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Old June 26 2010, 01:20 AM   #1
JD
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A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

S&S has the description up for the second and only the second new YA Starfleet Academy book.
A new Starfleet Academy series for teens--filled with romance and adventure! In The Competitive Edge, Kirk finds out how much of a toll the intense training classes and grueling schedule of academy life is taking on all the cadets, including himself. But some recruits seem better equipped to handle the challenges. Is there something that is giving them an edge? Kirk is determined to find out, especially since one of the cadets with a little something extra is his new girlfriend.
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Old June 26 2010, 01:36 AM   #2
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

JD wrote: View Post
S&S has the description up for the second and only the second new YA Starfleet Academy book.
A new Starfleet Academy series for teens--filled with romance and adventure! In The Competitive Edge, Kirk finds out how much of a toll the intense training classes and grueling schedule of academy life is taking on all the cadets, including himself. But some recruits seem better equipped to handle the challenges. Is there something that is giving them an edge? Kirk is determined to find out, especially since one of the cadets with a little something extra is his new girlfriend.


Seriously, this sounds like a bad after school special. Romance & adventure? Is there something giving them an edge?

I half expect the last page to have a PSA "Starfleet Cadets don't do drugs!"

Hopefully it'll be handled with more subtlety that this blurb.

Last edited by kkozoriz1; June 26 2010 at 01:37 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old June 26 2010, 04:34 AM   #3
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

That description makes me really sad...
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Old June 26 2010, 04:57 AM   #4
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

I'm sure there will be some obvious downside to these enhancements/drugs (allowing them to go with the cliche' "drugs are bad"). Honestly, though, I don't think it would automatically be bad if some doctor invented helpful intellectual/physical enhancements with limited side-effects. Another trekbbs thread brought up the advantages Vulcans have over humans. It's natural that humans would want to narrow the intellectual/physical gap (if possible).

And, despite the talk about avoiding genetic enhancements, the occasional comment about 24th century little kids taking advanced mathematics indicate that something has been done to improve the average human's intellectual capacity.
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Old June 26 2010, 05:03 AM   #5
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

Snaploud wrote: View Post
Honestly, though, I don't think it would automatically be bad if some doctor invented helpful intellectual/physical enhancements with limited side-effects.
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Old June 26 2010, 08:33 AM   #6
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

BillJ wrote: View Post
That description makes me really sad...
Why? It's being written for "Young Adults". 12-16 year old ST and science fiction fans who are reluctant to read longer adult chapter books.

"But some recruits seem better equipped to handle the challenges. Is there something that is giving them an edge?"

Maybe some come from planets with different gravity? And we know that some are aliens.
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Old June 26 2010, 08:53 AM   #7
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

Other franchises has books and other tie-ins that appeal to younger age groups--Lord knows Star Wars has been doing it since day one--and Trek actually used to do that itself with storybooks before it suddenly kicked kids to the curb at some point...
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Old June 26 2010, 02:04 PM   #8
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

Snaploud wrote: View Post
And, despite the talk about avoiding genetic enhancements, the occasional comment about 24th century little kids taking advanced mathematics indicate that something has been done to improve the average human's intellectual capacity.
Which could just be improvements in educational techniques. The thing about present-day schools is that they're not really designed to nurture and improve the mind, they're holdovers from a time when the goal was to shape children into compliant cogs in the industrial machine, their heads filled with rote facts and their capacity for critical thinking and inquisitiveness discouraged. There have been attempts to change that, but there's still a long way to go. In a culture whose school system was really designed to work with a child's natural desire to learn rather than against it, there would be a lot of improvement in the average person's intellectual performance.
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Old June 26 2010, 02:22 PM   #9
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

"Drugs are bad, m'kay? If you do drugs you're a bad person, m'kay?" - who's letting Mr Macky write Star Trek books?

I bet they're called "stims" like in everything from Babylon 5 to nuBSG
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Old June 26 2010, 04:24 PM   #10
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

Man, I hate the idea that you have to write differently for a teenage audience. Teenagers aren't stupid. They're perfectly capable of reading on an adult level, and most resent these kinds of books for the simplified nature. I despised it when I was a teenager, and I'm not any fonder of the idea now, honestly.
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Old June 26 2010, 07:23 PM   #11
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

elaithin wrote: View Post
Man, I hate the idea that you have to write differently for a teenage audience. Teenagers aren't stupid. They're perfectly capable of reading on an adult level, and most resent these kinds of books for the simplified nature. I despised it when I was a teenager, and I'm not any fonder of the idea now, honestly.
This. Couldn't have said it any better myself.
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Old June 26 2010, 07:55 PM   #12
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

I think some folks would be surprised if they took a stroll through the "young readers" section of any decent bookstore, if only to see the incredible variety of books which are available, the themes they cover, and how they go about covering them. You want your eyes opened? Check out that area of the store. It was most definitely a learning experience for me when I started researching writing for kids a few years ago. My preconcieved notions about what constituted "a kid's book" -- some of which had been formed by some lackluster attempts at stuff like Star Wars and...yes...even some of the Star Trek books aimed at such audiences -- were stomped, but good. There's a lot of stuff out there being written the teen demographic that is most definitely not "stupid," and neither does it treat its readers that way.

