Goodman (The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, 2015, etc.) continues his series of in-universe memoirs by Star Trek captains.
Perhaps the second-most provocative question one could ask a Star Trek fan is “Who was the best captain?” (The first question being “Which is better: Star Wars or Star Trek?”) Every fan has a captain who holds a special place in his or her fandom heart, and fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation now get their turn to pore over the faux memoir of their favorite, Jean-Luc Picard, written in the same in-universe style as Kirk’s (with Goodman as its “editor”). Picard recounts his entire life, from his earliest childhood on his family’s French vineyards in the 24th century through his years on the USS Stargazer and Enterprise to his retirement back on Earth. Many details of his early life, touched upon briefly during Next Generation, are expanded upon here; readers discover, in detail, how he gained his love of archaeology and how he felt when he first met Beverly Howard (later Crusher). However, Picard’s voyages on the Enterprise—which spanned 178 episodes and four movies and which are arguably what readers are most interested in—merit less than a fifth of the entire book. Aside from Crusher, none of Picard’s romantic relationships are addressed, and many fan-favorite moments are completely omitted. (Darmok and Jalad, their episode unmentioned.) In Kirk’s autobiography, Goodman thoughtfully and lovingly wove together details to create a real sense of Kirk as a fully fleshed-out human being—which makes it infuriating that Picard’s story seems utterly lifeless in comparison. Goodman never really grasps who Picard is or displays any sense of his voice. Picard often comes across as uncharacteristically pedantic and emotionally revealing, while canonical personality details are twisted to suit Goodman’s lazy writing: for instance, Picard’s unease around children becomes a churlish loathing. Worse still, Goodman occasionally injects unheard-of events (such as the origin of the Borg Queen) into the story—a surprising carelessness from someone who penned an entire Futurama episode about Star Trek fans’ affection for minutiae. If this book series is to continue, fans should hope that Goodman relinquishes command to writers who truly love and understand the captains they write about.
Set a course far away from this book—maximum warp.