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

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Old November 19 2012, 10:44 AM   #16
James Swallow
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

Interesting thread here. To add my 2p, I'd say that Greg and Chris hit the marks regarding the "rules". At the end of the day, the tie-in writer must serve the source material over all other concerns - even if that source material contradicts itself, other tie-ins or goes on to contradict the work being written. Generally speaking, screen trumps paper.

Of course, a good writer will try to ensure that their tie-in work doesn't ride roughshod over other tie-in works in the same sphere (and if they do, the line editor should pull them up about it!), but that's often down to the writer to police those details.

Admiral Rex wrote: View Post
Why do Star Trek and Star Wars fans think that all media must tie into a single, consistent continuity?
Check out Doctor Who fandom; many of those guys have tied themselves in timey-wimey knots trying to create a coherent continuty from the many differing elements of that mythos...
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Old November 19 2012, 11:07 AM   #17
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

"Respect & play true to the source material" is pretty much the rule.

As for canon and continuity- Canon is subjective, and different for everybody. Some franchises have a single spokesperson who decrees what it is, and others don't, but in any case every member of the audience has their own canon.

For continuity, I think Dr Who legend Terrance Dicks said it best- "Continuity is what you can remember at the time"
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Old November 19 2012, 12:23 PM   #18
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

Admiral Rex wrote: View Post
Why do Star Trek and Star Wars fans think that all media must tie into a single, consistent continuity?
I can't speak for others, but I love the interconnectivity. The idea that it's the same Spock from "The Cage" through to "Unification", who gave Selar advice in New Frontier, who legalized the Unification movement in Rough Beasts of Empire, who watched his world die in an alternate past in JJ's Star Trek, is mind-blowingly cool. Yes, there are too many adventures for one lifetime (let alone that first five-year mission!), but I can easily suspend my disbelief about that sort of thing.

If it's suddenly different Spocks... it loses something. I'm not saying it's a deal-breaker, but it's something I'd like maintained where possible.
Christopher wrote: View Post
All fans don't think that way. I think the reason a lot of them do is that they haven't been given an explicit alternative. All the screen incarnations of Star Trek have been presented as part of the same history, up until 2009 (and even that's presented as an alternate timeline branching off from the original continuity). And the books and comics are all presented as consistent with the screen canon even when they're not consistent with each other. So it's not like Batman or Spider-Man where they've seen multiple screen and print incarnations explicitly set in distinct continuities. There's an expectation that there's a single core continuity.

As for Star Wars, there really hasn't been that much screen content up until recently, and again, most of the tie-ins have purported to be in the same reality as the screen content rather than being an alternate version of it. And you have the added factor there of Lucasfilm Licensing actively pushing the tie-ins to be consistent with each other and telling the fans they were "canonical" in some way, promoting that perception quite strongly. The only alternative takes SW fans have seen are parodies like Lego Star Wars and the upcoming Detours show from the Robot Chicken producers.
I've always found it odd that Star Wars novels are supposed to be canon, when George Lucas is on record saying that the model of Star Trek's non-canon tie-ins were what he agreed to, and that he considers what happens in the SW novels to be a "parallel universe" to the movies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_canon

George Lucas wrote:
I don't read that stuff. I haven't read any of the novels. I don't know anything about that world. That's a different world than my world. But I do try to keep it
consistent. The way I do it now is they have a Star Wars Encyclopedia. So if I come up with a name or something else, I look it up and see if it has already been used. When I said [other people] could make their own Star Wars stories, we decided that, like Star Trek , we would have two universes: My universe and then this other one. They try to make their universe as consistent with mine as possible, but obviously they get enthusiastic and want to go off in other directions
[Howard Roffman] once said to me that there are two Star Trek universes: there's the TV show and then there's all the spin-offs. He said that these were completely different and didn't have anything to do with each other. So I said, "OK, go ahead."
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Old November 19 2012, 01:57 PM   #19
Therin of Andor
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

Admiral Rex wrote: View Post
Why do Star Trek and Star Wars fans think that all media must tie into a single, consistent continuity?
They don't.

