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 The Eugenics Wars Vol. 2:  The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh (Star Trek)

The Eugenics Wars Vol. 2: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh (Star Trek)

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Rating: 4 stars
Summary: An exciting page-turner
Review: Have you ever wondered about the infamous Eugenics Wars of the late twentieth century in the Star Trek universe? Especially the genetic-superman Khan Noonien Singh's role in them. This story helps answer those questions and allows you to ask a few more, such as: What if we started manipulating our genetic makeup? Where would this tinkering end? Would it end?

This book follows the exploits of Khan, using our history as a link between fact and fiction. It serves as warning of the dangers of genetic engineering.

This novel is carefully and concisely written. It has a steady page-turning pace which keeps you entertained to the very end. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Khan Noonien Singh, the ethics of genetic engineering, or the history of the early-to-mid 1990s.

Rating: 1 stars
Summary: Chewing Gum 2
Review: ... Greg Cox continues to plumb the depth with this temporal travesty that, as with the television series "Enterprise", seems to have no respect for the established historical details of "Star Trek". This does unfortunately seem to be a common problem with modern material and I am at a loss to understand why modern fans seems to accept this state of affairs. As for this book, whereas at least the first volume had some clever side references to pulp culture (eg James Bond, The Avengers, The Equalizer etc), this one is almost totally devoid of any real life and is yet another example of a cheap money spinning novel by an author who should have known better. The plot is predictable, the characterizations a joke, and the attempt to fit the story into the "real" world so hamfisted it just makes one shake their head in disbelief. At the end of the day this book is chewing gum, not a fresh piece, but one that has been chewed so long it has lost all its' flavour and you just want to spit it out !!!

Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Eugenics Wars 2
Review: A very satisfying conclusion to what we got treated to in Volume 1...however, this book suffers from being somewhat more predictable than its predecessor, mainly because the author is stuck having to work towards a predestined finale, that must set things up cleanly for Star Trek: TOS's "Space Seed" story. Any problems inherent in Volume 2 are an extension of this basic difficulty. Gary Seven, to my disappointment, only appears sporadically in this installment, and his main purpose here is to concoct a last-ditch plan to curb Khan without executing him (Seven does not like to kill), and, of course, this plan leads to "Space Seed". Meanwhile, Roberta Lincoln takes center stage--she's got guts, this fine lady, taking all the tough jobs when it comes to foiling Khan and his super-troopers whenever she can. This is terrific when it comes to showing Roberta at her finest, in endless dangerous and unpredictable situations, but taken as a whole, her decades-spanning exploits come off as a bit helter-skelter. I would like, in future, to see Roberta Lincoln in an adventure that doesn't require as much jumping around--something with unity of time, place and action.

Then there's Khan. Because The Eugenics Wars novels take the daring approach of trying to "fit" Khan into what we know to be our own history, while at the same time having him live out a scenario that sees him become "a prince, with power over millions", the Eugenics Wars are really a prolonged Secret War. And yet Khan does gain power over millions, so no, he's not a liar in the film Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. Frankly, I would not have minded if these books had abandoned the secret-war approach the farther along Khan's bid for power went; I would have liked to see him become more of a world-ruler, overtly grabbing up power before his great fall. Anyway, no worries, concerning the ultimate melding of truth and fiction, with an emphasis on trying to depict Eugenics Wars that come close to being something that could have actually happened in the mid-90s we really experienced. My one extra quibble is that in Volume 2, Khan is perhaps not cruel enough--in two different instances he backs down from certain aggressive activity, showing him as surprisingly marshmallowy when it comes to getting talked out of his vilest plans, and also a bit too sympathetic towards the general population, considering how bitter he appears to be. Again, Khan is at the mercy of pre-established continuity, plus any strictures automatically placed on him by these books' stubbornness over inserting him into 1996 as it really occurred.

Despite my negative remarks, I heartily encourage anyone seeking dazzling, action-packed SF to check out the rise and fall of Khan Noonien Singh. Delightful reading.

Rating: 2 stars
Summary: Disappointing, boring, often cringe-inducing
Review: After a great start with Volume 1 of this series, this volume turned out to be a real disappointment. I loved the first volume so much that I ran right out and got the hardcover at full price. I must say I wish I had waited for a ... used copy at the Salvation Army.

