Questions for Bring Back Janeway Panel

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by Kirsten Beyer, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. Nick M

    Nick M Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I recorded the panel and we are in the process of cleaning the audio and will be posting it sometime this week. I will post the address when we have it up. :)
     
  2. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    Good evening, everybody.

    The weekend is done and another Shoreleave has come and gone for me. The family is back at home, safe and sound, and we had a truly fantastic weekend, connecting with friends and meeting lots of new people.

    Now that I have a little time, I wanted to post some thought I have about the Bring Back Janeway panel. Nick, who recorded the event, has already indicated that it will be up shortly and he’ll provide a link for any who are interested to hear the actual event. I’d like to thank him again for being there and making this happen for me. It was above and beyond the call and very much appreciated. I’d also like to thank Marco Palmieri for providing some valuable insight in to the publishing perspective on some of these issues, despite the fact that as he said, he is no longer in a position to speak for Pocket.

    In some ways, the actual panel is kind of a blur to me. I had a few ideas going in about how it might go but it definitely took on a life of its own. It was a very interesting discussion for me. I heard from several people in the audience. No one seemed shy about sharing their feelings on the topic. It was a larger group than I’m used to seeing at an event like this and that was a little intimidating. All in all, it felt like the beginning of a conversation, but was frustratingly short to really cover all of the ground I would have liked to explore on the topic at hand.

    I think, on balance, it’s far to say that most of the people present in the room, apart from a very nice lady who seemed to think we were there to discuss bringing Janeway back in the TV/Film universe of Star Trek, rather than the novels, (and seemed quite put out that I don't have that kind of power) have been pleased with the direction the new books have taken, though few were totally opposed to the idea of Janeway returning at some point. The consensus seemed to be that whatever serves a good story takes precedence over any individual character, though I know that feeling is not shared by many who took the time to send me questions for the panel.

    I studied those questions very carefully before the event and knew going in that depending upon the level of audience participation, which was surprisingly high, there was no way I would be able to read all of them, let alone respond in a single hour. For my own purposes, I grouped the questions in several larger categories and tried to steer the conversation when I could toward those topics without necessarily reading the questions that had spawned them verbatim. There were a few times when I was able to read directly from the questions to continue the discussion. A few examples included…sexism in Trek and Trek fiction and whether or not the choice to kill Janeway is an example of sexism…the effect Janeway’s promotion to the position of Admiral had and would have had on her ongoing development in the stories…what bringing Janeway back would do to the character growth that has gone on in her absence…what the Q’s involvement might mean…and whether or not the novels in general are developing a darker direction or tendency to overlap that is unsatisfying.

    I was able to report that it is quite likely, though not at this point a done deal, that I will be continuing the Voyager saga in another book. I stated at the beginning of the panel that the basic story for that novel has already been established and would not be revealed during the panel. This discussion was not meant to “take a vote” on whether or not Janeway would return. It was meant to explore more deeply the fact of her fate in the novels, some of the thinking of the creators of the stories as we went through the process, and to explore as many of the issues as we could that have developed since those creative choices were made.

    It was my hope, though I’m still not sure at this point, that I could effectively communicate the idea that even when authors or editors disagree with the readers (or boycotters) of our work, we respect their opinions. The creative process is complex and while it is informed by the fans in us, it is not dictated by the general readership. It can’t be because that readership is so diverse. Every major decision is going to have its fair share of supporters and detractors. Both should know that their reactions are valid, but do not form the basis of creative decisions going forward.

    I want to thank everyone here, and those who submitted their questions via email, for taking the time to share their thoughts. Many of the questions were excellent and forced me to think in new ways about the work at hand.

    I think it only fair, out of respect to all of those who took the time to post questions, and the limitations of the event, that I take some time in the coming days and weeks to answer those questions more directly than I could at the panel. I hope the moderators here will be patient with me. I’d like to answer each question in an individual post. For those who sent questions via email, I’d like to post and answer them here and I hope that those in the Bring Back Janeway Community will give everyone a heads up to check in here from time to time as I get around to responding. I won’t lie to you. The bulk of my time right now needs to be spent working on the upcoming story and I feel like this may be opening up a larger discussion that will take too much time away from that. But I think it’s important to make the effort and hope you can all respect that I’ll do the best I can here to answer your questions as time permits.

