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Old April 18 2013, 05:57 PM   #136
TheAlmanac
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
I view Arnold as a well-meaning, well-intentioned, but narrow-minded fan who inveigled his way into a position of power and influence over something that he loved, not unlike Ian Levine with early-80s Doctor Who, whose actions actively damaged the thing that he loved. (I'm not sure who did more damage, though, to their respective franchises, Arnold or Levine.)
I would argue that Levine did more damage, since none of Arnold's doings had any direct effect on the series in production at the time.
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Old April 18 2013, 06:02 PM   #137
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
I view Arnold as a well-meaning, well-intentioned, but narrow-minded fan who inveigled his way into a position of power and influence over something that he loved, not unlike Ian Levine with early-80s Doctor Who, whose actions actively damaged the thing that he loved. (I'm not sure who did more damage, though, to their respective franchises, Arnold or Levine.)
I would argue that Levine did more damage, since none of Arnold's doings had any direct effect on the series in production at the time.
That's okay, there were plenty of other folks taking up the slack for Arnold on that count.
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Old April 18 2013, 06:05 PM   #138
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
I would argue that Levine did more damage, since none of Arnold's doings had any direct effect on the series in production at the time.
That's a fair point.

To some extent, I think Arnold's damage is longer-lasting, because his views have prevented Star Trek from being a multimedia franchise in the same way that Star Wars or Doctor Who are because in the Arnoldian view every tie-in is automatically irrelevant. Compared to other IP franchises, Star Trek has never mastered a multi-platform synergy. I would say Star Trek hasn't even tried. And I think that can be shown to be a legacy of Richard Arnold and his views.
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Old April 18 2013, 06:11 PM   #139
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

^Even before Arnold, different licensors went their own different ways -- Gold Key didn't coordinate with Bantam or Ballantine, DC only rarely borrowed ideas from Pocket and almost never vice-versa, etc.

And the "multi-platform synergy" of other franchises is overrated. Star Wars and Doctor Who tie-ins may have been treated as consistent and pseudo-canonical while they were the only game in town, but when a new screen version came along, the tie-in continuity was freely disregarded.

What "damage" did Levine do to Who tie-ins? I looked him up on the DW Wiki, but it doesn't say much beyond that he was the "unofficial continuity consultant" in the '80s.
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Old April 18 2013, 06:21 PM   #140
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

Considering that "transmedia" is all the rage in Hollywood right now, it is surprising that neither CBS nor Paramount have tried to exploit the Star Trek franchise that way. Tie-ins are still being treated the same way they were in the 1980s and 1990s.

I don't really have a problem with this, however. Transmedia projects up to this point (i.e. The Matrix sequels) have seemed like ploys to get fans to buy as many things as possible (as well as an excuse for lacking narrative coherence) rather than honest attempts to exploit the narrative possibilities of various media platforms.
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Old April 18 2013, 06:25 PM   #141
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

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Considering that "transmedia" is all the rage in Hollywood right now, it is surprising that neither CBS nor Paramount have tried to exploit the Star Trek franchise that way. Tie-ins are still being treated the same way they were in the 1980s and 1990s.
Isn't the new game that comes out next week supposed to be canon?
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Old April 18 2013, 06:50 PM   #142
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

Christopher wrote: View Post
What "damage" did Levine do to Who tie-ins? I looked him up on the DW Wiki, but it doesn't say much beyond that he was the "unofficial continuity consultant" in the '80s.
Levine had no influence on Who tie-ins. At the time, there weren't Who tie-ins in the way there were Star Trek tie-ins.

The self-referential continuity of the early JNT era (up to the cancellation crisis) is Levine's legacy. Levine encouraged JNT to bring back as many old monsters and characters as possible, with "Attack of the Cybermen" (which Levine may or may not have cowritten, depending upon who is telling the story) as the high point. Levine's influence was over a period in the series' history when it shed its audience and went into critical decline, due in large part to no longer being mass entertainment but rather a series pitched at fans.

Christopher wrote: View Post
And the "multi-platform synergy" of other franchises is overrated.
Perhaps. But I imagine that Pocket would have been happier and Star Trek novels would have sold better if fans hadn't been told repeatedly that the books didn't count.

In other words, Richard Arnold encouraged fans not to spend their money on the tie-ins.
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Old April 18 2013, 07:02 PM   #143
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
The self-referential continuity of the early JNT era (up to the cancellation crisis) is Levine's legacy. Levine encouraged JNT to bring back as many old monsters and characters as possible, with "Attack of the Cybermen" (which Levine may or may not have cowritten, depending upon who is telling the story) as the high point.
I don't see how that's damaging, though. If anything, the original DW was a series that generally had too little continuity or memory of its past. I'd say that acknowledging that history was a good thing overall.


Perhaps. But I imagine that Pocket would have been happier and Star Trek novels would have sold better if fans hadn't been told repeatedly that the books didn't count.

In other words, Richard Arnold encouraged fans not to spend their money on the tie-ins.
But most tie-ins don't "count" as part of the core continuity. That's historically been the norm, not the exception. Heck, in past decades, tie-ins were frequently very unfaithful to the continuities they tied into or interpreted them in alternative ways, like Ashley McConnell's eccentric take on Quantum Leap (which was actually more interesting in some ways than the show itself) or the various incompatible tie-ins to The Prisoner.