What really ruins this version is Kahn. Where he was a complex and troubled character in Vol 1 (similar in many ways to Anakin Skywalker) he is now just a raving butthead. At times, his rants and posturing seem absolutely laughable. This guy controls 1/3 of the world? I wouldn't let this [man] rake my leaves, let alone run some shadowy government.

... At one point the line "like a poor marksman, he keeps missing the target" is used. Which is a direct quote from Shatner in Wrath of Kahn. When I read that line I cringed and thought: "oh come on, can't you think of anything more clever than that ...?"

I have high hopes that Volume 3 will improve as it is supposed to cover Kahn's time on Ceti Alpha 5.

Also, be prepared for some rather poor undercover work from Roberta and Gary 7. They seem to always drop their damn servo at the wrong moment.

If you're into this story, you're pretty much stuck reading this volume. But when you do, expect some rather lame characterizations, large plot holes, and rather tepid story telling.

Rating: 2 stars
Summary: I've always had difficulties with Khan
Review: As a conservative who's no longer ashamed to be one, I believe in Personal Accountability. If that isn't the bottom line of the Holy Scriptures, it makes a pretty good subtotal. Which means that when you do evil, you can't blame it on other people the way you do when you're a child. You especially can't blame it all on some evil charismatic leader in Flip Wilson "The Devil Made Me Do It"-style. That's why when I claimed to be a liberal in the 1960s and 1970s, I was lying to everyone including myself. At the age I was back then, as well which generation I was part of, peer pressure is everything. But I believed even then that when I did something rotten, it was me that did it, not someone else using me. But it's probably the sociological theme of the Twentieth Century that there's always some evil Svengali like Adolf Hitler who sows death and destruction all over the place, and guess what? It's not the masses' fault that he talked us into it, he played with our heads, y'know? He wielded us like a sword and come on already--can you blame the sword for the blood it sheds? At least the survivors of the Third Reich tried that argument at Nuremburg. And as I recall reading, that cop-out met with very mixed reviews and didn't get very many of them out of some very hard time. And it seems to have crossed over into the Twenty-first Century in the way the world seems so bent on claiming that Saddam is the One And Only Bad Guy--his nation's populace aren't at fault for anything. This book is about yet another such leader, one that's part of the Star Trek universe--Khan Noonien Singh. My very soul rebelled at the idea of him when he first emerged in the "Space Seed" episode of The Original Series. I went "oh geez" when he hit the big screen in "Wrath Of Khan". And if you think I'm any more thrilled at this untold story of his roots, you got anothah think comin'. Here's how you might be able to enjoy this book better than I did. Remember that the goons and thugs who follow Khan in this story are themselves evil people--he didn't make them that way. He simply draws on their inherent evil as an energy resource. That's the way an Aryan supremacist leader explained his group's usage of skinheads as shock troops to an interviewer a few years back, and it was a perfect explanation for the phenomenon. Sure it's possible to manipulate people, to brainwash them--I'm not saying otherwise. But when the followers of an evil person themselves do evil, they're not part of a "cult of personality" or any scam psychobabble like that. Try to imagine Khan's thugs having to each be answerable for his own sins. Try to avoid the temptation to envision a "merciful tribunal" letting all the cannon fodder off the hook while they punish only the Big Cheese. The Roman Catholics have it right--their concept of Mea Maxima Culpa is first person singular.

Rating: 3 stars
Summary: Disappointing Follow-Up
Review: As much as I enjoyed reading volume one of The Eugenics War, I disliked volume two. When you re-watch "Space Seed," Star Trek: First Contact, or even the recent "Augments" episodes of Enterprise, you get the impression that The Eugenics Wars were this great upheval, but that's not the case in this "historical" novel of Star Trek's past. The Eugenics Wars, as the author imagines it, was a shadowy behind-the-scenes conflict that only a select few humans even know about. That's makes just a bit of a let-down. I will give the author credit: he has done an admirable job of weaving real Earth history into the alternate hisotry of Star Trek, but that is also what makes this book disappointing. The characters remain strong, chief among them Khan, Gary Seven, and Roberta, but they can't raise up an otherwise disappointing story. Furthermore, as with the previous novel, the whole Kirk/Spock/McCoy sub-plot was a waste of time and totally un-necessary. I actually found myself skipping those parts in order to get back to the main story. While I'm glad Mr. Cox -- an otherwise good Star Trek writer -- took the time to fill in this "lost" piece of Star Trek history I just wish it could have been better.

