Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by SpaceCadetJuan, Apr 8, 2013.
Isn't the new game that comes out next week supposed to be canon?
Levine had no influence on Who tie-ins. At the time, there weren't Who tie-ins in the way there were Star Trek tie-ins.
The self-referential continuity of the early JNT era (up to the cancellation crisis) is Levine's legacy. Levine encouraged JNT to bring back as many old monsters and characters as possible, with "Attack of the Cybermen" (which Levine may or may not have cowritten, depending upon who is telling the story) as the high point. Levine's influence was over a period in the series' history when it shed its audience and went into critical decline, due in large part to no longer being mass entertainment but rather a series pitched at fans.
Perhaps. But I imagine that Pocket would have been happier and Star Trek novels would have sold better if fans hadn't been told repeatedly that the books didn't count.
In other words, Richard Arnold encouraged fans not to spend their money on the tie-ins.
I don't see how that's damaging, though. If anything, the original DW was a series that generally had too little continuity or memory of its past. I'd say that acknowledging that history was a good thing overall.
But most tie-ins don't "count" as part of the core continuity. That's historically been the norm, not the exception. Heck, in past decades, tie-ins were frequently very unfaithful to the continuities they tied into or interpreted them in alternative ways, like Ashley McConnell's eccentric take on Quantum Leap (which was actually more interesting in some ways than the show itself) or the various incompatible tie-ins to The Prisoner.
And it's only in recent years, well after the Arnold era ended, that we've begun to see tie-ins that were treated as canonical or pseudo-canonical, like the Del Rey Babylon 5 novels, the Buffyverse and other Whedon comics, and the like.
I'll go this far: Arnold's attitude did help promote the false belief that canon is some sort of value judgment or stamp of approval, that being out of continuity makes a story "wrong" rather than just an alternative take on an imaginary concept. I'll grant that that may have hurt the perception of tie-ins that don't "fit" the continuity. But Arnold didn't create the idea of tie-ins being apart from canon; he just stigmatized it.
Allyn Gibson, thanks for the info on who was who.
I'll agree with that interpretation.
Debatable. Sure, the "this novel is not canon" disclaimer that were on some novels back in the day (like Peter David's one featuring female Borg) were certainly unnecessary and may have hurt sales, do Star Wars novels of murky canonical status sell any better than 100% non-canon Trek novels?
On the other hand, it's worth noting that there's a potential dark side to treating tie-in books as canon.
Let's be honest here. If the movie and TV people actually had to worry about what happens in the books, we would never be allowed to do anything interesting ever again. Tie-in authors would have less freedom, not more, because the studios wouldn't want us to do anything that might possibly limit their options in the future.
It would be like the Richard Arnold era times 100.
I never said that the books should be treated as canon. I didn't even bring up canon.
My point was that by saying the books don't count Arnold was giving fans a very good reason to not buy a product. And it's possible, even likely, that there were people who didn't buy the books or the novels for that very reason; why spend money on a product if you're told that you're wasting your money on something that's unimportant? Essentially, Arnold was costing Pocket Books money, and by costing Pocket money he was costing Paramount money.
Good point. I was too fast on the trigger of the anti-canon rant, probably as a result of too many years of dealing with the topic as both an editor and writer. At this point, as I like to joke, when I hear the word "canon," I reach for my disruptor.
It should be noted that this subject is not exclusive to Trek or Who. No matter what the franchise, there's always a percentage of fans who really, really want to know if the books are "canon" or not. Did Arnold's insistence on drawing a public line between canon and non-canon material create or/promote this mentality? I'm not sure. Comic book fans tend to be equally obsessed with having to know which old issues are in "continuity" or not, but that probably has more to do with the way comic book companies tend to periodically reboot and revamp their universes . . . .
Well, I don't recall Trek fans talking much about the concept of canon before TNG and Arnold came along. I do think it was Roddenberry and Arnold who generated the notion that canon is something defined by what it excludes.
Hmm. I almost immediately ran into this when I was working on FARSCAPE and THE 4400, but I guess those were post-TNG . . . . .
I admit that when I was a kid I didn't particularly worry about whether the Dark Shadows or Get Smart novels were canon or not!
