Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Christopher, Nov 2, 2012.
While there have been no books titled Deep Space Nine in a while, the characters are still a key part of the 24th century books.
There's really no where to go with the Enterprise characters if there are no books. If those books are underperforming then you have to take a look at why and what can be done to fix them. Changing authors seems a good place to start since the last several books have been written by either Andy Mangels and Mike Martin or Mike Martin solo.
As a rule, the series title is a bigger factor in tie-in novel sales than the author's name, unless it's someone really famous like Shatner or Peter David.
It certainly indicates that there's a market where they can still make a profit on Enterprise novels - that's a good point.
In the current continuity, III (orbiting A) and VII (orbiting B) are the two class-M worlds in the Alpha Centauri system, the planet-numbering system applied to Alpha Centauri A starting at I with the several worlds orbiting B starting at V.
(Mine is an inelegant explanation.)
"Centaurus" is obviously of Earth origin, taken from the name of the constellation Alpha Centauri is located in. "Al Rijil" seems to refer to an alternative Earth name for Alpha Centauri, "Rigel Kent". "Velestus" is the native name for Centauri VII, the world frequently cited as the homeworld for the Centauran humans. (III/IV was uninhabited prior to humans' development of starflight.)
New Samarkand in The Buried Age is portrayed as a cosmopolitan centre, notwithstanding Alpha Centauri's initial settlement by humans from Sol.
Maybe it was an attack against humans habituated to one or the other Centauran biospheres. Or maybe Gothmara was just crazy.
The methods aren't that different. After all, a garden shop first has to plant the seeds and then later, when they've grown, they sell them for transplant. Trek has had a small universe for decades. There's nothing that says that they can't be one and the same. For that matter you could probably work the whale probe into it as well. It just works in the aquatic division.
Trek thrives on the most unlikely of coincidences. Are we to believe that every time that Earth has been threatened that it was the Enterprise that saved it? If not, how many other times has Earth been on the brink of destruction? How many other starships have saved everyone on Earth?
In recent Trek lit, look at Elias Vaughn. Until his introduction we'd never heard of anyone that could fit the slot he was placed in and yet, one he showed up he knew everybody and was a major player in a number of previous stories. He is (was? Nah...) a cool character though.
Look at the reboot movie. How many amazingly unlikely coincidences were there just to get the classic crew together and years early at that. Sulu was never an astrophysicist, Chekov is somehow a different age and yet the same person. To say nothing of Spock and Kirk being within walking distance of Scotty on Delta Vega, Spock knowing a long distance being technology that just happens to have been invented by Scott. the crew arriving at Vulcan on the Enterprise which is the only thing that saves them from being destroyed by Nero due to it having the same name as Spock prime's ship. Etc, etc, etc.
Worrying about small universe syndrome and coincidence is a little late at this stage of the game.
Actually, as Deranged Nasat mentioned, The Persistence of Memory establishes that Alpha Centauri IV is also settled in the 24th century -- perhaps a callback to Crisis on Centaurus.
Actually I'm a little embarrassed. I went with Centauri III as the inhabited planet, and justified Centauri VII as a planet around Alf Cen B, because I was going from computer simulations of planet formation in the Alf Cen system done by Elisa Quintana et al. which typically showed only 4-5 planets around the A star (due to the gravity of the B star disrupting wider orbits) and the second and/or third being in the habitable zone. Which was fine as far as it went; the simulations were based on the dynamics of planet formation in our own system, which seemed a reasonable model at the time. But now we've discovered an Earth-sized planet only 0.04 AU from Alf Cen B, far closer than we ever would've expected. It now looks like our system may be anomalous and other systems could often have planets forming much closer to their stars than we thought. So the idea of Alf Cen A having at least seven planets with the fourth in the habitable zone is more credible now than I assumed when I wrote The Buried Age. If I were writing it now, I'd go with a different set of assumptions.
But that's the occupational hazard of writing science fiction. You never know when new discoveries or theories will supersede something you've written.
Actually "al Rijil" is Arabic for "the foot" -- in the same way that Rigel is the foot of Orion. (There's also Mu Virginis, aka Rijl al Awwa, "foot of the barking dog.") The full Arabic name for the star is Ar-Rijl al-Qanṭūris, "the foot of the centaur." This was Romanized to "Rigil Kentaurus," which is often abbreviated to "Rijil Kent" or "Rigel Kent."
In medieval times it was also called Toliman, whose etymology is unclear.
