Peter David comic book story

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Noddy, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Margaret started as a writer/editor for DC and Marvel, working on the "Shadowline" series from Marvel's Epic comics imprint and on various titles for DC (not just Trek, but issues of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight and a miniseries based on the Viper TV series), before she went to work for Pocket Books.
     
  2. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, I know, but in her early days... she was an amateur Star Trek fan dabbling in fanzines, fan clubs and conventions. ;)
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, you said you weren't sure if she had training as an editor. On-the-job experience should certainly count.
     
  4. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    But wouldn't most of them have been in a lower position, with someone with more training above them? (This is not sarcastic or rhetorical, I am honestly curious)
    I was not aware of that. I had assumed to be an editor you needed some kind of a communications, or writing degree or something along those lines.
    I just thought it was weird that he was given so much power over the franchise, when based on what I've read his only real qualification was that he was a fan who knew Roddenberry.

    It just seems to me that if you're going to be criticizing books, comics, and things like that professionally then you should have some experience or in depth knowldge of writing or publishing. But this is just my opinion, and I'll admit I have very little inside knowledge of Hollywood, and the publishing industry.
     
  5. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Of course. (I mentioned my own on-the-job experience as a first-time editor.)

    But the OP was doubting that Richard Arnold should have been allowed on-the-job experience. RA ran a fan club for Grace Lee Whitney in the late 70s/early 80s, AFAIK.

    When you go for a job, you sometimes simply have to perform better than other applicants at interview. Or sometimes be the only person in the right place at the right time.

    So did I, but perhaps no one else applied? I wasn't ever allowed to know if I was the only interviewee, or if I beat others better qualified.

    I'm sure when GR handed RA that first manuscript and said, "Susan's too busy to read this stuff. Would you have a look at this and see if the author is on the right track?" that no one imagined that writing drafts of official memos to licensees would be perceived as "power over the franchise".

    I presume RA was asked to examine the things for accuracy to the canonical Trek universe, choice of logo and whether images of the Enterprise were right side up or not, not to comment upon grammar, size of font or length of chapters. Certainly, at conventions RA has spoken at, he has given many examples of the types of bizarre little errors that he caught between 1986 and 1991, that no one else (ie. professional writers, marketing people, artists, editors, proofreaders, designers, etc) had noticed. I know there were a few times where he recommended that certain stories might work better with cover art that ascertained the TOS era being featured.

    Not too different to being a "beta reader" for a media tie-in. Enthusiastic, knowledgeable fans are often given that gig. (I've been asked three times now.) No training necessary, just knowledge of aspects of "Star Trek".
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's a good point. Fans of the books and comics often see them as equal in importance to the shows and films, but the fact is, in the grand scheme of things they're a minor sidebar to the franchise. Having approval over the tie-ins is hardly the same thing as having authority over the franchise.
     
  7. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe I was a little to harsh. I guess it just seemed weird to me that someone who seems to basically just be a very luck fan was given the ability to tell people what they could or couldn't do in the tie-ins.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Many "lucky fans" went on to be prominent in Trek. Ron Moore was a fan who got lucky enough to sell a spec script to TNG. Doug Drexler was a fan who got lucky enough to get hired to work on Trek productions (after establishing himself elsewhere, of course). I was a fan who got lucky enough to attract a couple of editors' attention through my postings on this very BBS, leading them to invite me to pitch stories to them. I don't see why you find it so anomalous that someone who started out as a fan of Trek would've been motivated to get a job working on Trek. Naturally they (and I) all had to earn that status by doing good work, but it was their fandom that made them seek that work and gave them the knowledge of the franchise that enabled them to do it effectively. I'm sure the same is true of Arnold. His fandom was what got him started on the path, but he had to earn the rest by doing work that his employers found satisfactory.
     
