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

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Old July 9 2013, 04:43 PM   #46
TheAlmanac
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
I'm not sure why you insist a Mary Sue has to be a guest star, since even the original Mary Sue was the star of the fanfic story that originated the term.
But wasn't she the guest main star in a Star Trek fanfic, with Kirk Spock and McCoy the regular players? Or did Paula Smith write all of her ST fanfics about the girl?
Well, you can read the entire (rather short) story and draw your own conclusions.

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
I agree with Mr. Governo, that self-insertion in somebody else's milieu is the characteristic property of a Mary-Sue, and with "rahullak," that even though the trope originated with a character created as a parody of bad writing, it doesn't necessarily follow that a well-written Mary-Sue character can't exist (and indeed, I regard Piper as a defining example of a well-written Mary-Sue).
Thanks for the note of agreement!

I also agree that, despite its etymology, "Mary Sue" doesn't necessarily have to come with a negative connotation. Much like "canon" (to reference another current thread about terminology), the term can be used descriptively without suggesting on its own that a character is well- or badly-written.
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Old July 9 2013, 05:10 PM   #47
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

Here is Fanlore.org's rather entertaining article, with references to several notable Mary Sue's in fanfic over the decades: http://fanlore.org/wiki/Mary_Sue
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Old July 9 2013, 06:05 PM   #48
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
I also agree that, despite its etymology, "Mary Sue" doesn't necessarily have to come with a negative connotation. Much like "canon" (to reference another current thread about terminology), the term can be used descriptively without suggesting on its own that a character is well- or badly-written.
But really, that's the problem. There is no consensus about what it means. Many people do use it in a derogatory way, while others don't. And there are countless different ways of defining it. So using the label tends to create misunderstanding rather than clarity. That's another reason I resist using it if it can be avoided.
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Old July 9 2013, 07:49 PM   #49
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

Christopher wrote: View Post
TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
I also agree that, despite its etymology, "Mary Sue" doesn't necessarily have to come with a negative connotation. Much like "canon" (to reference another current thread about terminology), the term can be used descriptively without suggesting on its own that a character is well- or badly-written.
But really, that's the problem. There is no consensus about what it means. Many people do use it in a derogatory way, while others don't. And there are countless different ways of defining it. So using the label tends to create misunderstanding rather than clarity. That's another reason I resist using it if it can be avoided.
So you're saying the term "Mary Sue" has jumped the shark?

(Another term that has been overused to the point of meaninglessness.)
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Old July 9 2013, 10:25 PM   #50
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

Generally speaking, a Mary-Sue character is harder to do well than most other types of characters, because it has to be done extremely well to be worthwhile, but if it is done extremely well, the results can be quite good. Just as it's very difficult to write from the point of view of a radically different species, and end up with anything worthwhile, but if you can pull it off (see Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth prequel, Nor Crystal Tears), the results can be downright spectacular.
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Old July 9 2013, 11:26 PM   #51
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

I loved the idea of a faceted hul--nacelles trailing off into antennae, and some of the concepts--a tactile hologram of the ship as a decoy, a potential bird of prey carrier even.
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Old July 10 2013, 12:26 AM   #52
Therin of Andor
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
I'm not sure why you insist a Mary Sue has to be a guest star, since even the original Mary Sue was the star of the fanfic story that originated the term.
But wasn't she the guest main star in a Star Trek fanfic, with Kirk Spock and McCoy the regular players? Or did Paula Smith write all of her ST fanfics about the girl?
Well, you can read the entire (rather short) story and draw your own conclusions.
It's been decades. Even shorter than I remember. And yes, Mary Sue's most definitely the "guest star" of a Trek vignette. Why were were disputing otherwise?
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Old July 10 2013, 12:56 AM   #53
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

Wow. What's so telling about that "story" is that it's clearly parodying a set of tropes that were already well-established. It just put a name to them.
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Old July 10 2013, 03:12 AM   #54
Therin of Andor
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

Christopher wrote: View Post
Wow. What's so telling about that "story" is that it's clearly parodying a set of tropes that were already well-established. It just put a name to them.
I read this great online interview with Paula Smith this morning. Paula Block gets several mentions for her 1976 Sadie Faulwell fanfic character.

http://journal.transformativeworks.o...e/view/243/205
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Old July 10 2013, 03:43 AM   #55
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

^Intriguing article. Good to get insight into the term from the person who coined it. I have to concede, even she's open to the idea that it's possible for a Mary Sue to be well-done. It's a character whose presence "warps" the other characters around them, causes them to adopt unconventional behavior or roles in reaction to the character, but there are instances where that can be done credibly and justifiably.
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Old July 10 2013, 04:12 AM   #56
Therin of Andor
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

Christopher wrote: View Post
It's a character whose presence "warps" the other characters around them, causes them to adopt unconventional behavior or roles in reaction to the character, but there are instances where that can be done credibly and justifiably.
Indeed. And we can see that in many episodes of TV shows that introduce past lovers/teachers/parents etc. Was Spock only being affected by spores in "This Side of Paradise" or was Leila Kalomi also having an effect, etc? All part of the fun of introducing a guest character in the first place.
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Old July 10 2013, 12:19 PM   #57
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

If any character were ever a "Mary Sue" it's Piper. Period, full stop.
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Old July 10 2013, 03:27 PM   #58
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

That is pretty much how I feel. I have no problem calling Piper a "Mary Sue." Those books were nauseating.
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Old July 11 2013, 01:23 AM   #59
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

I liked Piper.

I don't know if Evan Wilson was a Mary Sue or not, but man, she derailed that whole book for me.
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Old July 11 2013, 01:45 AM   #60
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Re: Just reread Dreadnaught!

Evan definitely was, although at least of the entertaining kind. Guys were all fighting over her, out-logic'ed and programmed Spock, one step ahead of the crew, etc. Gets a little pass at the end when it's hinted that she's a deity, but yeah, pretty easy example. Just an example where you don't mind so badly.
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