Audiobook Review: Fan Fiction by Brent Spiner

Fan Fiction: A Mem-Noir: Inspired by True EventsIt’s been close to two decades since Star Trek: The Next Generation left the airwaves, so I’ve started to expect the “behind the scenes” confessional books from the cast to start hitting the shelves.

The closest we’ve got so far is Fan Fiction by the guy who brought Data to life, Brent Spiner. Billed as a story inspired by true events, I have to admit I spent more time trying to figure out which bits were taken from reality and which bits were taken from Spiner’s imagination than I did paying attention to the story.

Set at the height of Next Generation‘s popularity, Fan Fiction finds Spiner getting increasingly disturbing letters and mailings from an obsessive fan who only identities herself as Lal, the created daughter of his character on the show who expired at the end of her episode. Justifiably freaked out by these mailings and the missives of another female fan who is convinced she’s carrying on a steamy phone affair with the actor, Spiner turns to first to the L.A. PD’s department of obsessives and then the FBI for help.

It’s at the FBI that he meets agent Cindy Jones and her twin sister bodyguard Candy Jones. Spiner is immediately attracted to both and begins a romantic entanglement with Candy while pining for Cindy. It’s at this point, that I began to question just how much of this tale was from Spiner’s imagination and how much was from reality. I feel certain he got some interesting fan letters along the way as he played Data. But whether or not he met twin sisters who were both attracted to him — seems a bit far-fetched to this reader.

For a good bit of the story, I felt like Spiner was trying to do something clever with the twin sisters who never appear in the same room together — and I will give him credit that he does try a bit. It just never quite goes anywhere satisfying.

Indeed, the entire novel feels as if it wants to be more than it is. The noir aspect of the fem-Fatale and the threat to our hero feels well done and certain Spiner shares a love of older, lesser-known films over the course of the novel. But the ending doesn’t quite bring all the threads together in the most satisfying way possible and left me feeling a bit empty.

Listening to this one as an audiobook may add an extra layer of enjoyment for you if you’re a fan of TNG. Spiner gathers together his castmates to voice themselves in the novel. I do wonder how much of Spiner’s portrayal of his cast members is real and how much is tongue-in-cheek, but it certainly feels like everyone is having a good time here.

I wanted this one to be a bit more satisfying than it was. I wouldn’t say I regret reading it, but this one didn’t quite come together in the end.

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