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Old June 24 2013, 04:44 PM   #112
Christopher
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

solariabsg25 wrote: View Post
I think the issue is that canon has come to mean in some quarters "set in stone", failing to realise that much stuff has to be open to interpretation, due to the fact that during the show some things change depending on the writer or plot requirement.
I may have said this already, but I realized a while back that this comes down to the difference between how fans and creators perceive a work of fiction: to the fans it arrives in a complete, singular form, but to the creator it's the result of a lengthy process of trial and error and revision and rejection and replacement, and it's usually not the perfect version the author wanted but just the best they could manage by the release date. So "set in stone" advocates tend to believe they're defending the creators' vision, but generally the creators would be the first ones to make changes if they had the opportunity.


In Balance of Terror for example Scotty says the Romulan Bird of Prey uses simple impulse. Yet, we all know that a sublight ship would take months if not years, simply to cross the Neutral Zone. Traveling from Romulus to the Federation outposts, going on a destructive rampage, then heading home again, would not be accomplished in the crew's lifetime. So, we have to accept that the ship traveled at warp, but could only fight at impulse speeds.
One problem with the "set in stone" philosophy is that creators, like other human beings, sometimes straight-up make mistakes. They put things in stories that they later come to realize were errors or bad ideas, and when they can't go back and fix them in the original work, they shouldn't be banned from retconning or ignoring the errors in later stories.

TNG introduced the retcon of a quantum singularity powering Romulan ships, which means that effectively Scotty was right, he could not detect a Warp Reactor output.
I doubt the one had anything to do with the other -- it's just that they had an episode whose sci-fi plot called for the Romulans having a singularity drive. A fan's highest priority may be worrying about some continuity error from 20 or 30 years ago, but a creator's highest priority is the story being worked on in the here and now.

Anyway, my preferred fix is that Scotty meant they used a simple form of impulse drive as opposed to the more complex form of impulse drive used by Starfleet; for instance, maybe their impulse engines were straight-up rockets without the mass-reduction fields that would enable Starfleet vessels to accelerate and change course more quickly, and thus they'd be less maneuverable.


We can count ourselves fortunate that the makers of TOS attempted to at least be consistent, rather than just throwing episodes together with absolutely no regard to what had happened before.
Right. The latter was the more common practice in '60s TV -- for instance, in Mission: Impossible, the main characters might show their faces on national or global TV in one episode, yet by the following week they'd be totally anonymous again and still able to go undercover. Or in one episode they'd bring down the head of "the Syndicate" and obtain information that would let them cripple organized crime, yet within a week or two the mob would be just as powerful and entrenched as ever. And when one character vanished and was replaced by a new one, it never got an explanation, and it was just assumed the new guy/gal had been there all along (with one exception in season 7, where the regular actress was on maternity leave and they wanted to make it clear she'd be returning).


Although non-cannon aspects do sometimes sneak through the cracks, the voice chatter mentioning Franz Joseph ships in TMP and the FASA Orion Blockade Runner appearing on a library display in TNG being just a few examples.
Of course. One of the pervasive myths about canon (largely resulting from the '89 Roddenberry memo and Richard Arnold's policies) is that it's somehow exclusionistic. Canon is just the core creation, and its creators are free to draw on whatever influences they choose. After all, they own the toybox that tie-in creators are borrowing toys from, and thus they own whatever toys the tie-ins add to the box, and can play with those new toys or ignore them as they prefer.


Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
Yeah, I suppose it's all down to Doylist (I.e this is a story written by authors) vs. Watsonian (this "happened" and everything should be made to fit) interpretations.
But wouldn't a Watsonian interpretation be that what we read was merely a fictionalized approximation of the actual events, with names and details changed to protect the innocent and specifics exaggerated or modified for dramatic license? Wasn't Holmes constantly complaining about how Watson embellished the facts of their cases to make them more melodramatic?
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