Do Batman fans complain that Nolan's Dark Knight movies are consistent with the Burton Batman movies?
Sure. Some.

And both movie versions don't stick with the continuity of Batman comics and TV shows (both live-action and animated).
And Catwoman switched from caucasian to African-American in the 60s TV series, a trick repeated by Harvey Dent, in reverse, in the "Batman" movies of the late 80s and 90s.

If Star Trek was one big canon between all media, there would never be any new five-year mission stories because the timeline is filled to capacity.
You've answered your own question. Not all ST fans think the way you stated.
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Old November 19 2012, 02:34 PM   #20
rahullak
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

Lonemagpie wrote: View Post
"Respect & play true to the source material" is pretty much the rule.

As for canon and continuity- Canon is subjective, and different for everybody. Some franchises have a single spokesperson who decrees what it is, and others don't, but in any case every member of the audience has their own canon.

For continuity, I think Dr Who legend Terrance Dicks said it best- "Continuity is what you can remember at the time"
Isn't it "personal continuity" that's subjective? Doesn't "canon" mean core body of work, which in the case of Star Trek is the onscreen material?
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Old November 19 2012, 03:25 PM   #21
Christopher
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

James Swallow wrote: View Post
Of course, a good writer will try to ensure that their tie-in work doesn't ride roughshod over other tie-in works in the same sphere (and if they do, the line editor should pull them up about it!), but that's often down to the writer to police those details.
Well, that depends. Sometimes a given licensee will try to maintain a unified continuity, and sometimes it won't. Pocket's Trek novels have only occasionally had internovel continuity -- there was the loose continuity that gradually emerged in the early to mid-'80s, and there's the current continuity that began in earnest around the turn of the millennium. But in both cases, there were still novels that stood apart from that continuity by design, and in other times, the policy was for each novel to stand entirely on its own, with no regard for consistency with other books. Lately it seems we're seeing a return to continuity-neutral standalones, at least where TOS is concerned.

Meanwhile, we've got IDW Trek comics, where most of the miniseries stand alone and sometimes contradict one another. The only real continuity they've had between miniseries are in ones written by the same people, like the various John Byrne minis or the Abramsverse comics.



Check out Doctor Who fandom; many of those guys have tied themselves in timey-wimey knots trying to create a coherent continuty from the many differing elements of that mythos...
Whereas I've always felt that continuity didn't matter much in Doctor Who. The original series was breezily unconcerned with continuity, and it didn't bother them to present three different, incompatible versions of Atlantis over the years or to go back and forth over whether the UNIT stories happened in the near future or the same years they aired. And the new series has made it explicit that time is mutable and constantly rewritten by time travellers, which should make it quite simple to rationalize all the inconsistencies in Who canon.


Lonemagpie wrote: View Post
As for canon and continuity- Canon is subjective, and different for everybody. Some franchises have a single spokesperson who decrees what it is, and others don't, but in any case every member of the audience has their own canon.
But that's not what the word "canon" means. It comes from the church, where the canon was the body of religious writings officially approved by the church, while everything else was apocrypha. Referring to an individual's variant beliefs as canon is a contradiction in terms. Canon, by definition, is the version of a fictional franchise as currently defined by its creators or owners. That definition can change over time, as new creators come in or the original creators rethink things, so it's not about uniform continuity; "canon" simply means that which comes from the official source. The mistake that fans make is assuming that "canon" equals "continuity" or "reality," and that's what leads to the mythical and oxymoronic concept of "personal canon."


KingDaniel wrote: View Post
I can't speak for others, but I love the interconnectivity. The idea that it's the same Spock from "The Cage" through to "Unification", who gave Selar advice in New Frontier, who legalized the Unification movement in Rough Beasts of Empire, who watched his world die in an alternate past in JJ's Star Trek, is mind-blowingly cool. Yes, there are too many adventures for one lifetime (let alone that first five-year mission!), but I can easily suspend my disbelief about that sort of thing.

