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on March 5, 2003
I have read quite a few Star Trek books (almost all of them Next Gen) and I can quite honestly say that if this isn't the worst of them, it's pretty bloody close and the worst must have been so traumatically bad that I've blocked it out. I think the most frustrating part is that, as another couple of reviewers have pointed out, the general idea was really pretty interesting, both in terms of how the crew would deal with being split up and the concept of the mud entity, but neither aspect was carried through with any imagination or flair whatsoever.
I think a great deal of what bothered me in this one were little things which, like a housemate leaving dirty dishes in the sink once too often, just destroyed the entire experience. For instance, every time an as-yet unclassified or otherwise mysterious substance is encountered, it is referred to as "stuff", even in formal settings. I somehow doubt that this is the appropriate Starfleet terminology for unidentified materials, particularly by senior officers with scientific training, and even more particularly by characters like Data. On the topic of Data, the author has him using contractions, which may seem like a silly thing, but it has played a sufficiently significant role in Data's characterization during the course of the series (his inability to use contractions is one of the features that distinguishes him from his evil twin brother Lore) that it is something that should have been caught during the editing process. Speaking of the editing process, around the middle of the book, an ensign is referred to by his proper rank, then called "Lieutenant" in the next paragraph and then suddenly demoted back to Ensign in the immediately following paragraph. That's just plain sloppy and stupid.
In the middle of all this, there is an annoying subplot in which a formerly quasi-autistic patient of Troi's named Penelope is handed off to Data for therapeutic purposes (the idea being that he is an unthreatening male-ish presence and she has trouble communicating with men). During the course of the novel, the captain requests a Level One Diagnostic, requiring the participation of a large portion of the crew, and yet Data is granted a dispensation from working on the diagnostic by the captain so that he can escort the girl to a party. I'm sorry, but it is well established that Captain Picard doesn't even approve of having families on his ship, and given his suspicions that something is dreadfully wrong with the Enterprise, it doesn't sit well that he would let his Science Officer (to say nothing of his best analytically-minded crewmember) wander off to a dance just so the girl doesn't feel bad about not having a date. On top of this, during the course of the party, Troi approaches the two and makes what seems to be quite vocal comments pertaining to Penelope's psychosocial progress, which seems like a pretty big breach of patient confidentiality. While Troi has never been presented in the show as overly intellectual, she has always been portrayed as at least having a pretty strong commitment to her professional standards. Of course the girl ends up being central to wrapping up the story, but this is so clumsily handled as to be cringe-worthy.
I kept hoping this would get better, but it didn't, so the day after I finished reading it I took it several miles away from my house and left it sitting on a bench, and I just want to take this opportunity to apologize to whoever picked it up.
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on January 10, 2002
I've never read a Star Trek book this bad. I don't think the author had ever seen the show, or had a clue who the characters were. I kept trying to give it a chance, but a few chapters in I finally gave up and threw it away. Awful, awful, awful.
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on January 11, 2000
After forcing myself to read 30 pages I couldn't get into the story. I wasn't made to care about the characters or their dire situation. I was familiar with the characters, but I didn't see the characters I knew from the TV show. I felt the crew frequently calling Captain Picard 'Jean-Luc' was inappropriate and out of character. The dialog was written as if only one person was speaking for everyone. During a wardroom discussion, Data refers to Commander Riker as 'Captain', which indicated to me that I could expect other distracting inacurracies were I to continue reading. I plan to donate my copy of this book to the local library's fifty-cent sale bin.
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on September 21, 2003
With "Grounded" the author, David Bischoff came up with an exceptional premise but when it came to the execution of this premise the author's efforts seemingly fall flat. When choosing a Star Trek novel from any of the particular series to read one generally believes that the author "knows" that series and the canon involved in it and if not, the editor will keep them on track. This seemingly did not happen with "Grounded" which, did not entirely detract from the story itself but distracts the average fan of the episode. I do not normally like picking apart a Star Trek novel for the minor inconsistencies with known canon that an author and editor have either forgotten or chosen to ignore; therefore I will only mention these aspects but not go into detail on each and every one of them in this review.
