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Old June 26 2013, 02:28 PM   #1
Charles Phipps
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Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

A tough question but I was reading "The Eternal Tide" and was thinking about a tough question--how much is too much change from the status quo? What is the "line" for you guys in terms of altering the setting?



Obviously, we've had some really big changes to the SQ but other people think the destruction of the Borg was a bad thing. Others still love the return of fan-favorite characters while others believe death should remain sacred.

Is it a "as long as it's done well" for you or do you like seeing the novels shake it up?
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Old June 26 2013, 02:58 PM   #2
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

Imho, "as long as it's done well" fits my mark. As long as I feel sufficiently entertained by the stories and connected to the characters, I accept change and returns to SQ equally.

For example, I'm okay with TNG stories that feature Picard as an integral character after he resigns his commission, but I equally enjoy it if he stays in command - as long as it's well-written.

However, I'd rather not see a canon main character killed off, though I cannot justify it on an intellectual level. I still haven't gotten over Tasha's death. In spite of that, I'm not one to call for resurrection. Janeway's and Data's return were gratifying but I would've never complained anyway.

Bottom line is, I'm generally easily pleased and would go along with almost everything. Blow up Earth, if you want.
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Old June 26 2013, 03:01 PM   #3
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

As a reader I'm all for change. That's probably the biggest part of my preference to the 24th century novels - you get the impression that things are actually going somewhere.

I have trouble reconciling this with not wanting characters to be killed off though...
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Old June 26 2013, 03:09 PM   #4
Bumbles861
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
Is it a "as long as it's done well" for you or do you like seeing the novels shake it up?
Yes and yes. I want it to be done well and it is quite all right to shake things up.
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Old June 26 2013, 03:13 PM   #5
Charles Phipps
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

I'm of mixed feelings regarding death. For one, it is the BIG thing the novels can do to show, "we're really serious here!" OTOH, with the fact the TV shows are off the air, this is also not only killing the character but killing every potential storyline you're going to be telling with the characters.

Killing Janeway killed all C/J stories, all future tales of her adventures, and so on but it also meant the books had a big thing to say, "this is what we do" along with wiping out the Borg. I'm now half-worried we'll find a cube disconnected from the Queen at the time of Destiny and it'll start rebuilding the Collective like the Daleks.

I guess, for me, is I like change but I like changes to stick.
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Old June 26 2013, 04:36 PM   #6
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

I do not mind seeing a main character being killed-off, if it serves the greater aims of the story being told and is not simply gratuitous. and the authoris should think even harder before bringing a character back from the dead. In 99.999999% of cases, I think dead is dead and it should stay that way. Looking at you, Spock.
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Old June 26 2013, 04:52 PM   #7
Charles Phipps
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

Mysterion wrote: View Post
I do not mind seeing a main character being killed-off, if it serves the greater aims of the story being told and is not simply gratuitous. and the authoris should think even harder before bringing a character back from the dead. In 99.999999% of cases, I think dead is dead and it should stay that way. Looking at you, Spock.
Weirdly, I have a kind of 'resurrection criteria' for the setting. Data and Spock had their resurrections set up ahead of time. Likewise, I'd have had less problem with Janeway's resurrection if she'd been taken from another reality almost identical to our own or it was a Janeway created from a time paradox. If that makes any sense.
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Old June 26 2013, 04:56 PM   #8
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

I honestly thought bringing back the Borg from their apparent demise in Endgame was a really bad change to the status quo, which only got worse with the Supercube/invasion nonsense. That said, I think the lead up to Nemesis and the post-Nemesis stuff is just full of good ideas executed badly for the sake of shaking things up. You don't need to blow up planets/moons/whatever and kill tons of people all the time to change things in new and interesting ways.
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Old June 26 2013, 04:59 PM   #9
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

bullethead wrote: View Post
I honestly thought bringing back the Borg from their apparent demise in Endgame was a really bad change to the status quo, which only got worse with the Supercube/invasion nonsense.
"Endgame" never alleged that the Borg had been wiped out completely, just that a severe blow had been struck against them. Their transwarp network had been trashed, impeding their ability to reach the Federation, and their Unicomplex had been infected and destroyed, but we saw that the Borg sphere pursuing Voyager was not affected by the same pathogen, thus we could assume that the many other Borg cubes and planets that we already knew were scattered across much of the galaxy survived as well. Their command and transport structures were crippled, but "Endgame" was certainly not an act of genocide -- which would've been a pretty hideous climax for a Star Trek series.
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Old June 26 2013, 10:09 PM   #10
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

If people are content to read stories that adhere to a particular status quo, then it shouldn't be changed on a whim. If the series has stagnated so that no one wants to read stories that adhere to it any longer, then changing the status quo is warranted.

