Title: Fan Fiction
Author: Brent Spiner
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication date: October 12, 2021
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
One Sentence Summary: At the height of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s popularity, Brent Spiner acquires a stalker and becomes tangled up with twin sisters.
Fan Fiction is a fun fictional story about an actual period of time. It’s set in the early 1990s and details a fictional stalking situation the fictional Brent Spiner deals with. This was a fun and quick mystery read that flitted in and out of a noir-style that had me remembering the episodes where Data got to role play as Sherlock Holmes. I loved that I couldn’t tell what was fact and what was fiction. Some of it felt a little clunky, but, by the end of the book, I just really enjoyed the story, loved getting a view of LA during the early 1990s, and was given a rather intense mystery that kept getting more and more complicated.
Set in the early 1990s, Brent Spiner is working on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The episode “The Offspring” has recently aired, and it kicks off a bizarre and crazy story. Flirting between fact and fiction, Fan Fiction details a fictional stalking story where everything can be tied back to that one episode as Spiner, the actor, tries to stay alive and sane.
Data was always one of my favorite characters on TNG, so I was thrilled to receive a copy of Spiner’s book from the publisher. A fictional account of a factual time, I loved that I couldn’t figure out what was fact and what was fiction. I did find some of the writing a little clunky and a little bare bones, but then there were times when I couldn’t help envisioning the episodes where Data gets to pretend to be Sherlock Holmes on the holodeck. There’s a fun, dangerous mystery as Spiner, the book character, ends up with a stalker, as well as a fictional account of an actor’s life.
Fan Fiction is set in the early 1990s, when there were no cell phones, no social media, and no email. Much of LA, though, was recognizable to me, and felt like a small step back in time. I loved getting a peek into the kind of fan mail actors might receive, though much of it detailed in this book was creepy and definitely stalker-like. The fact that it’s set during a time without all the technological advances we enjoy today heightened the danger as there was no quick way of calling for help and no quick way for fans to keep up with actors. It was a lot of fun to step back in time, and the noir quality that flitted in and out of the story was a nice touch, washing parts of the story into black and white in my mind.
My favorite part, though, was getting a glimpse into the behind the scenes. It’s impossible to tell what’s real and what’s made up for the story, but I really enjoyed reading about how Spiner was transformed into Data and, maybe, his process in learning his lines. TV character and actor were so different from each other it almost bent my mind a little, but it was also a lot of fun, especially since Fan Fiction is focused on the story of the actor. Since the story revolves around Spiner, his cast mates only make appearances now and then, like cameos, but I really enjoyed them and it was fun to get a fictional, at least, look at how they were different from their on-screen character.
Book character Spiner was a lot of fun. He unexpectedly winds up in a spot of trouble with a fan stalking him, so his panic about it was really fun and amusing. But he also created some trouble on his own when it came to twin sisters who were trying to help him. That was even more fun and just so different from the character he played on TV that I really enjoyed it. Of course, sometimes I couldn’t help but be annoyed with some of the things he did, but I thought it fit the character. It was also an interesting look into the history of the actor. It was impossible to tell what was real and what was made up, but it really added a lot to the character. Overall, it was just a lot of fun to get to know the actor, though the feeling of whether it’s real or all fictional is fairly powerful.
Fan Fiction felt very much like a humorous noir-style mystery. It has a lot of really fun moments and a lot of much scarier moments. The mystery was definitely very played up and layers were added to it. The beginning of the book introduced all of it and then the rest of the story just escalated and added to the point where I couldn’t wait to find out who was behind it. There were some really nice twists and turns and, at times, I felt a little crazy just like the character. The end was a bit of a let down, but also played well into the crazy fans some actors have idea. I found the story engrossing and I just didn’t want to have to put it down. It turned out to be a fast-paced read that just flew by.
Fan Fiction is a really fun novel for anyone who enjoys TNG or even just fictional stories about actors. I especially liked that this was written by the actor in question. I believe it added an intriguing behind the scenes look, but how much of it was real, well, I couldn’t tell and that, honestly, was the best part of the book. There were so many things I looked up to see if it was real or not, if it actually happened or not. Of course, that kicked off a lot of questions of what actually happened. It was sometimes difficult to tell myself to relax and just enjoy the fictional story. But it was well-written even if some of it didn’t flow quite as well. Overall, Fan Fiction was a really fun story and gave me the opportunity to indulge in my love for the TV series.
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Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for a physical review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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