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

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Old March 14 2008, 04:57 PM   #1
DS9forever
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Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

I found the article below (search for Ordover) which says John Ordover declared Legends of the Ferengi to be canon. Does anyone have any official information on this?


http://www.nitcentral.com/askchief/ac971107.htm
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Old March 14 2008, 06:09 PM   #2
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

Nothing is canon unless it was filmed.
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Old March 14 2008, 07:13 PM   #3
LightningStorm
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

Before the usual irate and/or frustrated responses to typical canon comments occur I'd like to start a discussion that actually talks about the real crux of the problem and why people have such disparate definitions of the word and how it applies, to Star Trek and really any other media property that spans multiple mediums and has multiple licenses issued to release entertainment with its name on it.

The way the word is applied to Star Trek is basically this "The only things in Star Trek canon are every episode of every live-action TV series and every movie (that was released by Paramount/CBS)" Thus excluding all novels, comics, the animated series, documentaries (i.e. Trekkies) etc. We understand this is correct and final and unchangeable. So let's get beyond our typical frustrations with the topic and discuss why and how that is the case given how the word canon is defined and why the typical arguments like "Well Star Wars considers some of its books to be apart of their canon, so why can't Star Trek?"

I see the problem as being that someone somewhere is trying to redefine the word 'canon' from property to property. Like 'canon' means one thing for Star Trek but another for Star Wars and possibly even another for say Marvel. This, to me, seems to be where the frustration stems. We insist that 'canon' means one thing, but we look at a comparable property (Star Wars) and it doesn't mean that there.

So I went to Merriam Webster's site and Dictionary.com for the specific definition of the word 'canon'. Obviously there are various religious definitions but the ones that pertain to this topic are as follows:

from Merriam Webster wrote:
3 b: the authentic works of a writer c: a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works
from Dictionary.com wrote:
3.the body of rules, principles, or standards accepted as axiomatic and universally binding in a field of study or art

5. a standard; criterion

9. the works of an author that have been accepted as authentic
Given these I totally see the confusion, but I think that confusion can be explained.

Let's look first at the Merriam Webster definition 3b. Given this it would seem that canon for Star Trek would be only that which Gene Roddenberry himself wrote, which would then cut out the end of TNG, all of DS9, Voyager and Enterprise and most of the movies. But that's not right. Why? Because we're talking about Star Trek canon, not Gene Roddenberry canon. So this isn't the definition of the word we need.

Looking at Merriam Webster definition 3c. Even I have some confusion with this as it doesn't seem to hold up to how Star Trek defines its canon. I'm more than open to listening (and it's kinda the point of this whole post) to anyone with some good clarification to this, more than simply "it is what it is because TPTB say so." This to me means books could then be included in canon because they are officially sanctioned, accepted, and all clearly related. Now, to ease some of you all's initial cringe because I know how hot a topic and how frustrating it can be around here, let me make clear, I DO NOT by any means insist this must be or even is the case. I'm just relating that given that definition it would seem to make sense. I want the clarification that I'm sure someone can provide as to why it isn't.

Let's now look at dictionary.com's definitions which I think actually shed a touch more light on the subject. Definitions 3 and 5, makes it a little more clear and fits perfectly with Star Trek's definition. Being axiomatic and universally binding is exactly what Star Trek insists on. All tie-in material MUST be consistent with that which is in the TV series and the movies, but does not need to be consistent with anything else. Therefore that portion of the property that is the 'universally binding' criterion is the part that is canon, and therefore can actually be defined on a property by property basis. If Star Trek ever decided that they wanted to force all tie-in material to be consistent with some Star Trek book then that book would be canon. This even explains the confusion with the two Voyager books Pathways and Mosaic at one point someone might have made that decision, then when Jeri Taylor left someone else decided that wasn't the case anymore so for a while there those books were canon, but now they are not. New fiction that comes out does not need to be consistent with these books therefore these books are not canon.

Definition 9 is, of course the same as Merriam Webster's definition 3b.

Of course the other problem with the definition of canon is a lot of people's misconception that 'canon' is synonymous with the word 'continuity' and it isn't at all. This then inevitably spawns off discussions of what "actually happened" in a fictional universe vs what the creators of the universe consider to have "actually happened." Neither of those matter to a discussion of canon since canon itself can be out of sync continuity-wise and both continuities can still remain canon by definition.


Now, I realize my 'analysis,' if you will, of this has itself answered my previous question from Merriam Webster's 3C definition, but for the sake of argument and an actual good discussion of canon for a change, by all means if you have more to add, let's talk about it. Hopefully without the usual canon frustration and irate debate.
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Old March 14 2008, 07:34 PM   #4
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

I'm waiting for the bell to ring so I can go home.
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Old March 14 2008, 08:22 PM   #5
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

I think a more important question is: does it matter? Whoever's currently creating new onscreen Star Trek is free to acknowledge or ignore anything from any published tie-in. However, those current creators are equally free to fudge, gloss over, or outright ignore elements of the past screen canon (for instance, the way "The Alternative Factor"'s depiction of antimatter has been ignored by all subsequent Trek, and the way ST V's depiction of the center of the galaxy being reachable within 20 minutes was thoroughly ignored by Voyager).