The word "canon" meant nothing to me back then. I did care about continuity; although I initially crammed every tie-in I had into my Trek timeline, I eventually realized that some of them had continuity problems or just weren't very good, and started picking and choosing which stories I counted as "real" and which ones I didn't. But I always thought of it as my own decision to make, based on my own judgment, and although I don't know for sure, I assume other fans at the time approached it the same way.
What I think the '89 Roddenberry memo and the Arnold approach to canon created was the perception in fandom that continuity was not something the individual decided on for oneself, but something that was imposed on them by a higher authority. I see so many people worrying about whether something is canon or not, acting as though someone had to give them permission to like a story. Even though the Roddenberry/Arnold approach stopped applying over two decades ago, there are still so many fans out there who assume it's still binding.
Which is roughly how I came to it, through Doctor Who - the difference between continuity and canon came through finding out why some books said the Cybermen came from Mondas, and some from Telos, and how the Doctor had met Ian and Barbara (and Jo, come to that) in two different ways, and eventually learning that it was because the TV series was canon, and the novelisations sometimes changed it (because the previous story hadn't been done yet, and at the time they never expected it would be).
As a side note, an interesting example comes from the novelisations (one per season) of Howard's Way, a 1980s BBC Dallas-style drama starring Maurice 'Lytton' Colbourne about back-stabbing businessman in the yachting world (hence nicknamed 'Soap and Water').
The novelisation for season four (or about then), written like the earlier ones by the series's script editor, had to open with an introductory note along the lines of "You may recall that in the previous three books, I've mentioned that Charles Frere was an orphan and a self-made millionaire, and may therefore find the sudden appearance of his very rich father a bit puzzling. Well, that was what we assumed while we were writing the previous seasons, so I included it in the books, but we never mentioned it onscreen, and we've changed our mind, so live with it: it's what's on telly that counts".
He does. He acts as a liaison between many Star Trek actors and the convention organisers, and freelances as a consultant for numerous tie-in licensees.
Rick Berman. I recall some corners of fandom actually being angry/shocked that Majel Barrett did not inherit GR's consultancy role.
Guy Vardaman, Data's hand model, and a regular extra on TNG for all seven years, had been Richard Arnold's assistant for some time before 1991 and he continued on doing some of the Star Trek Archivist activities, solo, for Berman for several years after Arnold - and Susan Sackett - were dismissed. For example, Guy was the credited photo researcher on the GE Fabbri "Star Trek Fact Files".
Paula Block and John Van Citters continued to scutinize the tie-in proposals and final drafts of the comics and novels, plus all tie-in merchandise, for CBS Consumer Products. Prior to GR's death, Richard Arnold represented GR to make the Star Trek Office's opinions known on each of the tie-ins.
Richard Arnold was before my time, but Paula Block and John Van Citters are pretty much the gold standard when it comes to dealing with licensors. And they definitely have and had an "affinity for Trek."
Is Paula Block still with CBS Consumer Products? I think I remember reading something about her no longer being involved with the Trek tie-ins.
What's really missing from this thread are actual quotes from some of her novelizations. I have a few, but they are stored in a box at my parent's place. The next time I'm there, I will try to dig up a few. Anyone else have some handy?
I can pull up the example I read from Broken Bow I guess. It's a bit hard to find all the quotations since I wasn't taking notes, but I know what scene that one was from so it shouldn't be too difficult.
For the other novels, I haven't read them so I can't help there.
Old post, but what the heck.
Diane Carey spoke in a very animated and emotional way about the USMC thing at a con I attended back around 1988 or '89. She was seriously peeved at Roddenberry about it while he was still alive.
This is very true. Don't forget that one of the most famous comic stories of all time, Crisis on Infinite Earths, is all about establishing which stories count and which don't.
This isn't true at all. Read any volume of The Best of Trek, or the letters columns in just about any issue of DC's ST run from the Eighties, and you'll see plenty of Trek fans concerned about canon then. There was also a thread on here a while back about Usenet, where I used Google Groups to find a random post from 1985 that looked just like a canon post from today, if you switched names like "Meyer" and "Bennett" for "Abrams" and "Orci."
On a personal level, I can't remember a time when thinking about canon and continuity, and what was "real" in different fictional universes, wasn't part of my approach to fandom, regardless of the franchise.
Keep in mind, too, that the use of "canon" in this context originates from a century of Sherlockian fandom. People have been debating this sort of thing for a long time.
Separate names with a comma.