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

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Old June 19 2013, 08:37 PM   #76
Idran
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

Yeah, I'd agree with that too; although like I said, I hardly ever see anyone take it to that level anymore, especially in post-Internet fandoms. Most fans nowadays in those don't care about canon beyond just as a starting point, beyond just wanting to know where something falls. But any fans that are still doing that? Yeah, they're being ridiculous.
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Old June 19 2013, 08:50 PM   #77
Greg Cox
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

I don't know. Seems I still hear these reactions fairly often:

"I don't bother with the books because they're not canon."

"Why can't the books be canon?"
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Old June 19 2013, 09:08 PM   #78
EliyahuQeoni
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I don't know. Seems I still hear these reactions fairly often:

"I don't bother with the books because they're not canon."

"Why can't the books be canon?"
Same here. In fact, I would say I hear it more often than I ever did pre-Internet.

I also hear this conversation quite often:

Fan #1: But what about this inconsistency/plot hole in Episode #45?

Fan #2: That was explained in the novel The Enterprise Syndrome by Sherman Grant.

Fan #1: The books aren't canon, so that doesn't count.
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Old June 19 2013, 09:55 PM   #79
Christopher
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I don't know. Seems I still hear these reactions fairly often:

"I don't bother with the books because they're not canon."

"Why can't the books be canon?"
And I'm pleased that now I have a good answer to the latter question. As we've seen with the Abramsverse comics and the early B5 novels among others, even when the effort is made to keep tie-ins consistent with canon, it doesn't really succeed, because the creators of the core work just can't maintain close control over tie-ins while they're simultaneously concentrating on the core work.


EliyahuQeoni wrote: View Post
I also hear this conversation quite often:

Fan #1: But what about this inconsistency/plot hole in Episode #45?

Fan #2: That was explained in the novel The Enterprise Syndrome by Sherman Grant.

Fan #1: The books aren't canon, so that doesn't count.
Except that's actually true. All we tie-in authors can do is offer suggestions for how the plot hole might be resolved. There's nothing stopping the canon, or another tie-in author, from offering a different explanation.

Although it's not as if canons don't sometimes offer contradictory explanations themselves. Comic Book Resources has a regular column called "Abandoned an' Forsaked" that's all about the many times that a comic-book storyline has been retconned or reinterpreted or deliberately contradicted. One author reveals that Polaris is really Magneto's daughter, a later author reveals that it was a hoax and they aren't related, and a later author reveals that the hoax revelation was itself a hoax and she really is his daughter. One author says that Nick Fury is definitely dead and there's no chance it was just a Life Model Decoy that died, then a later author reveals that they were tricked by a more advanced model of LMD and Fury really is alive. So really, even canonical explanations aren't always carved in stone.
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Old June 19 2013, 10:11 PM   #80
Idran
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

That seems a little self-contradictory yourself, though. If canon can contradict itself freely, which I entirely agree with, then why would contradictions be a reason to say that something can't be classified as canon?

(I'm not claiming a position on tie-ins being put at the level of canon myself here, I'm just pointing it out.)
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Old June 19 2013, 10:36 PM   #81
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

Idran wrote: View Post
That seems a little self-contradictory yourself, though. If canon can contradict itself freely, which I entirely agree with, then why would contradictions be a reason to say that something can't be classified as canon?

(I'm not claiming a position on tie-ins being put at the level of canon myself here, I'm just pointing it out.)
Because it's not about consistency. Like I said, it's just a label for the stories by the core creators as distinct from stories by other people.
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Old June 19 2013, 10:57 PM   #82
Idran
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

Oh, I misunderstood. If someone asks that question then aren't they obviously using the fandom definition of canon? Using the "original" definition the question doesn't make any sense to ask in the first place.
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Old June 20 2013, 12:02 AM   #83
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

^But people asking that question don't know it doesn't make sense. When they ask "Why can't the books be canon?" they're not talking about personal preference -- they're asking why the creators of the official work can't choose to acknowledge and stay consistent with the books. And the answer is that we've seen attempts to do just that, to keep ongoing series and their tie-ins consistent with each other (at least inasmuch as any canon is consistent), and they generally don't work out, with the books that were initially treated as canonical ending up getting superseded/ignored. We've seen that with the B5 novels, we're seeing it in recent years (and will be seeing it a lot more) with Star Wars, and we saw it with Jeri Taylor's Voyager novels Mosaic and Pathways. As I said, the only way to have the tie-ins really work as primary canon is if the core series isn't being made anymore and the creators are free to directly supervise the tie-ins.
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Old June 20 2013, 12:16 AM   #84
Greg Cox
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

Christopher wrote: View Post
As I said, the only way to have the tie-ins really work as primary canon is if the core series isn't being made anymore and the creators are free to directly supervise the tie-ins.
And even then that's only until the core series is revived as a new tv show or movie, or a new creative team takes over . . . .
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Old June 20 2013, 12:17 AM   #85
Idran
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

They "don't know it doesn't make sense" because it does make sense, and that isn't what they're asking. You're misunderstanding the question they're asking if that's what you're taking from it. They're using the fandom definition of canon and not your definition; they're asking why a tie-in can't be included as official on the same level as the base material. They aren't asking about consistency because, as you said, canon material can be inconsistent as well.

