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Old March 2 2010, 06:19 PM   #1
DorkBoy [TM]
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JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

Saw a very interesting tidbit today:

http://trekmovie.com/2010/03/01/excl...ractions-more/

A few weeks ago Pocket Books announced that it was postponing four books planned for 2010 that were tied into the 2009 Star Trek movie. All were stand-alone stories set after the movie. And it appears that it was the time setting of these books that was the issue. Van Citters explains:

It was decided that the upcoming sequel is best served by having JJ [Abrams] and his team tell the stories of what happens next for these characters. That doesn’t mean we wont have stories taking place in this timeline, and that doesn’t necessarily mean we wont have stories taking place in the alternate timeline before the next movie is released.

According to Van Citters, CBS, Pocket Books and Bad Robot are currently working together on a plan for books tied to the movie universe. As for the four books that have already been written, Van Citters noted that their status is "on hold" and there was still no determination on when we will see them.
So, this is what I was kind of hoping. It sounds like they see the "fresh start" of the JJVerse as a way of establishing better continuity between the novels and the movies.

If so I can see this either as a "good thing" or a "bad thing." I like the idea of better consistency (if possible) between what's onscreen and offscreen. Seems more doable with just a movie every few years than it was in the TV decades. Thats just way too much fiction for writers to have to keep track of.

But if it means a return of the draconian "you can't do anything interesting in the novels" bad old days, it could be bad.

It'd be great if they could still tell meaningful stories about these characters that matter in the novels, and have the writers at least be mindful of them when writing the movies. Since Orci's a novel fan, seems like it could happen.

Anyhow at least we finally have our answer as far as why this happened. Its very strange that this decision was made after four books were written though. I hope they see the light of day in some form or another, they sounded interesting.

Do any of you "insiders" have any insights or is this interview quote as much news to you as it is to the rest of us?
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Old March 2 2010, 08:29 PM   #2
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

I know no more than the general public does. Though you lost a bit of italic text when you copied and pasted: "It was decided that the upcoming sequel is best served by having JJ [Abrams] and his team tell the stories of what happens next for these characters." That emphasis on "next" suggests to me that what the various involved parties have decided is that the books should hold off on telling stories set after the movie. So I'm thinking this probably means that whatever Pocket does in the Abramsverse will be prequel material, at least until the next movie comes out.

As I said on my blog:
It suggests that, as many have speculated, the books were postponed for fear of contradiction with the next movie. And that suggests that maybe once the next movie is done, it’ll be possible to publish these books after all (with whatever tweaks are necessary to be consistent with it). Let’s hope so.
To be honest, I do seem to recall thinking from time to time that we were taking a chance doing sequels to the movie and that maybe prequels would've been the safer route. On the other hand, the advantage of doing followups is that you could actually tell stories with the Big Seven aboard the Enterprise, something that wouldn't be the case with prequels.

As for the prospect of the filmmakers acknowledging things from the novels, it doesn't sound that way to me. It sounds just the opposite: that advancing the story is going to be entirely the filmmakers' responsibility (as is their right, of course) and that the books will have to stay very carefully out of their way. We won't get to tell any stories set after the movie until the filmmakers have made their decisions about that period. So even if we do get the existing books published once the second movie is made, I expect we won't get to do any books set after the second movie until the third movie is made, and so on.

Which would be an even more restricted process than we had in the past, where the novels and comics were free to move forward from the latest film or TV season but were routinely ignored and contradicted by new canon. This is the tradeoff: if you want tie-ins to be consistent with the source, it means the tie-ins need to defer more to the source's creators. It doesn't mean the filmmakers follow the lead of the novels, because that would be the tail wagging the dog.
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Old March 2 2010, 09:44 PM   #3
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

Sounds to me like the Abramsverse is heading to the same territory as the Star Wars universe, where everything is canon; or that we'll only get cookie cutter Abramsverse books without any major changes to the characters. That could be a good counterbalance to the Prime universe where (almost) everything is linked together.
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Old March 2 2010, 10:53 PM   #4
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

