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

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Old May 18 2013, 03:35 PM   #31
DorkBoy [TM]
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

Daddy Todd wrote: View Post
DorkBoy [TM] wrote: View Post
I had never even heard of it until the recent reissue. My first reaction to that was "Wait- there was a Star Trek book before Spock Must Die?? No way!" And I'd been an avid novel collector for decades.

Is it worth reading? I never actually bothered to check it out.

It's not great. If you miss it, life will go on just fine.

If you've read lots of Astounding/Analog stories from the '50's & '60's, it will make more sense. It's very Campbellian in not-so-subtle ways. Star Trek (the TV series) was never as "Astounding" as Reynold's novel.
I might have to check it out then someday. I love old pulp sci-fi.
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Old May 24 2013, 08:54 AM   #32
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

Nice shout out but I have to disagree with several of their "if you only read one" suggestions, including Treason for New Frontier (I would have picked Once Burned), Warpath for the post-finale Deep Space 9 series (I would have picked Avatar, even if it's really two books), Oblivion for Stargazer (I would have picked Valiant), and Forged in Fire for Lost Era (I would have picked The Sundered or The Art of the Impossible).
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Old May 27 2013, 03:20 AM   #33
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

Emh wrote: View Post
Nice shout out but I have to disagree with several of their "if you only read one" suggestions, including Treason for New Frontier (I would have picked Once Burned), Warpath for the post-finale Deep Space 9 series (I would have picked Avatar, even if it's really two books), Oblivion for Stargazer (I would have picked Valiant), and Forged in Fire for Lost Era (I would have picked The Sundered or The Art of the Impossible).
I have to agree with you on Treason and Forged in Fire. They were both good, but there were a lot of better books in their respective series. Warpath is one of the best DS9R books, but it's so arc heavy that I don't think I'd recommend it either.
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Old May 27 2013, 09:02 AM   #34
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

tomswift2002 wrote: View Post
I'm surprised no one noticed the error right at the beginning of the article. The article says

Empire Online wrote:
The first original Star Trek tie-in novel (i.e. not the novelisation of an existing episode) was Spock Must Die! by sci-fi legend James Blish, published in 1970.
That's incorrect! The first tie-in novel was Mack Reynold's Mission To Horatius in 1967.
You'll be thrilled to note that the recent SFX magazine special, "The A-Z of Star Trek", does give "Mission to Horatius" its due as the first ST novel. Well, kind of:


SFX Magazine by Therin of Andor, on Flickr

SFX magazine wrote:
"Well, it looks good... Trek's first spin-off novel was terrible - fortunately, the range didn't stop there."
The "T is for Tie-In Novels" feature encompasses pages 99-103.
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Old May 27 2013, 11:59 AM   #35
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

I don't know if "Warpath" is as "arc heavy" as people think; a lot of it is on the bridge of the Defiant , with Taran'atar and Tenmei on the runabout and Bashir treating Kira and Ro.
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Old May 27 2013, 09:26 PM   #36
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

DS9forever wrote: View Post
I don't know if "Warpath" is as "arc heavy" as people think; a lot of it is on the bridge of the Defiant , with Taran'atar and Tenmei on the runabout and Bashir treating Kira and Ro.
"Warpath" is kind of like a part 3 of a 10 part story where different cenario's have been setup in previous stories, and the overall arc stuff is pretty heavy, since some people might pick up th book and be like "How did Kira come to be under the operating knife?" and "Why hasn't the author given us the starting details?"

That SFX article looks interesting, but I can't read the little blurb under the Horatius cover.
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Old May 27 2013, 09:44 PM   #37
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

tomswift2002 wrote: View Post
That SFX article looks interesting, but I can't read the little blurb under the Horatius cover.
Seems to say: "The wide-open nature of the core material allowed writers to tell pretty much any story they wanted."
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Old May 27 2013, 10:32 PM   #38
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

tomswift2002 wrote: View Post
DS9forever wrote: View Post
I don't know if "Warpath" is as "arc heavy" as people think; a lot of it is on the bridge of the Defiant , with Taran'atar and Tenmei on the runabout and Bashir treating Kira and Ro.
"Warpath" is kind of like a part 3 of a 10 part story where different cenario's have been setup in previous stories, and the overall arc stuff is pretty heavy, since some people might pick up th book and be like "How did Kira come to be under the operating knife?" and "Why hasn't the author given us the starting details?"
Exactly. I really think to fully understand it you'd at least need to read Olympus Decending since it picks up from the cliffhangers that closed that story.
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Old May 27 2013, 11:15 PM   #39
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

Defcon wrote: View Post
tomswift2002 wrote: View Post
That SFX article looks interesting, but I can't read the little blurb under the Horatius cover.
Seems to say: "The wide-open nature of the core material allowed writers to tell pretty much any story they wanted."
Yep. It's a pull-out from the main article. The little caption under the cover of MtH is the bit that says, "WELL, IT LOOKS GOOD... Trek's first spin-off novel was terrible - fortunately, the range didn't stop there."

The author, Tom Holt, is obviously a fan of the David Hartwell & co.'s 80s output ("professionally-written fanfic by authors who'd loved Star Trek for years", who were "writing as much for love as for money") and is quite scathing of what he perceives as the shift to novels by "tie-in professionals (practically full-time Trek novelists)", John Ordover's linked mini-series, "New Frontier" descending into self-parody, and Marco Palmieri's introduction of original characters into DS9: "a huge army of new people the readers hadn't heard of and had no reason to care about, populating a universe that was rapidly ceasing to be relevant" (ie. as reflected by ever-falling TV ratings).

