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

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Old July 26 2009, 11:52 PM   #1
GHS
Lieutenant Commander
 
Location: Washington
Timeliner Reclamation Projects

If Pocket books (with the authors' consent) were to make an effort to revise some of the older classic Trek novels to make them consisent with the modern day Trek television series, which of these could be "corrected" with a few dozen wording changes, and which novels are too contradictory at their core to bother even attempting it?

Final Reflection

Final Frontier

Best Destiny

Federation

Spock's World

Rihannsu books I and II

From what I remember, Federation would probably work, if you accept a big change in Zephram Cochrane's personality after First Contact.

Final Frontier seems like it's out, since its central concept is starships being introduced for the first time.

Final Reflection would not work for a number of reasons (differing history of the transporter invention, length of contact between Federation and Klingons, plus the characters don't seem as much Klingon as Cardassian, by modern day standards)
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Old July 27 2009, 12:18 AM   #2
teacherkarl
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

Whoa, I haven't read Spock's World, Final Frontier, or Best Destiny in about 20 years, and have no specific recollections about them.

Haven't read the other ones...so, in fact, I really have nothing to add at all!
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Old July 27 2009, 01:53 AM   #3
Jbarney
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

My guess would be that such a project just does not need to happen. I agree with the premise that it would be really cool to make everything fit into one universe, but it does not seem as though this is the direction things are moving. Believe me, I've tried to fit everything in.

At this point in time I think the major project left hanging out there would be to see how many different trek universes have branched off from the original on screen universe. Massive project, but possible for some group of inspired fans.
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Old July 27 2009, 02:07 AM   #4
Hartzilla2007
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

GHS wrote: View Post
Final Frontier seems like it's out, since its central concept is starships being introduced for the first time.
Not to mention George Kirk already being a command officer around a decade before the novel would take place after adjusting the dates as established in Star Trek (2009)

Jbarney wrote: View Post
My guess would be that such a project just does not need to happen. I agree with the premise that it would be really cool to make everything fit into one universe, but it does not seem as though this is the direction things are moving. Believe me, I've tried to fit everything in.
Actually a good chunk of treklit today takes place in a shared universe.
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Old July 27 2009, 02:39 AM   #5
shanejayell
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

Well, the latest movie is a totally different time line anyway....
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Old July 27 2009, 02:48 AM   #6
Hartzilla2007
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

shanejayell wrote: View Post
Well, the latest movie is a totally different time line anyway....
Actually it's only a totally different time line AFTER Nero's giant sqiud ship shows up, everything before that is still in the Prime Universe.
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Old July 27 2009, 03:21 AM   #7
Christopher
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

Hartzilla2007 wrote: View Post
Actually it's only a totally different time line AFTER Nero's giant sqiud ship shows up, everything before that is still in the Prime Universe.
But the movie begins with the arrival of Nero's ship, so yes, the whole movie is in the new timeline.

If there were a reason to reprint an old Trek novel and it were possible to make a few small tweaks to bring it into line with current canon, that would be reasonable; there's precedent in other books where authors take advantage of reissues to correct textual or factual errors or make other revisions. But if a book's interpretation of the universe is substantially different from modern canon, I think it would be wrong to force major changes upon it just for the sake of consistency. If a story is built upon an alternative interpretation of the Trek universe, that's part of its identity as a creative work and should be allowed to stand. Those alternative interpretations are part of the history of Star Trek as a creative undertaking, and they shouldn't be glossed over out of misguided revisionism. Star Trek has always been and always will be an evolving creation. The assumptions we make about it today will probably be just as invalid 20 years from now as the assumptions of 20 years ago are today. There will never be a single, indisputable "right" version of what the Trek universe is.

So if we forced works from the past to conform to the current viewpoint, that would just be superimposing one temporary stage of this perpetually evolving creation onto an earlier temporary stage. It wouldn't make the books any more "correct" or any better as stories -- it would just arbitrarily vandalize the creations of the past. Rewriting the past to fit the assumptions of the present is an odious notion. Should we rewrite Jules Verne's novels to correct the scientific inaccuracies? Should we rewrite Shakespeare with modern grammar and usage? There was a Mr. Bowdler who was so famous for rewriting Shakespeare to cut out the "offensive" bits that he actually got his name turned into a verb, but today his efforts are rightly regarded as a crime against literature. If it's wrong to censor fiction for adult content or other "improper" ideas, then it's certainly wrong to censor Trek fiction for "improper" continuity. And let's be honest, that's basically what's being proposed here: censoring content that's considered objectionable on continuity grounds.
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Old July 27 2009, 03:57 AM   #8
Hartzilla2007
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

