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Old June 3 2012, 12:06 AM   #31
Christopher
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

Timewalker wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Something can be part of the canon and still be disregarded by the individual.
Isn't that what I've been saying all along???!
It's not about what you're saying, it's simply about using the right vocabulary to say it with. You said you wouldn't consider such-and-such a thing to be canon, but using that word for the concept of personal opinion is self-contradictory, like using "far" when you mean "near." What you meant was that you wouldn't consider it to be part of your personal continuity.
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Old June 3 2012, 12:19 AM   #32
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

I have an idea for a novel!

Christopher Bennett and the Battle of Canon!
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Old June 3 2012, 12:35 AM   #33
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

^ Canon to the right of him, Canon to the left of him...
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Old June 3 2012, 12:55 AM   #34
Timewalker
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

Christopher wrote: View Post
Timewalker wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Something can be part of the canon and still be disregarded by the individual.
Isn't that what I've been saying all along???!
It's not about what you're saying, it's simply about using the right vocabulary to say it with. You said you wouldn't consider such-and-such a thing to be canon, but using that word for the concept of personal opinion is self-contradictory, like using "far" when you mean "near." What you meant was that you wouldn't consider it to be part of your personal continuity.
Christopher wrote:
Personally I don't consider "The Alternative Factor" or "The Counter-Clock Incident" or "Threshold" or various other episodes to have happened.
I don't know the current state of TAS canon, and didn't TPTB disown "Threshold"? But "The Alternative Factor" is canon (yes, I realize it was a stupid episode with dismal special effects).

Or as Spock would say: "A difference that makes no difference is no difference."

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Old June 3 2012, 01:30 AM   #35
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

^Again, the word "canon" does not mean "real" or "right" or "what I accept as true." It just means the core body of work. Every Star Trek episode is part of the canon, part of the core franchise as distinct from derivative works, but it is possible for portions of a canon to be contradicted or ignored by later parts of the canon. Since it's all just pretend anyway, it's possible for a later part to pretend that an earlier part happened differently or didn't happen at all (like TNG from "Datalore" onward claiming that Data didn't use contractions even though he used them constantly up until "Datalore" -- or DS9's version of the Trill ignoring virtually everything that TNG: "The Host" had established about them). "The Alternative Factor" is part of the canon -- part of the central work of the franchise rather than a derivative or tie-in work -- but it's a part whose treatment of antimatter has been consistently ignored and contradicted by everything else in the canon (and that contradicts earlier episodes' treatment of antimatter). In the same way, "Threshold"'s treatment of transwarp and Star Trek V's treatment of the ease of travel to the galactic center have been ignored by all subsequent canon.

Canon is not a completely consistent thing. It just pretends to be, even while it tweaks and reinterprets and retcons itself along the way. Which is why it's such a fundamental mistake of vocabulary to use "canon" to mean "real." It's not the value judgment or the benchmark of consistency that fans mistake it for.
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Old June 3 2012, 02:19 AM   #36
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
^ Canon to the right of him, Canon to the left of him...
That should read:


Personal Canon to the right of him, Personal Canon to the left of him...
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Old June 3 2012, 02:19 AM   #37
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

[this post sat unfinished in a tab for most of the afternoon; Christopher has already articulated some of what I had intended to say, but it doesn't seem worth it to rework my entire post. My apologies.]

Christopher wrote: View Post
Canon comes from the institution, not from the individual.
This. We all have personal continuities, but "canon," for better or for worse, is out of our hands.

It probably bears mentioning that we, as Star Trek fans, sometimes might place a little too much emphasis on what is and is not canon. Canon is simply an arbitrary decision made by folks at Paramount regarding what needs to respected (as in, not contradicted) when new Star Trek stories are made. And even then, canon is sometimes ignored because doing so makes a better story (or because it makes an easier story to do ).

