Rather mindless after a point. Typical western centrism in flogging the myth of the superiority of a purportedly democratic hierarchy against fundamentalism, mostly in religious form in this case. It’s written to prove a point, that any kind of power is ultimately self-defeating if not exercised for the benefit of at least some form of non-hierarchical organization. But you know the biggest problem? Q wasn’t even funny!
The eponymous Q, if you’re unfamiliar with Star Trek, is a (male) omni-powerful super-divinity through most of the canon Star Trek with the personality of Loki, as his only aim seems to be to torment the crew of the Starship Enterprise and particularly its captain, Jean-Luc Picard. Unlike Star Wars, the Star Trek pulp fiction is not canonical, id est, not part of the ‘official’ storyline. Brian Cox thus fills in a lot of back-history, and we learn that Q is actually part of a Continuum, meaning there are many other of his race with super-powerful omni-prescient superdivinity-type powers. Picard and Data disappear from the Holodeck of the Enterprise because Q needs them, he’s in big trouble with the more powerful members of his own race, like Super Q. After some badly written vortex-leading-to-multiverse-ending mumbo-jumbo, we are also introduced to Mrs.Q, and little Q.
As it unfolds, Q is forced to show (as punishment by the more powerful Q’s) Picard his litany of crimes which culminated in his potentially destroying, well, everything. Read the book to find out why, but lector cavio, it’s strung together with sequences that have Q chucking a rock across our universe in pique and then to quote: sighing resignedly and saying, “Well, there go the dinosaurs”, and then jumps to badly written 1920′s type gangster war in the world populated by the Q race. The only interesting story-arc is the one where Q describes what happened when he lifted the forcefield around the mysterious object at the centre of the galaxy. This is interesting because there actually is such a field, and no one really knows what’s behind it. Finding out is possibly the best part of this book, but it becomes Age of Mythology-type god-war very quickly and Picard is so banally sententious most of the time you couldn’t help thinking I wish this were Kirk, or even Archer instead. And Data isn’t even remotely analogous to Spock, in his feeble attempts at allowing logical precision to triumph over calculated emotion in his circuitry. The space-time hopping got tedious very quickly, and was punctuated with far too much pretentious self-remorse.
Get back to the dominion wars already, Mr. Cox. Those are good. Give Cox his due, he can rise to the occasion when demanded. No, I could not let a name like that go without at least one lousy pun. And incidentally, the typo ‘gaslaxy’ popped up during the typing of this review. That sort of describes the position of this book in its category in the world of quality pan-galactic science fiction.
From Bangalore but based primarily in New Delhi, India, Samir has variously been and continues to be a professional musician, a pub quiz host, a political campaign aide, and a student of the guitar, as well as history and international relations. He is currently Research Director for the Global Security Centre in India. He is also a freelance editor and research consultant, having worked for the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, the Public Health Foundation of India, and a McKinsey-IBM KPO, as well as Random House and Oxford University Press. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org