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Old December 23 2011, 07:24 AM   #186
Kirsten Beyer
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Location: Los Angeles
Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

Hello friends,

Just a couple of things here...

MatthiasRussell wrote: View Post
They could have had the same effect killing Chakotay. Killing Chakotay would probably done a better job overcoming the mediocre state of Voyager at the time. And I doubt the Voyager fanatics would have complained about losing Chuckles. He was more involved in the Voyager books at the time and wasn't the icon Janeway was.
Well, as the person tasked with sorting through all of it post Spirit Walk and Before Dishonor I have to say that I could not possibly disagree with you more strongly.

Killing Chakotay would have presented no challenge at all. At the time FC was in the works, he was easily one of the least highly regarded characters in Trek, even among Voyager fans, unless we're talking about the J/C shippers. Yes, his death would have impacted his friends and many of our main characters, but it's hard to argue that he had the same central role or impact upon them that Janeway did.

Making him someone the readers actually cared about...that was a challenge.

It's my sense that the people who like the new direction, by and large feel the way they do precisely because we've been able to accomplish many difficult and unexpected things with the characters while at the same time still telling stories that retain enough of Voyager's themes to make them feel consistent.

MatthiasRussell wrote: View Post
But killing characters wouldn't be necessary at all with quality stories and authors. The good publicity of Beyer's high quality books would have rejuvenated interest in itself.
While I am pleased that you consider my books to be high quality, I'm really at a loss here. Killing characters is neither necessary or unnecessary to the production of quality stories. That you believe FC would have been well regarded based upon my writing skills alone is a nice thing to hear but imagining it now is like trying to figure out how to get oil out of water. FC was entirely about how our characters dealt with the death of someone central to their lives. Could another good book about Voyager have been written about an entirely different subject...I like to think so...but FC doesn't exist if Janeway isn't killed in BD.

The bottom line is we'll never know how well Voyager would have done without the choice to kill Janeway and deal in depth with its aftermath and to hear anyone suggest that it would have been easy to bring Voyager to the place it is now under any circumstances, let alone treating our main characters as interchangable meat puppets doesn't track with my experience of actually confronting the problem.

MattWallace wrote: View Post
It`s easier for the authors to stuff Janeway into the fridge than Chakotay. This way they don`t have to deal with a female captain unless it`s one that they put in place (Ro, Ezri). Female characters usually get the short end of the stick unless they`re the star of the show like Buffy, etc. In an larger group, even though one or two characters may be more like a traditional leading character, women usually end up on the losing end as time goes on.
What the...? Seriously..what the fuck?

Setting aside the whole women in the refrigerator thing which has been trotted out many times in the past as evidence of the worst kind of sexism on the part of anyone who dares to imagine a universe without Kathryn Janeway in it, you're seriously suggesting that it's no challenge at all to write a female captain as long as she is original to the author, but a female captain created by the series presents insurmountable problems? I didn't create Janeway so I couldn't figure out how to write her, but writing Eden was no problem?

Writing Janeway is a walk in a park on a glorious spring day, largely given Mulgrew's performance which on most occasions rose well above the writer's failings of her character. Janeway is one of the most complex and therefore most interesting characters to write. With Janeway I've got tons of rich history and a pre-existing connection between the characters and readers to mine for stories. I've got vivid images of the character committed to memory given the multiple times I've seen every single episode of the series. I've got tiny performance details that bring depth to every situation. It's like having a treasure chest full of gold and precious jewels and just taking my pick as to whcih one I'm going to play with today.

Creating a new chracter from scratch and placing them in a central position in a story that has lived for years without her? Well, you try it sometime. This is someone fans of Janeway are already predisposed to hate and I've got to find a way to bring her into lots of complicated relationships, make her interesting and original while she's sharing the stage with no less than nine other central characters, all of whom need their stories told too.

I'm not going to try to speak to all of television and literature here as it relates to women's issues, but if you've read Full Circle, Unworthy, and Children of the Storm and still think Janeway, B'Elanna, Seven, Eden, Conlon and Farkas have gotten the short end of any stick, I can't help you. Their isssues are central to every story and all are given their fair share story time in which they succeed, fail, and struggle to overcome whatever obstacle is before them, just like Chakotay, Harry, Tom and Cambridge.

Where your premise fails is in the idea that a characters's gender is some sort of primary factor in the creation of their stories or the amount of emphasis placed upon them in any given story. You may say, and may be right, that some authors write their characters, male or female, better than others. The sentiment is frankly so general as to be meaningless.

Women are certainly underrepresented in many forms of story-telling, but in the specific case of the current Voyager line, the math just doesn't add up. You may not like the way the characters are written, may not think their voices are accurate or may not find them compelling. That would be an opinion you are perfectly entitled to hold. But to suggest that killing Janeway and creating Eden was easier than just leaving Janeway in place or that women, on balance, are somehow being intentionally slighted in the Voyager stories because we just don't know what to do with them is patently absurd.

Kirsten Beyer
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