Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Desperate Hours is a Pocket DIS novel – the first novel in the series – written by David Mack. Published by Gallery Books, it was first released in trade paperback in September 2017, in conjunction with the first season of Star Trek: Discovery.


From the book jacket
Aboard the Starship Shenzhou, Lieutenant Michael Burnham, a human woman raised and educated among Vulcans, is promoted to acting first officer. But if she wants to keep the job, she must prove to Captain Philippa Georgiou that she deserves to have it.
She gets her chance when the Shenzhou must protect a Federation colony that is under attack by an ancient alien vessel that has surfaced from the deepest fathoms of the planet's dark, uncharted sea.
As the menace from this mysterious vessel grows stronger, Starfleet declares the colony expendable in the name of halting the threat. To save thousands of innocent lives, Burnham must infiltrate the alien ship. But to do so she needs to face the truth of her troubled past, and seek the aid of a man she has tried to avoid her entire life – until now.

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.

Background information

  • The novel was released in trade paperback, eBook, and audiobook formats.
  • The novel's cover and synopsis were revealed at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention on 2 August 2017. [1]
  • The novel takes place exactly a year prior to Discovery's first episode, "The Vulcan Hello", [2] on May 11-12, 2255. [3]
  • Bryan Fuller requested that this novel consist of a crossover between the crews of the Shenzhou and Captain Pike's Enterprise. Mack "addressed the difference in the ships' aesthetics to a human tendency to want to redesign even the simplest things every few years." The differences in technology were also explained: "I posited that the use of subspace holograms had fallen out of favor by the time the Enterprise was built because the holograms were bandwidth hogs on subspace channels and prone to encryption flaws. And while the interfaces on the Shenzhou's bridge look fancier, the characters who serve on the Enterprise feel proud that their ship is so advanced that it doesn’t need all these gadgets to get the job done." Regarding uniforms, "the crews of the Enterprise and other Constitution-class ships are considered elite units, so they’ve been issued special "diplomatic" uniforms to designate their status." [4]
  • Burnham's backstory regarding the fact that it was her request that forced her parents to stay on Doctari Alpha due to a desire to see a nearby star go supernova was a tidbit first revealed in the novel before subsequently being mentioned in canon in DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?".
  • The novel is the first to mention that Saru was rescued from his world by Starfleet officers. This was later confirmed in canon in the ST: "The Brightest Star".
  • Kelpia is the stated name of Saru's home planet. This is later contradicted by the Discovery novel Fear Itself, which names it as Kaminar, a fact which is confirmed as canon when the name was later mentioned in The Brightest Star.
  • Pike's encounter with Georgiou in this book is later contradicted in DIS: "Saints of Imperfection", in which Pike states that they went to Starfleet Academy together.
  • Pike's first officer, Una is referred to by the name "Una", a name that was first used for her character in the novel Captain to Captain. This was later made canon in DIS: "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2" and was confirmed by Michelle Paradise in a subsequent interview. [5] and officially seen on screen in the ST: "Q&A" episode.
  • The Discovery novel The Enterprise War references the events of Desperate Hours and attempts to bridge the discrepancy between Pike's encounter with Georgiou during the events of Desperate Hours and his having supposedly known her prior to that at the academy, as revealed in "Saints of Imperfection".

Cover gallery


Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in Pocket DIS characters.

External link

Previous novel: Series Next novel:
First novel in series Pocket DIS Drastic Measures
Community content is available under CC-BY-NC unless otherwise noted.