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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking in a different sense, 28 Aug 2001
By A Customer
Think about your closest friends; are they real to you? If you didn't know them in the first place, would they still be real? Now think about your favorite fiction characters; are they real? Think of a world without them; would YOU be real?
After Troi makes an intriguing contact with an "alien" life form from another dimension, thinking that this may be related to the disappearance of USS Huxley a long time ago, Picard decides to investigate inside a nebulae cloud where all subspace communications are blocked by natural sources. They are more than surprised to find a planet named Rampart inhabited by humans inside the cloud. Although human, Rampartians do not like the Enterprise's intrusion because it represents everything they tried to keep away from their society. The fiction in Rampart is a crime and the punishment is death. Since they were departed from the earth, Rampartian science is only excelled in one area: To read and cleanse minds; thus, not only actively involving in creating or consuming fiction is crime, but even thinking of it is... However there is a group of rebels - Dissenters - fighting against the dictatorship with the single weapon they have: Fiction! And Enterprise crew find themselves in the middle of this fight.
While the basic promise of the book seems to tell a simple story of rebels fighting against a dictatorship, the author manages to create a compelling storyline by combining some action and nice characters into it, Trek style. Most importantly you are asked what happens if you're ripped off all fiction, and Troi's dreams and the presentation of Dissenters give you a memorable sensation of how actually valuable your fiction characters to you than you've thought. A nice touch is added with Wesley's revelation that "he" is a part of a bigger "It", and the books ends with a nice twist.
I am almost sorry that this is a Trek book, because otherwise this would lead to a very nice Saga; How and why the colonists left earth, why are they greedy about fiction, how did they developed the technology and so on.
By the way, if you read and like this book, I recommend Ray Bradburry's Fahrenheit 451 too.
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