He does go on to say that "recent trends are more hopeful" and "there's life in the old targ yet."
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Old May 27 2013, 11:45 PM   #40
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
The author, Tom Holt, is obviously a fan of the David Hartwell & co.'s 80s output ("professionally-written fanfic by authors who'd loved Star Trek for years", who were "writing as much for love as for money") and is quite scathing of what he perceives as the shift to novels by "tie-in professionals (practically full-time Trek novelists)"
Well, that's not very accurate or fair. A number of the early Pocket writers were pre-established professional SF authors, including Vonda McIntyre, "Lee Correy" (G. Harry Stine), Diane Duane, Greg Bear (though not as big yet as he'd later become), and John M. Ford. And the idea that folks like myself, KRAD, Dave Mack, Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Kirsten Beyer, and the like are writing only for money instead of love of Trek is ridiculous to anyone who's acquainted with us at all -- not to mention that many of us got our first big breaks writing Trek.
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Old May 28 2013, 12:13 AM   #41
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

It's by Tom Holt? Oh dear. He absolutely hates The Q Continuum, which he once memorably described as "quite possibly the worst books written in any age, language, or genre."

I guess I should brace myself before picking up that magazine!
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Old May 28 2013, 12:58 AM   #42
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
It's by Tom Holt? Oh dear. He absolutely hates The Q Continuum, which he once memorably described as "quite possibly the worst books written in any age, language, or genre."

I guess I should brace myself before picking up that magazine!
WHAT?!? I absolutely LOVED the Q Continuum trilogy! I no longer respect any aspect of that man's opinion whatsoever!
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Old May 28 2013, 01:41 AM   #43
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

I loved the early 80s "professionally written fanfic" - I totally remember those days. I remember several books where the author said "I worked on this novel throughout the 70s, I never thought it'd ever be published" or words to that effect.

The trouble was, by the late 80s / early-to-mid 90s the series was running on fumes. These same authors, when asked to write a second or third book with an actual deadline, it just wasn't as good as their initial novel which had been percolating for years as fanfic. Sometimes they'd be asked to write about characters in the 24th century that they clearly didn't care about, or (cough, cough Carey) were openly contemptuous of.

For a long time it felt like the trek novels were totally phoning it in, with a monotony of planet of the week TOS book one month, TNG the next. (And, after a while adding DS9, VOY, and ENT to the rotation and going to 2 books a month.)

It really was in the late 90s when they started taking chances, doing miniseries, adding new characters, and trying new things, when the books started getting good again. The Ordover / Palmieri era was when the novels started finally being worth reading every month. And of course I feel like today the books are better than ever before.

I think you do need to strike a balance between standalone planet-of-the-week stories (which are a staple of Star Trek) and ongoing narrative, and I feel like they have done a great job of that lately. For a while they trended too much towards ONLY arc-heavy stuff, but the pendulum has started to shift the other way.

Maybe that's what he means by a "hopeful trend" and he prefers old-school standalones?

Personally I like having a balance of both. I love the ongoing storyline and new characters, but I need a plain old planetary exploration adventure occasionally too. But I do not want to go back to the early 90s, with nothing but alternating planet-of-the-week standalones and static characters.

Its helped that they don't make them put all the toys back in the box every week now that the shows are all off the air. And of course the writers that have been circulating through for the past 10-15 years have been really good. I think that makes more of a difference than anything.
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Old May 28 2013, 02:07 AM   #44
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Defcon wrote: View Post
tomswift2002 wrote: View Post
That SFX article looks interesting, but I can't read the little blurb under the Horatius cover.
Seems to say: "The wide-open nature of the core material allowed writers to tell pretty much any story they wanted."
Yep. It's a pull-out from the main article. The little caption under the cover of MtH is the bit that says, "WELL, IT LOOKS GOOD... Trek's first spin-off novel was terrible - fortunately, the range didn't stop there."

The author, Tom Holt, is obviously a fan of the David Hartwell & co.'s 80s output ("professionally-written fanfic by authors who'd loved Star Trek for years", who were "writing as much for love as for money") and is quite scathing of what he perceives as the shift to novels by "tie-in professionals (practically full-time Trek novelists)", John Ordover's linked mini-series, "New Frontier" descending into self-parody, and Marco Palmieri's introduction of original characters into DS9: "a huge army of new people the readers hadn't heard of and had no reason to care about, populating a universe that was rapidly ceasing to be relevant" (ie. as reflected by ever-falling TV ratings).

He does go on to say that "recent trends are more hopeful" and "there's life in the old targ yet."
How thoroughly bizarre. Unless he's referring to the huge numbers of TOS novels, which are also mostly written by those same "tie-in professionals", I have no idea what he's talking about. His description - "a huge army of new people the readers hadn't heard of and had no reason to care about" - is, if anything, MORE applicable to stuff like Typhon Pact than it was to Palmieri's projects.
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Old May 28 2013, 02:17 AM   #45
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Re: Novel feature by Empire Film Magazine

I'll never understand the attitude some people have that original characters aren't as worthy of attention as familiar, established characters. I mean, if that's their view, then how did they get interested in those established characters in the first place? All characters are new to you when you first encounter them.
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