Greg Cox Interview: “No Time Like the Past”

We last checked in with Greg Cox last summer before the annual Shore Leave convention, and now it's time to chat with the Trek literature veteran about his newest release, the TOS adventure "No Time Like the Past" -- with a special 24th-Century guest character.

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TrekCore: How did you get started as an author, and what led you to the world of Star Trek writing?

gregcoxGreg Cox: In retrospect, I was always cut out to be a writer. I remember scribbling stories about my favorite monsters and superheroes in spiral notebooks all through grade school. But I didn’t get serious about it until I discovered science fiction fandom in college and started meeting actual authors and editors at conventions.

That’s when it dawned on me that “Hey, real people actually do this for a living, so maybe I can, too!” After attending the Clarion West science-fiction writing workshop in Seattle, I eventually ended up working as an editor at Tor Books in New York, where I met another young junior editor named John Ordover.

John and I are both lifelong Star Trek fans, so when John moved on to edit the Trek novels at Pocket Books, he invited me to write one of the first Deep Space Nine novels for him . . . and the rest is history!

I should also mention that my early writing instructors included Vonda McIntyre and Norman Spinrad, so I like to think of myself as a second-generation Trek writer!

TrekCore: No Time Like the Past brings together the original Star Trek crew and Seven of Nine of Star Trek: Voyager. What was the genesis of the idea for this crossover?

Greg Cox: To give credit where it’s due, it was my editor, Margaret Clark, who first suggested bringing Kirk and Seven together. I had a vague idea for a story about Kirk having to deal with a mysterious time-traveller from the future, but I wasn’t sure who the time-traveller should be. It was Margaret who suggested Seven . . . and I knew a good idea when I heard it!

TrekCore: Were there any particular challenges in bringing these two separate generations together?

Greg Cox: I hadn't written the Voyager characters for about seventeen years at that point, so I was a little out of practice there. I binge-watched several Seven-centric episodes to get myself back in the Voyager groove, but I still had to concentrate a bit to keep the two levels of technologies straight. At one point, Margaret had to remind me that unlike the TOS era, tricorders of the 24th Century aren't the bulky things you slung over your shoulder!

TrekCore: What surprised you the most in writing about Seven’s interactions with the Enterprise crew?

Greg Cox: I found myself doing less than I planned with Spock and Seven simply because they were a little too similar in terms of their speech patterns and cool, scientific approach to problems. Having both of them in the same scene felt a little redundant, to be honest, so I found it more interesting to have her interact with, say, Kirk or McCoy or Scotty.

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TrekCore: Your Star Trek stories have ranged the length and breadth of the Trek universe, from time-twisting TOS adventures to the Eugenics Wars. Is there a particular setting you like to play around in more than the others?

Greg Cox: At this point I've written for every Star Trek series except Enterprise. I’ve enjoyed them all, but I’m basically a TOS guy at heart. That’s the Trek I grew up on so that’s what I gravitate to. In fact, I’m working on yet another TOS novel right now. The working title is Foul Deeds Will Rise and it’s set somewhere between the fifth and sixth movies on the Enterprise-A. I’ve never written a book on that ship before so I’m having fun exploring it.

TrekCore: Is there anything more about Foul Deeds Will Rise that you can reveal? 

Greg Cox:  I'm reluctant to divulge too much, since it's still a work-in-progress and subject to revision, but I can tease that it involves the return of at least a couple of characters from the Original Series... twenty years later.

TrekCore: Beyond 2014, do you have any other Trek projects in the works?

Greg Cox: I’m hoping to have another TOS book ready in time for 2016, but I haven’t even begun to start brainstorming that one yet. At the moment, I’m concentrating on Foul Deeds.

TrekCore: What else, besides Trek, are you currently working on? Are there any other projects our readers might be interested in?

Greg Cox: Thanks for asking! As it happens, I just finished the novelization of the new Godzilla movie, which is coming out in May.

TrekCore: What appeals to you about doing novelizations? You must have a knack for them since you do quite a lot of them.

Greg Cox: I enjoy doing novelizations. Lord knows I read enough of them growing up and the movie buff in me is always thrilled to be associated, however peripherally, with a Major Motion Picture, especially when it involves Godzilla, Superman, Batman, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, vampires, werewolves, Harry Houdini, or some other long-time favorite. I'm still enough of a fanboy that the prospect of actually writing Godzilla or Superman gets my heart pumping.

Transforming a screenplay into a novel is also an interesting technical challenge, especially since I never actually see the movie until it opens in the theaters, long after I've written the book!

TrekCore: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us! We really appreciate being able to discuss your work.

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No Time Like the Past

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  • MJ

    Love the Greg Cox Trek novels. Especially the Khan prequels.

    Great to see articles like this here — thanks Trekcore!!!

    • trekcore

      Yes, Cox’s Khan novels were deliciously rich. He has a great knack for writing classic TOS stories