The Lost Era: Deny Thy Father, by Jeff Mariotte

The Lost Era Deny Thy Father, by Jeff Mariotte book coverGenre: Star Trek
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 2003
Reviewer Rating: two stars
Book Review by Lynn Nicole Louis

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In this case, Deny Thy Father, by Jeff Mariotte, would be better titled as Deny Thy Reader. The copy I received, shipped straight from the publisher to SFReader, to me, ran from pages 1 – 326, and then repeated pages 295 – 326 again, so I was unable to finish it. Of course this isn’t the author’s fault, but for a book to be successful, it should have the entire package.

One might expect and abundance of errors such as spelling, punctuation and page numbering mistakes from self published books (and this is often the case), but such a glaring error from Simon & Schuster? Yikes. I’m assuming this only affected a small section of the print run, since poking around on the web didn’t reveal any complaints about the book being incomplete.

Deny Thy Father is really two stories, each one not really having anything to do with the other. One is about a young Will Riker and some of his experiences at Starfleet Academy, including a few academic and interpersonal trials, and his first assignment aboard the Starship Pegasus. The second follows Will Riker’s estranged father Kyle and a plot to kill him. Neither story has much to do with the other; they had just intersected when my copy of the book started repeating pages, so the conclusion was unavailable to me.

I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy this Star Trek book as much as the most recent ones I’ve read. Mariotte’s writing skills are up to the task, and sections of the book were immersive and very readable, but overall some elements of the story didn’t work for me. There are a couple of situations Mariotte sets up that came across as contrived to me, fabricated events designed to illustrate some portion of Will Riker’s personality.

One had to do with a friend asking for academic help from Will at Starfleet Academy, up to and including cheating to get better grades. While I found Will’s reaction to the request reasonable and in character, the reactions of the individual doing the asking and Will’s girlfriend at the time seemed totally artificial and fake. Same for another incident aboard the Pegasus, where Will confronts the potential of a crewman doing something pretty stupid, that same something also lacking a convincing motivation, at least for me.

There’s some name dropping of popular Star Trek characters, including Spock and Dr. McCoy, but neither gets more than a mention and a few paragraphs. Reading about Will Riker as a student and young officer was interesting, but I suspect it would only be interesting to Star Trek fans. Unlike DeCandido’s books, this one, for me, failed to transcend it’s Star Trek origins. If you’re a fan of the Next Generation, you’ll probably have fun here, contrived plot points not withstanding. If you’re not a fan, I can’t recommend it.

Before you take your copy to the register though, flip to the back to make sure you didn’t get the version that repeats pages 295 – 326 without including the ending.

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