The Star Trek universe is the same as any other. There are different cultures and religions. Some are wide-known and accepted while some make you want to question the intelligence of the people who believe it or came up with it. Some religions and societies even make the tolerant crew of the Enterprise-D question them. The planet of Thanet is one of those. They believe all life on their planet runs in a five-thousand year cycle by death of the Death-Bringer or Eater of the World. Okay, it's a comet. That five-thousand year old mark is almost up. The whole planet believes their days are numbered.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew know that this comet can easily be destroyed. But the dilemma lies in if they do destroy the comet, the basis of this culture could be destroyed. If the Enterprise crew let the planet be impacted by the comet, then they are allowing the death of a whole civilization right before their eyes. Unable to make such a massive decision, Picard turns to Dr. Robert Halliday. The former professor of xenolinguistics is borderline sane according to Starfleet, but his reports give Picard a detailed (if not twisted at parts) description on the Thanetians' way of life. The government really doesn't want help though and sends a fake ambassador. The whole mission is practically doomed from the start.
As the history of this Death-Bringer unfolds, they discover it has been sent by a sister planet five-thousand years through complicated, historical trials and tribulations. The whole point to these two cultures is to destroy the other before the other can. The Thanetians hadn't fired back though. Through Counselor Deanna Troi, they discover the comet is actually a machine built especially to kill all life on the planet of Thanet by this sister planet. At the heartbeat of this massive weapon is a boy frozen in time and chosen by his people after much contest. Now Picard has two cultures to explore and save without ruining everything they believe in. All hope lies in Deanna Troi as she reaches for the mind of a lonely little boy who holds the power for destruction of a whole planet.
Now that I have told the basis of the book, let me wind it up in one word: HORRIBLE. The idea is a good one, but the book drags on and on. You get caught up in who is who and which planet they are on rather than the story. Somtov also has a few side stories going on and the love story magically matches the one from the comet's original planet. Somtov did give some interesting teasers when the author writes part of the Thanet's sacred Bible-like document, but the book is over written in several parts and the TNG characters aren't themselves in this one. I give this book a 1. It took me forever to read it and I forced myself to even finish it. This would be a good one to skip over.
Title: Do Comets Dream?
Author: S.P. Somtow
Review by: CL6 Amanda Sielu Paris