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Book Reviews: Hearts And Minds + Whispers From The Abyss 2, Part 1

Star Trek The Next Generation: Hearts And Minds by Dayton Ward
This bland and indistinctive novel is a follow on to the contrived ‘From History’s Shadow’ and the very good ‘Elusive Salvation’. This wearisome torrid melodrama shows how in the 2030s the forerunner to Section 31 has a fanatical hostility to aliens while dealing with dangerously knowing alien types prancing around. They do dark mutterings about malign influences.

Meanwhile in 2386, Captain Picard makes make what he thinks is first contact, unaware of the hatred his acts will unleash. Picard is hostile to Taurik and Admiral Akaar and is annoyingly smug and intensely annoying with his rapturous moralistic tone. I’m mostly uninterested in the emotionally glib Picard. Beverly Crusher only exists to be Picard’s helpmeet and cheer him on his menacing trajectory. Since she got together with Picard, her personality and plot lines are now non-existent. This book is disappointingly generic.

There is no dramatic incident. This has no poignancy and is not dark and complex. Picard is gleefully unpleasant, as well as stupid and confrontational. His grumpy huffs and tiresome exhibition of unhelpful ill-manners somehow do not put a dent in his incongruously cheery crew’s absolute personal loyalty. The ONLY point of interest in this book comes at the end when Picard learns his involvement in the moral quagmire of Section 31 has become public knowledge. He has growing unease that he will be reviled for his hypocrisy. This almost makes sitting through his spectacular tantrums worthwhile.

Picard manically rants about his moral code, utters predictable criticism of others and has a sneering disbelieving tone. One feels profound distaste for his dismissive and unpleasant impositions. Why is Picard so indivisible from the Enterprise? This novel fails badly and Picard’s delusional conviction in his moral stature is morally catastrophic.

Picard shows off incalculable lunacy, the alien race du jour is a tiresome priggish culture and are not universally complimentary of Picard. This had an authenticity gap as people project assumed narratives and have a taste for a fight. This was not gleefully lurid, just banal and full of exposition.

Creator’s pet T’Ryssa Chen needs to go, there are lots of references to old ‘Star Trek’ novels like ‘Strangers From The Sky’ also Geordi is still boring. This is a failed unwieldy attempt to tie together decades worth of ‘Star Trek’ stories.

Best Lines:
“That group is finally getting what’s been coming to them for a long, long time.”

“Submitting himself for penance.”

“Can I trust you?”
“Absolutely.”
“You’ll have to convince me.”

~
Whispers From The Abyss 2 edited by Kat Rocha, Part 1

We Are Not These Bodies, Strung Between The Stars
The opaque writing and equally opaque plot are insurmountable. What was this about? I do not know.

His Carnivorous Regard
A good tale of a necronaut and cosmic regard. Trying to answer and unanswerable question leads to ruinous obsession.

Best Lines:
“That’s what people said when they were most definitely not fine.”

“To see is to be seen.”

The Labyrinth Of Sleep
People explore the dreamscape, blind to the consequences of their exploration of their exploration. The dream world has never been a cause of public concern but maybe it should have been. This was good.

Death May Die
A tomb raider raids the wrong tomb. His lack of regard for social norms costs him. This was mediocre.

The Knot
A creepy odd tale. Okay.

Skoptsy
Daft and witless.

Red Americans
I loathed this.

Best Line:
“Sometimes urinating on them in some case of atavistic, primal rejection.”

Shadow Transit
A mother feels unaccustomed hope after visiting her special daughter. This is dull and incoherent with no clarity.

Baby Rhyme Time: Youngsters Enjoy Initiation At Innsmouth Public Library
An excellent tale of self-motivated mamas

Nyarlathotep’s Way
An excoriatingy bad tale of an encounter with the petty and cruel god.

Strident Caller
By Laird Barron. A gigolo attracts much hostility from cultists. This was good.

Best Lines:
“Wearing the scowl of an axe-murderer on vacation.”

“Straight out of salacious occult flicks of the North American hippie era-”

“Professional distain.”

Notebook Concerning The Class Struggle In Dunwich, Found In The Ruins Of A Construction Site
An SJW ignores all warnings and meets his doom. This was excellent and hilarious.

Best Line:
“They’ll see, the bastards.”
Tags: book review, star trek
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