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

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Old December 12 2012, 11:02 AM   #16
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

For reconciling contradictory canon in a believable way, Christopher wins hands down. Watching the Clock in particular, was a masterful job and hugely entertaining.

Unfortunately the conference scene in Greater Than the Sum, where the different interpretations of the Borg in the episodes, films and novels were all put together, made my eyes glaze over.

DS9forever wrote: View Post
Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin.
They get my anti-vote. Their clunky attempts to reconcile ENT with TOS were awful (the cloaked Romulan ships exploded immediately after "Minefield"? The TOS-era being a technological downgrade from ENT's?)

Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens are usually very good at in-universe reconcilliations, but they totally lost it when they tried to explain that phaser technology was somehow lost in the time between Enterprise and TOS in Collision Course, so Cadet Kirk was forced to use a deadly laser as a weapon because although they were redeveloping phaser technology with it's useful stun settings, it wouldn't be ready for a few years yet.

As for true recons, The Good That Men Do wasn't much better than the episode it rewrote, IMO. That Soong faked his "Brothers" death according the Persistence of Memory was quite cheesy but I forgive it for leading to such an engaging story. I haven't read String Theory yet, but I've heard it rewrites a bit of Voyager, putting "Fury" and some of Janeway's erratic behaviour into a very different perspective.
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Old December 12 2012, 01:47 PM   #17
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

Regulus, of course, not Vega. Oops.

Yes, the conference scene about the Borg changes was very memorable, too.

Is there something in Trek lore that still needs a major ret-conning/rec-conning? Recently, Christopher stated that the Kzinti wars are irreconcilable with Enterprise. Bernd Schneider of Ex Astris, Scientia tried to make sense of the Bonaventure, as well.
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Old December 12 2012, 01:55 PM   #18
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Thanks, guys, but I'm not sure "retconning" is the word.
That's for sure. The original post was asking about retconong.
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Old December 12 2012, 11:15 PM   #19
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

RPJOB wrote: View Post
Another vote for CLB. At times it's almost like he's doing a remake of Trek, changing the things that he sees as "wrong"
That would explain "Places of Exile"...
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Old December 13 2012, 02:13 AM   #20
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
For reconciling contradictory canon in a believable way, Christopher wins hands down. Watching the Clock in particular, was a masterful job and hugely entertaining.

Unfortunately the conference scene in Greater Than the Sum, where the different interpretations of the Borg in the episodes, films and novels were all put together, made my eyes glaze over.
I thought of the briefing in GTTS when I saw the posts above naming Christopher. Bennett doesn't so much retcon as he does rationalise, or reconcile as others have said. Sometimes it just bogs down the story, as I felt it did in GTTS.

DS9forever wrote: View Post
Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin.
They get my anti-vote. Their clunky attempts to reconcile ENT with TOS were awful (the cloaked Romulan ships exploded immediately after "Minefield"? The TOS-era being a technological downgrade from ENT's?)
IIRC, the "downgrade" was Margaret Clark's idea. Mangels and Martin get my vote in this for the swift way they dealt with the Trill forheads in Forged in Fire.
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Old December 13 2012, 02:16 AM   #21
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

Wasn't there a scene in a TOS novel where Uhura (I think) is working on a piece of equipment behind her console and she mentions something about how it's easier to maintain equipment like that because it's not as "futuristic"?
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Old December 13 2012, 03:06 AM   #22
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Wasn't there a scene in a TOS novel where Uhura (I think) is working on a piece of equipment behind her console and she mentions something about how it's easier to maintain equipment like that because it's not as "futuristic"?
I think it was Federation by the Reeves-Stevenses -- something to do with having it be easier for any crewman to do repairs on the fly than with more fancy-schmancy solid-state circuitry, and also something about being more robust against quantum-scale distortions at warp or some such thing. Although I could be conflating two different explanations from different books.

Personally I don't think it's necessary to pretend that the Enterprise's tech really looked exactly the way it was portrayed in a 1960s TV show with limited budget and technology. Roddenberry himself tended to see TOS as merely an imperfect approximation of the "actual" future -- like when TMP came along and he told fans to accept that Klingons had always had ridges, and the series had just lacked the budget to show it.
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Old December 13 2012, 03:40 AM   #23
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

And yet Deep Space Nine showed that they had no ridges and that the Enterprise appeared exactly the way it was in TOS.
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Old December 13 2012, 05:02 AM   #24
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

^Yes, of course when they actually decided to reuse footage from a TOS episode with Klingons in it, they had to acknowledge the change then. But up until then, ST remained vague on the question of whether TOS Klingons had had ridges or not. When Kang, Kor, and Koloth showed up in "Blood Oath," nobody ever mentioned that they hadn't always looked the way they did. ST avoided the issue until "Trials and Tribble-ations" forced them to confront it.
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Old December 13 2012, 05:11 AM   #25
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

Maybe the next time TOS is remastered for whatever video format comes next they'll add ridges to the Klingons and edit out the whole Klingon bit from Trials and Tribble-ations. Maybe make the Enterprise look more like the ST-09 one too. And make the crew look more like whoever is portraying them in the latest reboot in 2025.

Or, we can just accept Trek as it's been presented and not let the little inconsistencies lead us into retcon land. Aren't the stories more important than the little details anyway?
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Old December 13 2012, 05:20 AM   #26
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

^That's exactly my point -- that the details are matters of artistic interpretation and it's the overall story that matters most. It shouldn't be necessary to tell a story justifying why futuristic 23rd-century technology looks like it was built with 1960s switches and dials, because it shouldn't be necessary to pretend that's actually, literally how it looks in-universe. (Heck, even TOS Remastered replaced the old-fashioned chronometer dials in "The Naked Time" with something less dated.) There are some continuity details or discrepancies that it's worthwhile to deal with in a story, if doing so can produce an interesting bit of storytelling, but there are some that just aren't worth making an issue out of and are just too niggly and petty to worry about.