BrotherBenny wrote: View Post
Sounds to me like the Abramsverse is heading to the same territory as the Star Wars universe, where everything is canon; or that we'll only get cookie cutter Abramsverse books without any major changes to the characters. That could be a good counterbalance to the Prime universe where (almost) everything is linked together.
I've hoped ever since the alternate timeline of the new movie was revealed that the licensors would take the opportunity of the clean slate the new-movie-verse presents and work to keep everything consistent across the new universe stories; in films, novels, and comics. I'm still hoping that will play out... with a bit more control from on high new-movie stories needn't be paranoidly self contained to avoid contractions, but carefully plotted out and interconnected to grow and develop this shiny new world of Star Trek as a neat cohesive whole (without the baggage of continuity conflicts both canon and non-canon we get from the prime universe)
Christopher wrote: View Post
That emphasis on "next" suggests to me that what the various involved parties have decided is that the books should hold off on telling stories set after the movie. So I'm thinking this probably means that whatever Pocket does in the Abramsverse will be prequel material, at least until the next movie comes out.
As soon as the new Starfleet Academy books came up my first thought was it's the perfect tie-in for the new movie; targeted specifically at the young new audience that might know Star Trek exclusively in the form of this film...
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Old March 2 2010, 11:08 PM   #5
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

well, it certainly would be easier for the books based on the old shows to be canon, or become canon, as there will be no more episodes in production.
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Old March 2 2010, 11:37 PM   #6
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

seigezunt wrote: View Post
well, it certainly would be easier for the books based on the old shows to be canon, or become canon, as there will be no more episodes in production.
No, it would only be easier for them to avoid contradicting canon. It would actually be far harder for them to gain the imprimatur of canon or semi-canon, because unlike the Babylon 5 novels or the Buffy Season 8 comics, there's no single creator of the core material who can directly oversee and shape the tie-ins and keep them definitively consistent with the canonical vision.
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Old March 2 2010, 11:59 PM   #7
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

And if there are no more shows or movies, why does it matter if it's "canon"?

Canon only means something if the movies and tv shows pay attention to it. Since, practically speaking, the movies and tv show are ALWAYS free to ignore the books (which is the only realistic attitude), no book is ever really canon.

Even with the new Buffy comics or whatever, if a novel or comic book ever got in the way of a new movie, the comic book "canon" would be discarded so fast your head would spin.

Like Christopher said, Hollywood is never going to let the tail wag the dog. Nor should they.
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Old March 3 2010, 12:39 AM   #8
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

Christopher, Greg: Since there's a chance we'll never see your nuTrek books (I'm still hoping for a pre-ST XII release), I've got to know: In either of them, does Kirk dangle precariously over a huge drop, before pulling himself back to safety?
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Old March 3 2010, 01:11 AM   #9
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
Christopher, Greg: Since there's a chance we'll never see your nuTrek books (I'm still hoping for a pre-ST XII release), I've got to know: In either of them, does Kirk dangle precariously over a huge drop, before pulling himself back to safety?

Gravity was a recurring problem, yes.
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Old March 3 2010, 01:39 AM   #10
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
Christopher, Greg: Since there's a chance we'll never see your nuTrek books (I'm still hoping for a pre-ST XII release), I've got to know: In either of them, does Kirk dangle precariously over a huge drop, before pulling himself back to safety?
I find the question hilarious, but I can't really explain why. The answer is both "No, not exactly" and "Yes beyond your wildest imaginings."
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Old March 3 2010, 02:12 AM   #11
Steve Roby
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

8of5 wrote: View Post
I've hoped ever since the alternate timeline of the new movie was revealed that the licensors would take the opportunity of the clean slate the new-movie-verse presents and work to keep everything consistent across the new universe stories; in films, novels, and comics. I'm still hoping that will play out...
Well, Orci had the chance to declare IDW's Countdown comic canonical, and he passed. "As you know I considered some of the books, in my mind, to be of character canon. And some of them in between the movies to possibly be even possible candidates for canon, until some other movie comes along and makes those impossible. That is my personal view, but I am not going to declare whether comics are canon."

Never mind that he doesn't understand the general point of canon -- if you declare something canon, you're saying that a movie shouldn't come along and make it impossible. If you say it's canon but it can be contradicted by the next movie, it's not canon in the way fans understand the term. Orci's not comfortable applying even his extremely vague and tenuous form of canon to a tie-in that he was involved in. I can't imagine the new movie is going to lead to a multimedia canon empire.

