- While searching for the USS Huxley, a starship missing for over ten years, the Enterprise stumbles across a forgotten colony of Humans on a planet called Rampart—a world where fiction, speculation, and works of the imagination are considered the ultimate crime.
- A survey team beams on board the Enterprise to search for "contraband" materials—and suddenly the crew find themselves plunged into the middle of a murderous civil war between a determined band of rebels and the planet's ruthless mind police. A civil war whose outcome will determine not only the future of the planet Rampart, but the life of Captain Jean-Luc Picard as well.
Troi puts herself into a trance in her quarters. Afterwards, she has no memory of why she did it, but senses the presence of aliens she terms the Otherworlders. The Enterprise finds no trace of them, but does locate a recording buoy from the Huxley, a ship that disappeared ten years ago and follows the trail to the planet Rampart, even though they are transporting First Federation representatives Oleph and Una.
Two Rampart officials, Crichton and Ferris, board the Enterprise, ostensibly to check for signs of disease before allowing them to search the surface. However, the "disease" is fiction and imagination, which the colony on Rampart has outlawed. Using their one-eyes, floating robots capable of reading human minds, they are able to capture Picard and beam him to the surface as a prisoner, leaving several one-eyes behind to sabotage the ship.
Riker, Data and Troi beam down to the surface, leaving La Forge in command, but Riker and Data are immediately captured along with a Dissenter named Amoret. Troi escapes and reaches a conclave of Dissenters who have adopted the names and personas of mythical and fictional characters, led by a man who calls himself Odysseus. They are able to use the fact that the authorities block any knowledge of anything not officially "true" to escape detection.
The prisoners are sentenced to have their minds blanked and new memories encoded, but Amoret, the first to undergo the process, manages to break the conditioning when ordered to carry it out on Picard. Troi joins the Dissenters in assaulting the city, during which Odysseus is killed but not before tricking the one-eyes into killing Ferris by tricking him into speaking fiction. The Enterprise crew manage to take care of their one-eyes, partly because Wesley comes up with the idea of turning them into dark matter.
Data is able to reprogramme a one-eye to help the Enterprise beam the away team aboard. The Dissenters are rescued by a flock of native animals, the haguyas. The sight of them causes Crichton to remember his true identity of Alfred Bowles, captain and sole survivor of the Huxley. He is retrieved by the Enterprise, while many members of Cephalic Security defect to the Dissenters after the incident. Troi discovers her impression of the "Otherworlders" was actually a result of her viewing a complete record of human myths that Oleph and Una collected.
- Amoret • Alfred Bowles • Bussard • Caliban • Caliban • Cerberus • Chiruwi • Coyote • Coyote • James Crichton • Beverly Crusher • Wesley Crusher • Daley • Data • Ferris • Frazer • Gawain • Lemuel Gulliver • Gunabibi • Henry • Geordi La Forge • Nikitushka Lomov • Matriarch • Montoya • Miles O'Brien • Nummo twins • Odysseus • Oleph • Powell • Jean-Luc Picard • Proteus • Redman • Rhiannon • Rhiannon • Saushulima • Sekhmet • Shikibu • Skoel • Stagolee • William T. Riker • Dorothy Taylor • Tezcatlipoca • Yuri Timoshenko • Deanna Troi • Una • Uyemon • Regina Wentz • Worf
- Referenced only
- Amoret • Armus • James Baldwin • Leopold Bloom • Robert Browning • Calypso • Circe • Cyclops • Salvador Dali • Father Cosmos • Gaia • Guinan • Ugolino della Gherardesca • God • Robert Hazlitt • Helen of Troy • Dixon Hill • Hollywood Ten • Sherlock Holmes • Isis • Hopi Kachina • Laertes • Lilliputian • Nikitushka Lomov • Lore • Maui • Mahuika • Tom Martin • microbrain • Minotaur • Maka-akan • Mother Earth • Nummo twins • Nung-kua-ma • Ouranos • Orpheus • Penelope • Polipses • Polyphemus • Prometheus • Pygmalion • Q • Ra • Rainbow Guardian • Red Cloud • Kyle Riker • Saushulima • Setebos • Edmund Spenser • William Shakespeare • Shiva • Sisyphus • Noonian Soong • Marjorie Smith • Apoyan Ta'chu • Nagi Tanka • Telemachos • Ian Andrew Troi II • Awitelin Tsita • Ruggieri degli Ubaldini • Voltaire • Kurt Vonnegut • Wen-ch'ang • Zeus
- rho Ophiuchi nebula (rho Ophiuchi system • rho Ophiuchi) • Rampart (Verity • Alastor • CephCom)
- Referenced only
- Beta Aquarius V • Earth (Alaska • California • Lilliput • Polynesia • Ryoanji, Kyoto, Japan • Sparta • Troy) • First Federation • Rastaban III • Starbase 81 • Tukurpa
Starships and vehicles
- USS Enterprise (Galaxy-class explorer) • Rampart spacecraft
- Referenced only
- USS Feynman • USS Huxley • USS Stargazer • Homeric ship • Hovercraft • Rampart colony ship
Races and cultures
- Betazoid • Ferengi • golem • Hopi Kachina • Human (African • Australian • Aztec • Celtic • Chinese • Dogon • Egyptian • Greek • Hindu • Lakota • Miwok • Native American • Navajo • Oglala Sioux • Japanese • jinn • Polynesian • Rampartian • Spartan • Tibetan • Tlingit • Zuni) • Klingon • Linnik • Other-worlder • Selay • Tellarite • Vulcan
