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Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Light Fantastic (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 24. Juni 2014

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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Jeffrey Lang has authored or coauthored several Star Trek novels and short stories, including Immortal Coil, Section 31: Abyss, The Left Hand of Destiny, “Foundlings” (in the anthology Prophecy and Change), and “Mirror Eyes” (with Heather Jarman, in the anthology Tales of the Dominion War). He lives in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, with his partner Helen, his son Andrew, an irascible cat named Samuel and a fearful hamster named Scritchy.

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Light Fantastic

1


Images

November 2385 (ACE)—The Present


The short-order cook finished wiping down the flat-top cast-iron grill with his kitchen cloth. He bent low to inspect the surface, like a billiard player lining up a shot, checking for dings or other small imperfections in the play surface. Some of the other cooks had the bad habit of smacking the flat-top with the edge of a spatula. He had been trying to dissuade them with both gentle reminders and terse threats, but he worked only the breakfast shift and couldn’t control what happened the rest of the day.

Still, he always liked to make sure the cooktop was clean and lubricated before he headed out the door. The diner owner, a Cardassian expat name Oban, didn’t mind paying him for the extra few minutes on his timecard, especially since the short-order cook was the main reason the business had been turning a profit for the past few weeks.

Before his arrival, the diner’s sole virtue resided in the fact that patrons knew they could sit at the counter and nurse a cup of tepid coffee or raktajino for as long as they liked without being rousted out, mostly because no one else wanted their seat. Now, thanks to the new morning cook, there was a line out the door most days, and the patrons weren’t only locals looking for a quick bite before heading to work. Word had spread through the food-lovers underground: Many of the patrons were tourists, eager to spend credits on eggs and bacon, waffles, and a strange delicacy called “chipped beef on toast.” Diners had started posting reviews on culinary sites, but only for breakfast. Sure, there was some spillover to the other shifts, but all the chatter was about breakfast, breakfast, breakfast and the wonder of this one cook who could crank out delicacies at a clockwork pace. In a world full of replicated fare, simple food made well was a draw, even if the customers had to find their way to a seedy little grease-stained pit in the middle of nowhere.

The short-order cook knew all about the buzz, but he never mentioned it. Oban paid him a decent wage, and the Cardassian was smart enough not to ask too many questions. Their conversations were limited to simple questions like, “You almost done there, Davey?”

The short-order cook didn’t respond. He was too absorbed with the process of re-lubricating the cooking surface.

“Davey?”

The short-order cook looked up. Oban was standing in the narrow doorway that led to the prep kitchen and, past that, to Oban’s tiny office.

“Hello?”

“Sorry,” the short-order cook said. “Wasn’t listening. You want something?”

“Yeah,” Oban said. “Come on back to the office when you’re done. Got something I need to ask ya.”

The short-order cook sighed. “Sure. Yeah. Be there in a minute.” He finished wiping down his workstation and collected his tools so he could drop them off in the dish room before leaving. Just before he left the kitchen, he pointed at the second grill station, the one where the lunch cook, an Orion native named Settu, was working. “Flip those eggs. They’re about to overcook.”

Settu pouted. “They’re fine. Barely been on the grill for two minutes.”

“Then you’ve got the temp too high. They’re going to go rock solid in 30 seconds.”

“How can you tell?”

“I can smell ’em.”

Settu waved him off. “Go punch out. Your shift is over.”

The short-order cook sighed again and turned to leave. “Fine. Whatever. Kelly isn’t going to like it when you cost her a tip.” Settu had a crush on Kelly.

Behind him, the short-order cook heard the spatula being slipped under the eggs and turned. Then, a moment later, the soft click of the heat controls being adjusted. The short-order cook smiled, but only a little.

*  *  *

“What can I do for you, boss?” the short-order cook asked, standing in the office door.

“Sit down a minute, Davey.”

“I don’t have time to sit down. I have to get home. I like to see my kid before she heads off to school.”

“I understand,” Oban said, rubbing the stubble on his chin. The Cardassian always looked like he was a day or two away from his last shave. “I remember those days. Being a parent, it can be hard. Especially if you’re doing it all by yourself, am I right?”

“If you say so.”

“So, you’re not doing it all by yourself?”

“I didn’t say that,” the short-order cook said.

“You don’t say much about yourself at all.”

The short-order cook untied his apron and wadded it up into a ball. Outside the door, there was a bin where kitchen staff threw dirty clothes and towels at the end of their shifts. He tossed the apron into the bin. Freed from the restrictions of the apron, his belly dropped down a bit over the top of his belt. “Do you have something you want to ask me?”

“I just wanted to let you know I looked into the whole chicken egg thing for you.”

“And?”

“I found a place that has live Terran chickens. They sell them for the meat, but the owner says, yeah, they lay eggs, too, and he’s willing to sell them to me if I want. But, he says, most Orion folk have an allergic reaction to chicken eggs.”