Christopher wrote: View Post
Hartzilla2007 wrote: View Post
Actually it's only a totally different time line AFTER Nero's giant sqiud ship shows up, everything before that is still in the Prime Universe.
But the movie begins with the arrival of Nero's ship, so yes, the whole movie is in the new timeline.
Yes but George was already Robau's first officer before the movie begins and since the timeline change doesn't occur until after that the Kelvin stuff also took place in the Prime Universe.

If there were a reason to reprint an old Trek novel and it were possible to make a few small tweaks to bring it into line with current canon, that would be reasonable; there's precedent in other books where authors take advantage of reissues to correct textual or factual errors or make other revisions. But if a book's interpretation of the universe is substantially different from modern canon, I think it would be wrong to force major changes upon it just for the sake of consistency. If a story is built upon an alternative interpretation of the Trek universe, that's part of its identity as a creative work and should be allowed to stand. Those alternative interpretations are part of the history of Star Trek as a creative undertaking, and they shouldn't be glossed over out of misguided revisionism. Star Trek has always been and always will be an evolving creation. The assumptions we make about it today will probably be just as invalid 20 years from now as the assumptions of 20 years ago are today. There will never be a single, indisputable "right" version of what the Trek universe is.

So if we forced works from the past to conform to the current viewpoint, that would just be superimposing one temporary stage of this perpetually evolving creation onto an earlier temporary stage. It wouldn't make the books any more "correct" or any better as stories -- it would just arbitrarily vandalize the creations of the past. Rewriting the past to fit the assumptions of the present is an odious notion. Should we rewrite Jules Verne's novels to correct the scientific inaccuracies? Should we rewrite Shakespeare with modern grammar and usage? There was a Mr. Bowdler who was so famous for rewriting Shakespeare to cut out the "offensive" bits that he actually got his name turned into a verb, but today his efforts are rightly regarded as a crime against literature. If it's wrong to censor fiction for adult content or other "improper" ideas, then it's certainly wrong to censor Trek fiction for "improper" continuity. And let's be honest, that's basically what's being proposed here: censoring content that's considered objectionable on continuity grounds.
Those are some very good points.
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Old July 27 2009, 04:55 AM   #9
GHS
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

Christopher wrote: View Post

If there were a reason to reprint an old Trek novel and it were possible to make a few small tweaks to bring it into line with current canon, that would be reasonable; there's precedent in other books where authors take advantage of reissues to correct textual or factual errors or make other revisions. But if a book's interpretation of the universe is substantially different from modern canon, I think it would be wrong to force major changes upon it just for the sake of consistency.
It would not only be wrong, it would be a pain in the neck for the editor to do.

Star Trek editors regularly make changes to manuscripts for the purpose of making the time period consistent with what's come before, or to add popular characters, to or add references to episodes or other novels. These are examples of editing for purposes other than improving the writing quality. In other cases, such as in the case of Probe (and other Trek books), there have been total rewrites undertaken against the author's wishes. These were supposedly to address flaws in the quality of the manuscript, which may or may not may make them more justified than the marketing/fanboy motiviations in the prior examples.

However, in this hypothetical situation, the changes are being done with the authors' cooperation.

What I'm asking is which of the following books you think A) require a few small tweaks or B) contain a substantially different interpretation of the universe:

Final Reflection

Final Frontier

Best Destiny

Federation

Spock's World

Rihannsu books I and II
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Old July 27 2009, 01:51 PM   #10
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

IMO rewriting the books would be utterly pointless.

I love stuff like Final Frontier (and personally see it at what George Kirk 'would have done next' had Nero not arrived, despite a few inconsitancies) and Final Reflection and think rewriting them to appease a small group of OCD Trekkers would be a waste of time and money better spent on new adventures.

Truth told, it should have been stuff like Enterprise that "conformed" to Final Frontier's pre-TOS take on things, not the other way around.

I asked a while ago if all the little (and large) inconsitancies in Trek really ruined it for anyone and the majority said "no".