If it's suddenly different Spocks... it loses something. I'm not saying it's a deal-breaker, but it's something I'd like maintained where possible.
I don't see why it has to be a choice between one or the other. I love interconnectivity too, but I also love seeing alternative versions of the same idea. I enjoy the creative exercise of tying together a large, interconnected continuity, but I also enjoy the creative exercise of coming up with separate, alternative continuities that couldn't possibly fit together. This is true both in Star Trek and my original fiction. In Trek, I've enjoyed creating a consistent body of novels and stories and offering models that tied disparate threads of Trek continuity together, but I also quite enjoyed writing my unpublished Abramsverse novel and taking on the fresh challenge of approaching Star Trek as a nearly blank slate. In my original fiction, I've built an extensive future history and continuity that most of my fiction takes place in, and I've enjoyed developing it and its history and ground rules; but I've also created entirely separate universes with incompatible histories and physical laws, and enjoyed the contrasts, the freedom of getting to do something entirely different.

Developing one unified continuity and establishing multiple variant continuities are simply different ways to be creative, and creativity is what fiction is all about. So why limit yourself by wanting only one approach or the other? I'm glad to have both.


I've always found it odd that Star Wars novels are supposed to be canon, when George Lucas is on record saying that the model of Star Trek's non-canon tie-ins were what he agreed to, and that he considers what happens in the SW novels to be a "parallel universe" to the movies.
I think it was a mistake for the Lucasfilm licensing people to use the word "canon" for the novels and comics at all. It was misleading. Although I guess it wasn't much of a problem back when it seemed that Star Wars as a screen franchise was over. Then, there was nothing to compete with the books and comics, so it was somewhat valid to treat them as the definitive take. But once SW became an active screen franchise again, the "canon tie-ins" concept no longer made sense.
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Old November 19 2012, 03:30 PM   #22
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Admiral Rex wrote: View Post
Do Batman fans complain that Nolan's Dark Knight movies are consistent with the Burton Batman movies?
Sure. Some.
Not Batman, but when I went to see The Amazing Spider-Man this summer, as I left the theater I heard a man in the lobby trying to explain to his girlfriend how ASM fit with the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy. Never mind that ASM and Spider-Man have entirely contradictory versions of the origin, that the power set of Maguire's Spider-Man is vastly different than Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man, etc. Yet, this guy insisted that ASM fit with the Maguire trilogy and was trying valiantly to justify that belief.

Christopher wrote: View Post
KingDaniel wrote: View Post
I've always found it odd that Star Wars novels are supposed to be canon, when George Lucas is on record saying that the model of Star Trek's non-canon tie-ins were what he agreed to, and that he considers what happens in the SW novels to be a "parallel universe" to the movies.
I think it was a mistake for the Lucasfilm licensing people to use the word "canon" for the novels and comics at all. It was misleading. Although I guess it wasn't much of a problem back when it seemed that Star Wars as a screen franchise was over. Then, there was nothing to compete with the books and comics, so it was somewhat valid to treat them as the definitive take. But once SW became an active screen franchise again, the "canon tie-ins" concept no longer made sense.
The problem with "canon" comes with how the word is used. I see nothing wrong with the was Lucasfilm calls Star Wars tie-in works "canon," because it's true to the meaning of the word -- the books/comics/games are a part of the body of official Star Wars work. It's an objective standard, it just means whether or not it's official. Fandom, however, believes that "canon" means authoritative and inviolate, which is a much more subjective standard.
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Old November 19 2012, 03:43 PM   #23
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

^Good point. The problem is that fandom has gotten this warped set of beliefs about what the word "canon" means. And I think the fault for that lies with Gene Roddenberry and Richard Arnold. Fandom wasn't really that aware of the term "canon" until those two instituted their crackdown on the tie-ins and issued the memo declaring the animated series non-canonical. Their actions and attitude created the impression in fans' minds that canon was something defined by exclusionism and opposition, something strict and dogmatic and shaped by official dictate. To this day, there are people who actually believe that there are employees at Paramount or CBS or wherever who sit at their desks and issue ukases about what is or isn't canon in the Trek universe -- who don't understand that canon is automatic and usually not even thought about by series creators, because what they create is canon by definition.
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Old November 19 2012, 04:06 PM   #24
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

