Star Trek The Next Generation: The Q Continuum, by Greg Cox

star trek next generation The Q Continuum, by Greg Cox book coverGenre: Star Trek
Publisher: Pocket Books
Published: 2003
Reviewer Rating: three stars
Book Review by Fraser Ronald

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I admit to being a little nervous when I first cracked open Star Trek: The Q Continuum. I had found very little–well, let’s be honest, nothing–in Greg Cox’s Underworld novel adaptation. I dreaded the possibility that this would be another monotonous trudge through uninspired, weak fiction. Thankfully, I was wrong.

In this novel, a Betazoid scientist, Lem Faal, believes he has found a way to breach the galactic barrier that surrounds the Milky Way and proved such a nuisance to Captain James T. Kirk in the episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” Joining him on the Enterprise-E are his two children. But Professor Faal isn’t the only guest to arrive on the Enterprise with children. Q and his mate Q arrive on the Enterprise with their son, q. The male Q–a long-time acquaintance of the Enterprise crew–warns Picard not to attempt to penetrate the barrier. As is standard operating procedure for Q, he won’t tell Picard why he should not attempt it.

As Faal fears that Q might interfere in the experiment the scientist expects to be the crowning achievement of his life, q and mother Q learn more about Humans, Betazoids and others. Meanwhile, something awaits the Enterprise-E, awaits the experiments and awaits the arrival of Q. All this leads to an exploration of the realm of Q and the greatest threat the Continuum and the entire universe has ever faced.

Mr. Cox has delivered a good story, full of tension and foreshadowing, action and excitement as the better Star Trek episodes delivered. He seems to have a good grasp of the ST: The Next Generation characters, but more importantly, he has a good grasp of Q and Q. The biting wit and knife-edged sarcasm that made Q such a popular character in the various TV incarnations of ST is duplicated here. Further, the cool disinterest and distant aloofness of the female Q–as introduced in the ST: Voyager series–is captured here as well. q proves to be an interesting character as well as an always present threat. Imagine a baby with the powers of Q throwing a tantrum.

It’s nice to see a novel that includes the ST:TNG crew front and centre. Mr. Cox handles them well, showing us a glimpse of the characters that harkens back to the series rather than the last couple of movies. Unfortunately, while the ST:TNG crew are highly visible in the scenes they are in, large sections of the book are completely ST:TNG-free. Personally, I found these sections a little slow. Most of these sections were back-story, giving information needed to understand certain plot machinations. It’s unfortunate Mr. Cox didn’t feel comfortable focussing on the characters with which people are familiar. Perhaps he didn’t like using other people’s characters and setting, maybe he wanted to stretch his creative muscles. Whatever the reasons, I didn’t really enjoy those sections of the book.

The worst part is, everything was going along so well. I would imagine that most ST fans will still enjoy this book. Likely, they will have complaints–also likely different from those I have noted–but in the end, I would say this is a more satisfying experience than the last couple of the ST:TNG movies or many episodes of ST: Enterprise. I can’t whole-heartedly recommend this book, but I can recommend it with the caveats noted above. It’s pretty good, but I wouldn’t call it great.

But that’s just my opinion.

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