[These notes were made in 1993:]. This is a mud fantasy (hence the name) - but it is a particularly malevolent mud, which eats away at starships, and which consumes first a research station and then (partly) the Enterprise. The ship is condemned and the crew is grounded, but Data (being mostly inorganic himself) gets in touch with the thing, which becomes sentient half-way through the book. There's also a sub-plot with a very shy girl called Penelope, who's brought out of her shell by a young man named Mikal (he has some importance to the plot as well, because his hidden memories are important to the understanding of the mud creature). I liked this one because Jean-Luc Picard got to be a hero - relying on intuition, on well-timed impulsiveness, and a tremendous physical effort to hit the button necessary to save his ship. A rather icky fantasy this one, but fun.