Changing the status quo - Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Charles Phipps, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    A tough question but I was reading "The Eternal Tide" and was thinking about a tough question--how much is too much change from the status quo? What is the "line" for you guys in terms of altering the setting?

    :borg:

    Obviously, we've had some really big changes to the SQ but other people think the destruction of the Borg was a bad thing. Others still love the return of fan-favorite characters while others believe death should remain sacred.

    Is it a "as long as it's done well" for you or do you like seeing the novels shake it up?
     
  2. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Imho, "as long as it's done well" fits my mark. As long as I feel sufficiently entertained by the stories and connected to the characters, I accept change and returns to SQ equally.

    For example, I'm okay with TNG stories that feature Picard as an integral character after he resigns his commission, but I equally enjoy it if he stays in command - as long as it's well-written.

    However, I'd rather not see a canon main character killed off, though I cannot justify it on an intellectual level. I still haven't gotten over Tasha's death. In spite of that, I'm not one to call for resurrection. Janeway's and Data's return were gratifying but I would've never complained anyway.

    Bottom line is, I'm generally easily pleased and would go along with almost everything. Blow up Earth, if you want.
     
  3. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As a reader I'm all for change. That's probably the biggest part of my preference to the 24th century novels - you get the impression that things are actually going somewhere.

    I have trouble reconciling this with not wanting characters to be killed off though...
     
  4. bbailey861

    bbailey861 Admiral Premium Member

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    Yes and yes. I want it to be done well and it is quite all right to shake things up.
     
  5. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    I'm of mixed feelings regarding death. For one, it is the BIG thing the novels can do to show, "we're really serious here!" OTOH, with the fact the TV shows are off the air, this is also not only killing the character but killing every potential storyline you're going to be telling with the characters.

    Killing Janeway killed all C/J stories, all future tales of her adventures, and so on but it also meant the books had a big thing to say, "this is what we do" along with wiping out the Borg. I'm now half-worried we'll find a cube disconnected from the Queen at the time of Destiny and it'll start rebuilding the Collective like the Daleks.

    I guess, for me, is I like change but I like changes to stick.
     
  6. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I do not mind seeing a main character being killed-off, if it serves the greater aims of the story being told and is not simply gratuitous. and the authoris should think even harder before bringing a character back from the dead. In 99.999999% of cases, I think dead is dead and it should stay that way. Looking at you, Spock.
     
  7. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Weirdly, I have a kind of 'resurrection criteria' for the setting. Data and Spock had their resurrections set up ahead of time. Likewise, I'd have had less problem with Janeway's resurrection if she'd been taken from another reality almost identical to our own or it was a Janeway created from a time paradox. If that makes any sense.
     
  8. bullethead

    bullethead Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I honestly thought bringing back the Borg from their apparent demise in Endgame was a really bad change to the status quo, which only got worse with the Supercube/invasion nonsense. That said, I think the lead up to Nemesis and the post-Nemesis stuff is just full of good ideas executed badly for the sake of shaking things up. You don't need to blow up planets/moons/whatever and kill tons of people all the time to change things in new and interesting ways.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    "Endgame" never alleged that the Borg had been wiped out completely, just that a severe blow had been struck against them. Their transwarp network had been trashed, impeding their ability to reach the Federation, and their Unicomplex had been infected and destroyed, but we saw that the Borg sphere pursuing Voyager was not affected by the same pathogen, thus we could assume that the many other Borg cubes and planets that we already knew were scattered across much of the galaxy survived as well. Their command and transport structures were crippled, but "Endgame" was certainly not an act of genocide -- which would've been a pretty hideous climax for a Star Trek series.
     
  10. CNash

    CNash Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    If people are content to read stories that adhere to a particular status quo, then it shouldn't be changed on a whim. If the series has stagnated so that no one wants to read stories that adhere to it any longer, then changing the status quo is warranted.

    This assumes that your story universe is broad enough that new stories within a given status quo can always be written. Star Trek in general doesn't have this problem, but many new TV series are set up as one long ongoing story, where viewers don't expect there to be a status quo from week to week.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The problem there is that both sentences assume the entire audience will want the same thing. That's never the case. Any decision that delights part of your audience will upset another part. Which is why you ultimately have to go with whatever feels right to you as a storyteller and not be guided solely by what you imagine the audience wants. If you believe in and care about what you're writing, and put your best effort and passion into it, that's probably the most reliable way to satisfy the most readers. In that case, even people who aren't crazy about your story decisions might still find something worthwhile or meaningful in how you tell the story.
     
