Book Review: The Light Fantastic by Jeffrey Lang

I have another Star Trek book for you. The Light Fantastic by Jeffrey Lang is a follow-up to the Cold Equations Trilogy, as is written by the same author as Immortal Coil, which I also enjoyed very much when it first came out more than a decade ago.

When the Cold Equations Trilogy left off, a resurrected Data had just enlisted the help of the Immortal Akharin to resurrect his own daughter, Lal, and they left to travel the universe together.

However, there are other artificial intelligences that haunt Data’s past, and one of the most dangerous is the super-intelligent holographic criminal, Professor James Moriarty. Moriarty and his wife, Countess Regina Bartholomew, were supposed to be trapped in a computer on board the Enterprise-D. But then the Enterprise-D crashed on Veridian III, and their simulated world was torn apart.

Fourteen years later, Moriarty has escaped and kidnapped Lal, demanding that Data give him the one thing he’s always wanted, a body in the real world, and Data must race against time for both Moriarty’s impatience and Lal’s precarious mental health in order to save her.

I have a particular liking for these books about the androids and other artificial intelligences of the Trek universe. The give a unique perspective on the universe and are masterfully written. In this respect, I have to say that Jeffrey Lang is superior to David Mack. His books are better balanced, plot-wise. They are less epic, but that’s fine because they are more personal, or perhaps more inter-personal, despite the very real danger. And they also rely more on the television show(s), rather than piling book upon book for background knowledge.

Immortal Coil did all of this well, and so does The Light Fantastic. With some interesting twists, intriguing slices of life, and entertaining views into the thoughts and relationships of androids, it definitely rates as one of the best Trek books I’ve read. And there’s also a Sequel Hook, so I’m eager to see what might be coming next.

My rating: 5 out of 5.

About Alex R. Howe

I'm a full-time astrophysicist and a part-time science fiction writer.
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