By this point in the TNG novel series, we’re up to about fourth season, and the line is settling down into some actual competence. (The next one, #18, is one of the few TNG novels I truly recommend, thank you Peter David for Q In Law.)

Not to say I didn’t have my doubts when starting this novel, as it seemed determined to go into some well-worn, unworthy tropes. After some initial scene setting that doesn’t seem to go anywhere, we end up with another ‘holodeck is malfunctioning’ episode. And it’s Westley’s fault.

Well, at least the fault of a program to try and give him an unpredictable foe for some personal command training that was written for him. And the program goes out of control, giving us something of a repeat of Moriarty in “Elementary, Dear Data” (apparently, the original idea was to re-use him, but had to be changed to keep room for the series to reuse Moriarty without trouble, which they eventually did). Still, it was well done, complete with the holodeck generating a simulated exit to a simulated Enterprise instead of the real one, and I was happy enough to go with this story instead of the one we’d gotten so far.

And it does take over the novel… for a time, but when we come out, and this starts connecting with everything else in a much stronger plot than we started with. However, we are still in reruns, as we recycle a different early episode plot, and the connection is more than obvious enough for the characters to bring it up.

In the end, its more of a mediocre book, but far above the 1st season set, and it did move well past my initial low expectations from a bumpy start.