Writing for teens as opposed to adults -- when done properly -- has little to do with writing "down" to them as much as it does just writing characters with whom the readers can (in theory) better identify, and driving plots from the point of views of such characters. Teens will identify with characters closer to their own age, who are facing the same sorts of challenges and issues they deal with every day (or whatever comparable issues and challenges might be faced by a teen character living hundreds of years in the future, etc.). Stories about those type of people tend to resonate with teens better than...for example...Admiral Kirk facing a midlife crisis, or having to deal with retirement by heading off to a faraway paradise planet with a girl young enough to be his granddaughter.

As for this particular book? All we have to go on is the cover blurb, which likely wasn't even written by the author, so I'd rather wait to see what the actual book is like before getting too worried about this newest attempt to appeal to "young Trekkies." As a dad looking with an evil agenda of hooking his kids on Trek, I'm obviously pulling for this effort to succeed, because it just gives me one more weapon

Anyway, just my $.02, adjusted for inflation.
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Old June 26 2010, 08:02 PM   #13
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

Although I'd never read a YA book now, I must admit to having fond memories of Atlantis Station, Capture the Flag and Worf's First Adventure.
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Old June 26 2010, 08:20 PM   #14
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

^ I remember liking Capture the Flag in particular from the SFA line, mostly because I played the game as a kid

I even pitched a YA novel to Pocket way back when (Riker and other cadets vs. Orion pirates...I'd even written the entire story because I didn't read that part of the submissio guidelines which read "Don't do that shit."), and received a very nice rejection letter from the editor at the time, letting me know everything I was thinking and doing wrong with respect to my story and writing sample.

Bottom line? Writing correctly for the kids/teens market ain't easy.
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Old June 26 2010, 09:07 PM   #15
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Re: A description is up for one of the new Starfleet Academy books

elaithin wrote: View Post
Man, I hate the idea that you have to write differently for a teenage audience. Teenagers aren't stupid. They're perfectly capable of reading on an adult level, and most resent these kinds of books for the simplified nature. I despised it when I was a teenager, and I'm not any fonder of the idea now, honestly.
Okay, putting my school librarian hat on here:

Some kids are " perfectly capable of reading on an adult level", but lots of kids - and way too many adults - are not. If you read any of the previous ST YA novels, and didn't like what you were reading, perhaps you simply weren't of the same reading age as the kids those books are designed for? That's why it looked to you like they'd been dumbed down.

YA novels are a misnomer, but they're called "Young Adult" novels because they are aimed at kids who are still quite a way off being "young adults". That's all part of the marketing strategy. Kids with lower reading ages than their chronological age, lower than all of their peers, and who are not ever reading for pleasure.

By using a more controlled vocabulary, shorter chapters, larger fonts, colour plates, b/w illustrations, appealing covers, young protagonists of slightly higher age than the intended readers, and highly-covetable media tie-in titles, otherwise reluctant readers can often be cajoled/coerced/tempted into "having a go". YA books are aimed at kids who do not usually find reading to be pleasurable. But... often motivation for reading is all that was needed to kick a kid's ability to strive for higher reading ages. They already had the basics (word attack skills), after all, but felt no compulsion to use them because reading was a yukky thing the brainy kids do.

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
Other franchises has books and other tie-ins that appeal to younger age groups--Lord knows Star Wars has been doing it since day one--and Trek actually used to do that itself with storybooks before it suddenly kicked kids to the curb at some point...
If YA novels do their job properly, the kids who do "switch on" to reading with them won't need YA titles forever. If they are really engaging with the topic, they'll often do a leap of faith to related adult books on the same themes/characters/genres.

Marketing/sales will always have an influence here, of course. As one of the editors explained a few years ago, if there's already a sizable collection of YA books on a certain topic, the publishers will often move on to a new funkier, more popular topic-of-today, because kids pass through the "need to read YA titles" phase quite quickly and they are eager to move up to adult novels in the same genre. You'll often see media tie-in YA titles come out in blocks of four, maybe followed by another block of four - and then that might be it, because the next YA demographic cohort is already champing at the bit for the next "in" thing, not last year's thing. Meanwhile the old YA demographic's cohort members are either reading adult books (the job done) or back to more physical things (sport, computer games, dating).

Dayton Ward wrote: View Post
Writing correctly for the kids/teens market ain't easy.
You bet. "Young adults" may not be confident readers but they can spot a phony author a mile away!
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Last edited by Therin of Andor; June 26 2010 at 09:21 PM. Reason: added a bit
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