Sunday, April 12, 2020

Review of "Star Trek The Next Generation: Grounded," by David Bischoff

Review of

Star Trek The Next Generation: Grounded, by David Bischoff ISBN 0671797476

Four out of five stars

 An old romantic partner of Captain Picard was stationed at a scientific research facility on a planet that experiences dramatic and continuous geological activity. When a distress signal is received from the station, the Enterprise responds and discovers the station destroyed by a mass of unusual mud. Only two people are left alive, the former partner and her adult son.

 After the Enterprise leaves the planet, the crew discovers that an alien life form has invaded their ship. It is a form of sentient mud that is capable of altering inorganic matter into its own form, so it is assimilating the Enterprise. They manage to reach a star base and the commander there orders the crew off the Enterprise so that it can be destroyed along with the creature. Since the creature appears capable of destroying the entire Federation, this seems like the only option.

 Facing the disbursement of the crew to other ships in the Federation fleet, the crew is despondent and unwilling to let go. Led by Captain Picard, some of the officers go back on board the Enterprise when it is being towed to the destruction site in an attempt to destroy the creature. This is a direct violation of their orders, but they are desperate. In a last ditch battle against the creature, their plan works, and the creature is subdued.

 There is an interweaved subplot involving an autistic woman and her mentor Data. It is the opinion of Deanna Troi that Data is the most logical choice for a male figure in her life as she struggles to cope with becoming socialized into the world. It is a subplot that works quite well and is not a senseless distraction from the main action.

 The story is a good one, but the climactic moment of the final battle is made a bit more dramatic that it needed to be. I would have preferred a bit more of the relationship interaction between Data and the autistic woman as well. That could have been made very interesting.

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