The cover art for grounded is actually one of the best covers to date, with the standard pictures of the primary characters for the story and some very good background art.
The premise:
The Enterprise answers a distress call from a remote science station. The Enterprise herself soon becomes infected with a mysterious alien life form which starts feeding on her and transforming inorganic materials. The great starship begins to disintegrate and Captain Picard is ordered to abandon her in the hopes of not infecting other ships. Captain Picard and crew now find themselves in a race against time as they must find a way of saving the Enterprise before she is lost and the crew is scattered about the fleet to fill other positions.
While I wouldn't highly recommend this novel as one of the best stories in Star Trek fiction it is certainly not the worst of them and I would recommend it to complete ones library of Star Trek novels and as a mildly interesting early STNG novel. {ssintrepid}
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on July 19, 1997
Captains of the Enterprise have that certain knack for finding forces in the universe that are on the verge of destroying them, the Federation, and the known universe.

However, Grounded takes this well used scenario and presents it to the reader in a well written edition. If you have not read many of the Star Trek novels, this is one of the better ones to start with.
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on December 21, 1999
The pace of this book was slow at te begining. The writer has concentrated on small and unecessary details too much. After one gets through the begining, the pace gets very high and exciting. It is not the ideal Star Trek book ever; however, it is not the worst. I aggree with the other reader that this would've been a good plot for TV. There weren't many serious errors.
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on June 27, 2010
Apparently the warp drive and navigational systems were offline, because this book took forever to go nowhere! The enterprise takes a mud bath that goes awry, so Picard and co. must save the day while dealing with totally uninteresting minor characters.
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on June 27, 1999
The mud monster is pretty cool,but the book moves a little slowly at times, the romance is ridiculously long.
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on November 22, 2002
The story for this book could've been quite promising--the Enterprise is an accidental victim of a clay-like enemy whose destructive instinct for survival causes Starfleet to opt for the Enterprise's destruction. I will be blunt--the editor more than the author would seem to me to be at fault for this book not working as it might have worked. There are sloppy errors in typing, not to mention Trek lore, to be found here--not the least of which, Data uses contractions on several occasions. A more "Trek-geek" related error finds the story taking place between the episodes "The Game" and "Unification Part I" according to the book's stardate, and yet Data remembers things that happened during the episode where Geordi and Ro are "out of phase" which didn't occur till much later in the 5th season. Okay, geek mode off. I wouldn't have minded that error because it's so ... wel, as I said, Trek-geekish...but Data's lack of contractions is a basic part of his character. Also, some of the frustration is thrown David Bischoff's way as well. He spends pages and pages developing a character who is sure to save the day--I can't say did save it because these frustrations caused me to toss the book aside two-thirds in--which makes for slow going for the overall story...and yet, the news of Starfleet's decision to whack our beloved Enterprise is delivered in a summary paragraph, with no actual dramatization at all! It was almost an afterthought--as if to say "Oh yeah, and they got to the starbase and by the way, the admiral there decided it would be best to blast the Enterprise to smithereens with a photon torpedo spread..." (Not a quote, but it might as well be.) Rarely do I not finish a book, and I gave this one plenty of chances to get better. I've heard the ending is better...but after a while, I just decided no ending would make up for the chore reading this book became for me. I only stopped short of giving it one star because of the fact that the story could've been better-told, and because the idea itself was quite good. <Sigh> Ah well, next Trek novel...?
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on May 16, 1999
This book is very interesting,to say the least, but that doesn't quite cut it. As you get in to the book, you find yourself thinking more about the climax than what you're reading at the moment.It just gets too murky and boring. The "mud/clay" monster is very cool,I must admit, and this book vaguelly reminds me of a much creepier trek book; J.M. Dillard's "Bloodthirst", both books, an away team lands on a remote science planet, and finds the most of the rescearch team dead, and ones still alive are not able to talk about what happened for one reason or another, and the crew must find out what they're hiding, or the Federation will be destroyed.
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