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Old July 11 2011, 05:09 AM   #22
Kirsten Beyer
Writer
 
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Location: Los Angeles
Re: Questions for Bring Back Janeway Panel

Good evening, everybody.

The weekend is done and another Shoreleave has come and gone for me. The family is back at home, safe and sound, and we had a truly fantastic weekend, connecting with friends and meeting lots of new people.

Now that I have a little time, I wanted to post some thought I have about the Bring Back Janeway panel. Nick, who recorded the event, has already indicated that it will be up shortly and he’ll provide a link for any who are interested to hear the actual event. I’d like to thank him again for being there and making this happen for me. It was above and beyond the call and very much appreciated. I’d also like to thank Marco Palmieri for providing some valuable insight in to the publishing perspective on some of these issues, despite the fact that as he said, he is no longer in a position to speak for Pocket.

In some ways, the actual panel is kind of a blur to me. I had a few ideas going in about how it might go but it definitely took on a life of its own. It was a very interesting discussion for me. I heard from several people in the audience. No one seemed shy about sharing their feelings on the topic. It was a larger group than I’m used to seeing at an event like this and that was a little intimidating. All in all, it felt like the beginning of a conversation, but was frustratingly short to really cover all of the ground I would have liked to explore on the topic at hand.

I think, on balance, it’s far to say that most of the people present in the room, apart from a very nice lady who seemed to think we were there to discuss bringing Janeway back in the TV/Film universe of Star Trek, rather than the novels, (and seemed quite put out that I don't have that kind of power) have been pleased with the direction the new books have taken, though few were totally opposed to the idea of Janeway returning at some point. The consensus seemed to be that whatever serves a good story takes precedence over any individual character, though I know that feeling is not shared by many who took the time to send me questions for the panel.

I studied those questions very carefully before the event and knew going in that depending upon the level of audience participation, which was surprisingly high, there was no way I would be able to read all of them, let alone respond in a single hour. For my own purposes, I grouped the questions in several larger categories and tried to steer the conversation when I could toward those topics without necessarily reading the questions that had spawned them verbatim. There were a few times when I was able to read directly from the questions to continue the discussion. A few examples included…sexism in Trek and Trek fiction and whether or not the choice to kill Janeway is an example of sexism…the effect Janeway’s promotion to the position of Admiral had and would have had on her ongoing development in the stories…what bringing Janeway back would do to the character growth that has gone on in her absence…what the Q’s involvement might mean…and whether or not the novels in general are developing a darker direction or tendency to overlap that is unsatisfying.

I was able to report that it is quite likely, though not at this point a done deal, that I will be continuing the Voyager saga in another book. I stated at the beginning of the panel that the basic story for that novel has already been established and would not be revealed during the panel. This discussion was not meant to “take a vote” on whether or not Janeway would return. It was meant to explore more deeply the fact of her fate in the novels, some of the thinking of the creators of the stories as we went through the process, and to explore as many of the issues as we could that have developed since those creative choices were made.

It was my hope, though I’m still not sure at this point, that I could effectively communicate the idea that even when authors or editors disagree with the readers (or boycotters) of our work, we respect their opinions. The creative process is complex and while it is informed by the fans in us, it is not dictated by the general readership. It can’t be because that readership is so diverse. Every major decision is going to have its fair share of supporters and detractors. Both should know that their reactions are valid, but do not form the basis of creative decisions going forward.

I want to thank everyone here, and those who submitted their questions via email, for taking the time to share their thoughts. Many of the questions were excellent and forced me to think in new ways about the work at hand.

I think it only fair, out of respect to all of those who took the time to post questions, and the limitations of the event, that I take some time in the coming days and weeks to answer those questions more directly than I could at the panel. I hope the moderators here will be patient with me. I’d like to answer each question in an individual post. For those who sent questions via email, I’d like to post and answer them here and I hope that those in the Bring Back Janeway Community will give everyone a heads up to check in here from time to time as I get around to responding. I won’t lie to you. The bulk of my time right now needs to be spent working on the upcoming story and I feel like this may be opening up a larger discussion that will take too much time away from that. But I think it’s important to make the effort and hope you can all respect that I’ll do the best I can here to answer your questions as time permits.

Thanks again and best,
Kirsten Beyer
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