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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old August 24 2014, 01:14 AM   #16
Therin of Andor
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

Stevil2001 wrote: View Post
So just Mosaic and Pathways then? I wonder if the old interviews where those statements came from are available anywhere. (I want to see sources!)
I'm sure there was something in the "Official Star Trek Magazine" at the time. Interviews with Jeri Taylor. Taylor was still with the show when she penned "Mosaic", and she used her own backstory she have developed for Janeway when creating VOY and during its first few years. So, as far as she was concerned, the information she was putting into "Mosaic" was canonical. IIRC, she left the regular staff to complete "Pathways" and similarly said it was definitive for the writers to use onscreen, but they started overwriting some of the characters' "Pathways" backstories almost immediately.

In that same mag - in one of his monthly columns - Richard Arnold specifically said that not even Gene Roddenberry's own novelization was canonical, except for the bits actually depicted onscreen.

I was reminded today that Star Trek Online is supposedly "soft canon," whatever the hell that means.
Can be overruled by onscreen evidence at any time? But we've even seen examples of "hard" canon (ie. actual episodes) being overridden for the sake of a new script.
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Old August 24 2014, 01:57 AM   #17
Stevil2001
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

But canon you can override at any time and nothing is beholden to isn't canon at all!
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Old August 24 2014, 02:58 AM   #18
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

Stevil2001 wrote: View Post
I was reminded today that Star Trek Online is supposedly "soft canon," whatever the hell that means.
I imagine it's marketing-speak for "completely and totally non-canon, but if we call it something else, maybe you'll attach more authority to our tie-in product than actually exists".

Either that, or it's the type of canon they serve at Dairy Queen.
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Old August 24 2014, 03:10 AM   #19
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

Stevil2001 wrote: View Post
But canon you can override at any time and nothing is beholden to isn't canon at all!
Meaning that canon isn't canon at all, since creators frequently override their own past ideas. (Otherwise Spock would be a Vulcanian with a human ancestor and would work for UESPA.)

Canon isn't a measure of permanence, simply a classification of origin.


Avro Arrow wrote: View Post
Stevil2001 wrote: View Post
I was reminded today that Star Trek Online is supposedly "soft canon," whatever the hell that means.
I imagine it's marketing-speak for "completely and totally non-canon, but if we call it something else, maybe you'll attach more authority to our tie-in product than actually exists".
I have the impression that some people who are new to the licensed Trek tie-in game, like the STO people, have perhaps had some unclear ideas of how canon works in Trek, and have made statements reflecting their best understanding at the time but not really reflecting how it works. Canon can be confusing because of all the mythology that's accreted around the word. It makes it hard to recognize how simple it actually is at the core.
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Old August 24 2014, 03:19 AM   #20
Stevil2001
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Stevil2001 wrote: View Post
But canon you can override at any time and nothing is beholden to isn't canon at all!
Meaning that canon isn't canon at all, since creators frequently override their own past ideas. (Otherwise Spock would be a Vulcanian with a human ancestor and would work for UESPA.)

Canon isn't a measure of permanence, simply a classification of origin.
Yes, thanks for the lecture, I have not been frequenting Star Trek literature forums since 1999.

I said "nothing is beholden to." Tie-ins are beholden to the Star Trek canon. It is more than a classification of origin.
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Old August 24 2014, 05:35 AM   #21
Janeway's Girl
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

[QUOTE=Christopher;10018972]I believe Startrek.com used to say those two were canonical, but that's not the same as a quote from Taylor herself.

