After reading the excellent two-book series on the character of Khan by Greg Cox, I sought out more of his books in the Star Trek series. Three of the titles that came up were each parts of a three-book series involving Q. Since Q was one of my favorite characters on Star Trek: The Next Generation, I decided to read these novels next.
The first novel in the series is Q-Space. Here we find the Enterprise escorting the esteemed Betazoid scientist Lem Faal to the galactic barrier to conduct an experiment which would allow ships to travel outside the galaxy. However, the omnipotent entity know as Q soon shows up to thwart those plans. Q acts most of the time like a spoiled child with the galaxy at his disposal for entertainment. This time, his “wife” and their “child” are also along for the journey.
When the Enterprise nears the barrier and attempts to fire a probe into it for the readings necessary for the experiment, the Calamarain appears. This gas-like alien first appeared in the episode Deja Q and is one of Q’s adversaries. The Calamarain begins to fight the Enterprise, even as the android Data attempts to figure out how they can communicate with the alien.
Lem Faal, meanwhile, is fixated on conducting his experiment. He is dying of Iverson’s disease and neglecting his children, who have been brought aboard in consideration of the fact that the scientist does not have much more time to live. Faal is so obsessive about conducting the experiment that it hints that he has some ulterior motive in the situation.
Unfortunately, Q has abducted Captain Picard in an attempt to enlighten the Captain as to why the Enterprise should not conduct the experiment. Commander Riker has the bridge and has to deal with Q’s wife and child popping in and out at any given moment, an obsessive scientist, and an alien out to destroy them.
The main purpose of this novel seems to be to give background, information, and build-up to the events which will occur in the next two books. Unlike many trilogies where the first part is excellent and then the series goes downhill from there, this first book seems to spend time setting the stage for the next two. In that respect, the novel does feel like it drags at times. Cox seems to go into long-winded descriptions of the events Q is showing Picard, which seem to have little meaning or purpose in this novel. I am hoping their purpose will be clear once I read the next two novels. Without that to look forward to, the novel just has a feel of very little story surrounded by a lot of filler.
Cox has a good feel for all of the characters, including Q. Cox gives readers glimpses at the side of Q I have always thought was there; he has a side other than the smart-alecky, self-absorbed, and egotistical being with little regard for the consequences of his actions or his interference in others’ lives. Q here has moments of great introspection. As he shows Picard events in his past, he actually seems to display regret for actions taken in the past by his younger self.
It’s nice to see Troi do a little more than stating “I feel pain…” Here, because Faal is also a Betazoid, she has dealings with him on a different level than the rest of the crew. They communicate psychically at times, and she can sense more about the motives behind his experiment, though he can still prevent her from probing his mind further. The interplay between the two hints at more heated confrontations in the novels to come.
Anyone who isn’t familiar with the show, and in particular the antics of Q, will be totally lost by the book. It’s definitely necessary to have some background from the show when reading this novel. For now, I give the novel three stars, but depending on how they pay off in the next two novels reads, I might change it. Standing on its own, the novel is somewhat lacking.