  12. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    This was more or less stated by Mark Waid, I believe. He said that every single character in comic books was someone's favorite character, no matter how obscure you think they are. He, for instance, knew that a friend of his got hate mail for killing "Turner D. Century" who was a character so obscure he figured no one even remembered who he was.

    Likewise, Peter David (who some of you may have read the works of :lol::lol::lol:), stated that his Supergirl series was extremely well-liked but every month people would ask when he was going to end the "Earth Angel" stuff--which, for that version of Supergirl, was equivalent to asking, "When would they stop Clark Kent being an alien."

    I'm sure it's the same for you, Christopher. If you got permission to shake up the Star Trek EU somehow by killing Trip (again) or blowing up Romulus (oh wait), you'd probably get just as many people supporting it as hating it.
     
  13. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I'm definitely in the as long as it's done well camp. Honestly, as long as it made sense and fit the story being told, I wouldn't have a problem with an author coming along and blowing up the Enterprise-E and killing the entire cast, at least in theory.
     
  14. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    My main thing is just knowing what the 24th-century characters are doing "now". There's a parallelism to them in my own life that's not present with TOS. It's kinda like, I was "good friends" with the TNG crew et al 20 years ago (when TNG was on the air), then I moved away (after "All Good Things"), then I saw them a few times after that (the movies) and now we're back to being pretty good friends, though I don't see them as much as I used to anymore. About once a month, though we'll often go several months at a time without seeing each other. :techman:

    Lord, I must sound insane... the point is that the 24th-century characters still feel "alive," "contemporary" in a way that the 23rd-century characters feel historical. So I care about what the "alive" characters are doing "now." The status quo is long gone; that ended with Nemesis. (And really, with "All Good Things," "What You Leave Behind" and "Endgame.") So there's not much value associated with it, and indeed, the realism of the stories takes a hit when the status quo doesn't change.

    I will be sad when Picard eventually retires. I suspect that when that happens, the current novelverse continuity will come to a close and Pocket Books will shift towards telling more stories set during the 2360s and '70s (and maybe filling in more gaps in the '80s, who knows). Maybe those stories will remain consistent, but I don't think we will continue moving further and further forward into the future. (At least, not for the primary stories.)

    But, at the same time, Picard retiring will feel natural. It'll feel like the end of a seven-season run of a Star Trek series. Sad, but it'll feel right.

    So if the authors and editors decided to tell a story that involved Picard retiring and being sent to a galaxy far, far away where he must battle the Goa'uld on a planet named Z'ha'dum, with the aid of a ship named Serenity, hey, that'd be fine with me. (Well, okay, maybe not quite that, but short of character assassination, I'm fine with just about anything.)
     
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't mind change, but I also miss "in-series" books and don't understand why we can't get a mix of the two instead of only relaunch books.
     
  16. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I love change as long as it's done well, but I find it hard to disagree with this. I'd love some novels set during unique periods in the shows' histories, like early season 1 TNG or another Pulaski novel, etc.
     
  17. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I really don't miss the 'in series' books at all. I agree with Paper Moon about seeing the characters 'now'. Stand alone 'in show' novels just feel like episodes where everything gets put back in the box at the end.

    The gaps between relaunch novels are already longer than I'd like without any other interruptions. Some filling in the gaps novels like Hollow Men are fine, but I wouldn't want too many.
     
  18. Use of Time

    Use of Time Commodore Commodore

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    If the writers of TOS can still produce good fiction within the limitations of us knowing the outcome of their timeline then I believe there are still some good stories left with the crew of the old 1701-D.
     
  19. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't like the TOS 5 year mission stuff either. Getting something as good as Shocks of Adversity is rare, and I'd have traded that for another relaunch novel.
     
  20. CaptainDonovin

    CaptainDonovin Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Wasn't there a Spock quote about change in TUC, 'nature abhors a vacuum'? Cant remember now.

    I want the characters to continue on as they would in 'real life'. People move on to other things, they grow, they die. I'm good with that. I may have an attachment to the characters but can accept what happens as long as the story is a good one.