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#138: Foreign Foes (TNG #31)

This week, getting the Klingons and a race they waged war against for seventy years to get along turns out to be exactly as frustrating as it sounds. But the negotiations go from bad to worse when Riker and Deanna go missing, Geordi goes for-real blind, and the Fox News Kool-Aid impairs Data’s command judgment. Which officer does the most puff-piece interviews? Does the Federation provide adequate phaser training for civilians? And can you really work a combadge with a spoon? All this and more in Foreign Foes, or, Blame It on the Grain.

#098: Imzadi (TNG event novel)

This week, Riker has had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day, and by “day” I mean “four decades”. But then he suddenly remembers he lives in Star Trek and hijacks the Guardian of Forever to take a mulligan. Meanwhile, we take our own trip to the past and watch a young, cocky, clean-shaven Will Riker as he brings the full force of the old Riker charm to bear on an aloof, self-assured Betazoid named Deanna Troi. How do Betazoid restaurants work? Do you think Kirk wrote his own autobiography? And can any of us dream of aspiring to Lwaxana Troi’s level of pettiness? All this and more in Imzadi, the book that begins, naturally, at the end.

#096: Imbalance (TNG #22)

This week, everyone gets antsy when the Jarada get a bee in their bonnet about exchanging ambassadors. But when the populace starts buggin’ out, the away team tries to flee, but Dr. Crusher isn’t allowed to clock out until she saves the world. Do insects appreciate the trombone? What kind of couple celebrates their six-month anniversary? Can we go watch the Federation Games instead? All this and more in the admirably massive Imbalance.

#094: Chains of Command (TNG #21)

This week, Riker feels the cold, clammy hand of anxiety grabbing his shoulder. But there’s no time for that, because a survey of desolate worlds turns up unexpected humans. Once the dust settles from the latest revolt, they discover a cockfighting ring—but it’s the birds pitting the humans against each other. Meanwhile, a young rebel leader learns that overthrowing the oppressor is merely the first victory. Why is Star Trek so bad at dealing with trauma? What’s the minimum threshold for getting to have an opinion on the bridge? And how much would a top-of-the-line thought-blocking helmet set Deanna back? All this and more in “Chains of Command”—no, not the one with the four lights.

#077: Fortune’s Light (TNG #15)

This week, while Riker plays undercover spy, Data plays third base. With the Priority One message not going to him and having to put the Enterprise in park in case Riker gets deep in it, Picard isn’t quite sure what to do with all this free time. How did Riker get into jazz? How would this book be different if Data read the Baseball Prospectus? What did Michael Jan Friedman get right and wrong about the state of baseball in the 21st century? It’s the book that’s handed out for free by the Church of the Center Field Bleachers.

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