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Old October 6 2013, 09:27 PM   #85
Christopher
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Re: Where'd This Phase II Cutaway Come From...?

Boris wrote: View Post
But you don't need to consider the novelization at all; it's enough to look at the Encyclopedia, which appears to be mandatory reading for every licensed publication these days. It's not safe to disregard such works, since Mike Okuda still has direct influence over the canon. A theory must be developed on solid ground if it is to become more than fan-fiction.
Err, how does he still have direct influence over the canon when the only new canon being produced is the Bad Robot film series? The only Trek veteran working on those is John Eaves.

The Okuda references -- the Chronology and the Encyclopedia -- never, ever claimed to be canon. The Chronology contains a clear disclaimer that anything it asserts beyond canonical information is purely conjectural, that the book was meant for entertainment, not be some binding legal document or something. And since the Encyclopedia is from the same authors (et al.), I have no doubt it was written in the same spirit of fun conjecture. (Particularly since it does contain a number of factual errors, e.g. referring to Nella Daren as "Neela.")

Now, for those of us who write licensed tie-in fiction, the policy of Paramount/CBS licensing has usually been that we were expected to use the Okuda references' conjectural dates and assertions except where they had been overwritten by later canon (as a number of them were, such as the year of Cochrane's first flight or the year Kirk's 5-year mission ended). But the very fact that some of its conjectures were ignored by canon is all the proof you need that they are not canon. It makes zero sense to think that a couple of reference books read by, at most, a hundred thousand people or so would carry more weight than TV shows and movies seen by tens of millions of people. Tie-in books are a niche entertainment product aimed at the tiny fraction of a screen franchise's audience that wants more than what they get onscreen and likes to read. "Nonfiction" or technical tie-in books are an even smaller niche within that niche. Assuming that they would dictate the content of screen canon is expecting a very small tail to wag a very massive dog. It simply does not work that way.

Yes, as a Trek novelist I had to respect the Okudachron and the Encyclopedia. But as a Trek novelist, I know that while those books are a tier above mine in their "canon value," they're still just a tiny sidebar to the canon and could be swept away or disregarded by canon just as easily as anything I wrote. Mike Okuda was never an executive producer on the franchise. He was a senior illustrator and technical consultant, and that's very, very low on the totem pole. The producers were perfectly free to ignore his suggestions even when he was working on the show, which is why we got so much inane technobabble like Demon-class planets and deuterium shortages. And he has no role at all in the production of the Bad Robot movies, so there is no possible way in which he would have "direct influence" over them. Maybe some of the creators of those films respect his work enough to reference it or maybe ask him a few questions, but he has no authority to dictate their decisions in any way.
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