Book Review: Fan Fiction

Fan Fiction
by Brent Spiner

My rating: 3 / 5
Genre: Autobiographical fiction, thriller

After a few seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Brent Spiner (Data on the show) and his fellow cast members are enjoying the success of a hit series. However, being a celebrity poses its own set of challenges, and Spiner finds himself the target of a deranged fan or two who don’t seem to be able to separate reality from fiction.

The inability to separate reality from fiction is exactly what this book does to its readers, as it’s not always clear what is autobiographical and what is invented. I tend to think that details about Spiner’s own life, from his childhood to his time on TNG, are real, whereas the plot about the crazed fan is mostly fiction. Again, this is just my guess. Unfortunately, as a mystery or thriller story, the plot about the crazed fan is only okay. In fact, I think it’s a stretch calling it a thriller. Multiple suspects are dangled in front of us, but in the end, there’s no real surprise about who the stalker turns out to be. I take that back—I was surprised, but only in that the reveal was pretty anticlimactic. I kept expecting a twist that never came. I take that back too—there was a little twist at the end of the climax. It was bizarre, though, and really never explained satisfactorily.

As for the rest of the book, which is a good amount in itself, the possibly fictionalized view of Spiner’s past and present life was a lot more interesting to me. The book is meant to be funny, but I think it’s a kind of humor I don’t really get (and not the first time that’s been the case). Not that I never got a chuckle, but mostly I felt fascinated and sometimes even sad at the author/narrator’s reminiscences. I actually think I wouldn’t mind giving this book another try, but the audiobook this time. I think that knowing how the mystery part of the story is going to go might give me more of a chance to enjoy the rest of it, especially when read by Spiner himself and including contributions by most of the main cast of TNG at the time that the story takes place.

As for whether or not you will like the story, I would say that if it sounds like something you’d be interested in, give it a try! If you’re a fan of TNG, you might enjoy it for that reason alone. As for me, it mostly gave me the urge to watch the whole series again.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me a copy of this book to review.

Find out more about Fan Fiction

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

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