Sunday 19 July 2020

Discovery: Die Standing excerpts, and other Star Trek novel updates

Out this week was the latest Star Trek Discovery novel, John Jackson Miller's Die Standing. The book features Philippa Georgiou, in three guises; her younger prime timeline self, the mirror universe Emperor at the height of her power, and the Emperor again, once displaced into the prime timeline and forced to seek out new opportunities. Continue below for print and audio excerpts from the book, plus some other Star Trek novel updates.

But first, via Miller wrote up a great tease of what the book has to offer. Here's a sample:
While we didn’t know her for very long, Captain Georgiou appeared again in a Short Treks episode, as well as in previous novels Desperate Hours and Drastic Measures. Die Standing, which I wrote in coordination with Kirsten Beyer of the Discovery writer’s room, opens even earlier in the character’s Starfleet career, with her serving aboard Archimedes as a young lieutenant. And once again, she’s forced to figure out a way to work toward a goal, while staying within the rules.

By comparison, Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius — better known as the emperor of the Terran Empire — is bound by no rules at all. Instead, she makes the rules, and isn’t shy about enforcing her will — brutally, if need be. We meet her in the Mirror Universe episodes of Discovery Season One, at the height of her reign; Die Standing first encounters her somewhat before that. A lot of things are different in her world’s history, but one thing isn’t: the dying words of another emperor, Vespasian. “An emperor ought to die standing,” the ancient Roman said, and Emperor Georgiou certainly would have, had Burnham not spirited her away from her regime’s destruction.

It was an impulsive act, perhaps motivated by Burnham’s assumption that Georgiou was fundamentally the same person as her mentor. But the emperor is not the captain, as she shows in Season One—and as we see in the next phase of Mirror Georgiou’s life: secret agent. Its leader, Leland, recruits her, reasoning that anyone with instincts to not only survive, but thrive in the Terran Empire would be a sure asset in the shadowy organization’s work.

There’s just one hitch. No matter whose badge she wears, Emperor Georgiou works for nobody and no one, save herself. And that’s what Die Standing details: Section 31’s discovery, too late, that a person who only half-jokingly gives her past job description as “apex predator” is a poor team player, to put it mildly. All attempts to indoctrinate her fail miserably. Indeed, nothing about Section 31’s work interests her at all, until a Trill enters her life. No, not Leland, who was disguised as one when he recruited the emperor; rather, it’s the most famous Trill of all: Dax.

But this Dax is no diplomat, no Starfleet officer. Deep Space Nine fans may remember that Emony Dax was a 23rd century Olympic gymnast. An unlikely person to cross paths with Section 31, you might think — until Emony encounters something so dangerous and so deadly that she comes to their attention. Something that the former emperor already knows from her own universe — when she sought it, unsuccessfully, to make her all-powerful. Now, she’s got another chance. It might even give “Agent Georgiou” the chance to remake her empire again, in the Prime Universe!
Amazon's kindle preview gives us a look through the start of the book, which starts to explore all versions of Georgiou:

And from the audiobook, Simon and Schuster Audio shared this clip of narrator January LaVoy recording a scene between Georgiou and Leland:

Once you've read the book, John Jackson Miller has already appeared on TrekFM's Literary Trek's to discuss the story - I've not listened yet to avoid spoilers, but typically these interviews include a good chance to discuss both the substance and creation of the books; sort of like a DVD extra feature for a novel.

In other Star Trek novel news, it looks like the next Picard novel might be delayed. Details have been few about this so far; no title or author, but it was listed for release this December. Now some online retailers have halted pre-orders or removed listings altogether, and Simon and Schuster's catalogue has shifted it to a rather fanciful, 30th of December 2045 release! Presumably that's just a holding place until, hopefully, it gets rescheduled, due to whatever caused the delay.

Finally, last month's novel, the TOS spy story Agents of Influence, from Dayton Ward, also has some extra coverage. Simon and Schuster Audio released a clip with with narrator Robert Petkoff discussing the book, while hiding in his bathroom-come-recording-studio, in this strange time we live in! He comes across as a thoroughly lovely guy!

And TrekFM's Literary Treks are on the case again, to discuss the book with author Dayton Ward.

Order links for mentioned books:
Die StandingDiscovery novel by John Jackson Miller.
Untitled Picard novel, author not yet announced.
Agents of Influence, TOS five-year-mission era novel by Dayton Ward.

To keep track of all the latest releases, hit the books button on my 2020 schedule page. You can also find series reading lists and author bibliographies on my dedicated Star Trek lists site.

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