new canon vs novelverse: worst case scenario

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by King Daniel Beyond, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. Timewalker

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

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    Re-read what I said, rather than what you think I meant. They're not the same.

    Of course the officially sanctioned stuff is canon, no matter how crappy it may be, how stupid, or how retconned. I'm just saying that there are PARTS of the canon I can choose to IGNORE - as in NOT WATCH/READ - and Paramount/CBS can't force me.

    So Michael Dorn could make his stupid little movie, and maybe TPTB will consider it canon and make the novelists jump through hoops to accommodate the "new reality." But that doesn't mean I have to like it, nor does it mean I have to watch that movie, or read anything based on it.

    It's like the 2009 movie. I finally watched the thing, as it turned up on TV a few months ago. It's just as stupid as I figured it would be, and I do NOT consider it any kind of canon I care to acknowledge. The studios can call it whatever they want, as they own it.

    But I won't watch it again, nor will I watch anything else based on it. I won't read any novels based on it. Thankfully the Trek universe is big enough to keep me entertained in other areas.
     
  2. shanejayell

    shanejayell Captain Captain

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    Then you might want to call it 'personal canon' rather than just canon. Canon, for Trek, is what the TV studios & films say it is.


    *edited out wrong bit*

    I'm not holding my breath on a Worf show. Might be cool, and if it happens I expect it'll either be worked in or not.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^No, don't call it "personal canon," because that's a contradiction in terms. "Canon" means official. It's the exact opposite of personal opinion. In its literal definition, it means what the church defines as official doctrine or accepted holy texts. Canon comes from the institution, not from the individual.

    The mistake people make when speaking of fictional canon is treating "canon" as though it were a value judgment, rather than simply a description of a category. It's certainly a value judgment in its religious usage, but it shouldn't be in a fictional context. It doesn't mean "what's true" or "what's real," since it's all made up, after all. Any long-running canon ignores or contradicts parts of itself, so whether something is canon has nothing to do with whether it's treated as "real."

    Canon is canon whether you accept it or not. Personally I don't consider "The Alternative Factor" or "The Counter-Clock Incident" or "Threshold" or various other episodes to have happened. I don't count them in my personal continuity. But I still accept that they are part of the canon, because "canon" simply means "the original body of work as distinct from derivative works." That they are part of the canon is simply a fact, not an opinion or value judgment. Something can be part of the canon and still be disregarded by the individual.
     
  4. Fer

    Fer Commander Red Shirt

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    Ignoring the whole canon bit for a moment... may I ask what you meant with the "he ate TNG, then he ate DS9" phrase? I'm not familiar with that one.

    The closest connection I can think of is the Troi cellular peptide cake (with mint frosting). :lol:
     
  5. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    Isn't Timewalker suggesting that Dorn subsumed the identity of those shows beneath himself? I certainly don't agree, but that seemed to be his intention.
     
  6. wahwahkits

    wahwahkits Commander Red Shirt

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    If the Michael Dorn movie does get made it will probably be as embarrassing as that steaming pile of turd known as that 'Of Gods And Men' -- which surely no-one considers part of their personal canon/continuity!
     
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ I do. I liked OGAM very much.
     
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    That supposed-fanfilm was rather embarrassing, full of fanwankery coincidences and a few strange performances and script choices, although it has certainly its fans. I much prefer the two "Starship Exeter" eps (even though the second one is yet to release its final segment), and the ever-improving "New Voyages"/"Phase II".

    Any Captain Worf project, official or fanmade, has as much chance of being good as being "embarrassing". So much depends on script quality, budget, time, acting performances, directorial skills, etc. The concept is just one element; Dorn's pitch of a closer-focus on a small ship's crew is probably sensible. (But nothing new; remember there were strong rumours of the other pitch made at the time of the "Enterprise" pitch: Captain Nog on a small Starfleet ship, chasing Section 31.)

    Of course, there are no savings to be made re costuming and sets on any new project, because Paramount sold everything in the Christie's and It's a Wrap! auctions. That budget-savings component was what made a "Captain Sulu" series slightly more viable in the early 90s.
     
  9. Timewalker

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

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    Isn't that what I've been saying all along???! :scream:

    I am saying that (in my not-at-all-humble opinion) Worf went from being one of the "and the rest" characters to one whose point of view nearly took over the shows. There was far too much Klingon stuff. There was far too much preaching about "Klingon honor" trumping everything else, including Starfleet regulations and Federation law. Worf was the most judgmental s.o.b. I've ever seen on any Star Trek series that I watched regularly. The only other character who comes close is Vedek/Kai Wynn (I totally despised her, too). And Jadzia was already an intolerable character to me before Worf joined DS9; the combination of the two of them just made it that much worse. I'll say this, though - Worf had ONE good line in all his time on DS9: "Nice hat."

