Fan Fiction – A Mem-Noir: Inspired by True Events
Written by Brent Spiner and Jeanne Darst
Hardcover | $22.49
Published by St. Martin’s Press | 256 Pages
Brent Spiner, known to fans as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation (and in four movies, and on season 1 of Star Trek: Picard), has written a novel that blends fact, fiction, and a fun detective story into a story that is, whether you’re there for the Trekkish moments or the whodunit, a page-turner.
Fiction and memoir crisscross throughout, and it’s up to the reader to keep guessing which is which or to just sit back and enjoy the ride. The story begins in 1991 when our narrator protagonist—Brent Spiner, who plays a character named Data on a show called Star Trek: The Next Generation—gets a disgusting (and stinky) package delivered to his trailer. Invented characters mingle with real people (or fictional versions of real people) as a nervous Brent tries to find out who his potential killer is. Along the way, he solicits help from the LAPD’s “Head of Obsessives” and a hot FBI agent while getting emotional support from his famous co-stars. Brent leans on the professionals to help him track down the source of the increasingly threatening letters from a fan who calls herself “Lal” and refers to him as “Daddy,” inspired by the season 3 episode “The Offspring.”
Somehow, Spiner manages to be both self-serving and self-deprecating at the same time, then throws in a pinch of Dashiell Hammett to set the tone. He writes himself as a vulnerable character, insecure about his popularity and in genuine fear for his life as the notes from “Lal” get increasingly menacing. But he’s also still a Hollywood celebrity, getting recognized wherever he goes (even when ordering pizza), fretting about how much fan mail he gets, and going to lavish parties at the Roddenberrys’ beautiful house. His writing is sharp and funny, and the book is filled with great lines, like these about taking respite at the home of Jonathan Frakes and Genie Francis.
Looking up at the natural beauty of Genie and the annoying handsomeness of Frakes, I feel a warm glow inside, right where the billiard balls usually are. It’s such a gift to be taken care of by wise, attractive people when someone wants to kill you.
As he weaves his film noir-style detective yarn, Brent (the character) finds his memories triggered, recalling a fear-filled childhood with his sociopathic stepfather Sol. This book, funny as it is, has a heart. For those of you who think anything Spiner writes will be all smirk and snark, think again. The writing flows and is utterly enjoyable, Spiner’s voice is clear and engaging, and the story is a fun one. And who could ask for a better backdrop?
On sale now
Fan Fiction was released on October 12th. You can pick it up at Amazon in hardcover for $22.49 or Kindle e-book for $14.99.
Also available as an audiobook
TNG fans won’t want to miss the audiobook, which features Spiner pals Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Genie Francis, Marina Sirtis, LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden, and Michael Dorn. Solid production and sound effects help create an immersive experience, especially if you can avoid squeeing when you hear a TNG cast member’s voice for the first. Everyone, especially Spiner himself, delivers on this gem of an audiobook. Treat yourself.
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