(Considering how awful Countdown was (imo), I'm glad it hasn't been declared canonical, and I hope the books never have to acknowledge it.)
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Old March 3 2010, 02:32 AM   #12
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

Christopher wrote: View Post
KingDaniel wrote: View Post
Christopher, Greg: Since there's a chance we'll never see your nuTrek books (I'm still hoping for a pre-ST XII release), I've got to know: In either of them, does Kirk dangle precariously over a huge drop, before pulling himself back to safety?
I find the question hilarious, but I can't really explain why. The answer is both "No, not exactly" and "Yes beyond your wildest imaginings."
Extreme gravity well/black hole. That's my guess for what he means, until the hoped-for eventual release .
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Old March 3 2010, 02:37 AM   #13
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

Nope, no black hole. I already used one in The Buried Age.


Steve Roby wrote: View Post
Never mind that he doesn't understand the general point of canon -- if you declare something canon, you're saying that a movie shouldn't come along and make it impossible. If you say it's canon but it can be contradicted by the next movie, it's not canon in the way fans understand the term. Orci's not comfortable applying even his extremely vague and tenuous form of canon to a tie-in that he was involved in. I can't imagine the new movie is going to lead to a multimedia canon empire.
Except that even canon is subject to contradiction. Canon, in the form of "The Alternative Factor," declared that the Enterprise was powered by dilithium crystals and that any matter-antimatter reaction would destroy the entire universe. That contradicted the rest of ST (including the previous "The Naked Time"), which depicts matter-antimatter reactions as the ship's power source with dilithium being a means of channeling the power. There are plenty of other examples. The "canon" label is merely descriptive, not prescriptive.

To put it another way, canon is not defined by exact details, but by the overall flow of events. The canon is the whole collective body of episodes, the specific details of which are subject to revision and contradiction. Subsequent canon may assume that a certain story happened, but not be bound to the specifics of how it happened. And entire episodes or movies can be ignored by later canon if they're disliked enough (as with "Alternative Factor"'s antimatter physics, ST V's quick and easy commute to the center of the galaxy, or "Threshold"'s version of transwarp drive). A canon is an entire cumulative body of work, but it's not true that every individual piece of that cumulative body is equally canonical. This is one of the biggest things fans misunderstand about the term. They try to define it reductionistically when it's really a holistic category.
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Old March 3 2010, 02:41 AM   #14
Deranged Nasat
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

Christopher wrote: View Post
Nope, no black hole. I already used one in The Buried Age.
So you did.
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Old March 3 2010, 01:09 PM   #15
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: JJVerse Novels - Why they were cancelled

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
KingDaniel wrote: View Post
Christopher, Greg: Since there's a chance we'll never see your nuTrek books (I'm still hoping for a pre-ST XII release), I've got to know: In either of them, does Kirk dangle precariously over a huge drop, before pulling himself back to safety?

Gravity was a recurring problem, yes.
Christopher wrote: View Post
KingDaniel wrote: View Post
Christopher, Greg: Since there's a chance we'll never see your nuTrek books (I'm still hoping for a pre-ST XII release), I've got to know: In either of them, does Kirk dangle precariously over a huge drop, before pulling himself back to safety?
I find the question hilarious, but I can't really explain why. The answer is both "No, not exactly" and "Yes beyond your wildest imaginings."
I *really* hope we get to read To Seek an Newer World and The Hazard of Concealing (and Refugees and the other one whose name escapes me) one day.



Although I’m sure the idea of a “quasi-canon” nuTrek novel line appeals to some, to me it says that any of these novels written under the new order will be given even more tight operating constraints, as will be about as fun, unexpected and fresh as a bus timetable.

That said, we are in for a two more nuTrek films, and there is talk of them being linked somehow (likely spoiler: they find the Botany Bay at the end of STXII), and after that who knows? Spiderman is being rebooted again after only three films, and only a few years from the last one, which must be some kind of record, and if successful could spell (temporary) doom for sequels everywhere (and later, doom for origin stories while people recover).

So with the possibility that the trilogy will constitute the entirety of the nuTrek canon, maybe a planned out series of novels linking them might not be so bad, and would have ample room to bring down and reform the Federation betwixt movies.

Maybe.
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