," was one of the Federation's leading cyberneticists during the 24th century. It so happens that the eccentric doctor had a few investments on Orion Prime and now Data has an inheritance. So, Data is a rich SOB and doesn't have to answer to Starfleet any longer.

Parenthood for Data is tenuous at best and he has to hire a nanny to keep an eye on his daughter. The relationship between Lal and the nanny, you'll be surprised to hear where she has come from, is like a best friend relationship, pull-the-wool-over-the-eyes relationship, and an advice counselor all wrapped into one. This relationship is carried on throughout the book and becomes useful when the time is right. It can be witty, hilarious, bitchy, frustrating and plays well off of both characters. Of course, being who Alice is lends an interesting twist of events in the story.

This is where Lal and Alice are kidnapped by none other than Professor James Moriarty. You see after the crash of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D the computer housing the holographic program was damaged and Moriarty's world has been severely disrupted. The holographic program was shipped to The Daystrom Institute after the crash, but hasn't been fully repaired. This is the problem and herein lies the crux of the matter.

Professor James Moriarty was a hologram created by Geordi La Forge, based on the fictional character of the same name. He was created for Sherlock Holmes Program 3A as an adversary capable of outwitting Data.

Data and Geordi are now searching for Lal and Alice as Moriarty is using them for leverage for Data to solve the problem as it becomes more and more ominous for Moriarty. We are now along for this adventure and tale which brings in characters from the different genres of TREK. Harcourt Fenton Mudd, Vic Fontaine, Kivas Fajo and of course these characters add their own unique flavor to the story.

Overall, I enjoyed reading "The Light Fantastic" as it brought back memories of past TREK in a new light as the characters are older, but nonetheless, as shifty as ever, subterfuge, trickery, larceny, and deceit aren't far from this cast of characters. Data has shared memories with Doctor Noonien Soong and doesn't sound exactly like the Data of the past. The narrative moved quickly the characters were spot on, save for the hybrid Data.

The Moriarty's were guests of Harry Mudd's to the mystery planet and with a slack-jawed, silent Alice, in tow These androids - Alices, Maisies, Doloreses, Sydneys and the Stellas, all have astonishing amounts of information about history of this galaxy and even more importantly their galaxy. This may cause a problem for future episodes, as the game is afoot. I highly recommend the book for a summer quickie in the TREK universe. Rumor has it Harcourt Fentom Mudd is under extreme guard for his "health".

The Moriarty's and family are out traveling the galaxy in new android bodies. Data and Lal have a more stable relationship due to an interesting turn of events from the ubiquitous Doctor Noonien Soong. It seems the Soong's are a very resilient group of guys.

Effect of Moriarty:

After the first encounter with Moriarty, the Enterprise-D turned its findings over to Starfleet's most experienced theoretical scientists. Moriarty, however, didn't become public knowledge at that time, even to Enterprise engineers. (TNG: "Ship in a Bottle")

The events surrounding Moriarty's re-emergence were ultimately taught at Starfleet Academy. Before his graduation in 2370, Harry Kim was one of the Academy cadets to learn of Moriarty. (VOY: "Alter Ego")

Moriarty's history would be covered under the Starfleet database and included on all starships. In 2373, Chakotay looked up the information on the USS Voyager's database when investigating the possibility of another sentient holodeck character (although the character was later revealed to have come under the control of an outside intelligence rather than having become sentient herself). (VOY: "Alter Ego")

For the reader, some interesting history relating to this narrative.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations: The Persistence of Memory: Book One (Mass Market Paperback)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations: Silent Weapons: Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations: The Body Electric: Book Three (Mass Market Paperback)
Immortal Coil (Star Trek Next Generation (Numbered) (Mass Market Paperback)
Star Trek - The Next Generation, Episode 29: Elementary, Dear Data [VHS] (1987)
Star Trek - The Next Generation, Episode 138: Ship in a Bottle [VHS] (1987)
Star Trek: The Original Series Episode: TOS 041 - The Deadly Years
(TNG: "The Most Toys")
(DS9: "His Way", "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang")
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Days of Future Past Star Trek Style (Contains Spoilers) 29 Jun 2014
By Robert Carver - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was a bit taken back at first with Lang's use of characters from Star Trek's past. Far too often this can be an exercise in lazy writing but I stuck with the novel and was rewarded with an excellent story that will be continued. I liked the ethical dilemma that Data and Geordi faced regarding how the Enterprise crew had forgotten about their promise to Moriarity. What will you do for your family? This drives both Data and Moriarty as they seek to protect their children. Lang returns to the TOS era to catch up with the irritating but loveable rogue, Harcourt Fenton "Harry" Mudd, last seen being harassed by copies of his harpy wife. Stella. I wondered what happened to Mudd and those androids. It turns out Mudd did escape with the help of an increasingly independent Alice android. Harry disappeared down the rabbit hole of narcissism but Alice escaped to lead an interesting life that led her to work for Data and Lal. It sounds unwieldy but I believe Lang was successful in interweaving the plot in a way that made these characters work in an intriguing story. We also get to revisit the science/engineering found by Kirk on Exo III. It is not all about old characters as we meet Shakti, Data's personal assistant, who makes Siri look downright archaic. If I can't serve on the USS Enterprise of the future, I would happily settle for the Archeus and Shakti. The ending of this story laid the foundation for what should be a darned interesting exploration of Mudd's android planet & civilization in the follow-up novel. The game is afoot!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery Meets Coming of Age 24 Jun 2014
By Melissa A. Bartell - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered the digital edition of this book several months ago when it was first announced, so I knew it would be arriving on my Kindle around 2:00 this morning. I was pleasantly surprised when it actually showed up at midnight, because I'm very nocturnal. Translation: by the time I went to bed around 2 AM, I'd read 81% of this novel.

