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

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Old May 26 2013, 02:31 AM   #1
DWMarch
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If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

One thing that has bugged me about Star Trek Into Darkness since seeing it is how much it seems to be Trek by fanboys for fanboys. This is to say it's the kind of Star Trek story I would have written at the age of twelve, one with no regard for the rules of the universe and rules of common sense.

I remember seeing the Strange New Worlds submission guidelines and as I recall they specified no uber-ships, no Mary Sues, no shocking secrets about the pasts of the main characters and no reset buttons. STID has all of these of course, plus an evil admiral to boot.

So the question is, had STID been a submission for SNW, would it have been laughed out of consideration? It's TWOK all over again except Khan beats the snot out of Spock AND a whole squad of Klingons! Kirk punches Khan over and over again but doesn't even give him a headache! Carol Marcus isn't a bitchy mom anymore, she's a hottie who does a stripshow for Kirk in a shuttle! And the new ship is the USS VENGEANCE!!! now with 3X the speed and power of the Enterprise. We'll also do that touching death scene from TWOK but switch it up so that Spock is the one who gets all emotional... and he'll be so upset that he'll yell KHAAAAAAAAN! And Kirk will die fixing the warp core but it's all good because Khan's blood cures anything, as we'll see when Dr. McCoy randomly injects a tribble with it! And let's not forget some clumsy 9-11 allegories as well.

I know the screen and the page have different needs and it's a lot easier to sell the explosions and badassery of the villain on screen. But I can't help but feel like if STID had been submitted to SNW it would still be causing the editors to chuckle over how amateur and silly the story was.

Having said all this, I should clarify that I liked STID but that it is not without its flaws and that while it is a great action movie it is not good Star Trek.
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Old May 26 2013, 06:47 AM   #2
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

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Old May 26 2013, 08:58 AM   #3
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

DWMarch wrote: View Post
no reset buttons...
Well, the guidelines for new writers to ST submitting a proposal and three sample chapters to Pocket's editors, for a regular MMPB, insisted on the reset button being used, since all the toys had to be returned to the sandbox. Unless you were a regular, proven author.

We'll also do that touching death scene from TWOK but switch it up so that Spock is the one who gets all emotional... and he'll be so upset that he'll yell KHAAAAAAAAN!
Is this any different to the "Myriad Universes" story collections?

And Kirk will die fixing the warp core but it's all good because Khan's blood cures anything
As I mentioned elsewhere, in the 21st century, medical science can use stem cells, umbilical and placental blood, and bone marrow transplants, to "cure" or improve a range of conditions. A work colleague's partner is currently one of eight patients in a world-based clinical trial, whereby a 3cc serum is distilled from a large vial of her own blood and injected back into an ankle ligament to attempt to stimulate the area to regenerate.
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Old May 26 2013, 09:47 AM   #4
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

DWMarch wrote: View Post


But I can't help but feel like if STID had been submitted to SNW it would still be causing the editors to chuckle over how amateur and silly the story was.
It's this simple - if you are an amateur nobody, you get to say "how would you like that dick sucked?", if you are a leading producer with a proven track-record you get to say "get sucking that dick".
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Old May 26 2013, 12:38 PM   #5
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

Would ANY of the movies be allowed as SNW submissions?

*James Blish already novelized "The Changeling" in 1972.

*a torpedo that does what??

*Bring back Spock how??

*Star Trek would never use time travel so recklessly. If it did, Kirk would be living happily with Edith Keeler in the 23rd century.

*Spock has a brother? Fail.

*This story blatantly contradics "Yesterday's Enterprise" which already established that peace with the Klingons stems from an event 22 years prior to TNG.

*Destroying the Enterprise-D and killing Captain Kirk twice? Nu-uh.

*A Borg queen?? GTFO.

*Picard's stance in this story contradicts his in "Homeward" with no explanation.

*Inventing the Remans? Killing the entire Romulan leadership? Shinzon is a twentysomething PICARD CLONE??? Leave. Now.
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Old May 26 2013, 01:24 PM   #6
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

^Right. This is an invalid premise because the rules that apply to tie-ins -- especially an anthology contest for amateurs -- are not the same as the rules that apply to a canonical production. This thread is just a thinly veiled excuse to trash the film. It's not really a Trek Lit conversation at all.
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Old May 26 2013, 02:01 PM   #7
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

Plus, its not the ideas that make or break the story, its the execution.

I agree that the premise of both JJ movies sounds like bad fanfic if presented as a brief summary. But that's not really the writing, that's just the idea. The execution was pretty darn good and I think in both cases they somehow managed to pull it off.

I had a lot of problems with the first movie (mainly, the characters - I wanted more warmth and humor and interaction there. Too many felt like caricatures rather than characters.) The second movie was much better in that regard! Or maybe I'm just marveling at how Kirk / Spock / McCoy worked - and Kirk / Spock / Uhura worked even better.

As for Khan - I didn't like the idea when people first started talking about whether they might have Khan in the film, years ago. But (to my surprise) it worked, at least for me.

I still think making this particular Kirk a captain with his life experience (or lack thereof) is stretching believability pretty thin. In the TV series universe its pretty clear that he's had years of experience in space, with prior postings, and that he's qualified to be a starship captain. That's really my only ongoing gripe with the new movie universe. But the movies are a lot of fun despite this, and Chris Pine is so good in the role that he makes it work.

I'm excited for the next one. Five year mission? I hope they're "boldly going" in the next one and not just saving earth from yet another villain.
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Old May 26 2013, 03:47 PM   #8
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

DWMarch wrote: View Post
So the question is, had STID been a submission for SNW, would it have been laughed out of consideration?
No. Dean Wesley Smith read far worse.

