Friday, November 27, 2020

Positively Trek Book Club: A Contest of Principles

Star Trek: The Original Series
A Contest of Principles
Exclusive Interview with author Greg Cox!

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The Enterprise crew is assigned as poll watchers for an important election taking place on the planet Vok. Kirk and the crew must contend with combative candidates, voter intimidation, and accusations of election meddling, all while doing their best to make sure the election is as fair and unbiased as possible. Meanwhile, Dr. McCoy is kidnapped by a neighboring planet for a vital medical intervention. Kirk sends Spock to investigate, unable to divert the Enterprise from her vital mission on Vok.

In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Dan and Bruce are joined by renowned Star Trek author Greg Cox to talk about his new Original Series novel, A Contest of Principles. We discuss the election day plot, McCoy’s kidnapping by Ozalor, Spock’s adventure on Braco, General Gogg’s election results, the intriguing ending with Admiral Komack, and we wrap up with where Greg can be found online and what he is working on now.

Previous episode: The Autobiography of Kathryn Janeway
Next episode: Deep Space Nine: Too Long a Sacrifice


  1. Just a heads up: I think you accidentally reposted the Janeway book episode instead of the TOS book ep.

  2. Greg Cox seems like a genuinely nice guy. I've become a little disenchanted with the recent Trek novels, but Greg is one of the few authors whose work I'm still willing to buy without reading a bunch of reviews first.

    As for "A Contest of Principles" I'd have to rate it as average. I think it could have been very good with a couple of changes.

    Firstly, I would rearrange some of the characters.
    I think Trek stories generally work best when at least two of the Big Three are together. All three are great characters individually, but together they are magical.
    Very few authors take advantage of the crew outside of the Big Three. The L.A. Graf team showed that Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura made an interesting trio, and who doesn't like Scotty?

    I think the novel would have worked better if both Bones and Spock had been kidnapped. You never want to miss out on some classic bickering between those two. I would like to have seen Kirk in a more action oriented role trying to locate his missing friends. I would have been interested in seeing Scotty use his tech skills to investigate the murder and faux assassination, with an assist from future security officer Pavel Chekov. And finally, I would have enjoyed seeing Sulu and Uhura "up to their asses in alligators" as Greg puts it dealing with politicians, bureaucrats, and radicals. Everyone gets to do what they do best.

    My second change would be a change to a less pat ending. TOS wasn't afraid to have a downbeat ending, and I wish the "wrong" guy had won the election. Not every election ends the way we want. Honestly, the General had a point: when the brother of his opponent (who also worked for the campaign) was revealed to have staged the assassination, framed the General,and was a murderer to boot, it doesn't seem fair that the campaign just says "Plan B - we'll just plug in our candidate's right-hand-woman and carry on as if nothing happened."

    Final rating: two and a half "GTFO you apricot lardsack!"'s out of four.