Christopher gave great examples of canon being contradicted, clearly without the intention of explaining away inconsistencies. (The appearance of Klingons, Trills, Romulans, and Bajorans, as well as the uniforms of the Cardassians, the varying warp scales, the date of Human-Klingon first contact all spring to mind as other examples.)

And what is canon has changed some over time; I remember distinctly reading a few years ago on StarTrek.com that The Powers That Be had decided that TAS was to be considered canon, whereas before it had not. (Only making this connection now, but that decision might have been to allow ENT season 5 to feature the Kzinti.)

I mean, canon in-and-of-itself is a means to an end. Personally, my favorite Trek story at the moment is a work of fan fiction, not even an official work of fiction authorized by Paramount. But this non-authorized writer is a very skilled one who brings the characters from the TV show to life just as well as the TV writers did. To me, that makes it equally valid as a Star Trek story.

Regarding the OP's question: my personal hope is that, were the current "novel-primeverse," in a post-Destiny Typhon Pact-era, to be irreparably contradicted by a new addition to canon, I would hope that the licensing people would have a change of heart, allow the current novel continuity to continue on its own, perhaps with fewer books, and start a new continuity with the new material integrated into that. It might mean having to include a brief timeline at the beginning of each novel, just so that the reader knows which 'line they're in, but I doubt that would be a real problem.
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Old June 3 2012, 03:04 AM   #38
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
And what is canon has changed some over time; I remember distinctly reading a few years ago on StarTrek.com that The Powers That Be had decided that TAS was to be considered canon, whereas before it had not. (Only making this connection now, but that decision might have been to allow ENT season 5 to feature the Kzinti.)
No, it happened much earlier than that. The decision to disregard TAS was made by Gene Roddenberry himself, and he was the only one really invested in it. Once he died, nobody else producing Trek was particularly motivated to enforce it, and you started seeing the odd TAS reference show up, like mentions of Spock's "Yesteryear" backstory in "Unification," the Klothos getting a namecheck in DS9, etc.

Now, arguably Roddenberry could've made a case at the time for TAS not being canonical, because it was the one Trek screen incarnation that had been produced by a licensed outside studio, Filmation Associates, rather than by Desilu/Paramount (although Paramount and Roddenberry's Norway Corporation were production partners). Thus it could've been defined as a licensed tie-in rather than part of the core franchise. But I don't think there's much incentive to define it that way anymore, since it's been referenced in various later productions, it's been released on home video alongside all the other series, it's fully incorporated into StarTrek.com and Memory Alpha, etc. Plus of course we now have the current film series also produced by an outside studio, Bad Robot.


Regarding the OP's question: my personal hope is that, were the current "novel-primeverse," in a post-Destiny Typhon Pact-era, to be irreparably contradicted by a new addition to canon, I would hope that the licensing people would have a change of heart, allow the current novel continuity to continue on its own, perhaps with fewer books, and start a new continuity with the new material integrated into that. It might mean having to include a brief timeline at the beginning of each novel, just so that the reader knows which 'line they're in, but I doubt that would be a real problem.
It is an interesting thought, that Trek tie-ins could follow the precedent of Transformers media and embrace the concept of a multiverse to allow the various different continuities to coexist. We also see similar things in DC and Marvel Comics, which in at least some cases treat the realities of their various film and TV adaptations as parallel worlds within the multiverse (for instance, the Young Justice TV series takes place on DC's Earth-16, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Earth-199999 in Marvel's system). And we now do officially have two canonical Star Trek timelines, Prime and Abrams, plus the literary precedent of the Mirror and Myriad Universes series. (I'm not counting alternative prose continuities like the Shatnerverse and Crucible, because those weren't overtly alternate realities, just alternate story directions, and they were still consistent with canon, unlike the possibility we're considering here.)
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Old June 3 2012, 03:12 AM   #39
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

This is all academic, as there will never be a Worf movie. He's standing in line behind Captain Sulu.
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Old June 3 2012, 04:27 AM   #40
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Again, the word "canon" does not mean "real" or "right" or "what I accept as true." It just means the core body of work.
I KNOW THAT!!!

