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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old February 19 2013, 01:19 AM   #31
RPJOB
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Two different entities own two different sets of rights. Paramount may be willing to look the other way as long as no money is being made but the owner of the rights to the Kzinti is under no obligation to do likewise.
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Old February 19 2013, 01:21 AM   #32
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Christopher wrote: View Post
GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
Folks may recall that we at Star Trek Phase II had started pre-production on Jimmy Diggs' Kzinti script--adapted to a Kirk-era story. We were stymied by not being able to secure the production rights to the Kzinti from the gentleman to whom Larry Niven sold them years ago. We started to forge ahead with the felinoid race being called the "Kytheri." Ultimately, there were just too many obstacles to overcome and we had to backburner (way backburner) to episode.
Forgive me, but I find that a bit paradoxical, considering that technically you don't have the rights to shoot productions based on Star Trek in the first place. It's tolerated as long as you don't try to make a profit from it, but it's not actually authorized or licensed. So why would lack of rights be an impediment where the Kzinti are concerned but not where Star Trek is concerned?
The owner of Star Trek has indicated they will leave us alone and allow us to make these things as long as we make no income. (That's not no profit; that's no income whatsoever.)

However, the owner of the Kzinti characters is not as generous, understanding, and permissive. He indicated that he will not be looking the other way. He will not tolerate it if we make no profit; he has a different expectation of what our obligation would be to him.
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Old February 19 2013, 02:26 AM   #33
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Thanks for the clarification.
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Old February 19 2013, 05:14 AM   #34
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Christopher wrote: View Post
I just think it's a poor fit into the Trek universe as we now know it. Not only is there no other mention of Kzinti, but none of Slavers or stasis boxes. It stands to reason that they would've left artifacts all over the Trek universe and their impact would be felt, as is the case in Known Space. Sure, there are plenty of ancient races we only ever hear about once, but the Slavers were supposed to be this vast galaxy-spanning power, and it's stated outright in the episode that their boxes are highly important, sought-after treasures. If they were part of the Trek universe, it's hard to believe they would've gone so totally unmentioned outside this episode. That makes it hard enough to reconcile even with what came before TAS, let alone everything that's come after. The story just works better in Known Space, because it was meant to happen there and was an outgrowth of ideas already established there (in World of Ptavvs and "A Relic of the Empire"). It's a much more awkward fit in the context of Star Trek.
You make good points about the Slavers. Though I do have a few thoughts that could explain them not being mentioned. For one thing, I seriously doubt humans at the time of Enterprise would have known anything about the Slavers anyway due to the Vulcans beyond perhaps a few boomers who may have heard a tale or two tales and they may have only considered the Slavers to be alien myths.


Another thing to consider is that as time passed and civilizations advanced, the Slaver stasis boxes would render fewer advances and thus be less significant. In fact, considering the Slaver weapon only had one setting that was more advanced than the technology of the time period when it was found, it could be that the stasis boxes were already becoming less significant or this possibly was the beginning of them becoming less significant. Perhaps only a less technologically advanced species like the Kzinti would find much in a stasis box to be of any practical use. Perhaps more technologically advanced species, if they happen to seek out the stasis boxes at all, do it mostly out of curiosity more than out of trying to find more advanced tech and thusly the Slavers aren't much talked about outside of academic circles.

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Old February 19 2013, 05:21 AM   #35
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

^Interesting thoughts. But while maybe you can explain away each individual detail, to me, when a story demands that many cumulative rationalizations to make it fit, that's a sign that maybe it just doesn't belong where you're trying to force it to be.
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Old February 19 2013, 09:30 AM   #36
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Christopher wrote: View Post
I mean, there's been one other Trek episode that was an adaptation of an earlier, non-Trek science fiction work: TNG's "Tin Man"...
What about Fredric Brown's "Arena"?
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Old February 19 2013, 02:17 PM   #37
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Christopher wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
Also, I'm thinking forget Niven history, create a new one. Maybe call them the Mirak.
Well, then, why not just create a separate felinoid warrior race? It's not like the Kzinti are the only such species in SF by a long shot. So if you're going to separate them from their Nivenian elements, they're not Kzinti at all, just Felinoid Warrior Alien Race #47.
Did you mean to do that?
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Old February 19 2013, 02:28 PM   #38
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

gottacook wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
I mean, there's been one other Trek episode that was an adaptation of an earlier, non-Trek science fiction work: TNG's "Tin Man"...
What about Fredric Brown's "Arena"?
According to Inside Star Trek, by way of Memory Alpha [http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Arena_(episode)#Script and http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Fredric_Brown], Arena was not initially written as an adaptation, but rather it was one of those cases where two people came up with a similar idea independently. However, the executives decided that they needed to purchase the story from Brown anyway in order to film the episode.

I guess the hair being split here is that the episode was not conceived of as an adaptation. I'd thought of Arena too, and already looked it up.
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Old February 19 2013, 03:56 PM   #39
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Actually I just forgot about "Arena," but I wouldn't have counted it anyway. Even aside from what CorporalCaptain says about its origins, the episode "Arena" is way, way different from the Brown story in any case. There are enough broad similarities in the premise -- warring human and alien abducted by superadvanced race and placed in artificial environment to battle one another to the death -- that Gene Coon was concerned he may have been influenced by Brown's story and thus felt it appropriate to buy the rights from Brown. And of course they have the same title. But the characters, the alien, the setting, the story mechanics, and the outcome are all completely different. Here's the original story for comparison.

