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

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Old July 6 2009, 12:33 PM   #1
F. King Daniel
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Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

I was reading the trekmovie.com article about the forthcoming Star Trek: Refugees novel (the first novel set in the STXI universe, by ADF).

Someone asked if the new universe novels would be considered ‘canon’ Trek, and if a new era of Stuff-Fitting-Together was about to begin. Bob Orci said he has “no idea what the book will be”, which led to a mini outpouring of woe and predictions that Star Trek XII: The Re-Wrath of Khan will invalidate it with a throwaway contradictory line.

What I want to know is: Do all the contradictions in TrekLit (and TV/film Trek too, I guess) really bother anyone? Has anyone’s reading actually been ruined because Novel A said so-and-so about Kirk (or whatever) and Novel/Film/Episode B said otherwise?

Did the fact that Federation and First Contact are totally incompatible really ruin either for anyone? The various George Kirks? Early Federation history and tech vs, the entire Enterprise series? John M. Ford’s Klingons? Kirk’s knowledge of Vampires? The new, huge Enterprise in STXI? The Romulans and the Rihannsu? The Animated Series being ignored repeatedly? None of these bothered me – in fact I get a kick out of nit-picking (the casual fans nit-picking, not the creepy obsessive kind. I sometimes wonder if some scary canon freaks might arrange a book-burning one day…)

The worst I’ve experienced is a (very) mild annoyance over a contradiction, and that was because it was a modern book (where references are allowed) and the contradiction made Spock look like a dick (it was that he hadn’t spoken to Scotty since the latter’s resurrection). My annoyance lasted about 120 seconds and didn’t ruin the book at all.

Anyone else?
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Old July 6 2009, 12:41 PM   #2
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

Contradictions- nope. If it's a good Trek book/comic/movie, then it's a good Trek book/comic/movie. End of.

Errors? Maybe, for a couple of seconds, but that's about it.
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Old July 6 2009, 01:15 PM   #3
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

Yes. If I read a Trek book, and then a later movie or episode contradicts the story I've read (or has contradicted the book before I've read it) the story is ruined for me. That's why I found it hard to take the fiction seriously when the shows were still running. It's just the way my brain works. And I don't keep those books. They hold no interest for me. The same is true for books that don't fit in with the majority of continuity points of the current crop of novels (which for me, started with the DS9 Relaunch, which got me reading Trek again); if it's not part of that continuity (like the Shatner-verse for example) it doesn't interest me. Or that's been the case so far. But that's just me, and it doesn't bother me that there are fans who enjoy different things.

For me...this relatively new era of continuity between different books is like the golden age of Trek. I love it. And I'm sure I'll enjoy it for as long as it lasts.
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Old July 6 2009, 01:42 PM   #4
Christopher
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

neogothboy74 wrote: View Post
Yes. If I read a Trek book, and then a later movie or episode contradicts the story I've read (or has contradicted the book before I've read it) the story is ruined for me. That's why I found it hard to take the fiction seriously when the shows were still running. It's just the way my brain works.
Sorry, I just find that strange. By the same token, shouldn't all of Star Trek be "ruined" for you because it contradicts real life? I mean, the Eugenics Wars never happened in the 1990s. There was no book called Chicago Mobs of the Twenties published in 1992. There's no Earth-Saturn probe commanded by Shaun Geoffrey Christopher slated to arrive at Saturn this year. There are no DY-class sleeper ships shuttling between Earth and Mars. And on a more fundamental level, physics and biology simply do not work the way they're portrayed in Trek. If contradictions ruin a story for you, then you should've given up on all of Trek by now. Conversely, if you're able to keep enjoying it as a work of fiction despite its irreconcilable contradictions with the world you actually live in, then why can't you enjoy a work of Trek fiction that's inconsistent with another work of Trek fiction? Why can't you just treat it as an imaginary tale to be enjoyed rather than a work of "history" that has to get the "facts" right?
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Old July 6 2009, 01:59 PM   #5
Steve Roby
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
What I want to know is: Do all the contradictions in TrekLit (and TV/film Trek too, I guess) really bother anyone? Has anyone’s reading actually been ruined because Novel A said so-and-so about Kirk (or whatever) and Novel/Film/Episode B said otherwise?
It depends. If a TV episode or movie happens to contradict what happened in a book, that's a minor annoyance. As long as the book and the movie/episode are both good stories, I can live with it. For a lot of practical reasons, filmed Trek takes precedence.

The Crucible trilogy disregards a lot of stuff established in other books, but that was intentional, and for a reason I can buy into. The stories were more than good enough to make up for the contradictions.

And yet.

It does bother me that PAD's characterizations of the new TNG characters were so different from KRAD's. In an ideal world, the editor would have made sure that the characterizations were more consistent. Maybe there just wasn't time, I don't know, but it did bother me.

It bothers me that there's one minute of canonical screen time for Captain Bateson, establishing that he has at least two female bridge officers and is not in the middle of a crisis, and Diane Carey's Ship of the Line ignores that. She just has to be consistent with a tiny little bit of filmed Trek, it's all she's got to build on, and she ignores it, presenting Bateson and his all-male crew frantically fleeing a Klingon attack. But there are plenty of other reasons I dislike that book.

So... it depends. It doesn't necessarily ruin a book for me, but it can annoy me.
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Old July 6 2009, 02:14 PM   #6
The Laughing Vulcan
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

I would have given up at the beginning if I let something like common sense dictate what I read. You don't even need continuity and canon to do your head in. Simple maths will do it.

