© Greg Cox 2001
Having seized power in India and cultivated a network of spies and yes-men who will do his bidding throughout Asia, genetically engineered and predestined ruler of the world Khan Noonien Singh is ready for expansion. Having experienced his first difficulty in politics (people), Khan hopes that joining forces with his fellow augments will expedite his dreams of world domination. Enter sibling rivalry…with biogenic weapons. The second volume of The Eugenics Wars tries to fit the wars themselves into the geopolitical events of the early 1990s, rather like stuffing a gorilla into a tuxedo. It doesn’t work out too well, but it’s still entertaining to witness.
Unfortunately for the plot, there aren’t enough real-world dead people in the small window of time canon allows for the coexistence of the Eugenics Wars with our own history, at least not if the Wars are to be given their “bad-as-WW3” feel experienced in “Space Seed”. That these events could have happened is believable, but why would Kirk and company be fussed about it several centuries from now? But explanations can be found; considering that genetic engineering reared its head several more times, perhaps the historians of Kirk’s time have come to believe a more legendary version of Eugenics history, that Khan’s escape marked the end of the beginning, but not the end altogether. At any rate, the established character-based portions are terrific as usual, as are the little connections and allusions to greater Trek. Even Star Trek Voyager gets a nod, unavoidable given that it had an episode set in the 1990s. The supermen themselves aren’t an asset to the book, consisting of caricatures (a Marxist revolutionary and a man-hating chieftess with an army of ‘amazons’, for starters) who don’t help general believability. While the sequel isn’t quite as terrific as the first novel promised it might be, the third – To Reign in Hell – will – will be freed of having to conform to real world history, so I imagine the series will end on a strong note.
- From History’s Shadow, Dayton Ward. Another impressive and fun integration of ST canon and real-world history
- Assignment: Eternity, possibly my first ST novel, and another Gary Seven tale by Greg Cox.