Brent Spiner is in the middle of his time as Data, the resident android aboard the starship Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation, when he receives a mysterious package in his trailer. As if the contents of said package aren’t upsetting enough, it’s accompanied by a letter from a fan pretending to be Spiner’s on-screen daughter Lal, threatening Spiner’s life. From there, the novel becomes a two-hundred and fifty page fever dream taking the reader through a fictionalized version of Spiner’s time on one of America’s biggest science fiction show of the 90s.
This one is so hard to rate. Even as I write this review, I have a hard time coming to terms with what I think of it. On one hand, it is a wildly original story that had me saying WTF more than just about anything else. On the other hand, it seems completely directionless at times and even at a trim two hundred and fifty pages, it feels long.
I will give Spiner credit, he did have me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. The fictionalized versions of his co-workers LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Patrick Stewart, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden and Marina Sirtis were hilarious. It was like Spiner took their personalities and turned the dial up to 11. Supposedly in the audiobook, the aforementioned actors reprise their roles as their titular characters and are completely one hundred percent in on the joke. I wish I had experienced the book in that way.
I really thought I would like this more than I did, but I found that the central mystery wore on far too long to the point where I didn’t really care to find out what happened. That being said, given that this was Spiner’s first shot at a mystery novel, he did better than I expected in crafting plausible red herrings that tripped me up more than a few times.