Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Deep Space Nine #12: The Laertian Gamble

This book has been called the worst Star Trek book ever, and I can see why. The book is just plain weird. Also, the writing style is off-putting, and not because every single person is out of character. Every chapter is 2-3 pages long. So, a conversation between two people will be split up into multiple chapters, for no reason at all.

The story is that Dr. Bashir falls madly in love with an alluring alien called Allura. Her species is mildly telepathic, so she isn't allowed to go into the gambling area. She asks Bashir to gamble for her, until he has won everything or lost everything.

Bashir wins every single time he plays, and this is the entire story. He wins game after game after game. Quark's gambling establishment goes fake bankrupt, then it goes real bankrupt. Quark raises more money by selling Deep Space Nine, piece by piece, even though that makes no sense, because he doesn't own the space station. For the sake of the plot, Captain Sisko is 100% okay with Quark selling the space station. Sisko even convinces his buddies to give him money, so he can get in on the gambling action.

Meanwhile, Dax and Kira go to Laertes, the home planet of Allura. This takes up a third of the book, or more. Things are incredibly weird on this planet, and occasionally, it is humorous. Sort of like Alice in Wonderland, although much less amusing. On this planet, people can buy votes. Allura plans to use her gambling winnings to buy an election. There's a lot of unintelligible babble about a made-up "Complexity Theory", which is used to justify how Bashir is always winning.

There were two interesting things about the planet. One, everyone is forced to live in New York City, when they are ages 20-30. The city purposely makes its slums as loud, smelly and dangerous as possible, in an attempt to convince citizens to move out of the slums. Everything else was just weird for the sake of weirdness.

Dax works with a professor to create a Chaos Machine, to figure out what's going on. The machine says a man named Ken is the answer. They bring Ken to Deep Space Nine. Ken and Allura fall in love with each other. She starts making bets herself, against Ken, and she loses all of her money, because ????????. She doesn't care, though, because she's in love. Everyone just sort of shrugs over the fact that the station was almost lost.

This book started out amusing, but it quickly became awful. It's kind of amazing they let such a bad book go to print, as the attempt at absurdist humor is a complete failure. There's almost nothing to like about this book, and it deserves all the bad ratings it's received.

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