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

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Old July 15 2009, 01:52 PM   #1
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Post-STXI novel thoughts

A few days ago Trekmovie.com announced 4 new post-STXI novels a few days ago as part of Pocket’s 2010 line-up.

The books are all stand-alone adventures, and authors can do pretty much what they want (yeah, right) as long as everything goes right back the way it started by the last page. So just like the old TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY books, then.

I’m looking forward to these books, and there were a few things I’d love to see in them (not story ideas), and some other thoughts:

Historian’s Note
I eagerly await the Doc Brown Back to the Future II diagram explaining to the masses that this story takes place in an alternate timeline to classic Trek. I don’t want a 5-minutes-in-photoshop, poorly-printed, cut off by the Xerox diagram here, people. It has to be a work of black-and-white art (and better than the Star Trek Online one!)

Continuity
The novels are said to be “stand alone”, but I’d love to see them put in some sort of order with a single line each, the same way Spock, Messiah! made it clear it came right after Spock Must Die! by a single line McCoy said. So insignificant would these lines be they could be added by the editor prior to release without too much fuss.

Content
The new Star Trek was an action movie. Stuff exploded loudly (brain-damagingly loudly in the cinema I was in), people ran around lots, got into fights, Kirk dangled over the edge of things every 20 minutes or so. Great fun.
But should the novels follow this template? One of the great things about (all of) Star Trek is that any kind of story can be squeezed into it’s universe – but won’t fans of this movie expect more of the sort of stuff they saw in the movie?

What I don’t want to see
Generic TOS novels with different faces on the cover and slightly different backstories for the crew.
Blatant rehashes of scenes from the film the way Kobayashi Maru did for Enterprise (another Orion slave market rumble, another 9/11 in space etc)
Pages wasted explaining away minor technical errors in the film that only Bernd Schenider cares about.
A 366 meter Enterprise. It wouldn’t fit the shuttles or brewery.

Anyone else?
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Old July 15 2009, 02:56 PM   #2
Paris
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

^Brewery . The water reclamation area definetly looked like one. Nice catch
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Old July 15 2009, 03:05 PM   #3
Christopher
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
I’m looking forward to these books, and there were a few things I’d love to see in them (not story ideas), and some other thoughts:

Historian’s Note
I eagerly await the Doc Brown Back to the Future II diagram explaining to the masses that this story takes place in an alternate timeline to classic Trek. I don’t want a 5-minutes-in-photoshop, poorly-printed, cut off by the Xerox diagram here, people. It has to be a work of black-and-white art (and better than the Star Trek Online one!)
Don't count on it. We want these books to be accessible to audiences who are new to Star Trek, who are only aware of it from the movie. We don't want to scare them off with a lot of continuity porn. To all intents and purposes, we're approaching this as a new, self-contained franchise. Any allusions to Trek Prime will be subtle.

If you want more technical discussion of the relationship between the timelines, I'll probably have some in my website annotations.

Continuity
The novels are said to be “stand alone”, but I’d love to see them put in some sort of order with a single line each, the same way Spock, Messiah! made it clear it came right after Spock Must Die! by a single line McCoy said. So insignificant would these lines be they could be added by the editor prior to release without too much fuss.
That would be nice, kind of like how some of the early DS9 novels had passing references to prior novels. But again, I don't think it's likely. We're going to try to keep the books from contradicting each other, but overt cross-references are unlikely.

Content
The new Star Trek was an action movie. Stuff exploded loudly (brain-damagingly loudly in the cinema I was in), people ran around lots, got into fights, Kirk dangled over the edge of things every 20 minutes or so. Great fun.
But should the novels follow this template? One of the great things about (all of) Star Trek is that any kind of story can be squeezed into it’s universe – but won’t fans of this movie expect more of the sort of stuff they saw in the movie?
Not sure what you're asking here. Do you want more action or less? Anyway, the cool thing about the novel format is that it lets you put in a lot of action while still being able to go into more story and character depth than in a film. I'm trying for a balance between those elements, and I think we all know that Dave Mack is good at balancing intense action and rich characterization.

In any case, I'm definitely trying to capture a sense of energy and fun, whether through action or through dialogue.

What I don’t want to see
Generic TOS novels with different faces on the cover and slightly different backstories for the crew.
There's no way the story I'm telling could possibly be told in TOS Prime. The character arcs arise uniquely from the movie characters' personalities, backstories, and experiences. The plot is informed by the state of the Federation in the wake of the movie. There are events in the story that could only happen with the Enterprise design seen in the film (in particular, a couple of things depend on the bridge having an actual window in front).


Blatant rehashes of scenes from the film the way Kobayashi Maru did for Enterprise (another Orion slave market rumble, another 9/11 in space etc)
Aw, nuts! (Hastily rethinks the scene where Kirk skydives from orbit into an Orion woman's bedroom...)