  9. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I see what you're saying. I guess was thinking that a lot of those people came in in fairly low level positions, but that Arnold came in and was handed complete control of all of the tie-ins. I think I was just thinking that he had a lot more power of things than he actually did.
    EDIT: The difference in my mind between people like Christopher, and Ronald D. Moore ect., was that you had to do something to earn the position you were in, and at first I was thinking that Arnold was just handed the position he got without having to earn it. But I guess his knowledge of the franchise, and his friendship with Roddenberry is what earned him the position. This is really what I've been trying to say all along, I just couldn't find the words to commicate it clearly until now.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Right. It's not like Arnold immediately stepped into a position of power the day he met Roddenberry. From what I can determine, Arnold came to Roddenberry's attention in the mid-1970s as a Paramount tour guide whose exhaustive Trek-trivia knowledge impressed Roddenberry and led him to call on Arnold for various Trek-related duties. This eventually led to him being dubbed "Star Trek Archivist" sometime between TVH and the debut of TNG -- at which point he'd been working for Roddenberry for roughly a decade -- and part of that job involved assisting Roddenberry in his oversight of the tie-ins. I'd assume he was initially called on for his continuity knowledge, but ended up getting more and more of the responsibility for the tie-ins delegated to him as Roddenberry's health failed.
     
  11. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    You can't get much lower than volunteer tour guide. And carrying Gene's luggage at conventions.
     
  12. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hey, some people would have paid good money for the honor of carrying Gene's luggage! :p
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. Richard Arnold was in a position that made many fans envious (and many others angry), which was a point I made in my post that sidetracked this thread. :rommie:
     
  14. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That is a really stupid thing to say about Peter David. I think PAD is great Star Trek writer (my favorite PAD ST novel is probably The Captain's Daughter, which was just awesome and actually spotlighted Sulu instead of the normal Kirk/Spock/McCoy stuff). Some people can't write some things, but PAD can definately write Star Trek stuff, and do it very, very well. I actually didn't know RA name, but I remember reading one of PAD's old articles he reposted onto his website and him mentioning someone ST novel writers disliked, and I'm assuming it was this guy. Its a good thing this guy didn't get to stay around any longer and do more damage to potential Star Trek novels/tie ins.
     
  15. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm just glad he is doing better.
     
  16. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Keep in mind though, to Pocket's surprise, this novel undersold. For whatever reason, supposedly not enough people grabbed this novel off the shelves, even though it was critically acclaimed in most reviews.

    "Do more damage" is relative. We have no catalog of all the things he fixed for the better before they went to print, but I know he found lots of embarrassing glitches that had been missed by others.

    Yes, he trod on lots of creators' toes but, if you talk with RA, he is convinced he was attempting to help them make their Trek stories better.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^No doubt, but much harm has been done by people who were absolutely convinced they were doing good.
     
  18. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. But hindsight is always 20:20, and normally professional debates about the content of licensed tie-ins were usually quite confidential.

    So many of Richard's suggestions made me frustrated. The dumping of the original characters of DC Comics' TOS Series I, and Arex and M'Ress, was a major misstep. The "Probe" debacle was simply bizarre.

    But I also recall that he saved us from many upside down starships, uniform miscolourings, missing main characters, etc. And Australian fans were grateful for his annual pilgrimage to our conventions, over several decades, to bring us (pre-Internet) slideshows, charity auction rarities and gossip of upcoming episodes and movies, for which we had no other comparable source.
     
  19. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I can understand wanting to protect franchise the franchise, but it seems to me that the issues came about when his ideas of what the franchise are/were conflicted with other peoples ideas.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The problem wasn't so much Arnold's ideas as his methods. Basically he and Roddenberry approached matters the way they were used to doing things in television -- where the process is more collaborative and whatever one person writes can be rewritten by the person in charge or assigned to a different writer -- but that's just not done in novels, and was thus seen as a shocking imposition. And just in general, Arnold was reportedly too heavyhanded in imposing his rather narrow restrictions -- and sometimes rather arbitrary in the way he imposed them, according to Peter David's stories such as the one discussed at the start of this thread.