Where in my latest posts do you see me disagreeing with you?! I know that George Lucas can change what's canon every second Tuesday that he decides to tinker with the same damn movie I watched in a theatre almost 35 years ago. All those different versions of Star Wars are canon, along with the rest of the franchise. George Lucas gets to pick which one is "official." But I get to pick which one I prefer to watch, and that one is the original, unsullied, Han-shot-first. My preference doesn't mean I don't grant Lucas the right to define what is official or that I'm saying he can't make a million bits of Star Wars canonical material besides what small part of it I'm familiar with. It just means I don't have to like it.

In the same way, "Threshold"'s treatment of transwarp and Star Trek V's treatment of the ease of travel to the galactic center have been ignored by all subsequent canon.
My loathing for "Threshold" has little to do with the transwarp crap (except that Tom should have been instantly everywhere in the universe, including Earth) - it has to do with how stomach-turning that episode is, and how overall scientifically illiterate they must have thought the audience to be.

As for Star Trek V... Even if the ship had made it to the galactic center, it should have been gobbled up by the black hole that real-world astronomers say is there. Again, the movie-makers think the audience is made up of morons. I'm glad these are no longer considered official, since they offend me in so many ways.

Canon is not a completely consistent thing. It just pretends to be, even while it tweaks and reinterprets and retcons itself along the way. Which is why it's such a fundamental mistake of vocabulary to use "canon" to mean "real." It's not the value judgment or the benchmark of consistency that fans mistake it for.
Just ask any dedicated soap opera fan about canon and retcons. I watched One Life to Live for many years, and still watch General Hospital. Star Trek's twisting of all things canonical and official, etc. is nothing in many ways, compared to the soap genre, when it comes to making changes that the audience is supposed to ignore as not making any sense, supposedly for the sake of a "good story."

Christopher wrote: View Post
(I'm not counting alternative prose continuities like the Shatnerverse and Crucible, because those weren't overtly alternate realities, just alternate story directions, and they were still consistent with canon, unlike the possibility we're considering here.)
I've read the McCoy book of the Crucible trilogy, and found it to be a fantastic "what if City on the Edge of Forever had ended differently" story. But then "City" is my favorite Star Trek episode of all of them, no matter which series we're talking about. I haven't read any of the "Shatnerverse" stuff, but doesn't it start off with Kirk getting un-killed/revived from his grave at the end of the "Generations" movie? How is Kirk being alive again consistent with anything?

Guys, please take note of my location: "In many different universes, simultaneously." I can "multithink" from universe to universe (or "continuity to continuity" if that's the term Christopher prefers) at will, as I partake of various Star Trek series, novels, short stories, and fanfic. All I ask is that the stories make sense, entertain me, and don't wildly contradict something that was established long ago, thus forcing a retcon of soap operaic proportions. Don't assume the audience is scientifically illiterate. And don't be lazy about details. It's one thing to change a detail because it's vital to the story. But changing it because you just didn't bother to check? Lazy, and insulting to the audience. That's what the soap writers do, and it's what far too many "professional" writers do as well (this isn't directed at Christopher, btw, so don't anyone jump on me for these comments).
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Old June 3 2012, 04:52 AM   #41
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

Timewalker wrote: View Post
I KNOW THAT!!!

Where in my latest posts do you see me disagreeing with you?!
You were comparing the status of "Threshold" to the status of "Alternative Factor," and you said the latter "is canon" as though that were somehow indicative of whether it "counted" or not. My point is that something can be part of a canon and disregarded at the same time. "Threshold" is part of the canon too, but it's equally ignored.

