Author(s): Greg Cox
Series: Star Trek: The Eugenics War #1
Published by Pocket Books on 04/02/2002
Genres: Media Tie-In, Science Fiction
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Even centuries later, the final decades of the twentieth century are still regarded -- by those who know the truth of what really happened -- as one of the darkest and most perilous chapters in the history of humanity. Now, as an ancient and forbidden technology tempts mankind once more, Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise must probe deep into the secrets of the past, to discover the true origins of the dreaded Eugenics Wars -- and of perhaps the greatest foe he has ever faced.
1974 A.D. An international consortium of the world's top scientists have conspired to create the Chrysalis Project, a top-secret experiment in human genetic engineering. The project's goal is nothing less than the creation of a new, artificially improved breed of men and women: smarter, faster, stronger than ordinary human beings, a super-race to take command of the entire planet.
Gary Seven, an undercover operative for an advanced alien species, is alarmed by the project's objectives; he knows too well the apocalyptic consequences of genetic manipulation. With his trusted agents, Roberta Lincoln and the mysterious Isis, he will risk life and limb to uncover Chrysalis' insidious designs and neutralize the awesome threat that the Project poses to the future.
But he may already be too late. One generation of super-humans has already been conceived. As the years go by, Seven watches with growing concern as the children of Chrysalis -- in particular, a brilliant youth named Khan Noonien Singh -- grow to adulthood. Can Khan's dark destiny be averted -- or is Earth doomed to fight a global battle for supremacy?
This book takes a look at how the most iconic villain in Star Trek, Khan Noonien Singh, came to be. The first in what eventually became a three part series The Eugenics War Vol 1: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Sing specifically focus on how Singh and his genetically engineered siblings came to be.
Cox manages to really blend classic Star Trek lore with real historical events and his own added dramatizations and changes to create a pretty compelling story. While the book itself is sandwich between a fairly banal story about Kirk visiting a planet known for practicing genetic modifications that really is more of a way to offer framework. The real meat of the book that takes a look at Trek history is really engaging.
One of the problems the Trek universe is events dreamed up in the 60s TV show clash with how history really played out. The thing that Cox does the best is take the brief pieces of information we have from the TV shows and subsequent movies and make a fictional world history that doesn’t seem too ridiculous from how history actually played out.
The idea to use Gary Seven, an idea picked up by later authors looking into Star Trek’s history, was a really clever one. Seven and his compatriots offer a great vehicle for the sci-fi elements loved by most Trek fans to get into a story set in the 20th century.
Not to say the book is without flaws. There are some notable slow points where the pacing could have used a bit more work. Luckily these don’t last too long. The other issue I ran into in this book was the jumping between characters. In much of it Seven and his assistant Roberta were not together. This forced the Cox to have to jump from one event to the other and back over and over. Often I found just as I was getting into what was happening with one character the narrative would leave them behind for a while to show us what the other was up to. While I don’t mind this generally it becomes much more taxing if nearly the entire book is written in that way.
You also really have to read the next book in the series to make it work. If read as a single work the ending of volume 1 is somewhat unsatisfying. However paired with volume 2 it really works as a single story and is totally worth reading.
For people looking for a classic Star Trek story featuring the Captain and his (or her for voyager fans) crew this book may be a bit out of left field. However if you are at all interested in delving into the history of the Star Trek then this is a must read.
Review by Travis Starnes