I perosnally see Trek as more of a mythology then a strict "canon", where different interpretations of that mythology are equally "valid". I also don't see a need for it all to line-up perfectly.
The fact that modern Trek books reference incompatible stuff like the Kinshaya (from Final Reflection and the Typon Pact) gives me the impression the writers feel similarly.
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Old July 27 2009, 02:22 PM   #11
Christopher
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

GHS wrote: View Post
However, in this hypothetical situation, the changes are being done with the authors' cooperation.

What I'm asking is which of the following books you think A) require a few small tweaks or B) contain a substantially different interpretation of the universe:

Final Reflection

Final Frontier

Best Destiny

Federation

Spock's World

Rihannsu books I and II
All of those are substantially different interpretations, and that's an inseparable part of their charm. They represent the core ideas of Star Trek as filtered through the imaginations of four very distinct creators or creator teams, and each of those authors' sub-universes has its own characteristic voice and charm. They're not just cookie-cutter stories marching in lockstep, but works that reflect the unique imaginations and viewpoints of their authors, as well as reflecting the state of the Trek universe and fanbase at the time these books were written. And that's the way they should be. They should be appreciated as the unique creations that they are. Rewriting them to be consistent with modern canon would just homogenize them and strip them of their identity.
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Old July 27 2009, 02:39 PM   #12
Jbarney
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

The point about energy being put into new projects is valid. Christopher's long term take on the universe is also key. The creative team in charge today may not be the same 5-10 years out, and further contradictions are bound to work their way in at some point as trek progresses.

Perhaps its about time we started thinking of it as the trek "multi-verse" rather than the trek universe. The movie fully embraced this concept. Some of the comics and novels fit well with the onscreen material in the "prime" universe, others don't. Doesn't mean they are "right" or "wrong", just a different branch of the trek multiverse.

Christ, after twenty-years of arguing everything had to fit into one timeline I can't believe I just typed those words.
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Old July 27 2009, 02:41 PM   #13
Cicero
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

Christopher wrote: View Post
GHS wrote: View Post
However, in this hypothetical situation, the changes are being done with the authors' cooperation.

What I'm asking is which of the following books you think A) require a few small tweaks or B) contain a substantially different interpretation of the universe:

Final Reflection

Final Frontier

Best Destiny

Federation

Spock's World

Rihannsu books I and II
All of those are substantially different interpretations, and that's an inseparable part of their charm. They represent the core ideas of Star Trek as filtered through the imaginations of four very distinct creators or creator teams, and each of those authors' sub-universes has its own characteristic voice and charm. They're not just cookie-cutter stories marching in lockstep, but works that reflect the unique imaginations and viewpoints of their authors, as well as reflecting the state of the Trek universe and fanbase at the time these books were written. And that's the way they should be. They should be appreciated as the unique creations that they are. Rewriting them to be consistent with modern canon would just homogenize them and strip them of their identity.
I don't think Federation would be hurt by altering a few dates, which, IIRC, were all that made it incompatible with First Contact.
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Old July 27 2009, 03:36 PM   #14
GHS
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

I didn't get past the first half of Best Destiny, but I don't think it was facing the same hurdles as Final Frontier. I think there were still lines about April's Enterprise being the first starship, but I believe that's the only inconsistency I ran into.
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Old July 27 2009, 03:37 PM   #15
Christopher
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Re: Timeliner Reclamation Projects

Cicero wrote: View Post
I don't think Federation would be hurt by altering a few dates, which, IIRC, were all that made it incompatible with First Contact.
Oh, they're profoundly different. The book's Cochrane is a hugely different character. The history of Earth is drastically different. In the book, Cochrane goes to Vulcan to make first contact, not the other way around. It's not just "a few dates." As with real history, the dates are merely a superficial aspect of a much deeper, more complex process. The whole flow of 21st-century history in the novel is fundamentally different from what the screen has given us.

And that's a good thing. Star Trek is a work of fiction, a creative exercise. It's good that different creators have gotten to imagine different versions of particular events. It gives us variety, a range of ideas. It would be less interesting if every event in Trek history were told in only one way, because then we would've been deprived of some imaginative, entertaining stories. It's good that we have multiple tellings of Batman's origin, of Spider-Man's origin, of Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece, of King Arthur's rise and fall, of Dr. Frankenstein's creation of a monster, etc. And it's good that we have multiple tellings of equally legendary events like Cochrane's creation of warp drive, Kirk's first mission aboard the Enterprise, and so on. Each one deserves to be appreciated as its own distinct whole, not treated as though there's something "wrong" with it that needs to be "fixed" just because it's different from something else.
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