Part of the mistake people make about canon is thinking that it's written down in some official ledger somewhere -- that because Braga was embarrassed by "Threshold" and made a statement disowning it, that means there's some official piece of paperwork at Paramount declaring that as doctrine. That's not so. The people who actually make the shows don't bother to think much about canon, because what they make is automatically canon so it's a non-issue for them. And what they count as "real" -- as "canon" in the less precise sense of "what gets counted" -- is not a matter of official doctrine, but of the preference of whoever's running the franchise at the moment. There's no official file for "Threshold" with a "NOT CANON" stamp across it in red ink or something. There's just the guy who made the episode and produced the show deciding it was a stupid episode and he was going to ignore it, just like every Trek producer has ignored "The Alternative Factor" and just like DS9 and VGR ignored the 20-minute commute to the galactic center in TFF. Not official doctrine, just the everyday working choices of the people making the shows and films. So there's really no difference between the status of "The Alternative Factor" and the status of "Threshold." The only difference is that Braga publicly admitted that he was embarrassed by the latter episode.


I haven't read any of the "Shatnerverse" stuff, but doesn't it start off with Kirk getting un-killed/revived from his grave at the end of the "Generations" movie? How is Kirk being alive again consistent with anything?
It's compatible with any subsequent book that doesn't mention Kirk, which is most of them. For quite a while, it was theoretically possible to reconcile the Shatnerverse with the main novel continuity. But in the last trilogy, there were significant divergences between the two in their assumptions about the timing of certain events -- like Bajor not being a UFP member in the Shatnerverse years after it joined in the DS9 novels, Titan taking a year longer to end its Romulan relief mission and start exploring, and Janeway still being alive well after her death in Before Dishonor.


And don't be lazy about details. It's one thing to change a detail because it's vital to the story. But changing it because you just didn't bother to check? Lazy, and insulting to the audience.
Well, it's not entirely fair to assume that such mistakes can only be the result of laziness. If they are, that is shameful. But even careful, attentive, professional creators can still overlook the occasional detail, especially in a continuity as huge as Star Trek where it's virtually impossible to remember every little detail. You can work hard and be as careful as you can, but still overlook some little thing until it's too late to fix it. It happens all the time. Even with multiple sets of eyes going over something multiple times, it's possible for even a glaring error to get overlooked. Trust me, that's a truth every published writer has to live with.
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Old June 3 2012, 05:58 AM   #42
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

Christopher, your latest post, in which you assert:

Part of the mistake people make about canon is thinking that it's written down in some official ledger somewhere -- that because Braga was embarrassed by "Threshold" and made a statement disowning it, that means there's some official piece of paperwork at Paramount declaring that as doctrine. That's not so.
had me going something like this:



as in, shock… disbelief… denial… "Holy shit, it's true."

No, but seriously, up until now, I had been operating under the assumption that Paramount actually had a written policy/statement somewhere to the effect of "The following works of fiction are to be considered the canon of the Star Trek franchise: the original Star Trek series, the animated Star Trek series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, and [insert some fancy language describing the 11 films]. All other materials, including novels, reference works, comics and fan films are not canon." I was sure I had heard of such a "ledger," as you put it, but I take your word for it. (Did they used to have such a document?)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Paper Moon wrote: View Post
And what is canon has changed some over time; I remember distinctly reading a few years ago on StarTrek.com that The Powers That Be had decided that TAS was to be considered canon, whereas before it had not. (Only making this connection now, but that decision might have been to allow ENT season 5 to feature the Kzinti.)
No, it happened much earlier than that. The decision to disregard TAS was made by Gene Roddenberry himself, and he was the only one really invested in it. Once he died, nobody else producing Trek was particularly motivated to enforce it, and you started seeing the odd TAS reference show up, like mentions of Spock's "Yesteryear" backstory in "Unification," the Klothos getting a namecheck in DS9, etc.
Hmm, after doing some digging, I'm wondering if I might be misremembering this announcement:
http://web.archive.org/web/200707062...le/66895.html?

