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Review: No Time Like the Past by Greg Cox September 13, 2015

Posted by sjroby in Book reviews, Star Trek.
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Sometimes a gimmicky notion works. Like, let’s do a TOS/Voyager crossover. In this case, it works by keeping it simple: there’s just one Voyager character meeting the TOS crew. Seven of Nine finds herself zapped to the 23rd century and manages to convince Kirk et al that’s she’s from Starfleet, she’s from the future, and there’s a quest to be followed to get her back to the future. She finds a piece of the mcguffin, gets a stardate that connects to a planet visited on that date by the Enterprise, and off they go to that planet, to find the next piece. It’s not quite that simple, thanks to the Federation ambassador on the Enterprise, the Orions who want Seven’s knowledge of the future, and the time travel shenanigans that ensue at each point, not to mention a big fight for the Enterprise when it’s boarded by Orions.

So, good action-oriented plot structure, some fun revisitations of a few classic TOS worlds, a mystery, solid work on the familiar TOS and Voyager characters. It’s a good romp.

However.

It’s Greg Cox, so there shall be in-jokes and references. Fortunately, the story doesn’t call for too many of them, and they tend to be less obtrusive than in some of his other books.

More important are two big Treklit cliches. There’s the idiot ambassador, for one. Enough said.

But there’s also the 1930s pulp fiction bad guys, in this case the Orions, who have all the character depth and dimensionality of a very very short strand of monomolecular wire.  They’re bad guys, nothing more. And they talk like too many other Treklit aliens. “Habroz nodded. ‘Let it not be said that the captain of the Navaar is a fool.’” Let it also not be said that the captain of the Navaar sounds like a character in a book written in the 21st century and set in the 23rd. He could just say, “I’m not an idiot.” It’s as if the universal translator was programmed to sound like melodramatic historical/fantasy fiction. Time for an upgrade.

So, as long as you don’t mind the Treklit conventions and cliches, there’s a good time to be had here.

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