Following in the footsteps of such eminent SF authors as James White (The First Protector) and Fred Saberhagen (The Arrival), Smith contributes a taut and gripping tie-in novel to the TV series from the late creator of Star Trek. Cecilia Robin, a southern California fourth-grade teacher, has reason to worry when the alien Taelons take an interest in her. After all, the Taelons have a habit of implanting CVIs, devices that bring about disturbing behavioral changes, in the base of the neck of uncooperative humans. Not one to make trouble, Cece refuses a former student's request to join a splinter group of the Resistance and take part in an assassination attempt. Soon she's both a target for the rebels and the Taelons, and is on the run. Enter the resourceful Augur to protect her, but even he can't tell her who used computer networks to vaporize her car. In their flight across the country, Cece and Augur discover that the Taelons are aware of the assassination attempt, awaiting an excuse to expand and make acceptable the implantation of CVIs in college students. The author, while good at fast-moving action, also provides some food for thought in her depiction of how a Web-like computer system might work within a "benevolent" totalitarian society. Star Trek fans should be more than satisfied. (Nov. 16)novels, Derelict for Trade and A Mind for Trade.
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Smith's contribution to the multimedia universe of Earth: Final Conflict is a satisfying adventure, comparable to series (and Star Trek) creator Gene Roddenberry's best concoctions. Cecilia ("Cece") Robin is a fourth-grade teacher targeted for a mysterious Taelon education project. Rather than risking what she and her boss fear might be one of the notorious Zo'or's dastardly plots, she runs--straight to a resistance cell, in fact, the leader of which wants her to carry out the opening sally of a violent uprising. Cece believes that violence doesn't solve problems and stands by her convictions. Series regular Augur rescues Cece from subsequent imprisonment, and the two flee across the country to stop the plot before it goes too far. That journey, as quests often do, teaches them valuable lessons. Telling a story that flows beautifully, Smith develops Augur, in particular, wonderfully well. Regina Schroeder
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