On the other hand, there is this FAQ dated from 2003, which pretty unequivocally states that TAS has "traditionally not been considered part of the canon.":
http://web.archive.org/web/200807191...s/faq/676.html

And this 2006 article ends with a discussion on how TAS may or may not be canonical:
http://web.archive.org/web/200903100...cle/17178.html

Finally, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Tr...on#cite_note-5, Ron D. Moore is quoted as saying in 1998:

We don't consider it [The Animated Series] canon, but it's kinda cool to throw in the odd reference here and there.
The full chat can be found at http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Memo...ore/ron126.txt

By the way, if you google that quote, minus the stuff in brackets, you get some... in-depth discussion. This one particularly caught my eye: http://www.canonwars.com/STCanon.html Actually an interesting read, though I'm sure it looks insane to anyone who isn't a Star Trek fan.



Regarding the OP's question: my personal hope is that, were the current "novel-primeverse," in a post-Destiny Typhon Pact-era, to be irreparably contradicted by a new addition to canon, I would hope that the licensing people would have a change of heart, allow the current novel continuity to continue on its own, perhaps with fewer books, and start a new continuity with the new material integrated into that. It might mean having to include a brief timeline at the beginning of each novel, just so that the reader knows which 'line they're in, but I doubt that would be a real problem.
It is an interesting thought, that Trek tie-ins could follow the precedent of Transformers media and embrace the concept of a multiverse to allow the various different continuities to coexist. We also see similar things in DC and Marvel Comics, which in at least some cases treat the realities of their various film and TV adaptations as parallel worlds within the multiverse (for instance, the Young Justice TV series takes place on DC's Earth-16, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Earth-199999 in Marvel's system). And we now do officially have two canonical Star Trek timelines, Prime and Abrams, plus the literary precedent of the Mirror and Myriad Universes series. (I'm not counting alternative prose continuities like the Shatnerverse and Crucible, because those weren't overtly alternate realities, just alternate story directions, and they were still consistent with canon, unlike the possibility we're considering here.)
Being "on the inside," both at Pocket Books and in the sci-fi tie-in industry at-large, how likely do you think this is to happen? Is the marketability of Star Trek strong enough that TPTB would feel comfortable taking what must be somewhat of a risk?
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Old June 3 2012, 08:30 AM   #43
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
No, but seriously, up until now, I had been operating under the assumption that Paramount actually had a written policy/statement somewhere to the effect of "The following works of fiction are to be considered the canon of the Star Trek franchise: the original Star Trek series, the animated Star Trek series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, and [insert some fancy language describing the 11 films]. All other materials, including novels, reference works, comics and fan films are not canon." I was sure I had heard of such a "ledger," as you put it, but I take your word for it. (Did they used to have such a document?)
Richard Arnold was often asked to list "what is canon". (I think it came up a few times in the "Star Trek Communicator".) He made a point that he did not include stuff unless it was "live action" (therefore, not TAS). Neither did he count unfilmed script scenes, nor live action material filmed on the actual Paramount sets, for games such as Klingon video board game, the un-released "Borg Q-uest" game (which probably morphed into "Star Trek: Borg"), "Star Trek: Klingon", "Starfleet Academy", "Klingon Academy", and the so-called 4D ride footage used at Las Vegas. He never made a projection about restored "director's editions", which suddenly created more than one version of "live action aired footage".

But lists, such as the one you propose above (not by Paramount or the Star Trek Office), often featured in fannish venues, created and updated by fans, based on pronouncements by people like Richard Arnold. I did a quick Google; Usenet and GEnie used to be full of fascinating posts like this:
http://www.totse2.com/totse/en/ego/s...n/tnglist.html

Christopher wrote: View Post
No, it happened much earlier than that. The decision to disregard TAS was made by Gene Roddenberry himself, and he was the only one really invested in it.
He and Richard Arnold (who, of course, was vetting tie-in proposals and manuscripts on GR's behalf).

Before 1989, Roddenberry had often made quite inclusive remarks about TAS. In early interviews, and in Lincoln Enterprises' fan club newsletters for TAS and then pre-TMP (reporting on plans for a return of live-action ST), he often seemed to approve of TAS. The departure of DC Fontana and David Gerrold from TNG - and their lawsuit against GR - probably encouraged him to distance the ST phenomenon from TAS, which was suddenly treated more like a licensed tie-in, and thus as non-canonical as the novels, comics and RPGs. Not to mention the winding down of Filmation and the fact that TAS had not been seen on TV in some time.

