Star Trek: Discovery – Die Standing (2020) – John Jackson Miller

This week’s Star Trek journey, provided by Simon & Schuster, through their Gallery Books imprint, takes us to the point between the end of season one of Discovery, and Emperor Philippa Georgiou’s return as a part of Section 31 in season two.

What did she get up to, and how does it tie into the universe at large? Author John Jackson Miller delivers a fast-paced tale that rubs up against some familiar names and occurrences, as the newly minted Section 31 agent, who still has plans of her own for this universe, is assigned to hunt down a cloud-like being that attacked the U.S.S. Farragut (where a young Lt. Kirk, had a horrific encounter with it, as referenced in TOS: Obsession), discover its origins and see if it can’t be weaponized for Section 31’s purposes.

Joining her on the mission are a gymnast turned scientist, Emony Dax, and a violent Academy washout, Finnegan, who along with Leland overseeing the NCIA-93 vessel, journey into a region of space known as the Troika, and encounter a trio of species unlike anything Starfleet has encountered before.

Of course, even working with Section 31, Georgiou is motivated solely by her own wants and desires, so there will be double crosses, as she likes to keep her options open, but even she may not be ready for what she discovers.

I like, once again, how things tie in with the larger Trek universe as a whole, and we get a fairly plausible in-universe explanation of where this cloud came from, and how it was created. I loke that Dax shows up, and that at this point in the timeline, no one knows about the true nature of the Trill, the symbiont and host relationship, and that secret helps play out as we draw closer to the conclusion of the story.

The novel is broken in to sections, and each one is introduced by a quote from a familiar personage, mirror-verse or otherwise, and all the little tie-ins, this and the other Discovery (and Picard) novels have included to create these novels as an extended canon, which is what they are.

Most of the novels are developed with some input, or oversight by the showrunners, so there are less chances of contradictory events or character actions, things that used to plague the earlier Trek novels aplenty (it doesn’t make them any less enjoyable though), and that just adds to the reality of the story – the writers are intent on making sure it fits within the established timelines, events, and character development.

These new waves of Star Trek novels are smart, fun, and let us deeper into a world we know and love, filling it out with out contradicting what exists, or is yet to come.

Next time, Simon & Schuster brings another Discovery novel by my favorite Trek writer, Una McCormack, as I boldly go and explore the human adventure with Wonderlands!

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