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Star Trek: To Reign in Hell – The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh by Greg Cox

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the movies with tie-ins around (and related to) the films. We’ll be doing one of these every week day. This is one such article.

I feel like I’m in the minority because I didn’t much care for Greg Cox’s The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Vol. 1 & 2. The books had an absolutely great premise, and Cox had a very clever way of explaining how the Star Trek universe could have had a major conflict between genetically-engineered supermen in the 1990s, despite the fact that their version of the 1990s looked a lot like ours. However, Cox became bogged down in shout-outs and continuity references and character cameos. Despite the seemingly epic scope of the story, it seemed like 20th century Earth was inhabited by twenty people who all knew one another.

In contrast, To Reign in Hell has a much less ambitious and exciting premise, but the novel also reigns in some of Cox’s excesses. While the author’s taste for continuity sometimes overwhelms the narrative, he is somewhat restrained in how heavily he cane lean on what came before. While Cox’s prose is still a little prosiac, and his narration a little ham-fisted, he at least has a bit more room here to develop Khan as a character. Without the crutch of feeling the need to reference every 20th century character ever to appear in Star Trek, Cox can focus on his leading man.

Well, mostly.

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