I'm glad the Enterprise sold well enough for another author can continue writting Enterprise novels and find out what has happened to the characters after the Romulan war and the founding of the federation.I hope we can get more Enterprise novels to continue the Enterpise crew adventures in the future and see how the Federation continues to grow and change.
I'm thrilled beyond words the ENT novels will continue! The only thing I'm bummed about is the NX-01 herself is out of commission. Will she never see warp speed again?
I signed up because of this thread
This project strikes me as something potentially absolutely awesome, but also really scary.
The inception of the Federation presents massive opportunities, but also attempting to describe a historical era in great detail, can lead to huge problems; in all honesty, even academics who study the inception of political unions all their lives, would hesitate to speculate on the details of how a utopian post-scarcity federal alliance of planets came about. When each member joined, how their starships developed, how the new culture formed, etc.
Sometimes what is unsaid matters more than what is said; it's better to leave possibilities open than to close them - so the idea that we must fill in every lost era, can be a destructive one, that closes speculation and opportunity. Perhaps it's better that the Romulan War never appeared on screen for example, as whatever the writers of Enterprise had done, they probably wouldn't have lived up to the expectations of the time - but in the absence of official continuity, fans are free to wonder about the enigma, and let their imagination run wild.
Often, in attempting to describe a society, people have fallen into the trap of over-describing it, simplifying it and ossifying it - I think part of the problem with Klingon culture (in some cases), was that people did not leave enough room for opportunity - they tried to fill in absolutely every question. In some works, every avenue of their culture was explained systematically, leading to a really monolithic and simplistic society, which even the smallest nation on Earth, would seem diverse in comparison to. I really like what little we have seen of JJ Abrams Klingons - going back to a less comprehensively understood society, which acts more naturally like TOS Klingons. They are not obsessed with honour, glory and religion - no society on Earth, not even the most obsessive theocracy, would have citizens or military servicemen constantly drop Kahless, honour, bat'leths, etc, into every conversation - it's not natural. Even the Vikings were more than just conquerors.
Also sometimes people suffer from 'bridge syndrome' (for lack of a better term). The idea that the period between two events must present a logical gradient - a ship or phaser made in between two other models, must look like a hybrid of the two. Sometimes this works okay - the Ambassador class looks like a lovely intermediate step between Excelsion class and Galaxy class. But other times, it's taken as a rule, and undermines what really determines the look, feel and technology of any era - practicality and logic. Trying to bridge things can create an autistic view of history, which is all about symmetry, and is very stifling to creativity. For example, it's unlikely that Klingons would wear furs and impractical armour just out of romanticism for the past - any rational society worth a damn (and certainly one capable of running a space empire), would go with practical fabrics and technologies. The reasoning that they have traditions, romanticism for the past, etc, is not compelling.
That's why when you say that you are focusing on exploration and pioneering, I am all the more interested in reading this one. Like you say, that is what season one of Enterprise got right. And by focusing on the fundamentals of what Star Trek was all about, you can't go wrong
One question I would have is to what extent the USS Kelvin's era will influence the story?
The more I think about what little we saw of the Kelvin - a large vessel similar to Franz Joseph's 70s designs, on a survey mission in the fringes of space - the more I become interested in that era, which is shared by both settings. Love that TOS era feel - one ship out amongst the myriad god-like beings and computer-tyrants of the galaxy
Indeed, having re-watched it, I think was way too harsh on the series at the time. Many people (of which I was one) wanted some Babylon 5 type epic historical chronicle in a prequel. We also expected humans by the 22nd century would not be so naive or judgmental. We expected a larger Earth starfleet, and an exploration of what people imagined was the defining conflict of the era - the Romulan War.
But actually, it makes a lot of sense to me now, that the producers chose to make another episodic series about exploration. An early era focused on exploration and discovery is much more in line with Roddenbury's vision - the vision that is still the life essence of Trek. Early Starfleet being a non-military NASA-like organization is a reasonable idea, considering the Federation's ideal of 'humanism'. An organisation that valued military culture and discipline for it's own sake, out of romanticism, would already be very far on the wrong track, and at odds with the ideals of Star Trek.
As much as I loved it, more and more, I think DS9 might have been where the franchise went wrong. By focusing on logistics, fleets, militarism, office politics, dirty deals, etc, the small UN type Federation, full of wonder and homeliness, was replaced by something more like a nation-state, with all the homogeneity and dirty games it entails in our own era.
From being very critical of Enterprise, and quite sceptical about the direction Trek XI went in, I think both of them have been positive in bringing the UFP back from being just another Byzantine space empire like the Old Republic, or Imperium of Man.