Of course, the best evidence for Taylor's views on the canon status of Mosaic is the episode "Coda," which referenced Janeway's backstory from the novel.[/QUOT

The episode "Deadlock" references Mosaic as well.
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Old August 24 2014, 10:49 PM   #22
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

Stevil2001 wrote: View Post
But canon you can override at any time and nothing is beholden to isn't canon at all!
Bingo. Which is why "canon" isn't worthy losing sleep over.
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Old August 24 2014, 11:05 PM   #23
William Leisner
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

Marge: Hmmm. Should the Simpsons get a horse?
Comic Book Guy: Excuse me, I believe this family already had a horse, and the expense forced Homer to work at the Kwik-E-Mart, with hilarious consequences.
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Old August 24 2014, 11:40 PM   #24
F. King Daniel
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

Stevil2001 wrote: View Post
I was reminded today that Star Trek Online is supposedly "soft canon," whatever the hell that means.
Soft canon in Trek is about as useful as a soft cannon in the bedroom.


(Apologies. Couldn't resist.)
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Old August 24 2014, 11:56 PM   #25
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

urbandefault wrote: View Post

It has also repeatedly been stated that if it isn't onscreen it isn't canon.
The Animated Series was definitely an on screen thing, but in the 80's Roddenberry said it wasn't canon, but since Roddenberry died, TAS has come to be considered canon once again by Paramount and CBS.
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Old August 25 2014, 02:37 AM   #26
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

I simply choose to ignore "canon" and enjoy what I read, no matter how much they contradict each other.

Especially since what is "canon" seems to vary from person to person, and every time somebody states their opinion on a message board, it causes a flame war.
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Old August 25 2014, 03:40 AM   #27
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

^Except, again, anyone who thinks canon is a matter of personal opinion doesn't know what the word means. It just means the original, core body of work as opposed to everything else. Arguing over whether a tie-in is part of canon is like arguing over whether Europa is part of Jupiter. It objectively is not; it's bound to the central entity but outside of it.

Unless, of course, that tie-in is created by the makers of the canon themselves, because canon just means that which is created by the original authors or the showrunners of the source material. Which is how there can be such things as Mosaic for VGR or the post-series Buffy and Serenity comics or the canonical Avatar: The Last Airbender comics -- because they're written by or with the direct participation and oversight of the canon creators.
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Old August 25 2014, 02:49 PM   #28
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

^^And in the case of the Buffy and Serenity comics, it also helps the original on-screen adventures of those two franchises are done, thereby eliminating the chance of them ever being contradicted.
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Old August 25 2014, 03:13 PM   #29
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
^^And in the case of the Buffy and Serenity comics, it also helps the original on-screen adventures of those two franchises are done, thereby eliminating the chance of them ever being contradicted.
Well, yes. As I've said before, the only way canonical tie-ins can really work is if the original series is over and done with, so that the creators are free to supervise/co-write the tie-ins directly. J. Michael Straczynski wanted the Dell Babylon 5 novels to be canonical and tried to oversee them, but he was just too busy with the show to give them the necessary attention, and errors and inconsistencies crept in to the point that the only two books in the series that ended up counting were those written by the people closest to JMS, including the one by his own wife. It wasn't until after the series ended that he was able to directly outline and supervise the Del Rey series and do truly canonical books. Similarly, the Buffy and Angel comics done during the series were non-canonical and only those done after, with Whedon directly supervising, were canonical.
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Old August 25 2014, 03:45 PM   #30
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Re: What Books Are "Canon"?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Similarly, the Buffy and Angel comics done during the series were non-canonical and only those done after, with Whedon directly supervising, were canonical.
Although if and when a new Buffy or Angel TV show or movie came to pass, those comics would be "de-canonized" so fast your head would spin--because nobody in their right mind would expect the TV audience to have kept up to speed with the comics.

As I've written before, "canon" is a fannish obsession that has little practical meaning in the real world. In all the years I've been writing and editing tie-in books, I'm not sure I've ever discussed "canon" with any publisher, editor, or studio. The word "canon" appears in no publishing contract or licensing agreement I have ever seen, nor is it ever a topic of discussion or negotiation when it comes to actually developing book projects. (Heck, I suspect most licensors would look at me funny if I tried to haggle over the "canonicity" of a tie-in book.)

In the real world, it's a non-issue.
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