Spoilers TOS: A Contest of Principles by Greg Cox Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by tomswift2002, Oct 29, 2020.

?

Rate A Contest of Principles

  1. Outstanding

    33.3%
  2. Above Average

    41.7%
  3. Average

    25.0%
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Lancaster, PA
    I swear to God, I delivered the ms. to Pocket Books more than a year ago, and submitted the original proposal months before that. Little did I know . . .
     
  2. Jinn

    Jinn Mistress of the Chaotic Energies Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Just make sure to submit a story about an election that goes extremely smoothly where everyone is accepting the result, in 2023 and use your prophetic book powers for good!
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    As I've been saying, with all due respect to Greg, it wasn't really prophetic, since concerns about election fairness and security have been on Americans' minds since 2016. It's just that there's been so much chaos since then that it feels like a million years ago.
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Lancaster, PA
    Yeah, the parallels with November 2020 clearly aren't a total coincidence (although the pub date was), even if they weren't deliberate. In hindsight, you can tell what must have been in the air, and weighing on my mind, when I wrote that book.

    I can testify that the pub date was a coincidence. I didn't write the book with and awareness that it would be eventually published in November. I'm usually more focused on my deadlines than the pub date, which is not my department. (Unless, of course, we're talking a movie novelization, in which case I'm acutely aware of when the movie's release date is.)

    In other words, I didn't deliberate concoct that plot to coincide with the November election. It just worked out that way.
     
    Leto_II, Kertrats47 and Jinn like this.
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Not that there's anything the least bit wrong with a Star Trek story being a timely commentary on current events, of course.
     
  6. Elwro

    Elwro Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2020
    Location:
    Krakow, Poland
    2 hours into the audiobook and loving the novel. The combination of old-school TOS characters, amusing style and the contemporarily relevant plot is really engaging. (And Mr. Petkoff is at his usual best.)
     
    Greg Cox likes this.
  7. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    Finally am done. I might have rated it higher, if it came out in 2019 or maybe 2022.
    The next to last chapter was the most interesting followed by the last.
     
  8. Elwro

    Elwro Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2020
    Location:
    Krakow, Poland
    For some mysterious reason I'd thought that the noun "constitutional" referred to some liberty, hidden deep in one of the numerous amendments to the US constitution, which specified that no individual could be confined for a period of 24 hours (i.e. even prisoners have to be allowed daily walks). I chuckled, then, when a Vulcan said to a native of the planet Braco that he required "his constitutional".

    Then I consulted a dictionary. Wow. I'm wondering how many things in English I had gotten wrong (apart from, possibly, using the past perfect tense and the past participle of 'get') ;-)
     
    trampledamage likes this.
  9. Elwro

    Elwro Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2020
    Location:
    Krakow, Poland
    Finished. That was fun!

    I enjoyed the variation on the 'nosy neighbour' trope, I hope this character gets her own story someday! I also liked the fact that McCoy clearly didn't reason well under stress, only noting after the whole guard affair that it was illogical to demand during the struggle that he be taken to the extraction point 'as originally planned' (since, obviously, nothing like that had really been planned).

    The scene with the princess among the prisoners was also very nicely written, I think; I also chuckled when the 'you're on hold, please wait' music turned on during another memorable scene.

    I have to say that when I first read about the satellite, I thought 'Uh-oh, a PLOT DEVICE! I bet someone will be frantically trying to stop the autodestruction countdown on this one before all this is over' :-) The device's explosively fragile setup struck me as unnecessary and over-the-top: imagine if, say, banks functioned in a similar way? 'I suspect someone has been messing with my data... BETTER DELETE EVERYONE'S SAVINGS AND GO BOOM, NICE KNOWING YOU!' What's more, the satellite didn't need to ASPLODE!!11 in order to function effectively as a PLOT DEVICE, right? Wouldn't it have been enough, plot-wise, for T. to tamper with the results so that it would become evident that a recount needed to be taken?

    That said, this was a very enjoyable book, gripping till the end. Looking forward to more from Mr. Cox. Moving now to 'The Rings of Time' (loved the cover excerpt!).
     
  10. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    I finally completed this novel. It took me a lot longer than usual, but not because it was a bad book. On the contrary, I enjoyed it quite a bit and rated it 'above average.' My father passed away suddenly in early December and I've been dealing with some of what I'll call mid-life crises since then. In any event, it caused me to slack off on reading quite a bit for a few weeks. I even resorted to watching Hallmark movies to make myself feel better (those movies are insidious, BTW, they suck me in even though I have the plot figured out within 5 minutes, it's like I have to see if the guy gets the girl even though I know they always do...and I've developed quite the fan crush on Lacey Chabert :adore::adore::adore:).

    Anyway :whistle:, regarding the novel. It was a good read. I won't go into plot details as prior comments seem to have that covered, and it's a timely story as others have noted regarding the recent election so I won't belabor those points again. I'll just stick to my own opinion of the story. Greg did a good job covering the 3 storylines...mostly. At the start there was a great balance between Vok, Ozalor and Braco, in fact there was an orderly, pretty symmetric story line there, no one dominating the other, and yet not conflicting either. However, my only complaint, and the main thing that made me knock it down a bit from an excellent book, is that for a while Ozalor seems to be forgotten. There is a period of time when Spock learns McCoy might be there until Spock gets there that we hear nothing about McCoy or the progress he's making. Also, there is some groundbreaking news that maybe they didn't all arise from Braco as initially suggested--but it comes at the end of the book and we are left to wonder how the news will be taken. I was a bit disappointed with that. Now, in fairness, all stories end with a bit of a cliffhanger. What happens next? And most of the time we are never told. But that is a significant plot development I thought that greatly affects the local politics and it would have been interesting to see that developed further. NOW, if this were a case where this was the first book of a duology or trilogy, where we knew a sequel book was going to take that further, that wouldn't be a big deal. It's a juicy plot that has a lot of potential and I'd just like to see that developed further.

    That being said, I'd love to see such a sequel be written by Greg (or anyone I suppose that might want to take it further) to follow up on that. However, I'm not holding my breath for that.

    But those are still relatively minor critiques. I still thought it was above average. The story was engaging, relevant even to our current events, and the characters were interesting. And I like that Greg is an eternal optimist in most of his stories. And he (and Christopher for that matter), generally paint our main Star Trek characters in a positive light, showing us the best they all have to offer. And they do it without being sappy or indulgent. Each character knows their strengths and weaknesses and shows us why we like those characters so much. It lets us see humanity at its best, when we try to be the best version of ourselves as possible, despite our imperfections.

    And Greg even sneaks in a little continuity world building, since the Enterprise is nearing its 5 year mission, and giving us a potential in-story explanation of why the crew remains together for so long. Something that is probably improbable, but he gives them a plausible reason for why that might be. However long the odds of that are.
     
  11. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Erlangen, Germany
    I'm still in the middle of it. I enjoy Christine Chapels part in it and how well she interacts with Spock. I also like this little Troxy guy. Not an animal for Klingons, though....:angel:
     
  12. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Erlangen, Germany
    Finished it and voted outstanding. Speaking of voting: you really should vote for it, don't miss the chance! :D
     
    Reanok and Greg Cox like this.