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The Light Fantastic is a 2014 Star Trek: The Next Generation novel by author Jeffrey Lang.

Publisher's description

He was perhaps the ultimate human achievement: a sentient artificial life-form - self-aware, self-determining, possessing a mind and body far surpassing that of his makers, and imbued with the potential to evolve beyond the scope of his programming.
And then Data was gone.
Four years later, Data's creator, Noonien Soong, sacrificed his life and resurrected his android son, who in turn revived the positronic brain of his own artificial daughter, Lal. Having resigned his commission, the former Starfleet officer now works to make his way on an alien world, while also coming to grips with the very human notion of wanting versus having a child.
But complicating Data's life is an unexpected nemesis from years ago on the U.S.S. Enterprise - the holographic criminal Professor James Moriarty. Long believed to be imprisoned in a memory solid, Moriarty has created a siphon into the "real" world as a being of light and thought. Moriarty wants the solid form he was once told he could never have, and seeks to manipulate Data into finding another android body for him to permanently inhabit... even if it means that is Data himself.


Data returns to his home on Orion Prime to find both Lal and her companion, an Alice series android, missing. A message from Professor Moriarty reveals that he is responsible and offers to release them if Data can provide him and Countess Regina Barthlomew with physical bodies.

Moriarty explains to Lal and Alice that the destruction of the Enterprise-D affected his and Regina's world, wiping their two daughters out of existence. Their programme was transferred to the Daystrom Institute but a further disruption during Vaslovik's raid on the facility saw the rest of their world wiped out.

Data enlists the help of Geordi and together they contact Albert Lee, an old crewmate now working at the Daystrom Institute, who helps them breach the facility and determine Moriarty and Regina have escaped. Data then begins a series of deceptions with collectors such as Harry Mudd, now aged to the point he needs a mechanical conveyance, and Kivas Fajo and manages to gain possession of one of the mind transfer devices from Exo III and a damaged blank template.

Data meets with Moriarty and offers to use the device to transfer Moriarty's mind into his own body. Instead, he tricks Moriarty and places him in a memory cube, where Regina voluntarily joins him. Realising she is expected to return to her home, Alice attempts to leave by taking Lal hostage but Mudd, who Data and La Forge brought hidden inside the template, orders her to comply.

Some months later, Moriarty leaves a message with Lal, telling Data he and Regina have been given their physical bodies and had their daughters restored.



Reginald BarclayRegina BartholomewLeah BrahmsBroikBeverly CrusherDataThe DoctorKivas FajoVic FontaineMrs. HudsonJiroKellyGeordi La ForgeLalAlbert LeeJimmy McGuireGladys MoriartyJames MoriartySophia MoriartyHarry MuddObanJean-Luc PicardSettuShaktiNoonien SoongToddNyota UhuraWorf
Referenced only
Akharin (Flint) • BraxtonCleaGuinanJarrellKathanKevarJames T. KirkRoger KorbyBruce MaddoxRhea McAdamsNogMiles O'BrienObolothRene Jacques Robert Francois PicardProximaKatherine PulaskiQQuarkWilliam RikerRo LarenMontgomery ScottDeanna TroiVarria


Alpha QuadrantDeep Space 9 (PlazaQuark's) • Earth (Pacific OceanNorth AmericaSan FranciscoUpper Haight) • Exo IIIGalor IVHappy Bottom Riding ClubMuddOrion (CommonsLode Stone) • Veridian III
Referenced only
Beta QuadrantDelta QuadrantEuropeGamma QuadrantHawaii (Kona) • Rigel IIIStarbase 14


ArcheusUSS Enterprise-D (Galaxy-class) • USS Enterprise-E (Sovereign-class) • USS Galen (Galen-class)
Referenced only
Cetacean ProbeUSS Enterprise (Constitution-class) • USS Voyager (Intrepid-class)

Races and cultures

Referenced only

States and organizations

Body ElectricBreen ConfederacyDaystrom InstitutePort AuthorityProject Full CircleStarfleetStarfleet CommandTholian AssemblyUnited Federation of Planets

Other references

29th centuryAlice seriesAltair waterAnnabelle seriesansible technologybaconbarracudabioplastblackjackbrandybrown mustardbrussels sproutCardassian bola-nettlescheesechickenChristmasCitizen Kaneclaycobaltcoffeecortenidecrapsdarjeeling teaDolores seriesduraniumeggEmergency Medical HologramExo-type androidGreen ThornGrub wormhavarti sandwichHerman serieshologramholomatrixholosuitehoneyironisolinear chipkanarlagavulinlettuceMaisie seriesmayonnaisememory solidmobile emittermolybdenumnano-compilerninchallaNorman seriesonionorcaOscar seriesSancho Panzaparadinpitchakplasteelpoker (Texas Hold'em) • positronic brainpotatoDon QuixoteRaiders of the Lost ArkraktajinoreplicatorThe Rules of the Gamesjoko-wanSoong-type androidspatulaStella seriesStockholm syndromeSydney seriestequilatomatotricordertripolymerTrudy seriesturboliftturkey sandwichVaron-T disruptorVISORwafflewaterWatership Downxenolinguistics




Star Trek: The Next Generation novels set after Star Trek Nemesis
Death in WinterResistanceQ & ABefore DishonorGreater Than the SumLosing the PeaceIndistinguishable from MagicCold Equations (The Persistence of MemorySilent WeaponsThe Body Electric) • The Stuff of DreamsThe Light FantasticTakedownArmageddon's ArrowHeadlong FlightHearts and MindsAvailable LightCollateral Damage


Published Order
Previous novel:
Indistinguishable from Magic
TNG novels Next novel:
Previous story:
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Stories by:
Jeffrey Lang
Next story:
Force and Motion

External link