"Hundreds of forgettable novels"

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by robinson, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nothing wrong with liking doner kebabs and sometimes you get a really tasty one but it's still a doner kebab.
     
  2. Sto-Vo-Kory

    Sto-Vo-Kory Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I really don't see how anyone can read the quote that ignited this whole thread and not infer that the writer was being dismissive of the entire Trek and Star Wars tie-in market. The writer's comment, while off-hand, is insulting to both the writers of Star Trek and Stars Wars novels and the readers of said novels.

    As a reader myself of these novels, I find his casual disdain for an entire sub-set of fiction to be baseless, ignorant and all too familiar.

    Some of us may recall when James Cameron made similar comments just a few years ago about nameless hacks, cheesy novelizations, and his desire for Avatar tie-in novels to be "legitiment novels." Clearly, Cameron went into much further detail with his low opinion of tie-in novels and their authors but the exclusionary disdain is the same.

    This attitude of tie-ins not being "legitiment novels," of being a mass of forgettable pages, is tiresome and far too widespread.

    I think that all of the current stable of Trek writers should be proud of the work that they've done for this franchise -- often surpassing the quality of the source material, in many cases -- while being equally angry with some jackass for throwing in a flippant and unnecessary dig at their work in an almost unrelated article.

    I have probably spent more hours reading Trek than I have watching Trek on TV or on movie screens combined and it pisses me off that some smug A-hole categorizes my reading choices as forgettable in an article.
     
  3. flandry84

    flandry84 Captain Captain

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    Is it better to be regrettable than forgettable?:confused:
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Except that I had the exact same opinion when I was just a fan and reader of tie-in fiction. And I'm far from the first person on the planet to acknowledge the existence of this prejudice; it's a widely known fact that tie-ins are considered a lesser, more disposable form of literature than original fiction. This has been the status quo for decades, not just among critics but among authors. Tie-in work is widely dismissed as slumming or selling out. The industry doesn't consider you a legitimate author until you sell original fiction.

    Heck, there was a time back in the '90s when I would've probably agreed that tie-ins, on the whole, were mostly mediocre and uninspired. But then Pocket raised the game to a whole new level in the 2000s -- starting before I showed up, but I was lucky to come along at a time when I was able to write tie-in fiction on the same level of creativity, ambition, and innovation as I aspired to in my original work, and to enjoy reading the work of others who had the same freedom. And I believe that if I hadn't been given the freedom to work on that level, if I'd been under pressure to restrict my work to unambitious, homogeneous, reset-button stories, I wouldn't have lasted long as a Trek novelist because I would've found it too stifling.
     
  5. robinson

    robinson Ensign Newbie

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    What Christopher said. Let's not pretend that Hill was making a factual statement -- that just because there have been forgettable Star Trek novels, therefore Hill was raising a valid factual point. Hill's "forgettable" comment was a cheap laugh line, demonstrating his own bias against media tie-in novels. Whether it's worth bringing to Hill's attention or not, what he was saying was his own opinion, not fact, and didn't belong in the article.
     
  6. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't suppose anyone's bothered to ask Hill what his statement was intended to mean rather than reading their own interpretation into it?

    I apologize if it bothers anyone that I try to be a member of the "assume good faith" camp.
     
  7. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Even if the reporter was being dismissive and deliberately insulting, why pay attention to the guy and flood him with complaints? It's not as though he'll change his mind if he's flooded with e-mails saying that fans were insulted. What would be the point of writing to him?
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^As I said, I wasn't endorsing the proposal that we send letters to the critic. I was saying that it's a disingenuous rationalization to go, "Well, many of the books are forgettable, therefore there was nothing wrong with what he said." The comment was not innocuous or neutral. Whether he intended it to be or not, it was dismissive and unfair and it helps perpetuate the industry-wide discrimination against tie-in writing.
     