And it's only in recent years, well after the Arnold era ended, that we've begun to see tie-ins that were treated as canonical or pseudo-canonical, like the Del Rey Babylon 5 novels, the Buffyverse and other Whedon comics, and the like.

I'll go this far: Arnold's attitude did help promote the false belief that canon is some sort of value judgment or stamp of approval, that being out of continuity makes a story "wrong" rather than just an alternative take on an imaginary concept. I'll grant that that may have hurt the perception of tie-ins that don't "fit" the continuity. But Arnold didn't create the idea of tie-ins being apart from canon; he just stigmatized it.
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Old April 18 2013, 07:10 PM   #144
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

Allyn Gibson, thanks for the info on who was who.
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Old April 18 2013, 07:15 PM   #145
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

Christopher wrote: View Post
I'll go this far: Arnold's attitude did help promote the false belief that canon is some sort of value judgment or stamp of approval, that being out of continuity makes a story "wrong" rather than just an alternative take on an imaginary concept. I'll grant that that may have hurt the perception of tie-ins that don't "fit" the continuity. But Arnold didn't create the idea of tie-ins being apart from canon; he just stigmatized it.
I'll agree with that interpretation.
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Old April 18 2013, 07:25 PM   #146
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

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Perhaps. But I imagine that Pocket would have been happier and Star Trek novels would have sold better if fans hadn't been told repeatedly that the books didn't count.
Debatable. Sure, the "this novel is not canon" disclaimer that were on some novels back in the day (like Peter David's one featuring female Borg) were certainly unnecessary and may have hurt sales, do Star Wars novels of murky canonical status sell any better than 100% non-canon Trek novels?
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Old April 18 2013, 08:09 PM   #147
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post

Perhaps. But I imagine that Pocket would have been happier and Star Trek novels would have sold better if fans hadn't been told repeatedly that the books didn't count. .
On the other hand, it's worth noting that there's a potential dark side to treating tie-in books as canon.

Let's be honest here. If the movie and TV people actually had to worry about what happens in the books, we would never be allowed to do anything interesting ever again. Tie-in authors would have less freedom, not more, because the studios wouldn't want us to do anything that might possibly limit their options in the future.

It would be like the Richard Arnold era times 100.
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Old April 18 2013, 08:15 PM   #148
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
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Perhaps. But I imagine that Pocket would have been happier and Star Trek novels would have sold better if fans hadn't been told repeatedly that the books didn't count. .
On the other hand, it's worth noting that there's a potential dark side to treating tie-in books as canon.
I never said that the books should be treated as canon. I didn't even bring up canon.

My point was that by saying the books don't count Arnold was giving fans a very good reason to not buy a product. And it's possible, even likely, that there were people who didn't buy the books or the novels for that very reason; why spend money on a product if you're told that you're wasting your money on something that's unimportant? Essentially, Arnold was costing Pocket Books money, and by costing Pocket money he was costing Paramount money.
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Old April 18 2013, 08:30 PM   #149
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

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Perhaps. But I imagine that Pocket would have been happier and Star Trek novels would have sold better if fans hadn't been told repeatedly that the books didn't count. .
On the other hand, it's worth noting that there's a potential dark side to treating tie-in books as canon.
I never said that the books should be treated as canon. I didn't even bring up canon.

My point was that by saying the books don't count Arnold was giving fans a very good reason to not buy a product. And it's possible, even likely, that there were people who didn't buy the books or the novels for that very reason; why spend money on a product if you're told that you're wasting your money on something that's unimportant? Essentially, Arnold was costing Pocket Books money, and by costing Pocket money he was costing Paramount money.
Good point. I was too fast on the trigger of the anti-canon rant, probably as a result of too many years of dealing with the topic as both an editor and writer. At this point, as I like to joke, when I hear the word "canon," I reach for my disruptor.

It should be noted that this subject is not exclusive to Trek or Who. No matter what the franchise, there's always a percentage of fans who really, really want to know if the books are "canon" or not. Did Arnold's insistence on drawing a public line between canon and non-canon material create or/promote this mentality? I'm not sure. Comic book fans tend to be equally obsessed with having to know which old issues are in "continuity" or not, but that probably has more to do with the way comic book companies tend to periodically reboot and revamp their universes . . . .
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Old April 18 2013, 08:32 PM   #150
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Re: Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
It should be noted that this subject is not exclusive to Trek or Who. No matter what the franchise, there's always a percentage of fans who really, really want to know if the books are "canon" or not. Did Arnold's insistence on drawing a public line between canon and non-canon material create or/promote this mentality? I'm not sure. Comic book fans tend to be equally obsessed with having to know which old issues are in "continuity" or not, but that probably has more to do with the way comic book companies tend to periodically reboot and revamp their universes . . . .
Well, I don't recall Trek fans talking much about the concept of canon before TNG and Arnold came along. I do think it was Roddenberry and Arnold who generated the notion that canon is something defined by what it excludes.
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