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

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Old August 14 2008, 09:01 PM   #1
Dayton3
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Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character?

It seems to me that all the new characters created in offical Trek literature end up being pretty well liked by the majority of other characters they interact with.

in the Corps of Engineers books, the Tellarite second officer seemed to start off as pretty unlikable, but that was more to do with him having replaced a popular officer. And even then, he mellowed some and the rest of the characters came to like and respect him.

Likewise with the half Vulcan Leutenant Chen in the recent novel.

Why doesn't anyone take up the challenge of developing a character who the other characters simply do not like?

Better yet, why not create a character that the others start out liking but grow to dislike intensely?
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Old August 14 2008, 09:07 PM   #2
KRAD
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Dayton3 wrote: View Post
in the Corps of Engineers books, the Tellarite second officer seemed to start off as pretty unlikable, but that was more to do with him having replaced a popular officer. And even then, he mellowed some and the rest of the characters came to like and respect him.
This is not at all true. In fact, Tev's continued inability to get along with his crewmates (with the notable exception of Bart Faulwell) is a running theme throughout the entire series from when he joined up forward. If you think he's mellowed and the rest of the characters like and respect him, you haven't been paying very close attention.
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Old August 14 2008, 09:08 PM   #3
Trent Roman
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

I can think of a few 'unliked' characters from the recent novels, such as T'Lana and Leybenzon. Many of the characters in Vanguard were pricks (or at least they were in Harbinger, since I never read further than that), as was most of the crew of the ENT-C in Well of Souls. Si Cwan was often unlikeable, always carrying himself with a sense of entitlement and a rather more barbaric view of justice than most of us here would countenance. By that token, a number of the characters introduced in the Gorkon series are not people you'd want to cuddle up to.

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Old August 14 2008, 09:09 PM   #4
Dayton3
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

KRAD wrote: View Post
Dayton3 wrote: View Post
in the Corps of Engineers books, the Tellarite second officer seemed to start off as pretty unlikable, but that was more to do with him having replaced a popular officer. And even then, he mellowed some and the rest of the characters came to like and respect him.
This is not at all true. In fact, Tev's continued inability to get along with his crewmates (with the notable exception of Bart Faulwell) is a running theme throughout the entire series from when he joined up forward. If you think he's mellowed and the rest of the characters like and respect him, you haven't been paying very close attention.
That isn't what I get out of most of the stories in Grand Designs and Aftermath (haven't read Creative Couplings yet).

I remember a number of times crewmembers noting that Tev was apparently making an effort to get along with his fellow crewmembers.
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Old August 14 2008, 09:12 PM   #5
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

^ You need to read Creative Couplings.
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Old August 15 2008, 01:02 AM   #6
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

KRAD wrote: View Post
^ You need to read Creative Couplings.
Sorry, but I just finished Creative Couplings a few weeks ago and I don't really remember Tev being portrayed as unlikable, I think he's mostly just misunderstood by and large. Don't get me wrong, he's pretentious and arrogant, but he's also Tellarite and I tend to think of that as just being par for the course with Tellarites.

If you're talking about the incident with Gomez, I'm still not really sure I see it the way you may be seeing it.

Maybe if you explained your view of Tev a bit.

I honestly thought he was growing closer to the crew, but maybe I've been reading into it something that wasn't there.
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Old August 15 2008, 01:06 AM   #7
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

I don't know, I think there have been plenty of unlikeable characters in Trek Lit. Even though I do kinda like her, T'Prynn can be a bit of a bitch at times. I can't really think of any other characters off the top of my head, but I know there had to have been more.
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Old August 15 2008, 01:36 AM   #8
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Wait, I may be confused by the OP's question, are you talking about characters that WE the readers don't like or find unlikable or that other characters in the stories find unlikeable?

Some of my favorite characters in different stories are just horrible bastards sometimes, but I like their characters.

Update:

Okay I reread the first post and guess I was approaching it from MY perspective and not the crew's.

Still I think Tev largely misunderstood by his shipmates and even though they've both made approaches towards better understanding each other and creating a better working relationship, their cultural differences are getting in the way. Carol should honestly be more on top of the situation than she's been, of course she's been distracted as of late by Mr. Tall, Dark, & Wicked sense of humor.
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Old August 15 2008, 02:22 AM   #9
George Steinbrenner
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Dayton3 wrote: View Post
Why doesn't anyone take up the challenge of developing a character who the other characters simply do not like?
Yeah, they can watch nuBSG for starters - an entire series full of characters like that.
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Old August 15 2008, 02:32 AM   #10
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

There are plenty of unlikable characters within the Trek universe. The "problem" is, in the Trek universe, you can't have the rest of the people around him reacting with out-and-out dislike. So instead of having a scene where Gomez shouts, "Tev, you arrogant prick, shut your piggy pie-hole and just do what I fucking tell you, asshole!" you get something like, Gomez closed her eyes, pushed down some unkind thoughts, and said, "Tev, let's just try it my way, okay?"
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Old August 15 2008, 02:57 AM   #11
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

^^Except that Tev would respect her more if she did the former. The way I approached his character was that, to his Tellarite way of thinking, politeness was hypocrisy and the civil way for people to relate to one another was by being brutally honest. Gomez made a fatal mistake in terms of their relationship by trying to interact with him on human terms, being civil and polite. If she'd remembered to treat him like a Tellarite, if she'd expressed her anger and disapproval openly from the start, he would've respected her from the start and they would've gotten along much better.

Although, as we've seen, getting too angry and confrontational would've just made him think she was in love with him...
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Old August 15 2008, 03:41 AM   #12
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

^ Yes, for Tellarites there's a fine line between angry and horny....
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Old August 15 2008, 03:44 AM   #13
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Min Zife maybe or Koll Azernal?
And I found Curzon Dax to be really quite unlikeable in The Art of the Impossible.
And Fearful Symmetry apparently takes a somewhat borderline character in Dukat and casts him as someone you can't help but hate.
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Old August 15 2008, 04:05 AM   #14
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Dayton3 wrote: View Post
Better yet, why not create a character that the others start out liking but grow to dislike intensely?
Peter David does this with his Selelvian character in NF, particularly once the "Knack" is exposed.
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Old August 15 2008, 04:18 AM   #15
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Christopher wrote: View Post
^^Except that Tev would respect her more if she did the former.
The problem isn't that Tev doesn't respect her -- that's a problem, but not the problem. The real problem is that he tends to forget that he's part of a team, and he also tends to forget that Gomez is his superior officer.


The way I approached his character was that, to his Tellarite way of thinking, politeness was hypocrisy and the civil way for people to relate to one another was by being brutally honest. Gomez made a fatal mistake in terms of their relationship by trying to interact with him on human terms, being civil and polite. If she'd remembered to treat him like a Tellarite, if she'd expressed her anger and disapproval openly from the start, he would've respected her from the start and they would've gotten along much better.
True, but, as you yourself showed in the story, Gomez was a little busy grieving.


Although, as we've seen, getting too angry and confrontational would've just made him think she was in love with him...
Indeed.


If you're talking about the incident with Gomez, I'm still not really sure I see it the way you may be seeing it.
See above -- what he did in Small World was completely in character, but it was also spectacularly irresponsible and was, at the very least, a violation of protocol.

I'd rather not "explain" my view of Tev because a lot of the issues with him come to a head in Security, which I assume you haven't read, what with nobody actually reading eBooks and stuff. Talk to me again in October.

Honestly, one of my biggest regrets with the eBook hiatus was that we had serious plans for Tev's further development. (Sarjenka's also.)
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