The Original Series :- A five year mission... 3 live action TV seasons, 1 animated series...

Something like eighty to a hundred novels set in that five year mission.

Even with time dilation that doesn't work out, especially with books like Prime Directive, and eps like This Side of Paradise, which take up several months of narrative each.
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Old July 6 2009, 03:02 PM   #7
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

Steve Roby wrote: View Post
So... it depends. It doesn't necessarily ruin a book for me, but it can annoy me.
I like the rest of your post too, but it was too long to quote.

I definitely agree with your sentiments here. Especially if I'm reading old novels, contradictions with more current canon or novel continuity don't bother me at all. I love Strangers In The Sky, Federation, etc. But I do feel it's the job of an author & editor to make sure their book is consistent with what's come so far, and so if a book contradicts something in a prior book within that series or does something like you mentioned with Ship Of The Line, that will annoy me.

But even still, continuity errors aren't always irritating. I love that Sariel Rager happened to show up and be given two entirely different career paths in Titan: Taking Wing and TNG: Death In Winter. For whatever reason, I find that funny, not annoying.

But the bouncing around of characterizations in the TNG-R itself was incredibly frustrating, and I'm so happy that seems to be over.
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Old July 6 2009, 03:18 PM   #8
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

Not really.
Authors are human, they make mistakes, there is a ton of material out there.

Spelling mistakes bug me, but I'm ridiculous about finding them, and again, editors etc. are only human too.
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Old July 6 2009, 03:19 PM   #9
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

The only time I recall being really annoyed was when DC Comics and Pocket Books, who had been happily cross-pollinating little tidbits for some time, put out conflicting "first mission" stories simultaneously for the 20th anniversary. "All Those Years Ago..." (TOS Annual #1) and "Enterprise: The First Adventure" (giant novel #1) clashed in numerous ways, and both would have been so much more fun had they gelled as regards which crew had come from Pike's command and which members were the new arrivals.

From then on, I let those types of quibbles challenge me. Probably I was inspired by the "Star Trek Mysteries... Solved!" articles in the "Best of Trek" books.

Best reverse death: Garrovick, who'd been killed off in "Home is the Hunter", a post-TMP story, and was the cause of Kirk's depression in that book, was miraculously still alive in the post-ST V novel, "In the Name of Honor". A cause for celebration.

So, do errors/contradictions bother me? Only when it concerns some aspect of ST that I'm a stickler for. For example, I never care if the stardate or warp factor is wrong; I rarely even notice if they are!
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Old July 6 2009, 03:22 PM   #10
LightningStorm
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

For me, it all depends.

If the contradictions are within a group of works that are clearly supposed to be in continuity with each other, then yes that annoys the hell out of me and will greatly impact my ability to enjoy the story regardless of how good the rest of the story may be. For example: Things apart of a series like the DS9-R, Voy-R, TNG-R etc if those books start contradicting each other that's a problem. Like Steve Roby, I found Before Dishonor's contradictions of Q&A most egregious.

Then let's not get into contradictions within the same book. If a shuttlecraft was destroyed on page 5 then was seen flying around on page 200 without some sort of time jump or other good explanation I'd have a problem with that.

As for things not specifically set in the same continuity (even if in the same universe) I don't have much issue with that sort of contradiction. All one needs to do is apply the "Myriad Universes" concept. So Federation still *ahem* "happened" as did First Contact, they just occurred in different Universes -- er um, Quantum Realities.
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Old July 6 2009, 03:41 PM   #11
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

I think it does help that a ST book matters in a grander scheme of things these days.

The books are always going to get messed around by the films and series. I don't doubt that one day the current line isn't going to get completely screwed up because it now has more freedom and TV execs won't be reading them.

But while this new freedom from the TV and movies lasts I'd like to see the continuing adventures stay tight. Repercussions from one book will roll over into the others. More interesting stuff can happen without having to worry about a reset button.

As far as old ST goes at the moment, these books are the only thing surviving and as such the universe it is creating needs to be treat with more respect and long-distance thought than it needed to in the past now it has less fear of new movies.

I'm very impressed with the way this has been done over the past few years. If it all gets wiped from 'canon' then I don't think we will be too disappointed because it's solid enough on its own now.
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Old July 6 2009, 03:46 PM   #12
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

Of course, the Temporal Cold War is your one-size-fits-all answer to inconsistencies
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Old July 6 2009, 04:16 PM   #13
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

The only thing I've ever been bothered by was the Dominion War / Avatar inconsistency with Ro. It just seemed like a big slap in the face.
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Old July 6 2009, 06:09 PM   #14
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

I'm far, far more annoyed by internet whining about continuity errors than the errors themselves.

I think Ian made a good point further up: it is really, really cool when the novels and the comics, or the different authors share characters and other elements, and create the illusion of this big, perfectly integrated tapestry... so much so that it just amplifies those instances when, either by mistake or intent, flaws appear in the fabric.

And unfortunately, shit like that is going to happen. Sorry, but the authors and editors are only human.
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Old July 6 2009, 06:18 PM   #15
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Re: Do continuity errors/contradictions in TrekLit bother you?

neogothboy74 wrote: View Post
Yes. If I read a Trek book, and then a later movie or episode contradicts the story I've read (or has contradicted the book before I've read it) the story is ruined for me.
So I take it that you can't bring yourself to watch film or TV adaptations of comic book superheroes, since those are always contradicted by the canonical source material (i.e., the comic books)?
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