What makes "The Slaver Weapon" distinct from "Arena" and "Tin Man" is that it doesn't just take some broad concepts from the original and build a Trek story out of them, but it retells "The Soft Weapon" beat for beat.
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Old February 19 2013, 04:13 PM   #40
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Christopher wrote: View Post
There are enough broad similarities in the premise -- warring human and alien abducted by superadvanced race and placed in artificial environment to battle one another to the death -- that Gene Coon was concerned he may have been influenced by Brown's story and thus felt it appropriate to buy the rights from Brown.
Yeah, I suspect this as well, but this is not given in the Memory Alpha articles. From their accounts, you'd never know there was a possibility that Gene Coon had heard of Brown's story before Joan Pearce brought it to his attention.

Not that it really matters one way or another: no matter what hairs you split, the fact is, Brown got credit.
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Old February 19 2013, 04:33 PM   #41
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

^See Inside Star Trek pp. 206-7. In Herb Solow's words:
Coon, an ardent reader of science fiction since he was a child, in his haste to create a story, had inadvertently based part of is script on a short story that had been written by Fredric Brown. [Researcher] Kellam [DeForest]'s assistant Joan Pearce, who reviewed, analyzed, and wrote the research reports on all Star Trek scripts, recognized the story. She remembers that when she advised Coon of the problem, his reaction was a horrified "Oh my God!" Joan has absolutely no doubt he was unaware he had "lifted" the material. But Coon had transgressed, and there was no way we could shoot the script without buying a plagiarism lawsuit.

Gene Coon and I met with Bernie Weitzman and Ed Perlstein and formulated a plan. Business Affairs would call Brown, tell him Star Trek would like to buy his story, and offer a fair price. Brown was thrilled to have one of his stories on Star Trek and accepted the deal. We never did tell him that the script had already been written.
Of course, the other difference between that and the other two is that Brown had no actual involvement in writing the episode. "The Slaver Weapon" and "Tin Man" were both written by the actual authors of the works they were adapted from.

(There's also TNG's "Where No One Has Gone Before," written by Diane Duane and Michael Reaves as a loose adaptation of Duane's TOS novel The Wounded Sky and then profoundly rewritten by the TNG staff until it bore almost no resemblance to Duane and Reaves's script. But I didn't count that because the source material was a Trek story, not a story from a different SF universe. And "Slaver" was the only Trek episode adapted from another long-running SF continuity. Brown's "Arena" and Bischoff & Bailey's Tin Woodman were both, as far as I know, standalone works rather than parts of series.)
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Old February 19 2013, 04:58 PM   #42
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Well, that Inside Star Trek account doesn't address the question of whether Coon might have read or heard about Brown's story years before, which is the sort of thing that would have happened if "Gene Coon was concerned he may have been influenced by Brown's story" as Christopher first put it (emphasis mine). All we can glean from that account is that, if he had, he had honestly forgotten about it. Which is fine; it makes no difference, since he and the producers did the right thing.

---

I've also noticed "story by" credits, such as for TNG: Sarek where it says story by Peter S. Beagle (from an unpublished story by Marc Cushman & Jake Jacobs). So, I guess the case there is that material originally conceived in some for or another for Star Trek was adapted?
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Old February 19 2013, 05:46 PM   #43
Christopher
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Well, that Inside Star Trek account doesn't address the question of whether Coon might have read or heard about Brown's story years before, which is the sort of thing that would have happened if "Gene Coon was concerned he may have been influenced by Brown's story" as Christopher first put it (emphasis mine).
As I read the passage, it quite clearly says that Coon, an avid reader of SF, was positive that he had read the story years before and had unintentionally based part of his script on it.

All we can glean from that account is that, if he had, he had honestly forgotten about it.
Which is exactly what I meant to convey in the first place, just in different words. I guess I could've phrased it more clearly.


I've also noticed "story by" credits, such as for TNG: Sarek where it says story by Peter S. Beagle (from an unpublished story by Marc Cushman & Jake Jacobs). So, I guess the case there is that material originally conceived in some for or another for Star Trek was adapted?
Well, the basic "story by" credit usually refers to the story outline for the episode, as either developed by the staff in the writers' room or pitched by a freelancer to the show's producers. I'm not sure what the "from an unpublished story" credit refer to; it's hard to say whether such unpublished stories ("The Emissary" also carries such a credit) were actually prose stories or just script proposals. I can't find any detailed information about them in a web search or in the TNG Companion.

But in any case, such inspirations are generally quite loose; it may be a case where the story they developed for the episode was just indirectly inspired by the "unpublished story." For instance, "Sarek" was inspired by an outline about a different, non-telepathic ambassador having a mental breakdown, although the sources are unclear whether that was Cushman & Jacobs's story or Beagle's. So those are too vague even to constitute adaptations -- and of course if the stories are unsold, they're more potential stories than "real" ones.
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Old February 19 2013, 09:39 PM   #44
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Fascinating. I had always assumed that "Arena" was indeed based on the Brown story, probably because the 1973 David Gerrold book stated it as a fact: "And one of the scripts was based on a short story by Fredric Brown."
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Old February 19 2013, 09:52 PM   #45
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

gottacook wrote: View Post
Fascinating. I had always assumed that "Arena" was indeed based on the Brown story, probably because the 1973 David Gerrold book stated it as a fact: "And one of the scripts was based on a short story by Fredric Brown."
Ah, interesting. Which book, by the way? There are two Gerrold Star Trek books from 1973: The World of Star Trek and The Trouble with Tribbles. And, do you have a page number?
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