Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Fan Fiction

 Fan Fiction (2021) by Brent Spiner (with Jeanne Darst)

Brent Spiner spins a tale loosely based on real events to show what happens when fans become fiendishly obsessed with celebrities. It's 1991 and Star Trek The Next Generation is beginning to take off. Spiner and his TNG colleagues are getting bags and buckets full of fan mail. It's all very pleasant to have people like your character so much...until one day a rather odiferous package arrives at Spiner's trailer. It's got a pig's penis (yes, you read that correctly) in blood and message that indicates that Data's days are numbered. More nasty notes follow and soon everyone from lot security to the FBI are interested in Spiner's stalker. He winds up hiring a body guard (who takes her job of sticking close to her employer very seriously). Other weird mail also shows up...from a woman in Minnesota who thinks Spiner is calling her up late at night to talk dirty. Is she the stalker? The entire cast get involved in trying to save their favorite android--Patrick Stewart offers to teach Spiner self-defense, Jonathan Frakes offers his home as sanctuary, and Michael Dorn offers well-meaning advice (with some corny jokes thrown in for good measure). But it's good, old-fashioned detective work that saves the day when our stalker forgets that wearing gloves while writing threatening notes might be a good idea.

So...I really wanted to read this because it's Star Trek related and it sounded like a lot of fun. It wound up being okay. Some good bits of humor, but they're overshadowed by the outlandish pair Cindy Lou (FBI agent) and her twin sister Candy (Spiner's bodyguard). I just really didn't buy into their characters and they way they behave when on the job. I understand that this fiction (and, perhaps, a bit of fantasy/wish fulfillment for Spiner) but this didn't connect with my inner Trekkie the way I hoped it might. I  understand that the audio is really good with all the Trek actors contributing, I might have to give it a whirl to see if that version is better at meeting my expectations. 

The mystery of the stalker's identity is well-done and I do like Spiner's style. The plot moves quickly and it's a fast read. And I think he represents his fellow cast members well on the page. A little more believability in the extra characters would have gone a long way to increasing my enjoyment. ★★

First line: When I was twenty-two years old, I left home for the first time and departed for New York City along with a meager cache of savings and a dream of being an actor.

Last lines: ...there is one absolute truth for all so-called celebrities That finally, finally, where would we be without the fans?

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