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Old June 3 2012, 05:58 AM   #42
Paper Moon
Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

Christopher, your latest post, in which you assert:

Part of the mistake people make about canon is thinking that it's written down in some official ledger somewhere -- that because Braga was embarrassed by "Threshold" and made a statement disowning it, that means there's some official piece of paperwork at Paramount declaring that as doctrine. That's not so.
had me going something like this:

as in, shock… disbelief… denial… "Holy shit, it's true."

No, but seriously, up until now, I had been operating under the assumption that Paramount actually had a written policy/statement somewhere to the effect of "The following works of fiction are to be considered the canon of the Star Trek franchise: the original Star Trek series, the animated Star Trek series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, and [insert some fancy language describing the 11 films]. All other materials, including novels, reference works, comics and fan films are not canon." I was sure I had heard of such a "ledger," as you put it, but I take your word for it. (Did they used to have such a document?)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Paper Moon wrote: View Post
And what is canon has changed some over time; I remember distinctly reading a few years ago on that The Powers That Be had decided that TAS was to be considered canon, whereas before it had not. (Only making this connection now, but that decision might have been to allow ENT season 5 to feature the Kzinti.)
No, it happened much earlier than that. The decision to disregard TAS was made by Gene Roddenberry himself, and he was the only one really invested in it. Once he died, nobody else producing Trek was particularly motivated to enforce it, and you started seeing the odd TAS reference show up, like mentions of Spock's "Yesteryear" backstory in "Unification," the Klothos getting a namecheck in DS9, etc.
Hmm, after doing some digging, I'm wondering if I might be misremembering this announcement:

On the other hand, there is this FAQ dated from 2003, which pretty unequivocally states that TAS has "traditionally not been considered part of the canon.":

And this 2006 article ends with a discussion on how TAS may or may not be canonical:

Finally, at, Ron D. Moore is quoted as saying in 1998:

We don't consider it [The Animated Series] canon, but it's kinda cool to throw in the odd reference here and there.
The full chat can be found at

By the way, if you google that quote, minus the stuff in brackets, you get some... in-depth discussion. This one particularly caught my eye: Actually an interesting read, though I'm sure it looks insane to anyone who isn't a Star Trek fan.

Regarding the OP's question: my personal hope is that, were the current "novel-primeverse," in a post-Destiny Typhon Pact-era, to be irreparably contradicted by a new addition to canon, I would hope that the licensing people would have a change of heart, allow the current novel continuity to continue on its own, perhaps with fewer books, and start a new continuity with the new material integrated into that. It might mean having to include a brief timeline at the beginning of each novel, just so that the reader knows which 'line they're in, but I doubt that would be a real problem.
It is an interesting thought, that Trek tie-ins could follow the precedent of Transformers media and embrace the concept of a multiverse to allow the various different continuities to coexist. We also see similar things in DC and Marvel Comics, which in at least some cases treat the realities of their various film and TV adaptations as parallel worlds within the multiverse (for instance, the Young Justice TV series takes place on DC's Earth-16, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Earth-199999 in Marvel's system). And we now do officially have two canonical Star Trek timelines, Prime and Abrams, plus the literary precedent of the Mirror and Myriad Universes series. (I'm not counting alternative prose continuities like the Shatnerverse and Crucible, because those weren't overtly alternate realities, just alternate story directions, and they were still consistent with canon, unlike the possibility we're considering here.)
Being "on the inside," both at Pocket Books and in the sci-fi tie-in industry at-large, how likely do you think this is to happen? Is the marketability of Star Trek strong enough that TPTB would feel comfortable taking what must be somewhat of a risk?
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