“Then we won’t feed ’em to Orions. We’ll tell the waitstaff not to let Orions order them.”

“Why are these chicken eggs such a big deal?”

“Get them for me and I’ll show you. I’ll make you an omelet. These eggs you get—what are they again?”

“The birds are called paradins.”

“Well, whatever. The protein-to-water ratio is all wrong. Chicken eggs are perfect for omelets. We start making omelets and you’ll start getting Terran customers. They’ll go nuts. You can charge whatever you want and they’ll pay it.”

“Really?”

“Sure.”

“And how do you know this?”

“I used to work with Terrans. Back in the day.”

“Another restaurant?”

“Sure. A restaurant. Nice place, but crazy hours. Couldn’t stand the hours after I became a dad.”

“I can see that,” Oban said. “A father has to be there.”

“So you’ll get the chicken eggs?”

“I’ll get the chicken eggs. And then you can make me an omelet.”

“Good. You won’t regret it. Anything else? I need to get going.”

“Just one more thing,” Oban said. He rubbed the back of his neck with one big, meaty hand. “I wanted to let you know—yesterday, these guys came by looking for you.”

“ ‘These guys’?” the short-order cook asked. “What guys? I don’t know any guys. What did they look like?”

Oban shrugged. “I dunno. Just . . . guys.”

“Big? Small? Orion? Human?”

“Nah, not Orion. Maybe human. Maybe not. You know I have trouble telling them apart. Just . . . guys.”

“Two of them?”

“Yep.”

“Cops?...


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Nach den Ereignissen in „Nemesis“ war Data nicht mehr Teil der ENTERPRISE-Crew bzw. des ST-Universums. Doch innerhalb der Romanreihen – speziell durch David Mack – wurden er und seine Tochter Lal wieder eingeführt. Allerdings hat Data sich nun aus seinem Dienst bei der Föderation und bei StarFleet verabschiedet und ist mit Lal nach Orion One gezogen, wo sein „Vater“ einigen Grundbesitz erworben hatte. Dort betreibt er nun ein Kasino, während er gleichzeitig versucht, seine Tochter auf ein Leben in diesem großen und verwirrenden Universum vorzubereiten. Aber das ist nicht so einfach, wie er gedacht hat und so stellt er schließlich seine Angestellte Alice, eine andere Androiden von zunächst unbekannter Herkunft, ein, um als Kindermädchen für Lal zu fungieren.

Alice, die deutlich älter als Data zu sein scheint, geht diese Aufgabe erstaunlich unkonventionell an und bereitet Data dadurch einiges an Kopfzerbrechen, wenn er auch sieht, dass diese Herangehensweise bei Lal gut verfängt. Vielleicht sogar zu gut, denn schließlich beschließt Lal, dass das Wohnen über dem Kasino ihr und ihrem Vater nicht gut tut und so erwirbt sie ein eigenes Haus, in dem sie ihrem Vater einen Bereich zum Wohnen zur Verfügung stellt – und ihm außerdem die Idee gibt, dass er vielleicht noch andere Dinge tun kann, als ein Kasino leiten, das sein „Vater“ ihm hinterlassen hat. Und so wird Data für einige Zeit zu einem Frühstückskoch in einem Schnellimbiss.

Eines Tages, als er von seiner Schicht nach Hause kommt, sind Lal und Alice verschwunden.
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Achtung Spoiler!

Der Roman schließt an David Macks "Cold Equations"-Trilogie sowie an Langs "Immortal Coil" an. Die TNG-Folgen "The Offspring", "Elementary, Dear Data" und "Ship in a Bottle" sollten ebenso bekannt sein, Anspielungen gibt es zu diversen TOS-Folgen, Charakteren von VOY und DS9, TNG-Folgen wie "The Most Toys" und auch neueren Büchern aus der The Fall-Serie (Cave Spoiler!).

Ich beginne mit den scheinbaren Schwächen:

Der Plot dieses Romans beschränkt sich im Grunde auf die Suche nach Lal, die von Orion Prime, wo sie und Data nun leben, gemeinsam mit ihrem "Kindermädchen" entführt wurde. Moriarty, das Hologramm, das ursprünglich als ebenbürtiger Gegenspieler für Data kreiert worden war und schließlich in einer eigenen Speicherbank abgelegt worden war, wo er nun ohne Wissen, dass es sich nicht um die Realität handelt, sein Dasein fristen sollte, fordert im Gegenzug für ihre Freilassung einen Weg, in der Wirklichkeit zu existieren. Die Erfüllung dieser Aufgabe führt Data und Geordi zu so manchen altbekannten Charakteren, die sich mehr oder weniger die Klinke in die Hand geben. An sich liebe ich Geschichten, die an frühere Ereignisse anknüpfen und bekannte Charaktere einbinden, allerdings muss das in die Geschichte eingebettet sein und nicht quasi selbst die Geschichte sein. Leider wird der Plot selbst dann überhastet auch sozusagen off-screen zu Ende geführt, was einen etwas schalen Beigeschmack hinterlässt.
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Diesen Roman sollte man nicht lesen, ohne vorher die "Cold Equations" Reihe gelesen zu haben
So viele Veränderungen sind da mit einem der beliebtesten Charaktere, dem Androiden Data, vonstatten gegangen. Nicht nur, dass er von den Toten zurückgekehrt ist, dazu hat er in den vorangegangenen Geschehnissen viel Unglück und Leid erfahren.
Viel von dem ursprünglichen Charakter Datas ist verlorengegangen, wenn man ein großer Data.-Fan ist, könnte man enttäuscht sein. Er ist es nicht mehr - und er selbst und Geordi La Forge haben auch Zweifel daran.
Jeffrey Langs Schuld ist es nicht, er baut einfach auf David Macks Vorgeschichte aus "Cold Equations" auf.
Auch Lal benimmt sich sehr fremdartig, aber das ist halt die Freiheit der Autoren, denn sie kam ja als blutjunger Android nur in einer Folge vor und durfte nur einen Tag leben.
Die Charakterisierung der wiederauferstandenen Data und Lal ist nicht nach meinem Geschmack! Die Veränderung ist doch zu groß, es ist als würde man Data immernoch betrauern, die Freude über die Wiederkehr bleibt aus.
-----------------------------------------------------------------Spoiler-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Allerdings hatte ich sie mir dann doch nicht als "pubertierenden" und Data schlagenden Teenager vorgestellt, irgendwie wirkt das etwas lächerlich. Moriarty ist wie immer großartig, hier aber sehr verzweifelt, was seine Selbstkontrolle und "Contenane" etwas leiden lässt.
Viele gute alte Bekannte, wie zum Beispiel Harry Mudd und die hübschen Androiden- Damen aus ST:TOS, kommen vor.
Also wieder viele Insider bei Jeffrey Lang, die er wunderbar ausspielt.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b54421c) von 5 Sternen 111 Rezensionen
13 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9b77d24c) von 5 Sternen Could have used much better editing (Spoilers ahead) 3. Juli 2014
Von Michael Doss - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
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.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9b929648) von 5 Sternen An Interesting Game that Stumbled in the End 26. Juni 2014
Von Blood Island - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
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!
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9b5ca3a8) von 5 Sternen The Light Fantastic is a fantastic new installment in the Next Generation ... 13. September 2014
Von SciFiChick - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Following the events in Star Trek: TNG: Immortal Coil and the Cold Equations trilogy, Data died and has returned in the body his father had been inhabiting. As they say, no one dies forever in Star Trek. Lal has also been resurrected. And the two have been carving out a life for themselves on Orion. But Lal and her companion are kidnapped by Moriarty, who needs Data’s help in getting android bodies for him and his wife.

The Light Fantastic is a fantastic new installment in the Next Generation universe. Easily one of my favorite books this year, it’s full of mystery, intrigue, humor, and suspense. This was fun, exciting, fast-paced, and incorporates more than just characters from the Next Generation. While a lot has changed for several of my favorite characters, I really enjoy the direction that the writers have taken. And Lang skillfully brings these complex characters, especially that of Moriarty (as well as a couple other memorable characters) to the page. And this captivating story is one I won’t soon forget.

*Review previously posted at SciFiChick.com
8 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9b651a50) von 5 Sternen Mystery Meets Coming of Age 24. Juni 2014
Von Melissa A. Bartell - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
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.
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9b92c174) von 5 Sternen Just ok 13. Juli 2014
Von George - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The book was just ok. The others of the trilogy were much better. The premise if the story was sound but the execution was not so hot. I enjoyed finding out what Data was up to but that equated to not much. I am glad he has his daughter back but the relationship and interaction was just boring. I read Star Trek novels to escape but much of the writing centered around everyday boring crap that I really didn't care about. The story seems kind of just randomly thrown together and not well thought out.

Spoiler alert!

It seemed to me that the writer decided to just let things in the story happen with no real explanation of how. How can an Data just land his ship on San Francisco without permission without getting blown up by Star Fleet? Who the heck is this Albert person? How was Moriarty capable as a hologram to do what he did and then how could he just give up on his family? How could he be so easily beaten? What's up with Harry Mudd and Alice? Why did Alice betray everyone for no real reason other than a contrived plot twist? How could they just break into the Datstrom institute? It seemed to me that the solution to almost all issues was to jump in the ship and just have Shakti just do it. Or just get somewhere and easily fool someone into something. Thin, thin, thin. The ending was the worst. The bad guy is vanished and we don't know what happens to him until we get some stupid letter? Really, I paid for this book and your ending ends up being a letter about what happrned? On oh by the way in the letter there is now some great danger now that we don't know anything about? The great danger would be to get another novel as poorly written as this in.
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