Friday, June 5, 2009

The Kobayashi Maru

After viewing the new Star Trek movie, my wife declared "That's not how the Kobayashi Maru test went!"

Of course, it didn't - the altered timeline took care of that.

The KM test was introduced in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It is a test of character for budding Starfleet officers, where defeat and death are the only option. We learn only that Cadet Kirk "reprogrammed the simulation so it was possible to win". Those are the only details ever offered.

I do not know if the novels are as canon to the Trek universe as the Star Wars novels are to Lucas' universe. But, some are fun "what-ifs" that fill-in holes. I've read some good Trek novels, and some that weren't much better than low-tier fan fiction.

This novel informs us of what really happened during that test. My wife had the book and I decided to read it.

The premise is simple. Kirk, McCoy, Scott, Sulu and Chekov are stranded in a shuttle accident and pass the time revealing how each, in turn, dealt with the infamous test.

Without giving away spoilers, I will say that this book was good, not great. It had some fun moments and some moments that were too "touchy-feely" for Trek.


Cadet Checkov's solution to the K.M. scenario

Cadet Sulu's introduction to Federation and galactic politics.

Cadet Sulu's solution to the K.M. scenario

Cadet Scott's solution to the K.M. scenario


Cadet Kirk's solution to the K.M. scenario (just didn't believe it)

Kirk being more fatherly than commanding

Cadet Checkov's follow-on "test" (more like an episode of Survivor than an officer training exercise)

Author telegraphic justification. McCoy literally states, "That's so in character!" after Kirk reveals how he beat the K.M. scenario. Sulu states that his solution is neither funny nor clever before he even begins his flashback.

In fact, Sulu's story is poignant as it tangents off the relationship between Sulu & his great-grandfather and his great-grandfather's death. It's not a bad B-line, but it's more of an downer than an upper.

It's a quick read, not a bad way to pass some time for a Trekker if you find it at a used book shop.


  1. You Trekkies kill me ! I really enjoyed the original series (especially "the Shat"'s acting), but I just couldn't bring myself to stay into it after that.

    Hey, Who stole my beer ? "Khaaaaaaahn !!!"

    Live Long And Prosper.

  2. I haven't read this one but I just finished a Trek book called Corona, which wasn't too bad. by Greg Bear. It used a lot of tropes from the series and the early movies, though, which were kind of predictable.