But yeah, the first new TAS reference (to Phylosians) was in the novelization of "Unification" by Jeri Taylor, just a few weeks after GR's death.
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Old June 3 2012, 01:58 PM   #44
Christopher
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Hmm, after doing some digging, I'm wondering if I might be misremembering this announcement:
http://web.archive.org/web/200707062...le/66895.html?

On the other hand, there is this FAQ dated from 2003, which pretty unequivocally states that TAS has "traditionally not been considered part of the canon.":
http://web.archive.org/web/200807191...s/faq/676.html

And this 2006 article ends with a discussion on how TAS may or may not be canonical:
http://web.archive.org/web/200903100...cle/17178.html
See, the only thing you're overlooking here is that all those links pertain to the assumptions about canon made by StarTrek.com. A lot of fans make the mistake that StarTrek.com is the same entity as Paramount (or now CBS) and that whatever it says about ST is straight from the horse's mouth; but it's actually just a licensee, a promotional website about ST. So those posts only apply to how StarTrek.com itself chose to categorize the animated series, which is a separate question from how the actual producers of the shows chose to treat it. ST.com's content has been at odds with the producers' view of canon before; it continued to claim that Jeri Taylor's Voyager novels Mosaic and Pathways were canonical even though Taylor's successors on the VGR writing staff ignored those novels and contradicted Pathways in multiple respects. And ST.com still claims that Star Trek: The Motion Picture takes place in 2271, as per the old ST Chronology, even though it's been years since VGR: "Q2" made it canonical that the 5-year mission ended in 2270, so that TMP (at least two and a half years later) is now generally accepted as occurring in 2273.


Finally, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Tr...on#cite_note-5, Ron D. Moore is quoted as saying in 1998:
We don't consider it [The Animated Series] canon, but it's kinda cool to throw in the odd reference here and there.
And that's the crux of it right there: canon isn't some formal doctrine, it's just whatever the current makers of the franchise choose to count. And that's subject to change as the showrunners change.


It is an interesting thought, that Trek tie-ins could follow the precedent of Transformers media and embrace the concept of a multiverse to allow the various different continuities to coexist. We also see similar things in DC and Marvel Comics, which in at least some cases treat the realities of their various film and TV adaptations as parallel worlds within the multiverse (for instance, the Young Justice TV series takes place on DC's Earth-16, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Earth-199999 in Marvel's system). And we now do officially have two canonical Star Trek timelines, Prime and Abrams, plus the literary precedent of the Mirror and Myriad Universes series. (I'm not counting alternative prose continuities like the Shatnerverse and Crucible, because those weren't overtly alternate realities, just alternate story directions, and they were still consistent with canon, unlike the possibility we're considering here.)
Being "on the inside," both at Pocket Books and in the sci-fi tie-in industry at-large, how likely do you think this is to happen? Is the marketability of Star Trek strong enough that TPTB would feel comfortable taking what must be somewhat of a risk?
I have no idea. I'm not that much "on the inside" -- I'm just a freelance writer. The people who'd make that decision are the folks at CBS Licensing, and I've generally only interacted with them through the mediation of my editors. It seems plausible to me, given the fact that there are now two canonical timelines and given how much the books have developed their own identity in the interim (and given that the books weren't required to conform to Star Trek Online's continuity even though it has a larger audience), that the adoption of an official "tie-in multiverse" approach could happen. But there may be other factors affecting the decision that I can't assess or predict.
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Old June 3 2012, 02:48 PM   #45
newtontomato539
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Re: new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

I consider something in my personal canon (TAS, Gold Key, Power Records, DC, Marvel, etc) unless it sucks.

Paramount doesn't control my mind. Since when did we ever need Paramount to tell us what to like?
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