<em>The Light Fantastic</em> is the sequel to Lang's own <em>Immortal Coil</em>, which, I confess, left me conflicted when I first read it. The adult part of me, the part that is an improviser and a writer, really liked it, though I felt that Data and Rhea's relationship was both too fast, and not believable (this despite the fact that I liked Rhea as a character). The part of me that was 16 or 17 when TNG premiered on TV and crushed on Data had other issues, but adult-me was able to ignore them.

But then David Mack gave us is <em>Cold Equations</em> trilogy, and those expanded upon Data 2.0's mindset and choices, and gave us better insight into the Fellowship of AI, and left a door open for more with this beloved character.

And now Lang has wrapped up a truly amazing arc. We get to find out how Data's been spending the last two years of his life. We get a glimpse into his life with the newly restored Lal, his daughter, who is in the midst of the android equivalent of adolescence, and then she's abducted - by Moriarty - yes, the hologram - and we're thrown into a story that is both a mystery and a story about what it means to grow up, grow old, raise children, and explore one's identity.

Data as a father is both hilarious and heartbreaking - especially as he's still acclimating to his new body and his permanently engaged emotions.
Lal as a teenager is also hilarious, and frustrating, and it gave me new respect for the way my own mother must've felt when I was a teenager myself.

Geordi, of course, is along for the ride, because no Sherlock can be without his Watson, and along the way we are introduced to a few favorite characters from both TNG and TOS.

Overall, <em>The Light Fantastic</em><em> is a truly satisfying read, and if Data doesn't sound exactly the way we're accustomed to him sounding, well, he himself states in the novel that he isn't entirely certain how much of him is HIM, and how much is leftover Noonian Soong.

The tag, of course, teases a new mystery, and I have no idea if that will pan out, or if the soft canon of the novels will eventually merge with the soft canon of the STO game and the Countdown to Trek 2009 (in which Data was Captain of the </em><em>Enterprise</em>), but if it doesn't, I would totally buy a series of intergalactic mysteries featuring Data and LaForge.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Game that Stumbled in the End 26 Jun 2014
By Blood Island - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was a little disappointed with this novel, but as they say, your mileage may vary. This seemed to play out very similarly to the two Moriarty TNG episodes "Ship in a Bottle" and "Elementary, Dear Data", in that is a mystery and a battle of wits. However, the narrative spends quite a bit of time with a number of guest stars, one of whom struck me as quite obscure and another as out of place, but the rest were great. (And while I loved **SPOILER** Harry Mudd back in the day, I just can't wrap my head around him in the 24th century. **SPOILER**)

However, my problem with the story is that the climax feels rushed and off-screen. Moriarty is outwitted, and then POOF! Quickly shoved off-screen, with little resolution to his own suffering and needs. (Data isn't the only father out to save his family...) We find out Moriarty's ultimate fate in a letter to Data, and that felt like cheating. I felt a distinct need to see those events play out before my eyes, not just have them handed to me in exposition.

All in all, not as good as The Immortal Coil or Cold Equations. But The Light Fantastic sits on my Star Trek shelf, and I will still buy the next installment of Data. Because while a lot of readers seem to want Data back in Starfleet, I am stoked to see more of Data in the private sector, raising Lal and interacting with artificial intelligences. Bring it on!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have used much better editing (Spoilers ahead) 3 July 2014
By Michael Doss - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Given my love of Data, holodeck malfunctions, and bringing in random characters from the past, I should have loved this story, but I didn't. Like other reviewers have noted, the ending seemed rushed - I wasn't sure until the last 50 or so pages that this wasn't going to be continued in another book. There are a lot of other issues, however. Moriarty's magic escape from his containment is poorly explained, and his status as supervillain is used too often to explain his ability to do much more than he should have been able to do. Geordi is two-dimensional and seems very much the hapless sidekick here.

I also took issue with the author seeming to want to bring a present-day spin on everything as well - the casinos, the neighborhoods on Orion, and various other things are literally explained as reminding the characters of Earth in the early 21st century. It was like Lang was trying to write a bad first-season episode of TNG, and he did a pretty good job of it. And while I'm used to not always knowing every novel character, Lang introduces Albert Lee, who was apparently an Enterprise-D engineering contemporary of Data, Geordi and Barclay. And while he's discussed as if we all know about him, I can't find a single novel or canon reference to the character anywhere. This just screams of lazy editing, which is a problem I had throughout the whole novel.

If you're committed to the current novel timeline (and especially the Cold Equations series by David Mack), this novel is still worth a read, though I really wish a little more attention was paid to the details.
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