    BTW, please don't refer to me as male; that little pink icon below my username indicates I'm female. ;)

    I really wish they could have done a Captain Sulu series. :(
     
  10. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, but you were calling it your "canon". The term "canon" refers to the one official core of a work. What you were describing was your "personal continuity".
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's not about what you're saying, it's simply about using the right vocabulary to say it with. You said you wouldn't consider such-and-such a thing to be canon, but using that word for the concept of personal opinion is self-contradictory, like using "far" when you mean "near." What you meant was that you wouldn't consider it to be part of your personal continuity.
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I have an idea for a novel!

    Christopher Bennett and the Battle of Canon!
     
  13. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Canon to the right of him, Canon to the left of him...
     
  14. Timewalker

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

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    I don't know the current state of TAS canon, and didn't TPTB disown "Threshold"? But "The Alternative Factor" is canon (yes, I realize it was a stupid episode with dismal special effects).

    Or as Spock would say: "A difference that makes no difference is no difference."

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Again, the word "canon" does not mean "real" or "right" or "what I accept as true." It just means the core body of work. Every Star Trek episode is part of the canon, part of the core franchise as distinct from derivative works, but it is possible for portions of a canon to be contradicted or ignored by later parts of the canon. Since it's all just pretend anyway, it's possible for a later part to pretend that an earlier part happened differently or didn't happen at all (like TNG from "Datalore" onward claiming that Data didn't use contractions even though he used them constantly up until "Datalore" -- or DS9's version of the Trill ignoring virtually everything that TNG: "The Host" had established about them). "The Alternative Factor" is part of the canon -- part of the central work of the franchise rather than a derivative or tie-in work -- but it's a part whose treatment of antimatter has been consistently ignored and contradicted by everything else in the canon (and that contradicts earlier episodes' treatment of antimatter). In the same way, "Threshold"'s treatment of transwarp and Star Trek V's treatment of the ease of travel to the galactic center have been ignored by all subsequent canon.

    Canon is not a completely consistent thing. It just pretends to be, even while it tweaks and reinterprets and retcons itself along the way. Which is why it's such a fundamental mistake of vocabulary to use "canon" to mean "real." It's not the value judgment or the benchmark of consistency that fans mistake it for.
     
  16. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That should read:


    Personal Canon to the right of him, Personal Canon to the left of him... :lol:
     
  17. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    [this post sat unfinished in a tab for most of the afternoon; Christopher has already articulated some of what I had intended to say, but it doesn't seem worth it to rework my entire post. My apologies.]

    This. We all have personal continuities, but "canon," for better or for worse, is out of our hands.

    It probably bears mentioning that we, as Star Trek fans, sometimes might place a little too much emphasis on what is and is not canon. Canon is simply an arbitrary decision made by folks at Paramount regarding what needs to respected (as in, not contradicted) when new Star Trek stories are made. And even then, canon is sometimes ignored because doing so makes a better story (or because it makes an easier story to do :borg:).

    Christopher gave great examples of canon being contradicted, clearly without the intention of explaining away inconsistencies. (The appearance of Klingons, Trills, Romulans, and Bajorans, as well as the uniforms of the Cardassians, the varying warp scales, the date of Human-Klingon first contact all spring to mind as other examples.)

    And what is canon has changed some over time; I remember distinctly reading a few years ago on StarTrek.com that The Powers That Be had decided that TAS was to be considered canon, whereas before it had not. (Only making this connection now, but that decision might have been to allow ENT season 5 to feature the Kzinti.)

    I mean, canon in-and-of-itself is a means to an end. Personally, my favorite Trek story at the moment is a work of fan fiction, not even an official work of fiction authorized by Paramount. But this non-authorized writer is a very skilled one who brings the characters from the TV show to life just as well as the TV writers did. To me, that makes it equally valid as a Star Trek story.