So canon is, at best, a rough guideline. It's not something that has any critical bearing on the productions themselves, or on the beliefs and choices of the fans. So does it matter whether Legends of the Ferengi has that label applied to it or not? I don't think so.
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Old March 14 2008, 08:37 PM   #6
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

^^Indeed. But since so many people seem to keep bringing it up and it is at the very least interesting (if unimportant) I figure we would at least cover exactly what it is and means.
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Old March 14 2008, 08:42 PM   #7
Dayton Ward
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

Only Captain Kirk's Guide to Women is canon. Everything else is apocryphal.
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Old March 14 2008, 08:53 PM   #8
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

Dayton Ward wrote: View Post
Only Captain Kirk's Guide to Women is canon. Everything else is apocryphal.
AMEN!!
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Old March 14 2008, 10:19 PM   #9
Garth Rockett
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

When the "canon" of Star Trek is discussed, it seems to me what is really being discussed is what those writing licensed Trek (be it novels or comics) are incapable of violating of their own accord. In other words, Paramount/CBS will not allow the licensees to intentionally violate what has been established in the live action productions, but they don't care if they intentionally violate what has been established in other licensed works.

Those making the live action production are free to violate previous episodes or movies as they see fit, as Christopher pointed out.

From the fan's point of view, it basically means that you shouldn't expect any consistency between the printed fiction and any future live action productions. You may be able to expect consistency between future live action productions and previous live action productions, but you might not get it.
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Old March 14 2008, 10:41 PM   #10
Therin of Andor
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

DS9forever wrote: View Post
I found the article below (search for Ordover) which says John Ordover declared Legends of the Ferengi to be canon. Does anyone have any official information on this?
IIRC, John Ordover was saying that if the TV writers of DS9 (and the novelists) had need for some backstory on the Ferengi, they'd be likely to turn to hardcopies of "Legends of the Ferengi" and "Rules of Acquisition" for inspiration, since they were cowritten and developed by writers of the show. But I'm sure the books never forced a TV script to follow a certain path if the TV writers had a better or different idea that strengthened their story.

Similarly, Jeri Taylor offered up Janeway's previously unpublished backstory in chapters of "Mosaic" (hence "Mosaic" was held up by some as the first supposedly "canonical" novel) and - after departing the show - her ideas on the other characters' backstories in "Pathways". But the show's writers chose to ignore many of her ideas anyway, especially after she left the TV production team.
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Old March 15 2008, 05:23 AM   #11
KRAD
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

As ever, my reply to this question is: "Who gives a rat's ass?"

I refuse to spend time worrying about what's real in a fictional construct.
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Old March 15 2008, 09:01 AM   #12
bok2384
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

KRAD wrote: View Post
As ever, my reply to this question is: "Who gives a rat's ass?"

I refuse to spend time worrying about what's real in a fictional construct.
Agreed, canon schmanon. :thumbsup: If I see it/read it/here it (and more importantly I like it) then it "happened", no-one dictates to me what to accept and what not to.
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Old March 16 2008, 12:38 AM   #13
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

You took the words right out of my mouth.
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Old March 16 2008, 12:41 AM   #14
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

I can't recall, but is there anything in Legends of the Ferengi that writers would necessarily need to worry about contradicting (outside of the the Rules of Acquisition numbering)? I also can't recall anything in it that would allow you to include it in the timeline (either Okuda's or Pocket's)

Actually, rather than using the word canon (which, barring Picard becoming Pope, strikes me as a silly term to use discussing Star Trek), maybe discussing whether something is included in Okuda's timeline or Pocket's timeline would ruffle less feathers
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Old March 16 2008, 12:48 AM   #15
Christopher
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Re: Legends of the Ferengi - canon?

GHS wrote: View Post
I can't recall, but is there anything in Legends of the Ferengi that writers would necessarily need to worry about contradicting (outside of the the Rules of Acquisition numbering)? I also can't recall anything in it that would allow you to include it in the timeline (either Okuda's or Pocket's)
The only things we're not allowed to contradict are the episodes and movies, though we're expected to stay consistent with the Okudachron except where it's been contradicted by later canon. I doubt Licensing would bother to enforce consistency with Legends of the Ferengi.

Actually, rather than using the word canon (which, barring Picard becoming Pope, strikes me as a silly term to use discussing Star Trek), maybe discussing whether something is included in Okuda's timeline or Pocket's timeline would ruffle less feathers
Given that the Okudachron has been contradicted by canon on some points, and is many years out of date now, I don't think that would be very useful.

And the word "canon" has been used in reference to fictional realities for generations; it originated in Sherlock Holmes fandom, I believe.
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