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Novelist Greg Cox Explains Terminator‘s New Bear of a Foe

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Veteran franchise novelist Greg Cox discusses his recently released novel Terminator Salvation: Cold War, guesses where McG‘s franchise can go next and predicts what might happen with Kirk and crew in Star Trek 2.

Q: What’s Terminator Salvation: Cold War about? I hear at one point a Terminator fights a bear?

A: There are two parallel plot-lines: One concerns a Russian submarine crew coping with the immediate aftermath of Judgment Day; the other concerns a band of human resistance fighters battling the Terminators in the snowy wilderness of Alaska. And, yes, at one point a Terminator fights a grizzly bear! It’s funny… I threw the grizzly into the book just for the hell of it, and that seems to be everybody’s favorite scene.

Q: How much feedback did you get from the movie’s producers when you were writing this?

A: The movie people were heavily involved in the process, from the original outline to the final draft. They offered plenty of useful suggestions and ideas. Since the book mostly involves my own characters, though, I had a fair amount of freedom to do what I wanted with them… Although the movie people did ask me not to kill a few of them…

Q: How much influence does the movie you’re working with have on writing the novel, especially if its non-adapted material like this?

A: I was in the middle of writing the book when the movie came out. Before that, the movie people had provided me with a top-secret copy of the script, as well as an advance copy of the novelization by Alan Dean Foster. I also read a few of the previous Terminator novels and comic books, just to get a feel for how other writers had handled the series. The challenge was to do something different that still fit into the same world the movie had created. The Moto-Terminators in the movie gave me the idea for the Snowmobile Terminators in my novel. It was the same basic idea, with just a bit of an arctic twist.

Q: A lot of fans were disappointed with Terminator Salvation. Do you think your novel is more in line with what the fans were expecting?

A: I enjoyed the new movie. After years of teasing us, it was about time that we finally saw the much prophesised War Against the Machines. And even though my book largely features an all-new cast of characters, I tried very hard to capture the feel of the entire series, including
Terminator Salvation. I wanted big action scenes with lots of clanging metal, and desperate humans fighting a losing battle against implacable cyborg killers.

Q: McG recently announced plans for a Terminator 4 and 5. Do you think there’s really more story to tell?

A: I’d definitely be curious to see what McG has in mind for the next films. There’s plenty of life left in the Terminator franchise. It’s not my call, of course, but I’d like to see more of the War Against the Machines, maybe on an even more global scale. And I’d like to know more about Skynet’s long-term objectives. Why exactly does it want to destroy humanity, and what is it planning to do once we’re gone?

Q: You’ve also written a lot of Star Trek novels, including what many people consider the definitive Khan novels. Would you want to see Khan in J.J. Abrams’ next Star Trek?

A: I admit to having mixed feelings about the Khan thing. On the one hand, I’d like to see the new Trek movies go their own way, instead of revisiting old plots. But the Khan fan in me can’t help being intrigued by the prospect of an all-new take on Khan Noonien Singh. I think Naveen Andrews of Lost would make a great Khan.

Q: What are you working on next?

A: Final Crisis, my next DC Comics novelization, comes out in July. I also just finished a new Trek novel set in the timeline of the new movie. It’s called The Hazard of Concealing, and it’s coming out near the end of August. I also have a bunch of short stories in the pipeline, including yet another Star Trek novella and a time travel story about Jack the Ripper!

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