Star Trek: Discovery: Drastic Measures
(Book #2 of Star Trek: Discovery )
By Dayton Ward
Read by: Robert Petkoff
Simon & Schuster Audio | Duration: 11:31
February 6, 2018
An original novel based upon the explosive new Star Trek TV series on CBS All Access!
It is 2246, ten years prior to the Battle at the Binary Stars, and an aggressive contagion is ravaging the food supplies of the remote Federation colony Tarsus IV and the eight thousand people who call it home. Distress signals have been sent, but any meaningful assistance is weeks away. Lieutenant Commander Gabriel Lorca and a small team assigned to a Starfleet monitoring outpost are caught up in the escalating crisis, and bear witness as the colony’s governor, Adrian Kodos, employs an unimaginable solution in order to prevent mass starvation.
While awaiting transfer to her next assignment, Commander Philippa Georgiou is tasked with leading to Tarsus IV a small, hastily assembled group of first responders. It’s hoped this advance party can help stabilize the situation until more aid arrives, but Georgiou and her team discover that they‘re too late—Governor Kodos has already implemented his heinous strategy for extending the colony’s besieged food stores and safeguarding the community’s long-term survival.
In the midst of their rescue mission, Georgiou and Lorca must now hunt for the architect of this horrific tragedy and the man whom history will one day brand “Kodos the Executioner”…. http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Star-Trek-Discovery-Drastic-Measures/Dayton-Ward/Star-Trek-Discovery/9781501171741
A parable is a simple story imparting a moral or spiritual lesson. While not simple and offering a variety of lessons, DRASTIC MEASURES certainly engaged me with its understanding of the simple moral ideals as represented by the Star Trek franchise: exploration, learning, fairness, the common good.
While Roddenberry’s ideas originally served as the outline for a short-lived TV show in the 1960s, they also reflected and demonstrated the new morality of the 1960s to the public. As a child of that time, I lived with both the ideals of the sixties and the hypocrisy of the period. Star Trek was an important part of my youth, and I have enjoyed the positive message the franchise offered.
Morality? The 1960s? If you are imagining that the only morality present in the 1960s was “IM”Morality, think again. The “sexual revolution,” brought about with the assistance of reliable birth control, is often seen as the harbinger of the end of days and the most important part of the 1960s. But, the right to express sexuality without having a child every few years, the women’s movement and the civil rights movement were a push against the hypocrisy and unfairness that the status quo of the period’s power elite engendered: war, the military industrial complex, intolerance, racism and sexism were probably much worse then.
We’re still living with the backlash against those more liberally leaning times. And the franchise of TV shows, movies, books and even the conventions continue to espouse the important underlying principles of the original show as well as pointing out the cracks in the bedrock of the Federation’s ideals.
This story starts off with a look at the ideal of self-determination. The Federation, such as Roddenberry’s United Federation of Planets, is fashioned after the idea of the Terran “republic,” with a strong nod to the United Nations. That’s right, while human’s aren’t the first in space nor the oldest species, our voices soon became the most important and Earth is the HQ for the organization. We also become prolific in colonizing new worlds and, under the Republic of the UFP worlds sign on to the UFP process like some European countries still want to be part of the European Union.
But, there’s a cost, and that is adherence to a set of rules in much the same way that states are under both their own and the US constitutions.
Some people want to have their own sovereignty, especially on this world where they are starting to take it a little farther to an authoritarian, autocratic government. DRASTIC MEASURES uses a ripped-from-the-headlines theme of refugee resettlement and a violent governmental reaction based, on the surface, to a famine. The reality goes to the adage about absolute power.
With this important idea at the top of the book’s agenda, it also throws the Federation’s foundations into relief: forcing the original settlers to accept new population from a doomed planet leads to bad feelings and we get a charismatic crazy leading the people down a dark, dark path. Also, failing to look at more variables as to whether it’s scientifically a good idea demonstrates other adages regarding plans and good intentions.
Other themes are also involved: loss, atonement, defiance, retribution, revenge, survival, and instant karma.
We have familiar characters in the new arm of the franchise: DISCOVERY: Commander Philppa Georgiou, and Lieutenant Commander Gabriel Lorca. Micharl Burnham is only spoken about.
In the way of Star Trek the violence is cleaner, with phasers and other energy disruption weapons leaving just the odor of burned flesh. I think this is a sadly sanitary description of war, of police-actions and death. We can see on the news that war is far from sanitary.
In the way of Star Trek, and other parables, the morality is simplified, and sanitized. Long-term effects are glossed over, unseen or ignored.
The narration is excellent and Petkoff gives voices good nuance and is able to present convincing voices for both genders. There are a lot of characters and species, and, as is the way of audiobooks, it can be hard to keep track. I managed, more or less.
I thought the story was well-written and provided a lot of food for thought. As a parable, it is effective; especially as it examines power and its abuse, as well as the ideas that shape our current political climate. I can truly recommend this as a great audiobook, but it will help to have some understanding of the Star Trek Universe.