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Old May 5 2011, 09:16 PM   #156
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

MatthiasRussell wrote: View Post
I'm not in the biz and so don't by any means have the ability to dispute you, but I'd say it is much easier now with the existence of memories alpha and beta to keep everything in agreement as well as with there not being any prime universe screen material for the foreseeable future.
No, it wouldn't be easier. It's not a matter of the availability of reference materials, because the people who make the shows have total access to the tie-ins anyway, since the studio has to approve them in the first place. It's a matter of time. Producing a TV show or a movie is not something you can do on a weekend. It's an immense commitment of time and effort. The creators of a television series have to devote huge amounts of their lives and energies to developing their own ideas and making them happen onscreen. It's neither logical nor appropriate to suggest that they should make their lives even more impossibly difficult by paying attention to stuff done by people who are merely following their lead to begin with -- particularly when it's stuff that only 1-2% of their viewing audience will even know exists.

I see little reason why the books falling under the "relaunch" category couldn't be canonized. I also think if the franchise were to say "the franchise books are to be considered canon and if a future tv show is produced we will try to prevent it from contradicting them" readership would go up.
But if there's no new screen material being made, then IT DOESN'T MATTER whether something is called canon or not. The term "canon" only has meaning as something that the makers of new onscreen material treat as authoritative "history."

When I have polled members at, most there consider the books nothing more than fan fiction they have to pay for and don't appreciate the editorial controls and licensing that goes into them. I get ignored when I site the books in discussions there with "the books are meaningless" or "the books don't count".
Well, then, they're ignorant, and there's nothing you can do to change that. If you told them "the books are canon," they'd probably just concoct some other excuse for not reading them, because they're probably just not interested in reading books anyway.

The term "canon" has a specific meaning. It is the core body of work from the original creators or owners of a property, as distinct from derivative works by other creators. Using that label to refer to something like tie-in novels not created by the show's actual makers would be a misuse of the word. It would be a lie. And there would be no point in misrepresenting the truth just to pander to a bunch of people who can't be bothered to read. They're not worth it.

Heck, there are just as many people out there who dismiss Star Trek as a whole, or science fiction as a whole, or television as a whole, because they imagine it's beneath their notice for one reason or another. You can't force an audience to embrace or understand your work. You create your work with as much care and integrity as you can, you put it out there, and you let the audience choose for themselves whether to experience it and how to interpret it. Sticking a false label on it won't make any meaningful difference.

TheAlmanac wrote: View Post's all about the perception of the intended audience as to the "significance" of the books, as opposed to what the actual producers end up doing, so it's a little weird to me that CBS doesn't just go ahead and say that they're canon, since that level of canonicity is treated the same way in practice as franchises like Doctor Who and Star Wars anyway.
What would be the point? "Canon" is not a label that's meant to inform the audience of what they're "supposed" to read. It's merely a description of a category. The core material is the canon, everything else is the apocrypha. It's not a value judgment and it's not an instruction. And it doesn't have any genuine impact in any case. As you say, Star Wars and other franchises are free to ignore things they've declared canon. Star Trek has contradicted its own onscreen canon more than once, and so have many other franchises. Calling something "canon" doesn't make it more "real" than anything else. It's all made-up anyway, and that gives the creators of future material the freedom to ignore or retcon earlier material however they like. The label "canon" is merely descriptive, not determinative. It's not a magic word that will change the way something is treated if it falls under the label. It's not a shield against contradiction. It's not a guarantee of audience interest. It doesn't make a thing what it is, it just describes what it is.

Besides, what is it with these readers who think they need some higher authority to tell them what they're allowed to read or enjoy? How sad is that, that they're unable to take responsibility for their own entertainment choices? We shouldn't pander to that, shouldn't feed their delusions of submission to authority by assigning some artificial label that says "Yes, you should pay attention to this." We should try to free them of this terribly restrictive belief that they lack the right to make their own choices about what to read.

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Of course, that's pretty much what Trek novel fans like I do with the Trek verse (in this very forum among others), only with Star Wars the idea is that they're justified in doing so because it's deemed an "official" history. Which I believe is why some fans are angry by creative choices in the Clone Wars series - it undermines the sense that the books they've been buying are the official history of that universe.
Which is exactly the problem with Lucasfilm's use of "canon" labels to apply to the tie-ins. It's an empty promise that's given fans a lot of false expectations about the relationship between a fictional creation and its secondary works, or even about the degree of continuity within a single ongoing series.
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