Rating: 1 stars
Summary: Not what I expected...
Review: Book 1 was quite plausible and enjoyable, as it was reasonable that the Star Trek timeline not diverge too much prior to 1989. But book 2, which was supposed to show Khan's meteoric rise to world fame and power and his equally sudden fall in just four short years, disappointed me.

I kept waiting, and waiting, and... waiting. I never did see the book explode into a cataclysmic battle where Khan cements his control over a quarter of the globe, establishing himself as dictator over almost two billion people, using biological weapons against his enemies and in general making himself very well-known to the populace as a feared leader, only to be brought down by a combined assault by all the nations which were not yet under Khan's control.

Instead, the Eugenics Wars is supposedly fought in and out of the real events of the 1990s, with shadowy battles with Gary Seven and his associates.

Sorry, but I really don't buy that. Like other reviewers, I know the difference between our timeline and the alternate one of Star Trek, and to see events written in "1992" that never really happened wouldn't throw me for a loop.

If Khan Singh were virtually unknown in the 1990s I have absolutely no idea how this could be reconciled with the knowledge that (a) he is a very vain, intelligent and self-important man and (b) such people do not skulk in corners creating a shadow Khanate through which pre-existing nations do his bidding while pretending to "really" be in control. I have to wonder if Greg Cox understood that his creation is about an alternate timeline, not our own.

Book 1: Leave alone.

Rating: 1 stars
Summary: I've read worse, but this one was lame
Review: First of all, this Cox guy is way too politically-correct! I'd be willing to bet that he has autographed posters of Al Gore and Fidel Castro on his wall! Was there any left wing cause he DIDN'T promote in this book?

He also needs to do a little research on the times before he writes. He has militias with websites back in 1994 (before websites existed in the format he described), and no one knew a URL from a genome then. Websites didn't appear until 1995 because the average modem before then was (at best) 9600 baud and modern browsers were just appearing. I've been using computers for decades, and the first browser I saw was in March of 1995 (Netscape... then $49.95.).

He describes a satellite that "increased the size of the Antarctic ozone hole by twenty percent" when there is NO OZONE HOLE. There is a thinning in the ozone layer (82% of norm) but that is caused by the absence of LIGHT! The summer of 1992 (as he calls it) is the WINTER time in the southern hemisphere! Ozone reverts to oxygen in the dark, and the poles are dark for months during their respective wintertimes. Do the math. Mt. Pinatubo's eruption threw more particulates into the atmosphere than a GIGATON of ground-burst nuclear weapons could, and he has this satellite punching a hole in ozone hole? What powered this satellite? Antimatter? Does he have any sense of scale? Has he ever taken engineering classes? How about basic science classes? Ozone is created when oxygen is bombarded with UV light (three oxygen molecules (3O2) become two ozone molecules (2O3), the frequency of light his satellite is supposed to use to destroy ozone! Now there's blackmail (Give me what I want or I'll create ozone... smirk!)

I hate it when science fiction authors know nothing about the basics! Also, all modern submarines have double hulls (the inner hull is called a "pressure hull") and have for over 40 years. I'm sorry if some think I'm being too picky, but I do write for a living and am very picky about facts... as are real science fiction readers.

What did I like about this book? Not too much. I did like his recalling of Jasper Maskelyne's use of lights and mirrors to confuse the Nazis. I liked how the DY-100 was hijacked. Not much else. I thought this would be an improvement on the first book (which was so-so), but I was wrong. Anyone want to buy my copy? Only read once, and probably never again!

Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Great Information
Review: I found Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars a great because it gave you the background of how Khan Noonien Singh became the man he was. I found the book completely captivating and would highly recommend.

Rating: 5 stars
Summary: The wrath of Doctrine!
Review: I have this audio cassette along with book 1. I like all the characters such as Khan Noonien Singh, Roberta Lincoln, Gary Seven, and the British scientist Dr. Williams. I cannot believe that there would be the name of a rocket... Morning Star. Morning Star? Please! What kind of name is that? Where did that name come from? I know it came from Khan's own mind in the story, but where exactly does the name of Morning Star come from? I also like how the author tells about the horror of Khan's Tiraney with things like nerve gas, and Streptococcus. I still like the story! even if it is science fiction. This was the first time I've heard about the Ujenics Wars on these 2 audio books. I highly recommend this to future Star Trek fans.

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