The Kobayashi Maru
is also the name of novel
no. 47) written by somebody named Julia Ecklar
When I was younger I was a big fan of the ST:TOS and ST:TNG series of novels. But if you read these series for any length of time you soon come to realize that most of these books are poorly written crap.
The Kobayashi Maru, however, is a hidden gem that stands the test of time. I own about 40 Star Trek novels and this is the only one I've read more than once. I recently read it for a fourth time after many years and it's still as good as I remember. What makes this book so special is that it relies on character development rather than plot to keep you entertained. Whereas most Star Trek books assume everybody knows about the characters and concentrate on interesting plot twists, this book goes behind the larger than life heroic aspect of the original crew and examines them as real people with real hopes and dreams and fears.
The novel is broken into four flashbacks of how Kirk, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov each managed in their own way to beat Starfleet Academy's Kobayashi Maru combat simulation, the so called "impossible scenario," framed within the "present day" story of a shuttlecraft problem. What makes these stories so charming is that they each show something special about the four characters, who really come to life in new ways when we see them as cadets, but still ring true as the people we know them as in the "present" as Enterprise crewmembers.
This book is true quality, and well worth reading even for casual fans of Trek.