Saturday, April 25, 2015

That Sleep of Death

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Slings and Arrows, Book Four of Six
That Sleep of Death by Terri Osborne
An e-book exclusive novella
Published January 2008
Read April 19th 2015

Previous book (Slings and Arrows): The Insolence of Office
Next book (Slings and Arrows): A Weary Life

E-book (Kindle): | |

Spoilers ahead for That Sleep of Death and the rest of the Slings and Arrows series!

From the back cover:
In the wake of increased concern over the Dominion threat, Dr. Beverly Crusher has attempted to improve morale on the Enterprise by starting up her theatre company -- starting with a production of A Christmas Carol. But before opening night, a devastating malady starts striking down the crew.

Forced to rely on a piece of technology she despises -- the Emergency Medical Hologram -- Dr. Crusher must find a cure before it's too late!

My thoughts:

Slings and Arrows has been a generally entertaining series. The first three books have been fascinating insights into the characters, both primary and secondary, and have given us some interesting glimpses into the reasons behind many of the changes between Star Trek: Generations and First Contact. I enjoyed learning more about Lieutenants Hawk and Daniels, and witnessing the series of events that led to Geordi transitioning from his VISOR to the ocular implants he wears in the later TNG films.

However, with this novella, the series takes a bit of a downward turn. For one thing, it's short. Really short. Don't get me wrong, I understand that all of the books in this series are only novellas and are all somewhat short, but this one, coming in at approximately 43 printed pages, is by far the shortest. This serves to undermine the story quite a bit, in my opinion. The main crisis of the story barely gets off the ground before it is solved in a very anticlimactic way.

There are a couple of positives worth noting, however. One of the biggest disappointments of the TNG films was how divorced they are from the television series. Much of the time, the characters feel very different and the general atmosphere feels quite separate from the day-to-day reality of TNG. In That Sleep of Death, Terri Osborne takes steps to rectify that by introducing some elements from the television series, most notably Dr. Crusher's theatre company. These little touches would have been very welcome in the TNG films, rather than much of the action schlock that we got. Additionally, Barclay is a favorite character of mine, and I was pleased that he had a role to play in this story.

Dr. Crusher's theatre group makes a welcome return in That Sleep of Death.

Also, I have to compliment this book on the cover art, something that has been lacking in this series. This cover is by far the best, and a marked improvement over the somewhat disturbing cover on the last installment!

Final thoughts:

The first true disappointment of the Slings and Arrows series. An overly rushed setup and payoff meant that I felt no sense of the stakes or danger in this story. A quick resolution to the plot that was barely explained left me scratching my head at the end of the book. However, small touches such as the return of Dr. Crusher's theatre company from the TNG series make the TNG film era a little more palatable.

More about this book:

My next read:

Next week, look for my review of the final story in the Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series: The Dominion: Olympus Descending by David R. George III!

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