    Regarding the OP's question: my personal hope is that, were the current "novel-primeverse," in a post-Destiny Typhon Pact-era, to be irreparably contradicted by a new addition to canon, I would hope that the licensing people would have a change of heart, allow the current novel continuity to continue on its own, perhaps with fewer books, and start a new continuity with the new material integrated into that. It might mean having to include a brief timeline at the beginning of each novel, just so that the reader knows which 'line they're in, but I doubt that would be a real problem.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, it happened much earlier than that. The decision to disregard TAS was made by Gene Roddenberry himself, and he was the only one really invested in it. Once he died, nobody else producing Trek was particularly motivated to enforce it, and you started seeing the odd TAS reference show up, like mentions of Spock's "Yesteryear" backstory in "Unification," the Klothos getting a namecheck in DS9, etc.

    Now, arguably Roddenberry could've made a case at the time for TAS not being canonical, because it was the one Trek screen incarnation that had been produced by a licensed outside studio, Filmation Associates, rather than by Desilu/Paramount (although Paramount and Roddenberry's Norway Corporation were production partners). Thus it could've been defined as a licensed tie-in rather than part of the core franchise. But I don't think there's much incentive to define it that way anymore, since it's been referenced in various later productions, it's been released on home video alongside all the other series, it's fully incorporated into StarTrek.com and Memory Alpha, etc. Plus of course we now have the current film series also produced by an outside studio, Bad Robot.


    It is an interesting thought, that Trek tie-ins could follow the precedent of Transformers media and embrace the concept of a multiverse to allow the various different continuities to coexist. We also see similar things in DC and Marvel Comics, which in at least some cases treat the realities of their various film and TV adaptations as parallel worlds within the multiverse (for instance, the Young Justice TV series takes place on DC's Earth-16, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Earth-199999 in Marvel's system). And we now do officially have two canonical Star Trek timelines, Prime and Abrams, plus the literary precedent of the Mirror and Myriad Universes series. (I'm not counting alternative prose continuities like the Shatnerverse and Crucible, because those weren't overtly alternate realities, just alternate story directions, and they were still consistent with canon, unlike the possibility we're considering here.)
     
  19. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This is all academic, as there will never be a Worf movie. He's standing in line behind Captain Sulu.
     
  20. Timewalker

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

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    I KNOW THAT!!!

    Where in my latest posts do you see me disagreeing with you?! I know that George Lucas can change what's canon every second Tuesday that he decides to tinker with the same damn movie I watched in a theatre almost 35 years ago. All those different versions of Star Wars are canon, along with the rest of the franchise. George Lucas gets to pick which one is "official." But I get to pick which one I prefer to watch, and that one is the original, unsullied, Han-shot-first. My preference doesn't mean I don't grant Lucas the right to define what is official or that I'm saying he can't make a million bits of Star Wars canonical material besides what small part of it I'm familiar with. It just means I don't have to like it.

    My loathing for "Threshold" has little to do with the transwarp crap (except that Tom should have been instantly everywhere in the universe, including Earth) - it has to do with how stomach-turning that episode is, and how overall scientifically illiterate they must have thought the audience to be.

    As for Star Trek V... Even if the ship had made it to the galactic center, it should have been gobbled up by the black hole that real-world astronomers say is there. Again, the movie-makers think the audience is made up of morons. I'm glad these are no longer considered official, since they offend me in so many ways.

    Just ask any dedicated soap opera fan about canon and retcons. I watched One Life to Live for many years, and still watch General Hospital. Star Trek's twisting of all things canonical and official, etc. is nothing in many ways, compared to the soap genre, when it comes to making changes that the audience is supposed to ignore as not making any sense, supposedly for the sake of a "good story."

    I've read the McCoy book of the Crucible trilogy, and found it to be a fantastic "what if City on the Edge of Forever had ended differently" story. But then "City" is my favorite Star Trek episode of all of them, no matter which series we're talking about. I haven't read any of the "Shatnerverse" stuff, but doesn't it start off with Kirk getting un-killed/revived from his grave at the end of the "Generations" movie? How is Kirk being alive again consistent with anything?

    Guys, please take note of my location: "In many different universes, simultaneously." I can "multithink" from universe to universe (or "continuity to continuity" if that's the term Christopher prefers) at will, as I partake of various Star Trek series, novels, short stories, and fanfic. All I ask is that the stories make sense, entertain me, and don't wildly contradict something that was established long ago, thus forcing a retcon of soap operaic proportions. Don't assume the audience is scientifically illiterate. And don't be lazy about details. It's one thing to change a detail because it's vital to the story. But changing it because you just didn't bother to check? Lazy, and insulting to the audience. That's what the soap writers do, and it's what far too many "professional" writers do as well (this isn't directed at Christopher, btw, so don't anyone jump on me for these comments).