FJ's significance then and now...

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Warped9, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Back in the '70s when FJ's work went mainstream it was an eye opening experience for me and a lot of like minded fans. He brought an added dimension and depth to the "universe" that we glimpsed on Star Trek. I don't think much if anything before (in genre materiel tie-ins) had been done near the level of what FJ had done. Mind you, the fans themselves might have already gotten started before FJ, spurred by the basic schematics, and the accompanying text describing the layout of the ship's interior, found in the pages of The Making Of Star Trek. I know I got started that way. But probably like many others discovering FJ's work really fanned the fire of enthusiasm.

    For a lot of fans his work became accepted as almost gospel to the point that some can't bear any criticism of his work, as if there is no middle ground---either accepted in whole or not at all. It can make for lively discussions.

    One undeniable effect of FJ's work was in how it inspired countless fans to expand, build on and in some cases correct what he started. He also had an affect on the field of popular entertainment in film and television in fostering a market that really didn't exist before. After FJ's Booklet Of General Plans and the Star Fleet Technical Manual we began to see material from other popular films and television series. And this went on for decades.

    The publishing industry might be receding from this kind of materiel in recent years, but it shows no sign of slowing down with the fans themselves. In the beginning they grabbed pencil and paper and with varying degrees of proficiency churned out reams of new ship designs and uniforms and hardware. And with the advent of the internet it's just grown particularly with the accessibility of 3D modelling programs. It's huge and being able to share work online the fans really don't need the publishers anymore and haven't for years. The sole value of a published hardcopy work is in seeming to lend the materiel a sense of legitimacy. But in dealing with totally fictional materiel that seems to be largely unimportant.

    Even when FJ's work was new it wasn't above criticism. Perceptive fans soon began to note where FJ was apparently inconsistent with what could be seen on television. That can't be argued. But equally it can't be argued that he inspired legions of devoted fans and even an entertainment industry to follow and build on what he'd started.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  2. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    I never really got into FJ's stuff. I was turned off by his starship registry numbering system, which was (to coin a phrase) illogical, and I think that reaction influenced my perception of the accuracy of the rest of his stuff.

    Interesting how my negative reaction to that aspect alone was enough to turn me off to the rest of his stuff.
     
  3. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Who is "FJ"? I'm blanking on putting a real name to those initials...
     
  4. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Franz Joseph. He created the Booklet Of General Plans (schematics and deck layouts to the Constitution-class starship) and the Star Fleet Technical Manual.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  5. -SS-

    -SS- Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    When I was a wee lad my uncle gave my his copy of the Technical Manual. I read it to pieces and traced just about every schematic inside it. It has been one of the biggest influences on me in how I view art, design, and many things in the world. Not until many years later when I started researching Trek things online did I realize it wasn't entirely accurate or canonical. But considering he created it almost entirely from TV recordings and still frames, with little to no access to original props and sets, I find it even more impressive. In fact I prefer a lot of the things in the book that contradict what is seen or mentioned on-screen.
     
  6. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Which is not too surprising once you read his interviews (at www.trekplace.com) and look into the possibility that the bulk of his work is entirely based on The Making of Star Trek and not that much else. Of course, he should have also taken into account the studio set blueprints illustrated in this book, but since he didn’t, I wonder if Roddenberry’s assistance on his projects would have really changed things for the better.

    The commercial success of his work revealed there was huge fan interest and market potential (something Gene Roddenberry did not expect) and inspired many fans to become equally creative, too. Definitely a good thing, though I feel Franz Joseph Schnaubelt would have rather wanted to encourage fans to actively participate in their local and hometown communities.

    My biggest criticism (for which FJ is not to be blamed but what “fandom” made his conjectural designs into) is the subsequent conditioning up to this day how certain internal components of Kirk’s television Enterprise should look like.

    Instead of a vertical main power line connecting engineering and saucer hull (Jefferies’ TOS bridge schematic) almost everybody believes this to be a vertical turbo shaft (according to Jefferies’s TOS bridge schematic the bridge would then have to be a turbo lift depot :rolleyes:).

    And regarding his conjectural deck level numbering it’s mostly assumed that the saucer’s deck level numbering continues all the way down to the engineering hull – which makes Kirk’s cabin on (Engineering) Deck 12 in “Mudd’s Women” look like a production screwup which it isn’t, once the engineering decks start counting from the top of the dorsal down (and we’d have a Deck 2 there to rationalize the long turbo lift ride of Spock and the Romulan Commander in “The Enterprise Incident”).

    In my deck plan thread (definitely “inspired” by Franz Joseph ;)) I’m taking these issues into account and I get to hear my approach is “radical”, while I’m just trying to be accurate and onscreen-compatible. That tells me a thing or two how good or bad the influence of the works of Franz Joseph is up until this day.

