Brannon Braga: Not a Diane Carey Fan?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by SpaceCadetJuan, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    One good thing about the way the Romulans were portrayed in later Trek is that they were portrayed so rarely--compared to the Klingons or the Cardassians, at least--that much of Duane's Rihannsu could survive into the current post-television novel continuity.

    Arnold's assertion that Roddenberry was offended by the assertion in the prologue to The Romulan Way that though the Rihannsu were many things "they were never Romulans" confuses me. What there was to be offended by? Correct me if I'm wrong, but in context "they were never Romulans" meant that the Romulans were much more than inveterate enemies of the Federation, that they had a rich history and culture of their own that wasn't entirely defined by the relationship to the Federation. Right?
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^I took it to mean that they were never the construct that humans imposed on our perception of them. Just as "Romulan" was a name we coined for them derived from our own history and culture, so we created our own image of what they were, rather than seeing them for themselves. Basically the point was that you have to understand them, or any culture, from its own perspective, rather than filtered through the conceptual construct that a foreign culture builds around them.
     
  3. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    The main/first sticking point, which brought the Duane "Rihannsu" books to GR's attention was when a fan-run convention flier made its way to the Star Trek Office at Paramount and the organizers were promoting their GoH, Diane Duane, as "Creator of the Rihannsu". She wasn't calling herself this, of course; it was a convention that decided to promote her this way.

    Richard Arnold started saying at conventions (paraphrasing), "Who does she think she is? In the episode, they actually say, 'We are Romulans!' and Diane Duane had no right to speculate otherwise."

    Of course, Duane's explanation actually made more sense. That Earth people possibly branded the (till-then-unseen) aliens "Romulans" because they'd already catalogued their twin planets as "Romulus" and "Remus".
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It annoyed me when ENT did "Minefield" and Hoshi said "The aliens call themselves Rommelans" and T'Pol said "Romulans. It's pronounced Romulans." I would've much rather had them be called something like Rahm-Yll'n and had the human characters mispronounce it as "Romulan" to T'Pol's annoyance. If we couldn't have them actually being given a mythological name inspired by their twin planets as was the original intent, at least we could've had something that made more sense than what we got.
     
  5. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed. Someone had been talking to RA, off-the-record, methinks. :confused:
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^No, I think it's just the same research fail that led to Berman & Braga not realizing when they wrote "Broken Bow" that Rigel was a real star name. Maybe they didn't realize that Romulans were named for a figure from Roman mythology. After all, it's not like most Americans get a decent classical education anymore.
     
  7. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    I read with interest both of the postings you linked to...and came away with a layman's opinion that this guy was, er, a tad deranged. I know from previous posts that at one point he was very important to Trek, something like Roddenberry's right-hand man, and that he doesn't hold anything like that kind of power now, but (1) how did he fall from grace, so to speak, and (2) does he still have any affiliation to Trek?
     
  8. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    What kind of weight does "We are Romulans!" carry, anyway? (and exactly who said it, and in which episode?) We obviously heard it in English, but the notion that people from another planet would be speaking English among themselves is even more absurd than concluding, from reading the KJV, that Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, all the Prophets, Jesus, and all the Apostles spoke Jacobean English.

    Regarding the notion that RA was a bit of a nutjob, I wouldn't dispute it. Also self-important, and not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
     
  9. OmahaStar

    OmahaStar Disrespectful of his betters Admiral

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    As I understand it, Gene paid Richard's salary. He was Gene's employee, not Paramount's. The day after Gene died, Richard was escorted off the Paramount lot and all ties were severed. He has not had any affiliation with Trek since then.
     
  10. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Arnold was fired when Roddenberry died. He hasn't had an official role with Star Trek since then, though I believe some licensees have used him as a Star Trek expert over the years.

    He used to have a Q&A column in the official fan club magazine. "Deranged" is a good word; I recall one column where he answered a question about the Deep Space Nine relaunch with "There is no such person as Elias Vaughn in the Star Trek universe" (paraphrasing from a decade old memory).

    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.)
     
  11. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Thanks for the clarification, guys. I elected to use "deranged" rather than "nutjob with little-man syndrome, kind of like North Korea today", but yeah. For some reason I thought he still helped out with Trek conventions or had some modern-day function within Trekdom at large.

    This, I guess, leads me to another question...who was it that took over the Trek reins when Roddenberry died? Was it some Paramount appointee who had no affinity for Trek and therefore had no need for Arnold? Or was it someone already involved in Trek who just didn't like Arnold? I'm a little fuzzy on the whole list of succession and how we got from there to here *. I mean, I know some of the names like Berman, Braga, Piller, Moore, stuff like that, but I don't really know who ran the shows and made decisions in the franchise, "official" titles aside.

    (hell, that's probably a whole thread in and of itself, isn't it?...)
     
  12. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Think of it like this. The series' producers were the final authority. Paramount Licensing was the intermediary between the producers and Pocket Books/DC Comics/etc. If the producers don't like something or don't approve of it, Licensing tells the licensee that it's no good and needs to be changed.

    Richard Arnold came in between the series' producers (specifically, Gene Roddenberry) and Paramount Licensing.

    The contention of the authors during that time was that Arnold was approving (or not) the manuscripts on the producers' end. The contention of Arnold is that Roddenberry was doing the actual vetting on the producers' end and he was just there as a stenographer or somesuch.

    After Roddenberry's death, Arnold had no role in the process. And in the producers' chair, nothing really changed. Rick Berman had been with the series since its beginnings (actually, even before Roddenberry, as Berman was a part of Greg Strangis' Star Trek project), and Roddenberry, as he fell ill (around the third season), became a figurehead insofar as the television series was concerned.

    That may be why Roddenberry and Arnold were injected much more closely into the comics and novels; that was an area where Roddenberry could still exert influence.
     
  13. DorkBoy [TM]

    DorkBoy [TM] Captain Captain

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    That is sad to think about. :(

    He also didn't realize that Broken Bow, Oklahoma was a real place.

    In an interview about Broken Bow in Star Trek: Communicator, Braga said something along the lines of "We started off with Broken Bow, Iowa (I think?), but we decided to change it to Oklahoma. But of course there is no Broken Bow in Oklahoma."

    The interviewer, Larry Nemecek, who is actually from Oklahoma (he used to live here in Norman) said "Actually yes there is." That made me laugh. And here, I was so proud of them for including an Oklahoma town in a Star Trek pilot, and even NAMING it after that town, and Braga didn't even know it was a real place.

    Sigh.
     
  14. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Meh, how many people who have never been to Oklanoma know there's a Boken Bow there? I didn't before Enterprise came along. People just aren't experts of places they've never been to. Hell, I never even heard of the World Trade Center before 9/11.
     
  15. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And I never heard of Russia before Rocky IV.
     
  16. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    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.
     
  17. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's okay, there were plenty of other folks taking up the slack for Arnold on that count.
     
  18. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^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.
     
  20. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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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.

    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.