Tuesday 16 February 2021

Star Trek: Discovery: Fear Itself - David Mack

Title: Fear Itself
Author: James Swallow
Published: 2018
Chronological Period: 2252

Available at:

“Fear Itself” by James Swallow is a Star Trek Discovery novel set several years before the events of the television series. Whilst the USS Shenzhou is investigating damage to an observation buoy, they discover an alien ship that has experienced critical damage. The crew attempts to assist the vessel with Lieutenant Saru joining the away team and uncovers an intriguing mystery, one which Saru just can’t leave alone. In addition, over hanging these events are the Tholians whose presence nearby threatens to endanger everyone.

Whilst the Discovery series has moved on from when this book was written and we now know a lot more about Saru’s past and his character it was still an enjoyable insight on his earlier years in Starfleet. Seeing Saru overcome his natural Kelpian tendencies was an interesting read and provided the reader with a greater understanding of how Saru made it to command rank. Swallow also uses this novel to further explore the relationship between Saru and Burnham with the type if bickering between them as seen on Season One of the series being fully on show here. I think this was very well done and really added some layers to their relationship.

On the whole Swallow has done a great job in nailing the characters, or at least nailing them in line with how they appeared in Season One. When I was reading the novel I could clearly see the same characters I was seeing on the tv screen. I particularly loved seeing more of the prime version of Captain Phillipa Georgiou who showed all the qualities we glimpsed in her short time on screen.

Overall this was an enjoyable Star Trek novel that captured the characters perfectly and did a great job in proving some more depth and layers to them. Whilst I haven’t delved too much into the story itself it is focused on immigration and refugees and how a species is reacting to this. It is something which of course has been touched on before by Star Trek but Swallow has done a good job in presenting it here in an entertaining and engaging manner, helped by using it to show Saru’s growth.

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