Pages wasted explaining away minor technical errors in the film that only Bernd Schenider cares about.
Any attempt to do anything like this would be promptly and decisively shot down by Margaret and Bad Robot. We're not rationalizing the film or making excuses for its differences from Trek Prime. We're taking it at face value and telling stories in its world. That said, I do hope to clarify a few things, but very subtly, just the odd sentence here and there, done in a way that doesn't distract from anything and that doesn't come off as apologist.


A 366 meter Enterprise. It wouldn’t fit the shuttles or brewery.
We're aware the new ship is quite large. But really, how many novels have ever actually stated the dimensions of the Enterprise? Technical minutiae like that are rarely plot-relevant.

(And Paris, the engineering scenes were actually filmed in a Budweiser brewery in California. That's no joke.)
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Old July 15 2009, 03:30 PM   #4
William Leisner
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

I'm looking forward to the nuTrek novel Peter David pitched at the Shore Leave STXI Smackdown, about the redshirt on Delta Vega with the orange cones...
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Old July 15 2009, 03:37 PM   #5
Therin of Andor
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
Stuff exploded loudly (brain-damagingly loudly in the cinema I was in)... But should the novels follow this template?
You'll have to read it aloud.
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Old July 15 2009, 03:38 PM   #6
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

^For the record, I am racking my brain trying to figure out how to do lens flares in print...
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Old July 15 2009, 04:05 PM   #7
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

Christopher wrote: View Post
^For the record, I am racking my brain trying to figure out how to do lens flares in print...
"Kirk glanced round at Spock, who was momentarily silhouetted by the glint reflecting off his console. The flash of light left a purple imprint on Kirk's retina, and he blinked it away."
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Old July 15 2009, 04:08 PM   #8
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

^ McIntee for the win, everybody.
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Old July 15 2009, 04:18 PM   #9
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

David Mack wrote: View Post
^ McIntee for the win, everybody.
I think the line up there should appear in all JJ-verse books in perpetuity. Possibly varied as to who's being looked at.

Anyway, it's Mack for the win- I doubt I could have created something like Vanguard or Destiny...
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Old July 15 2009, 05:49 PM   #10
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

Christopher wrote: View Post

(And Paris, the engineering scenes were actually filmed in a Budweiser brewery in California. That's no joke.)
Huh, I didn't know that. It does explain quite it's appearance though. I know alot of people didn't like the more industrial ship interiors, but I thought that stuff was actually pretty cool.
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Old July 15 2009, 06:13 PM   #11
Desert Kris
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

McIntee for the win, everybody.
*blinks*
I didn't realize David McIntee was here, too. Neat!

Is there any information about if the STXI-based books will be in pocket sized or trade paper back? I was really put off by the STXI novelization being printed in trade paperback, times are tough and I don't have the finances for that. I'll feel better if they're planning to reprint the novelization, I want to buy it, and the same goes for this new wave of Trek fiction. The TNG movies set a bad precedent, with no pocket paperback editions of First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis. Not happy about that.

The only thing I'll feel sad about is if they develop things differently from the speculative notation I've made for where I think things might go (which I will not elaborate on, no worries).
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Old July 15 2009, 06:48 PM   #12
Thrawn
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

^ No plans so far to reprint the novelization. But, the four new books will be MMPBs.
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Old July 15 2009, 07:02 PM   #13
Christopher
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

Desert Kris wrote: View Post
Is there any information about if the STXI-based books will be in pocket sized or trade paper back?
I had the impression that I might've been told they were trade at some point, but either that plan changed or I'm just remembering wrong, since they're apparently MMPBs. Maybe they were thinking of doing it in trade when there was just one or two, but when they decided to do four in a row, that made it something that had to be put into the monthly MMPB line rather than the roughly-four-per-year TPB line.


The only thing I'll feel sad about is if they develop things differently from the speculative notation I've made for where I think things might go (which I will not elaborate on, no worries).
Well, any developments in the status quo are for the movies to portray. Our job is to tell standalone tales that put the toys back in the box at the end.
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Old July 15 2009, 07:15 PM   #14
trampledamage
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

Christopher wrote: View Post
There's no way the story I'm telling could possibly be told in TOS Prime. The character arcs arise uniquely from the movie characters' personalities, backstories, and experiences. The plot is informed by the state of the Federation in the wake of the movie. There are events in the story that could only happen with the Enterprise design seen in the film (in particular, a couple of things depend on the bridge having an actual window in front).
Looking forward to it!
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Old July 15 2009, 07:31 PM   #15
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Re: Post-STXI novel thoughts

Christopher wrote: View Post
^For the record, I am racking my brain trying to figure out how to do lens flares in print...
So does this mean that nuTrek books won't have any stygian darkness?
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