People outside fandoms use it that way too. Joss Whedon, for example, used the word with that definition describing the comic series "The Origin" despite no one from the show having worked on it:

The origin comic, though I have issues with it, CAN pretty much be accepted as canonical.
Now, I'm definitely not using this as an argument that books should or shouldn't be counted as canon; I don't care what the "official" word is either way there. What I'm arguing is that the new definition of canon is supplanting the old. Many franchises outside Star Trek don't use the old definition of canon. I'd say most creators nowadays outside Star Trek use the new definition of canon, even. And saying that anyone that uses the new definition of canon is wrong is akin to saying that ending a sentence with a preposition is wrong from a linguistic perspective.

I mean, heck, the "original" definition only even came about because some Sherlock Holmes fans misunderstood a joke other fans were making about how the books should be included as part of the Bible.

Edit: Just to clarify, when I talk about the new definition vs. the old definition for canon, I'm not saying what should or shouldn't count as canon; I just realized it could sound that way. I'm literally talking about what the word means, the old definition being "something created by the original creators" and the new being "something which in a given fictional universe is considered to have happened with regard to that fictional universe", which can be either by the creators of a given fictional universe (the so-called "official" canon, as little as that matters) or by an individual fan or fans of a given work, and unless otherwise modified (such as "personal canon", "headcanon", or the like) is usually taken to mean the former.

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Old June 20 2013, 12:39 AM   #86
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

^You're making a very narrow set of assumptions about what "they" mean. There's no uniform "they" in fandom, not by a long shot. What you say may be true for some fans, but what I say is true of others. The whole reason canon is such a pervasive source of arguments is that there are about a million different beliefs about what it means, many of which are grounded in fundamental misconceptions about the creative process or the priorities and goals of producers and studios.
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Old June 20 2013, 12:42 AM   #87
Idran
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

Okay, true, but you yourself seemed earlier to assume that anyone that uses the word canon intends your definition, and you've outright said that definitions other than that are simply wrong. That was where most of my own responses came from, that you were claiming that there was only the original definition of canon, and other usages were incorrect rather than alternate definitions.
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Old June 20 2013, 01:46 AM   #88
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

^You're completely wrong about what my intentions are, and I'm sick of trying to clarify it. This has gotten to the point of splitting hairs with a microscope, and I'm sure we both have better things to do.
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Old June 20 2013, 03:48 AM   #89
Charles Phipps
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

My opinion on the canon debate, if anyone cares.

Klingon from the back: WE DON'T!

Canon is both important as well as almost entirely arbitrary. Take Castlevania, of all things, a sidescrolling series about a vampire hunting family which you wouldn't think would have a major issue with continuity. However, no less than two games were exiled from the series for a rather arbitrary reason (the protagonist was a woman) and the series has recently been rebooted as "Lords of Shadow."

Does that mean the two exiled games are less good? No. Does that mean that the previous series "didn't happen"? No, because the previous series is fiction just like the current series is. It's fiction so it doesn't matter what happened.

However, it does.

If we become invested in characters, we like to know that their our investment of time (as well as money) is worth it. It may be a purely emotional response but saying, "this story doesn't count" undermines its importance in the grand scheme of things. It's a statement the events aren't considered important by the developers of the program to include and, on some level, may just be a cash cow.

Which, many times, they are.

Over in Star Trek's archnemesis' forum, Star Wars, the fans are currently dealing with their two decades-old novelverse being rendered noncanonical. It's about 5,000 years of history starting from the origins of the Sith and Jedi's war to a century past ROTJ with Luke Skywalker's drug-addicted antihero grandson who dabbles in piracy as well as bounty-hunting. Oh and the Sith rule the galaxy again.

The Walt Disney Corporation have stated they don't want any of this stuff in "their" continuation of Star Wars. Frankly, I don't blame them. Still, it's a question to fans, "What does this mean for our hobby?" Well, to me, not much. It's a complete entity of itself. Just like if they ever return to the main Trekverse with a Post-dominion War series the novelverse is still going to be as awesome as it was.

(Not that I think that's going to happen)

Infinite worlds, my friend, and each is as valid as what people say is the "real" one.
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Old June 20 2013, 04:08 AM   #90
Christopher
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Re: I thought they said the JJ-comics were canon?

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
If we become invested in characters, we like to know that their our investment of time (as well as money) is worth it. It may be a purely emotional response but saying, "this story doesn't count" undermines its importance in the grand scheme of things. It's a statement the events aren't considered important by the developers of the program to include and, on some level, may just be a cash cow.
See, I don't understand that attitude. It's worth it if you enjoy the story. Its importance is in its entertainment value, not in how well it fits with other stories. The Dark Knight isn't consistent with the continuity of Batman: The Animated Series, and neither is consistent with the comics, but that doesn't mean they're worth less. It just means they're a distinct take on the characters and concepts.

Not everything has to be part of a "grand scheme." Not everything is significant only because of what comes later. Countless great stories are entirely self-contained. There's no sequel to Hamlet. There's no Son of Citizen Kane. Someone did write a sequel to Casablanca and it was a travesty. Sometimes the value of a story is entirely in the story itself.

And it's a mistake to interpret it as saying that non-canonical stories "aren't important." As I keep stressing, canon is not a value judgment, just a classification. Canon doesn't disregard tie-ins because they aren't important, but because they can't be directly supervised in detail by the creators at the same time they're focused on the main work, and so it's not really feasible.
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