Hmm, that's an interesting thought, one worth keeping in mind. I daresay I am doing some "bridging" in A Choice of Futures, when it comes to things like starship and uniform design, at least. But I daresay there's at least one significant thing in the book that I'm taking in a direction nobody would expect given what's known about its status in the 23rd century.
A lot of people have wondered that, but it's important to remember the time frames involved. The Kelvin era is the 2230s, more than 70 years after the Federation's founding. As the title Enterprise: Rise of the Federation should indicate, I'm focusing on a much earlier period, the 2160s. You might as well ask how much the American Civil War would influence a story taking place during George Washington's presidency.
Thanks for the reply
I guess you are completely right about the Kelvin; for all we know, the history of the Federation changed to a massive degree in those 70 years, so the two eras do not neccecarily bear any relationship. It also fits with the whole 'bridging' problem - for all we know, Federation technology changed in a completely random direction in between ENT and 2233.
Also, I'm really glad to hear about where you are taking the novel, in terms of suprises, and new things.
As I get older, I become more of a Roddenbury purist - I begin to realise more and more what an astounding philosopher and visionary he was, and like the Trek from when he was alive (TOS, TAS, the movies, early TNG), more than any other era - and one of the things he always favored was 'the new' over looking backward - and that has served Star Trek remarkably well.
Fundamentally, his humanist vision of exploration and diversity, but mediated by objective reasoning (as opposed to subjectivity) is the essence of Trek. As kids, we tend to look forward to the episodes with Klingons and Romulans, but as adults, it's the stand alone stories that often prove more philosophically fulfilling
P.S. I thought I would just add that the 'lasers' used in TOS The Cage, and the plasma weapons used in ENT Broken Bow are a good example of that bridging thing - before ENT established that Earth had Phase technology in the 2250s, some people speculated that the early Federation and Earth starships were armed with lasers and nuclear weapons.
I remember some people felt uneasy that ENT has particle weapons and antimatter torpedos, and wanted something more primate and Babylon 5 like. I was one such person.
Now, it seems like these weapons existed alongside their particle weapon equivalents. An example of how history does not necessarily bridge together in a linear way - the idea that Pike's Enterprise may have had laser hand weapons in their lockers, as well as perhaps a selection of other types of weaponry fits with real human history.
I'm not sure what the current Pocket Books continuity has to say on the subject
Well, the very idea of "Roddenberry purism" is kind of unrealistic, because Roddenberry wasn't a purist about his own work; he never hesitated to reinvent and retcon it when he had a better idea later on. As I've said before, creators and fans see a work differently. Fans see only the end product, so to them a work is a fixed and monolithic thing. But the creator of the work takes it through many drafts and revisions, goes through many ideas that are refined or completely abandoned along the way, and thus sees the work as the end result of a process of change and refinement. And often the endpoint isn't one the creator chose, but rather one the creator was forced to settle for by scheduling or logistical necessity. So creators are rarely as attached to the final form of their creations as the fans can be, and often welcome the opportunity to go back and correct mistakes, flesh out details, and rework things they've reconsidered.
And we know Roddenberry did this a number of times with Trek. The "laser" thing from "The Cage" was one of the first mistakes he regretted and corrected. He recognized, after the pilot had been made, that even though lasers had only existed for a few years, people already knew their abilities well enough to know that they couldn't do the things they were shown to do in the pilot. So he abandoned the "laser" terminology and replaced it with "phaser." He was forced to keep the two uses of "laser" in the "Cage" footage he recycled into "The Menagerie" because it would've been prohibitive to get Jeffrey Hunter and Peter Duryea back to redub their dialogue, but otherwise he just abandoned it altogether. When TMP came along, with more money and better technology for FX makeup, he had the Klingons redesigned and asked fans to accept that they'd always looked that way. In the preface to his TMP novelization, he pretended that he was a 23rd-century producer and that TOS had been a dramatization of Kirk's "real" adventures, and admitted that his version had been unrealistic and exaggerated, taking some liberties with the facts. And by the time TNG came along, he considered much of TOS to be apocryphal and was willing to ignore or retcon a lot of it, wanting TNG to be the new, revised canonical version of the universe.
So Roddenberry wasn't a purist about Trek because Trek was never a pure representation of what he wanted. Like any television series, it was the result of a lot of collaboration, compromise, approximation, error, and desperation. And like any creator, he changed his mind over the years about a lot of the things he had originally wanted or liked.
