You thought you'd be safe from a review just 'cos it's rerun time...think again. :-) I'm not going to be particularly formal this time, though, and I'm definitely NOT going to give a synop of a 400-page novel. I'll be mentioning several things that happen, though, including the ending, so those of you who haven't read the novel yet definitely should NOT go past this point. Whew. Still with me? Good.
Many thoughts came to mind while reading this last night. "Holy shit" was often one of them. "Yeep!" was another. "Superb" was also one of them from time to time. But, at least until the last 20 pages or so, the overriding phrase in my brain was
PUT THIS ON FILM!
I'm serious. Most of this book would make a terrific TNG movie. (There's no way it would all fit into one episode without being horribly cut.) Certain bits really struck me as cinematically apt. For example:
Definitely filmable. The one thing that changed that, however, was the ending.
I didn't object to the ending; far from it. I found it to be one of the more chilling fates I'd seen for an adversary, and one that unfortunately made loads of sense for Delcara. However, there's absolutely no way to film it and do it right. About the closest would be the end of "Time After Time", but that's not quite the same idea. Besides, there's no way to keep the final page intact as such on film, and I would most DEFINITELY want it there. Oh, well. It was only a pipe dream, anyway--they don't adapt novels, and they definitely wouldn't adapt anything from such a persistent thorn in Richard Arnold's side.
There were a couple of minor things I didn't care for in the novel, though not many. For the most part, they can be summed up by saying that I think Peter occasionally tried to put in a few too many ties to previous situations. Specifically, I thought bringing in Pulaski and the Repulse was a little bit gratuitous (LA Law inside joke or no :-) ), as was making the commander of the Tholian fleet be Loskene. It's kind of like the reaction I'd have had if Worf had been commanding the Klingon force in "Yesterday's Enterprise": a little too contrived. But in most of the other cases, it wasn't gratuitous at all.
I definitely DID like the theorized origins for the planet-killer, and some background on the Borg. It makes a great deal of sense to me, and follows up both the TNG Borg shows and TOS's "The Doomsday Machine" very nicely and with good regard to detail. Of course, these origins as presented here will never ever appear anywhere else. Sigh.
And, of course, one thing has stayed constant between _Strike Zone_ and here: Peter's gift for dialoguing the TNG crew. In fact, I think it's been improving, considerably. In _Strike Zone_, I remember being surprised at how few places I found where it didn't ring true; here, I can't remember any that directly involved the TNG core members. (I did have trouble with some of Shelby's lines on the Chekov, however--that's my only other objection.) Thanks to talking over stories and scripts and so forth with various people (and trying my hand at writing a "serious" parody a few years back [serious in that the only silly thing about it was the plot; I tried to get the characters right]), I've managed to refine my own rule of thumb for reading TNG dialogue on paper: if I can't hear the characters saying it on-screen, and can't hear it echoing in my skull for at least a few seconds, it doesn't work. (And that's one of the biggest problems with a great many novels; the dialogue doesn't so much echo as sort of slowly thud.) I definitely heard the echoes last night.
Considering that there aren't THAT many r.a.sers who seem to habitually read the novels, and fewer still who get to them this quickly, I think I'll stop babbling on for now. But I definitely advise those of you with an interest to go out and buy _Vendetta_ as soon as possible: it's easily the best TNG novel to date.
In fact, it lets me end my novel obsession with a bang. Y'see, I'm not going to be regularly buying them every month any more. As I told Paramount licensing in the letter I sent them, both the iron-handed interference of one who remained nameless in the letter (though he's been described by some as "the biggest windmill I know" in one of the best backhanded dedications I've ever seen ;-) ) and the interference's effect on the quality of the novels, I no longer see my way clear to buy them routinely. From now on, it's mostly author-dependent. (I will continue to buy Peter's stuff, for example, and I will never ever pay money for one of Michael Jan Friedman's novels again...) But I knew that this stream was going to end with _Vendetta_; definitely a nice way to end. Bravo.
Tim Lynch (Cornell's first Astronomy B.A.; one of many Caltech grad students) BITNET: tlynch@citjuliet INTERNET: firstname.lastname@example.org UUCP: ...!email@example.com "They say that these are not the best of times, but they're the only times I'll ever know..." --B. Joel, "Summer Highland Falls" Copyright 1991, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask... This article is explicitly prohibited from being used in any off-net compilation without due attribution and *express written consent of the author*. Walnut Creek and other CD-ROM distributors, take note.
Hans-Wolfgang Loidl <firstname.lastname@example.org> Last modified: Sun Dec 1 00:51:43 1996 Stardate: [-31]8505.17