This assumes that your story universe is broad enough that new stories within a given status quo can always be written. Star Trek in general doesn't have this problem, but many new TV series are set up as one long ongoing story, where viewers don't expect there to be a status quo from week to week.
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Old June 26 2013, 10:43 PM   #11
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

CNash wrote: View Post
If people are content to read stories that adhere to a particular status quo, then it shouldn't be changed on a whim. If the series has stagnated so that no one wants to read stories that adhere to it any longer, then changing the status quo is warranted.
The problem there is that both sentences assume the entire audience will want the same thing. That's never the case. Any decision that delights part of your audience will upset another part. Which is why you ultimately have to go with whatever feels right to you as a storyteller and not be guided solely by what you imagine the audience wants. If you believe in and care about what you're writing, and put your best effort and passion into it, that's probably the most reliable way to satisfy the most readers. In that case, even people who aren't crazy about your story decisions might still find something worthwhile or meaningful in how you tell the story.
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Old June 26 2013, 10:52 PM   #12
Charles Phipps
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

Christopher wrote: View Post
The problem there is that both sentences assume the entire audience will want the same thing. That's never the case. Any decision that delights part of your audience will upset another part. Which is why you ultimately have to go with whatever feels right to you as a storyteller and not be guided solely by what you imagine the audience wants. If you believe in and care about what you're writing, and put your best effort and passion into it, that's probably the most reliable way to satisfy the most readers. In that case, even people who aren't crazy about your story decisions might still find something worthwhile or meaningful in how you tell the story.
This was more or less stated by Mark Waid, I believe. He said that every single character in comic books was someone's favorite character, no matter how obscure you think they are. He, for instance, knew that a friend of his got hate mail for killing "Turner D. Century" who was a character so obscure he figured no one even remembered who he was.

Likewise, Peter David (who some of you may have read the works of ), stated that his Supergirl series was extremely well-liked but every month people would ask when he was going to end the "Earth Angel" stuff--which, for that version of Supergirl, was equivalent to asking, "When would they stop Clark Kent being an alien."

I'm sure it's the same for you, Christopher. If you got permission to shake up the Star Trek EU somehow by killing Trip (again) or blowing up Romulus (oh wait), you'd probably get just as many people supporting it as hating it.
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Old June 26 2013, 11:13 PM   #13
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

I'm definitely in the as long as it's done well camp. Honestly, as long as it made sense and fit the story being told, I wouldn't have a problem with an author coming along and blowing up the Enterprise-E and killing the entire cast, at least in theory.
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Old June 27 2013, 05:40 AM   #14
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

My main thing is just knowing what the 24th-century characters are doing "now". There's a parallelism to them in my own life that's not present with TOS. It's kinda like, I was "good friends" with the TNG crew et al 20 years ago (when TNG was on the air), then I moved away (after "All Good Things"), then I saw them a few times after that (the movies) and now we're back to being pretty good friends, though I don't see them as much as I used to anymore. About once a month, though we'll often go several months at a time without seeing each other.

Lord, I must sound insane... the point is that the 24th-century characters still feel "alive," "contemporary" in a way that the 23rd-century characters feel historical. So I care about what the "alive" characters are doing "now." The status quo is long gone; that ended with Nemesis. (And really, with "All Good Things," "What You Leave Behind" and "Endgame.") So there's not much value associated with it, and indeed, the realism of the stories takes a hit when the status quo doesn't change.

I will be sad when Picard eventually retires. I suspect that when that happens, the current novelverse continuity will come to a close and Pocket Books will shift towards telling more stories set during the 2360s and '70s (and maybe filling in more gaps in the '80s, who knows). Maybe those stories will remain consistent, but I don't think we will continue moving further and further forward into the future. (At least, not for the primary stories.)

But, at the same time, Picard retiring will feel natural. It'll feel like the end of a seven-season run of a Star Trek series. Sad, but it'll feel right.

So if the authors and editors decided to tell a story that involved Picard retiring and being sent to a galaxy far, far away where he must battle the Goa'uld on a planet named Z'ha'dum, with the aid of a ship named Serenity, hey, that'd be fine with me. (Well, okay, maybe not quite that, but short of character assassination, I'm fine with just about anything.)
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Old June 27 2013, 01:24 PM   #15
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Re: Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

I don't mind change, but I also miss "in-series" books and don't understand why we can't get a mix of the two instead of only relaunch books.
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