Roddenberry himself wasn't married to the exact details in the obsessive way some fans are, and didn't have a problem with changing them or rewriting the continuity. As I've said a couple of times in recent weeks, fans get attached to a particular form of a work because it's the only one they see, but to creators it's the endpoint of a long process of change and adjustment, and is often just the best approximation they could manage of what they imagined rather than a perfect realization of it. So creators tend to be far less attached to the details of a work than many fans are.
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Old December 13 2012, 06:06 AM   #27
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

However, you yourself have gotten caught up in the details and rewritten them in your stories or commented here how you'd change things. Neutronium for instance. There's no need to change it to simply a super-dense material that has a similar name to but is unrelated to the neutron star material. It is what it is. If you have to explain why the Iconian artifact didn't fall through the crust of the planet then come up with an explanation for that. I just see why it's considered necessary to alter what has been presented in the various episodes where neutronium is mentioned.

Shall we next do away with the stellar core fragment from The Naked Now? Or explain that Kirk and Garrovick were using something other than an ounce of anti-matter that somehow tore away the atmosphere of Argus X and, in TOS-R, left a crater that looked to be the size of a small continent?

DS9 brought up the two Klingon situation and that led to Enterprise trying to explain it in a Small Universe Syndrome story that not only had Humans responsible for the change but connected it to Khan via the Augments. Did we really need 4 hours of Trek devoted, at least in part, to explaining away something that didn't really need an explanation? Trek fans are smart people. We don't need everything spelled out for us.

Maybe we need a novel devoted to explaining why Spock-Prime was knocked for a loop by the deaths of 400 Vulcans light-years away and yet Nu-Spock showed not a hint of a similar reaction when billions of Vulcans dies within just a few thousand miles of him. Or should we just accept each story on it's own merits and concentrate on getting better stories about the people? After all, they're what really matters, aren't they?
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Old December 13 2012, 03:01 PM   #28
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconning stuff?

Christopher wrote: View Post
^That's exactly my point -- that the details are matters of artistic interpretation and it's the overall story that matters most. It shouldn't be necessary to tell a story justifying why futuristic 23rd-century technology looks like it was built with 1960s switches and dials, because it shouldn't be necessary to pretend that's actually, literally how it looks in-universe.

Has anyone considered this is what state-of-the-art 23rd century technology actually looks like? It isn't 1960s, it's 2260. It may look primitive to us 21st century people but maybe the design ethics of the future are just different. Starfleet equipment is built to be practical and good looking. This is what looks cool to 23rd century Starfleet.

Remember, when a few years ago, people started running around with awful 80s, 70s and finally 60s styles? Male hairstyles never recovered from that even today.

And remember how advanced everything from the 23C looked compared to the 22C in In A Mirror, Darkly.

Furthermore, 25th century Starfleet is flying around in NX-class replicas and the centuries old D'kyr-class - they still have the old look but their technology is state-of-the-art. It's just old, venerated design.

More examples: 26C Starfleet was a visual callback to the 23C in the abortive Star Trek: Final Frontier series and the 29C mirrored 24C design guidelines.

RPJOB wrote: View Post
DS9 brought up the two Klingon situation and that led to Enterprise trying to explain it in a Small Universe Syndrome story that not only had Humans responsible for the change but connected it to Khan via the Augments. Did we really need 4 hours of Trek devoted, at least in part, to explaining away something that didn't really need an explanation? Trek fans are smart people. We don't need everything spelled out for us.
Huh? If we Trekkies didn't need everything spelled out, why would we even have a thread about retconning? Personally, I love to see inconsistencies explained and the ENT double feature killed one of the most glaring. Part of the flavour of having an ongoing continuity is that problems get explained away sooner or later.
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Old December 13 2012, 03:33 PM   #29
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

RPJOB wrote: View Post
Did we really need 4 hours of Trek devoted, at least in part, to explaining away something that didn't really need an explanation?
Yes.

Well, I don't NEED it, but I prefer 'in universe' explanations where possible, and so do many others.

Season 4 is the only season of Enterprise I really liked, and all the continuity stuff was a big part of that...
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Old December 13 2012, 07:54 PM   #30
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Re: Which Trek author is best at retconong stuff?

But why is an explanation even necessary or required or desirable? Trek should be about new ideas. New life, new civilizations and all that. Devoting a large chunk of a season to naval gazing over a simple change of make-up is missing the point of Star Trek. As Gene Roddenberry said, a policeman in a cop drama doesn't stop to explain how his service revolver works.

Kor Was a Klingon, Worf was a Klingon. No more explanation is needed.

The novels are free of the budgetary limitations of a TV series and yet people still want to go back to the same old trough for another drink. If you're going to beting back an old element, tell us something new, don't just try to explain away a costuming change.

The Final Reflection dealt with this issue by showing us HOW the differences affected the Klingons, not just trying to tie it all up on one big, small universe bow. It didn't go into excruciating detail trying to get it all to fit with other parts of canon. That brings us to the pint where pretty much every big event we've heard of involves a ship Named Enterprise or a crew that had their own TV show. That was the one failing of Vanguard. It reduced a fascinating new crew to background players in their own series by making the events of TOS the big story. Almost everything the ended up doing was putting pieces in place for JTK and his crew to play with sometime down the line.
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