When I heard of the death of Ann Crispin yesterday, and then read on the Mary Sue that she’d written science fiction tie-in novels, I immediately thought I’d seen her name before somewhere, or at least the initialed version. As I’d read my way through a number of Star Trek tie-ins during my teens and a few more Star Wars novels since, I went to that part of my bookshelf. I almost thought I’d imagined it when I spotted the A.C. Crispin on The Eyes of the Beholders. Of the many early Star Trek: The Next Generation novels I’d read, that was one of the ones that had stayed with me more, and I immediately had respect for her, even before I took the book down and skimmed through it again.
The basic plot involves a fancy space artifact making everyone go mad and also have vivid dreams/flashbacks to scenes from their past lives, which allowed Crispin to give us scenes like Worf’s last carefree evening on Khitomer before the bombing and the death of his family(the one that had stuck with me the most), Picard’s response to the loss of the Stargazer, & Data’s discovery by Starfleet; things that allowed her to focus on character in a sci-fi plot driven environment. These were the sections I wanted to reread, along with the Selar/Andorian child subplot, and now I have a completely new appreciation for both that and for Selar’s backstory, both of them very much being women’s stories(the latter essentially spending all its time on three female characters, with Dr. Crusher’s heavy involvement in it), and ones that speak to current humans despite their setting, and the story of young blind Thala is personal to me now I understand myself to be disabled. When I first read it I had no idea A.C. Crispin was female; it never even occurred to me to wonder about it, but now I understand that much of her novel I found in my sister’s collection is a woman’s novel, for all the “boys adventure” trappings of its main plot.
At least I know now. Thank you, Ann. I hope I have not read the last of you.