The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh
The Eugenic Wars, Books I & II

Greg Cox

reviewed by Randy Landers


When I sat down to begin reading this two volume tome, I had my typical reaction to it: Is this actually a Star Trek story? Well, it's hard to say with this often entertaining, often silly, often off-the-wall, often ill-conceived, extremely episodic story. The premise is that while investigating the Paragon Colony on the planet Sycorax (a colony founded by genetically enhanced super Humans), Kirk reviews the historical records of the Eugenics Wars to determine whether or not the planet should be admitted to the Federation, and how Gary Seven handled Khan and his supermen in particular.

The premise is quite flawed; in "Space Seed," Spock clearly states that historical records of that time are spotty at best, and that no one knew what had happened with Khan and his followers. How Kirk could review with all the amazing detail these events is simply an ill-conceived plot device that allows Pocketbook to say, "See, it's got Kirk and Spock in it!" Throw in Captain Koloth performing an outright hostile action against both the colony and the Enterprise, and the reader quickly realizes how unnecessary padding like this is. It's not serving any purpose and only detracts from what should've been an entertaining story.

Disregarding the framing story completely, we pick up on the adventures of Gary Seven as he and Roberta Lincoln thwart the plans of a mad-scientist to release a killer streptococcus strain on the world, leaving it "cleansed" for her progeny: genetically engineered children. Roberta, using the name "Ronnie Neary" (the name of Teri Garr's character from Close Encounters of the Third Kind -- get it? if so, then you've got the tone of the entire book down pat) infiltrates the base, meets the super-children and helps Seven put an end to the experiment. Cox is clever, don't get me wrong. He ties the entire tome into real events from the 20th century along with some supposedly cute cross-overs, (including James Bond, The Bionic Woman and The Equalizer to name a few) and Lord knows, every possible person that we know of from the Star Trek universe that lived on 20th century Earth: Guinan, Flint, Shaun Christopher, Jackson Roykirk, Walter Nichols, etc. We have cameos from so many people that it becomes almost a sad joke to see how Cox works them in. And the author is so proud of all the events from real life that he's created in each volume an "afterword" where he details some of the more obvious ones. Such attention to detail can be admirable, but can really shatter one's willing suspension of disbelief.

The story-telling isn't bad until the middle of the second book when real-life history conflicts so much with the Star Trek universe history, but Cox doesn't let this deter him from trying to kluge our reality with the fantasy of Star Trek. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. And that pretty much encapsulates my feelings about the work. It's a hodgepodge of enjoyable scenes, most excel, but there are some real clunkers which jar the reader out of the story.

All in all, I'd recommend this story, not as a Star Trek mainstream story, but as a Roberta Lincoln story as Seven's involvement is far less than hers. Go in with limited expectations, and you'll have a decent time reading it.

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