    Bob
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Going through the Technical manual in those early years I remember also being intrigued by what wasn't in it, but suggested by listings on the contents pages. I'm referring to other ship classes of Starfleet and the Federation as well as listings for the Klingons and Romulans---all kinds of stuff I thought might show up in a supplemental followup volume, but never happened.

    But then fans took up the cause and began doing it themselves.

    And we're still doing it.
     
  8. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    FJ's influence on the Trekverse is immense. Every time you see the Federation flag, you're looking at a blatant rip-off of his design, changed just enough to avoid having to pay royalties.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    :confused: Rather looks to me that both Franz Joseph and Paramount should have paid royalties to the United Nations, which served as an inspiration for both.

    [​IMG]

    Bob
     
  10. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    I remember getting the one with the cover that just said, "STAR FLEET TECHNICAL MANUAL" and nothing else. It didn't have the words "Star Trek" on it at all; there was no breaking the illusion that this was a real tech manuan Scotty may have been reading. It looked real and it probably more than anything else Trek-related -- probably even more than the actual TV episodes -- pulled me into the universe of Star Trek.
     
  11. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    For me the best part of his Technical Manual was showing other Federation ships, With the budget they just recycled Constitution class vessels each time and I like seeing the rest of the fleet filled out. When the DVD 'Of Gods and Men' came out I got to actually see these ships in action...
    While many have reworked his blueprints to fit the hull or engineering concepts better, the original ones really gave you a feel that the ship we just saw a small portion of was 'real'.
     
  12. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Candidly as much as I enjoyed FJ's designs he did take the easy way out. He did what a lot of fans were doing and continue to: rearranging existing components. But it's not very creative.

    In the real world I really wonder how many major components are interchangeable between a carrier, a cruiser, a destroyer and a transport. I wouldn't think many if any. Certainly the hulls and super structures aren't interchangeable.

    The first genuinely divergent Starfleet designs we got were in TAS (the freighters and shuttlecraft) and then next in TMP and TWOK. And note that while there were some shared elements there were also distinct differences which is as it should be.

    I also like that some fans have learned to go beyond just rearranging the same components. From that we've gotten some inspired designs, some of which look authentic enough to fit right in alongside with what we've seen onscreen.
     
  13. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    One overlooked conceit of the book was that it was the result of information inadvertently downloaded by Strategic Air Command or NORAD. That was a nice touch, and left it open for interpretation regarding the internal circuitry of hand phasers, tricorders, communicators, etc., which were represented by contemporary 20th century technology with transistors and such.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  14. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Ah, okay. :)

    I have these, and way back in the '80s, our local Star Trek club wanted to make our own uniforms. We wanted to be post-TOS, pre-TNG (TNG was the only spinoff series at the time)... so I dug out the Tech Manual, turned to the pages on uniforms, and started sketching. We came up with a design that was basically a mix of TOS and TOS-movie tunics, TNG pants (as in separate from the tops), but with a vertical stripe denoting Command, Sciences, or Support on the outside of each leg. We left the black boots up to each member to acquire their own.

    And we drove the clerk at the fabric store nuts; she kept trying to sell us this striking red material, and we kept telling her no - because if we wore red, we'd end up getting killed! :p

    This was pre-combadge, and I remember one night at the convention when we were expecting to debut our uniforms... the member working on my tunic called my room in a panic, saying she'd accidentally sewn my insignia on sideways! :eek:
     
  15. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Were those uniform patterns in the Technical Manual good enough to make an actual costume from? I never owned one of the commercial uniforms, the closest I got was when my ex gave me a contemporary velour shirt for Christmas. It was very comfortable, but could get hot.
     
  16. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Well, most of the people in our club were also in the local Society for Creative Anachronism, so they were experienced costumers. I can't sew clothing to save my life (I can only do basic hand-sewing and I'm literally scared of sewing machines), but a couple of others were able to draft patterns and make the outfits. I don't remember what fabric we used, but it definitely wasn't velour.
     
  17. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I would think velour would get hot because it doesn't breathe well.
     
  18. mb22

    mb22 Commander Red Shirt

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    Also, there is this and this.

     
  19. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    FJ also inspired generations of Trek designs, from the Freedom and Jupp classes of TNG and DS9, to the three-nacelled Enterprise in the TNG. finale, to the USS Kelvin and Spacedock from the latest movies. Perhaps even the idea of a Federation Dreadnought.
    IIRC, they were created by Franz' daughter Karen, for cosplaying with her friends. A couple of pics and lots of Tech Manual backstory in this interview here: http://www.trekplace.com/fj-kdint01.html
     
  20. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    I always thought it was cool how his work was written from an in-universe perspective. When I was younger I didn't realize the inconsistencies that existed between the sets and what FJ interpreted but his work was certainly inspirational and interesting.
     

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