... this is one of the most laugh-out-loud books I’ve read in a long time ... The responsibility of creators towards their fans is just one of the philosophical topics considered in this exceptionally witty novel ... Filled to the brim with probably mostly true anecdotes about life on the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as more than its fair share of wisecracks, this book will delight any Star Trek fan or just anyone who enjoys humor in their crime novels. In fact, this book was so hilarious that I didn’t even realize during my first read-through just how profound it is on the topic of celebrity and metafiction. I felt compelled after reading this the first time to research the true events this book was based on and found the ethical quandary raised thereby particularly thought-provoking. As the subject and victim of an unsettling fascination, Mr. Spiner is well within his rights to reclaim and reshape the narrative that has been built up around him. That he further fashions this into a meditation on fandom and the relationship between celebrities and the people who support them makes for a surprisingly deep volume that is worth reading more than once to fully absorb both how thoughtful and dazzling it truly is.
It isn't great literature, but it is weird (which counts for a lot) and fun (which also counts for a lot), might be an elaborate prank being played by the author, and it is absolutely a book that could've only been written by Brent Spiner ... It is an odd thing, taken all together, and the voice wavers more than a little as it tries to maintain its pulpy noir aesthetic amid the several challenges presented by its setting (1990 Los Angeles), narrator (the victim, rather than some tough-as-nails private dick) and its author (Spiner's taste for weird physical comedy and overblown caricature make the whole thing borderline surreal) ... Look, it's a lot, okay? And the whole thing is threaded through with dream sequences in which Spiner deals with his feelings about his abusive step-father and his own inadequacies, thoughts on fandom and funerals, the meaning of make-believe, and many scenes spent wandering around in his underwear. So if you're into that kind of thing, you know, jackpot ... It is a strange book, done completely straight-faced, doused liberally with sad-sack, self-deprecation from the author about ... himself. Or his made-up self. Or both. A more skilled writer would've given the whole thing depth, meaning, weight. A less accomplished storyteller would've made himself come off like less of a schlub. And either would've ruined Fan Fiction's madcap energy, its Bizarro-World charm. As it is, the writing varies wildly between manic and terse, the ending is sudden, bizarre, completely nonsensical and absolutely predictable all at the same time, and the characterizations of women throughout are unfortunate in that they're largely appearance-based — though that's a tough thing to gauge in a book where every character is a caricature and the tone is trying so hard (with occasional success) to read like the kind of sunshine noir that would absolutely have hard-nosed dames with legs up to there, or whatever ... And while there were moments while reading that I felt sure this was all some elaborate gag by Spiner, ultimately, I think it is exactly what I said it was earlier — a yarn. The kind of story he's told a hundred times before, to friends and fans, changing names and places, embellishing and inventing as he goes. It's a barroom epic, a party piece for dull cocktail hours, a story told without ego or shame just for the pure, weird joy of the telling.
Spiner blends behind-the-scenes details of working in television and charming observations about his castmates like Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, and LeVar Burton ... His self-deprecating humor about his place in the Hollywood hierarchy and the line between the character and the qualities the actor brings to the characters they portray are amusing and informative. Part of the fun is that it is left up to the reader to wonder where the memoir leaves off and the noir picks up. Spiner also captures a vivid snapshot of Hollywood in the ’90s, with the parties, the characters who work on the periphery of the television industry, recreational drug use, and even trips to the video store. A fun ride for superfans.