Dave Mack and John Ordover did an internet radio show in which they talked Star Trek books in the late 90s. They had Smith on once to talk about the kinds of stories he read.

At the time, the most insane story was a Deep Space Nine story. A giant space penis arrived at the station and mated with the Bajoran wormhole.

If Smith got through that, a hypothetical Star Trek Into Darkness story would be positively normal!

And to follow-up on what DorkBoy said, what matters was the execution. If Smith was gripped on page one and the story held together in the 7,500 word limit, Star Trek Into Darkness could very well have worked for Strange New Worlds.
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Old May 26 2013, 05:46 PM   #9
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

Christopher wrote: View Post
This thread is just a thinly veiled excuse to trash the film.
This.
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Old May 26 2013, 06:46 PM   #10
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

The original post reminded me of Diane Carey's first novel, Dreadnaught!

Basically, that book violated every established convention about what a Star Trek novel should not do. In addition to many of the things listed here, it also had a Mary Sue protagonist and was written in first person (gasp!) from her perspective, rather than focusing on the "big three." Why, even the title had an exclamation point in it. Scandal!

And yet, it was one of the finest TOS novels ever written. I remember reading it for the first time as a kid and it was like a breath of fresh air! (Which is also how I've heard many people describe the JJ movies.)

I remember reading something that either one of the editors at the time, or perhaps even Carey herself, wrote that was more or less along the same lines as the OP, only describing Dreadnaught! And, despite breaking all the "rules," the book worked, and worked well, and got published and followed up with a sequel! Which all goes to show that sometimes rules are meant to be broken. (Which sounds like something Kirk, particularly Carey's spin on Kirk, would say.)

The first JJ Abrams movie was inspired in part by Best Destiny - a Carey novel. It would not surprise me at all if the second one was inspired at least in part by Dreadnaught! - it had some similar elements.
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Old May 26 2013, 09:16 PM   #11
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
DWMarch wrote: View Post
So the question is, had STID been a submission for SNW, would it have been laughed out of consideration?
No. Dean Wesley Smith read far worse.

Dave Mack and John Ordover did an internet radio show in which they talked Star Trek books in the late 90s. They had Smith on once to talk about the kinds of stories he read.

At the time, the most insane story was a Deep Space Nine story. A giant space penis arrived at the station and mated with the Bajoran wormhole.
Do you have a link to that (or just some keywords to help find it)? That sounds hilarious and educational.
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Old May 26 2013, 09:42 PM   #12
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

I enjoyed STID for what it was, but to me ST isn't just action but "thinking and action". But I recognize the reality of the "summer blockbuster" mentality as opposed to the weekly series where you can emphasize one or the other element.

Still, am I the only one who thinks that Spock should have just whispered "Khaaan" but let all the same rage show through. I mean, in the first film Quinto made "Live long and prosper" come off like "F you".
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Old May 26 2013, 09:56 PM   #13
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

bullethead wrote: View Post
Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
DWMarch wrote: View Post
So the question is, had STID been a submission for SNW, would it have been laughed out of consideration?
No. Dean Wesley Smith read far worse.

Dave Mack and John Ordover did an internet radio show in which they talked Star Trek books in the late 90s. They had Smith on once to talk about the kinds of stories he read.

At the time, the most insane story was a Deep Space Nine story. A giant space penis arrived at the station and mated with the Bajoran wormhole.
Do you have a link to that (or just some keywords to help find it)? That sounds hilarious and educational.
I doubt you'll find the interview. The program was called "Star Trek: The Novel Experience." It was on the Pseudo Radio Network. There's probably nothing left of it out there; that was fifteen years ago, which was pretty close to the Jurassic Age in terms of the development of the Internet.

As for the story itself, Wesley didn't read it. He gave a recounting of the concept. I want to say he said the crew watched from Ops with a measure of fascination and horror, but I could be imagining that. I definitely remember the part about the *ahem*. That's the kind of thing that once you hear it you can never unhear.

ETA: I decided to look in Google Groups.

This link may not work. The relevant post comes from John Ordover on July 29, 1998. Ordover discusses why stories were rejected for the first anthology. After talking about the word count issue, he writes:

One was bounced for having a giant penis rape the wormhole.
As someone who, as far as I know, never got a story on Smith's second read pile, this hurts:

But as in anything else of this nature, most were bounced for simply not being able to put English words in a row.
Ouch, JJ, ouch.

The point is, that story really did exist, I didn't imagine the interview, and it was written for the first Strange New Worlds. If Dean Wesley Smith could sit through that, I've little doubt that he would have made it through a Strange New Worlds submission entitled "Into Darkness."
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Old May 26 2013, 10:13 PM   #14
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

E-DUB wrote: View Post
I enjoyed STID for what it was, but to me ST isn't just action but "thinking and action".
And in Into Darkness, there was both.

Comparing sitting on the Klingon Boarder and firing off torpedoes into Qo'nos with Americas Drone warfare.

Comparing the man hunt for Harrison, you know, the kill him without a trial bit to killing Bin Laden without a trial among others.

Then theirs the speech at the end, the bit about not letting yourself compromise your morals/ethics to do what you think the "greater good".

I understand you may have missed those, because, you know there were quiet a few 'splosions in Into Darkness, but the Enterprise does not fire one weapon in that film.

To me, Into Darkness has all the hallmarks of good Trek, whatever that is and the writers know what they're doing.
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Old May 27 2013, 01:43 AM   #15
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Re: If STID was a SNW submission... (SPOILERS)

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
At the time, the most insane story was a Deep Space Nine story. A giant space penis arrived at the station and mated with the Bajoran wormhole.
I can't be the only one who wants to read that story. Am I?
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