  9. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    And why shouldn't there be an industry-wide discrimination against tie-in writing? :devil:

    Alternatively, was his comment about tie-in fiction specifically, or science fiction in general? Both have been derided often.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You can easily go back to page one and read it for yourself. Whereupon you'll see he was referring specifically to Star Wars and Star Trek novels.
     
  11. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, thanks, Christopher. I would never have thought of doing just that all by myself. :rolleyes:

    My question is really whether the reporter was already prejudiced against science fiction stories, Star Wars and Star Trek being the largest brands in the genre.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What difference does that make? It's still prejudice either way.
     
  13. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Oh, I don't know. Idle passing thought? It's not as if I intend everything I write to be of paramount importance here. Unlike everything you type.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Don't assume you know my motivations. A lot of what I type is meant quite casually, and I'm often surprised when others make a big deal over it.
     
  15. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    I assumed nothing. I'm cranky that you dismissed my idle passing thought for not being up to some kind of rigorous standard that you like to apply to everyone here.
     
  16. Timewalker

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

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    That's because it's often hard to tell when some of the big deals you make over things others have written are really meant as "casual big deals" or if you're really upset.

    That said, I'm very glad that tie-in fiction exists. There's so much Star Trek fiction around now, the "modern Trek" fans have no idea what it was like when there were just a few books. I used to be able to put my entire collection of SF books - Star Trek included - on a single shelf. There were long years when these books were the only new ST adventures available, and for me, spending that $1.50 or $1.75 was a huge amount of money (given that I earned a whopping 50-75 cents/hour babysitting at the time). I still remember the disapproving look in my mother's eyes when she saw me fish out 7 quarters from my purse to pay for Spock, Messiah!... she didn't understand Star Trek, or even science fiction. She was happy I liked to read, but would have preferred I read something "normal." She said, "You don't really want that, do you?"

    Well, yeah, Mom, I did want that book. Decades later, I realize it wasn't anywhere close to the best of the Star Trek novels, but I enjoyed reading it. I still have it, and have re-read it a few times over the years (as with many of my books).

    Nearly 38 years later, I need several large shelves (bookcases, actually) just for the Star Trek books, another huge one for the fanzines, and that's not even beginning to count the other SF, fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, and nonfiction books I have.

    As for the guy who said tie-ins are "forgettable"? For some reason, I don't seem to have even one of his columns in my collection, fancy that.
     
  17. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan "Down with this sort of thing!" Premium Member

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    Just a thought here, maybe you should think before you type, actually think to yourself, how will this be interrupted because it happens a lot you knocking someones nose out of joint or getting far to serious on subjects that don't warrant it.

    Of course, that's just my opinion.

    As for the OP at hand, it's a fair comment and true.
     
  18. Sto-Vo-Kory

    Sto-Vo-Kory Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    RE: the first paragraph...
    You may want to read through your post before you hit the "submit reply" button in the future. Advising someone to think before they type in a run-on sentence full of typos kind of sends a mixed message. Just a thought.;)

    RE: your response to the OP...
    A fair comment and true -- how so?
     
  19. Stoek

    Stoek Commander Red Shirt

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    Wow. So first just a small observation. Some people have either way more petty jealousy than is healthy for them, or some people are just assholes. Whichever it's not pretty.

    Now as to the topic to hand. First of all I don't see any charitable read on the text. It was a slap at Trek/Wars based novels, pure and simple. And since if memory serves this appeared in a newspaper/magazine, the thing to do is not to waste time writing the author but rather write his bosses. Make it clear that you found his comment to be in poor taste and that maybe you don't feel inclined to spend your money and time reading a publication that employees people who make those kinds of comments about something that you happen to like and enjoy. If enough people speak up it may get their attention and they will bring him to heel.
     
  20. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    An apple is not a work of creative art. You think a farmer thinks of his produce like an author thinks of his writing. For a person to say to a farmer your apples are not distinguishable is probably a compliment.
    Writers are artists. You may not care for their art but there's usually a lot of effort put in.