- Referenced only
- Andorian • Sadalsuudian
Ranks and Titles
- captain • counselor • crewman • director • ensign • first officer • lieutenant • lieutenant commander • major • nurse
States and organizations
- Starfleet • United Federation of Planets • Starfleet Academy • Cephalic Security • Council of Truth • Dissenters
- Referenced only
Science and classification
- atropine sulfate • barbiturate • beam-collimation • communicator • computer • cultural anthropology • dark matter • elevator • Cephalic Security helmet • DNA • drydock • guitar • holographic artist • holography • holo-statue • incinerator • limbic system • lepton • magnetic field • methamphetamine • microwelder • nebula • neutrino • one-eye • oscilloscope • R-complex • radiation gun • radio • robot • recorder marker • scopolamine • subspace frequencies • temporal lobe • thermonuclear device • thought-grenade • trichloroethylene • turbolift • virtual reality • volt
- actor • anbo-jyutsu staff • anchorman • asteroid • bee • Caer Sidi • beat poet • Christian Bible • band • bouillabaisse • boxer • camera • censorship • Chinese box • Chinese student-poet • coffee • Dance of Shiva • Dante's Inferno • dijiridu • discus • elementary school • Finnegans Wake • flower • Gulliver's Travels • gymnasium • haguya • hallucination • Hamlet • Hollywood blacklist • Hell • hozho • horse • horseback riding • Ithaca • IDIC • Klingon death-howl • Klingon tea • Kobayashi Maru scenario • labyrinth • light-stone • lyre • Mabinogi • The Mahabharata • mining • Marine • mushin • musician • Procedure Rhombus • Nung-kua-ma • Odyssey • orchestra • Piña Colada • pollen • Post-Atomic Horror • Praying mantis • Prime Directive • psychoanalysis • pterodactyl • quark • orderly • ore-extraction factory • Rite of Ascension • rock-and-roll • rock garden • Rollins Collimation • Rosetta Stone • science fiction • seizure • solenoid • Statue that Came to Life • statue • tritanium • twentieth century • transporter room four • tranya • tricorder • Taoism • tenth century • The Tempest • Tibetan Thang-ka scrolls • Trojan horse • Trojan Horse • Ulysses • utentbe • Venus Callipyge • water • The Winter's Tale • wolf • yumi • Zen • Zen archery
- 1726 – Gulliver's Travels was published, narrated by the character Lemuel Gulliver who met Lilliputians on the island of Lilliput.
- 2160s – An Earth colony ship arrived in the rho Ophiuchi system and landed on the planet Rampart. The settlers disavowed creativity, literature and fiction.
- 2344 – At age 9, William T. Riker and his father were hiking on a mountain trail in Alaska. Becoming impatient by the boy’s slow pace, Kyle Riker marched ahead, leaving his son alone in the wilderness for the first time.
- 2340s – Two decades prior, a young girl named Amoret discovered an illustrated page from Gulliver's Travels which had belonged to Montoya.
- 2356 – Ten years prior, Rampartian Cephalic Security officer Powell discovered his wife and son had been keeping illegal fiction in their house and turned them in. He became distraught with guilt, read the fiction for himself, and became a Dissenter.
- One week prior – Wesley Crusher and Shikibu recreated the rock garden at Ryoanji, Kyoto, Japan on the holodeck.
- Author Keith Sharee conceived the basic idea as an original novel, but once he saw it in the vein of a Star Trek story, all of its elements immediately gelled for him. (The Official Fan Club Magazine Issue 74: "Where No Man...: Gulliver's Fugitives")
- This book was translated for a German language edition by Heyne-Verlag. When the translation rights for new TNG material moved to Cross Cult, Heyne issued eBook versions of all their previously translated material, including this novel.
- The cover illustration by Blas Gallego depicted several characters who were in the book: Jean-Luc Picard, Deanna Troi, Cerberus, Lemuel Gulliver, Saushulima (the haguya dragon), and Sir Gawain. However, Anubis, Medusa, and the minotaur did not appear in the book.
Throughout the novel, La Forge's rank is given as lieutenant. Since Dr. Crusher is back on board, this would seem to suggest the novel occurs immediately before "Evolution", where he is a lieutenant commander. This is supported by the cover art, which shows Picard in the TNG season 2 uniform, which had been done away with by the time Geordi was seen as a lieutenant commander.
A Rock and a Hard Place
|TNG numbered novels||Next novel:|
The Ensigns of Command
- May 1990
- First published in the United States by Pocket Books. (ISBN 978-0-671-70130-4)
- May 1990
- First published in Great Britain by Titan Books. (ISBN 978-1-85286-286-2)
- Pocket reissue, $4.95. (ISBN 978-0-671-74143-8)
- September 1993
- Pocket reissue, $5.50. (ISBN 978-0-671-74143-8)
- May 1994
- Released as an audiobook read by Jonathan Frakes, 90 minutes, by Simon & Schuster Audio. (ISBN 978-0-671-85338-9)
- December 1996
- Audio reissue. (ISBN 978-0-671-85673-1)
- January 1999
- Audio reissue. (ISBN 978-0-671-04522-7)
- 22 September 2000
- Amazon Kindle ebook release. (ASIN B003YCOT4O)