And of course Roddenberry's view of himself -- or at least the way he presented himself -- evolved as well. In the '60s, he didn't consider himself a philosopher or a visionary. He was a TV producer and he was trying to make a buck. Sure, he had some things to say, some innovative approaches to doing SF on TV, but his motivations were pragmatic. It was only later that he got caught up in fandom's embrace of ST's philosophy and bought into the image of himself as a visionary. People today tend to base their image of the man on that version of him, but it doesn't really fit who he was and what he wanted when he made TOS. So there's no "pure" version of who Roddenberry was as a producer any more than there's a single pure version of his creative vision.
Yeah, just to clear up any misunderstanding, I mean it in the loosest of possible ways - I said purist for lack of a better word, as it conveys the general notion well - what I really mean is that I am a big fan what little I can glean of his true intentions, as an audience member. And I think there was a subtle change in direction when he died. I love that too, but my preference is for something akin to the former.
The original intention of a creator may not make it onto the final product, but some vision remains; you can for example discern something of George Lucas's philosophical vision, or Joss Whedon's philosophy, or JRR Tolkien's ideas and interests, from their works, even if the intent was unconscious, and even if the viewer may not be able to fully articulate it. Although it is always dangerous to ascribe 'isms' to people, Shakespeare was said to have possessed a remarkably humanistic view of mankind, as was, people argue, Leonardo da Vinci in a different sense.
I think there was a change in Trek overall after his death. One that I fully embrace, mind you, but which I now enjoy a bit less. What little we can know about a private man like Roddenbury, suggests he was a secular humanist who believed in objective reasoning, empathy, and an optimistic vision - he didn't want to promote the neuroses of the past - guilt, egotism, war, fear, and so on, even though he was not averse to his characters and Federation making mistakes. I think that some later Trek started to get further from this - not necessarily a bad thing (I'm a big fan of many works of fiction that present alternate worldviews) - but, I personally don't find it as inspirational, (albeit it was damn entertaining sometimes). DS9 played with the kinds of reasoning that created the military-industrial complex of our own time, occasionally as a critique of those ideas, but also occasionally finding them 'neccecary'. Voyager contained elements of subjective spiritualism, such as 'The Barge of the Dead', which if I remember, led to some dispute. I'm afraid I can't cite better examples, without re-watching them all, but that is the impression I have of Roddenbury's time. Perhaps it is just nostalgia
P.S. it occurs to me, regarding the 'bridging' thing, that there are sometimes two different approaches taken when making a creative work - a director sitting down for the first time, to work out the vision for his motion picture, may reason out the 'look' of his creation using objective reasoning; i.e. lets give the Trekkians from Trek IV a face mask, because of the high UV rays on their colony - but when a person bridges two things together, they aren't looking at the practicalities anymore, and so aren't being as creative - the Trekkians end up being a hybrid of two eras, when something much more original could have been invented - perhaps their planet suffered an ecological catastrophe since last seen, so they now have black skin legions from radiation burns caused by uranium fires, unearthed by volcanic activity. The instinct of someone trying to preserve something, or enforce a certain idea, is toward stasis and explanation - but creativity lies in not trying to do either, but rather shaking the status quo.
I guess that is the difference between creation and stagnation. Although I do not ascribe to his religion, the Buddhist Lama Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, wrote some interesting things on the nature of creativity in his book 'True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art'.
P.P.S. Also, it's worth saying, I know that these people I used as examples, had changing views over time - Tolkien in the days of the Hobbit, with Tolkien in the days of the Silmarillion - there is a contrast. I don't doubt Roddenbury retroactively 'played up' his visionary role But I admire all these people for the process they were on, and like different parts of their careers for different reasons.
Very cool. I'm looking forward to seeing the cover art.
Interesting. It seems the series will not be a ship on a mission type tale. Seems bigger. I wonder what this early Federation's flagship is if not Enterprise? Will that be revealed in the first book with its crew?
That is very cool. Particularly those longe-lived ones like Dax.
You have a large canvass. Good luck!
There will be starship missions, but there's other stuff going on too. There's a lot of ground to cover here.
I prefer to avoid the use of "flagship" in the vernacular sense of a vessel that's treated for some reason as the most important or prestigious vessel in the entire Federation fleet. I don't think that's a very realistic usage. Strictly speaking, a flagship is the command vessel of a task force, or it's the ship on which an admiral carries his or her flag, i.e. uses as a command base or has at his or her personal disposal. Both those types of flagship are seen in the novel, but the kind of "flagship" you're talking about is not.
I'm very happy to hear that, Christopher. I've never been a fan of the "flagship" thing.
Separate names with a comma.