Yeah, "canon" tends to be more of a fannish hobgoblin than anything else. As I've mentioned before, back when I editing the FARSCAPE novels, I was in touch with the nice folks at Henson every other day or so, and during that whole time, I don't think the topic of "canon" ever came up. It just wasn't an issue that had anything to do with actually producing the books and getting them out on time and on budget. Likewise, the topic of "canonicity" appears in no book contract or licensing agreement that I have ever laid eyes on. It's an abstract issue, not a practical one.

It wasn't until I started plugging the books at conventions that (invariably) I started getting the question "But are the books canon?"

The honest answer: they are until they aren't.
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Old November 19 2012, 04:35 PM   #25
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

rahullak wrote: View Post
Lonemagpie wrote: View Post
"Respect & play true to the source material" is pretty much the rule.

As for canon and continuity- Canon is subjective, and different for everybody. Some franchises have a single spokesperson who decrees what it is, and others don't, but in any case every member of the audience has their own canon.

For continuity, I think Dr Who legend Terrance Dicks said it best- "Continuity is what you can remember at the time"
Isn't it "personal continuity" that's subjective? Doesn't "canon" mean core body of work, which in the case of Star Trek is the onscreen material?
It does- but individuals' definition of what constitutes the core body varies, especially when there isn't a single official authority to define it officially.

When you don't have an authority who dictates what is considered to be the core body, then everyone else can and does determine that for themselves- personal canon
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Old November 19 2012, 04:37 PM   #26
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

Christopher wrote: View Post
But that's not what the word "canon" means. It comes from the church, where the canon was the body of religious writings officially approved by the church, while everything else was apocrypha.
see my reply above-I do know what the word means.
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Old November 19 2012, 04:54 PM   #27
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

Regarding continuity, I'll certainly make an effort to avoid contradicting other books in the same series, if I know about them or my editor alerts me to an issue. But I'll admit that there's a bit of sliding scale there. I wouldn't want to contradict a Dave Mack novel published last year, but I probably wouldn't throw out an entire chapter just because (gasp!) it clashed with one paragraph in a Gordon Eklund novel published thirty years ago. You need to keep "continuity" in perspective.

My general rule of thumb, and this is more of personal preference than Official Policy, is to not invent something new up if another author has already beaten me to the punch. So the description of Khan's flag in my Eugenics books was lifted from an earlier novel by Jeff Lang, and I refered to Gary Seven's mysterious sponsors as the "Aegis" because that's what Howard Weinstein called them in an earlier DC comic book. And so on.

The way I see it, it's just a matter of professional courtesy, as well as a fun little easter egg for the fans . . . .
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Old November 19 2012, 08:13 PM   #28
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

Since the creator of Trek - GR - is dead, he's got nothing more so say about continuity so it is once again a generic space opera unless of course you happened to like TOS more than the other incarnations of it. Then consistancy would be an issue. Whether it's canon is irrelovant. But I am curious how say CLB would react if future guy was defined differently by a subsequent writer or his version and reimagining of future history was ignored and contradicted by someone else? JJ's universe can be invalidated by TPTB in a second and wiped clean yet again to make way for a new vision that supercedes it - a better vision or interpretation.
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Old November 19 2012, 08:19 PM   #29
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

xortex wrote: View Post
But I am curious how say CLB would react if future guy was defined differently by a subsequent writer or his version and reimagining of future history was ignored and contradicted by someone else? .
I can't speak for Christopher, but IDW recently did a Khan comic book series that pretty much ignores my novels about Khan--which is fine with me. It's not like I created Khan or think that my books should be the only version of his life.

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Old November 19 2012, 08:29 PM   #30
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Re: Question for authors: General 'rules' for tie-in media (any franch

The source material for Trek is TOS and GR. You can't have TOS without TOS. The rest is a rip off.
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