    Thanks again and best,
    Kirsten Beyer
     
  3. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just wanted to say: thanks Kirsten for all your dedication and willingness to engage the fans so much!
     
  4. Gates

    Gates Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thank you, Nick!
    And thank you, Kirsten!
     
  5. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    I think the greater loss is that of a complex and dynamic character who is a pleasure to write. I don't believe that Janeway's death in the line of duty and in an attempt to save her crew another trip to the Delta Quadrant in any way diminishes her status as a strong female role model. Janeway's death does not erase her life. Who she was and what she did still stands for people to admire.

    And, though Seven, B'Elanna, and now Eden, Farkas, Sal, Glenn, Conlon and Gwynn may not have captured the same status in the imaginations of Voyager fans, they are incredibly strong women struggling daily with issues that sometimes result from and sometimes transcend their gender. I believe that to limit a character's ability to inspire others to the number of pips on their collar, or the fact that they were the first televised example of a strong female captain diminishes the potential of all Trek storytelling to a much greater extent than portraying Janeway's death ever could.

    Absolutely. Every choice presents us with new and different opportunities. But before we settle finally upon any of them, we look at how that choice affects the big picture and future storytelling opportunities beyond any single story.

    KB
     
  6. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    I grant you, four years seems like a long time in our lives, but in the creation of a few novels, it's a blink. The involvement of Q in the events of Before Dishonor certainly leaves one of many doors open for continued exploration of Janeway's character. What you seem to be implying is that it is unacceptable that a story of what occured beyond Before Dishonor has not been written in the 2 1/2 novels that have been created since BD that do not already feature Janeway as a living character. You would like to have seen that issue addressed immediately. That would certainly have been one valid choice. But I also believe it is a valid choice to leave it be until such time, if ever, that the bigger picture for Voyager demands it be told.

    The purpose of the panel was not to debate the issue of whether or not Janeway should return. It was to exchange feelings and thoughts on both sides of an issue that has been incredibly difficult for a number of readers. Given all that has been said on the topic in the last few years, no, I don't think it strange to suggest that such a panel discussion would be an appropriate forum in which to delve more deeply into the issue. Had the creative suggestion you seem to favor have been pursued...had Janeway returned in Full Circle, for example, we might, instead, have created a panel to discuss why major characters in the Star Trek Universe die, but never seem to stay dead for long, and whether or not we are missing something in the possibility of exploring the impact of major character death on those they leave behind.

    KB
     
  7. JanewayRulz!

    JanewayRulz! Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^Thanks for answering my question, and for answering a question I didn't realize I posed; that there is no "arc" in the publisher's mentality when handing out a new writing assignment (i.e. "The Death of Janeway".)


    In the interest of giving you time to respond to everyone who posted above, let me just say thank-you for letting us vent, both the pro & anti "Janeway Returns" fans.

    :bolian:
     
  8. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    Yes, I already know all of Eden's backstory, and a few pieces of it are contained in Children of the Storm. But do you honestly think I can share any of that with you right now? :)

    Sure. Had Before Dishonor never happened, and the choice to pursue Janeway's death never been made, she would obviously have been a large part of the continuing stories. She would likely have led the fleet back to the DQ, but I honestly haven't given that particular road not traveled too much thought, so I can't say exactly how it would all have worked.

    Some of them...I'm thinking mainly about Tom, B'Elanna, Seven, Harry and the Doctor here. The biggest difference would have involved Chakotay, and that would really have been the challenge. He was made Captain of Voyager in Golden's novels but there was serious work that needed to be done to deepen and strengthen his character. The death of the woman he loved and planned to spend the rest of his life with gave us unprecedented opportunties to go deeper with him than ever before. In the absense of that catalyst, I would have had to find another way to achieve similar results.

    Yes and no. All of the characters needes some serious obstacles placed in their paths to overcome. It is in rising to face new challenges that character is revealed, both in life and in stories. But Janeway's presence is not in and of itself an obstacle. If Janeway is there, the content changes, but if I'd done my job right, not the quality in terms of deep and meaningful exploration of all of the characters, which was always the goal.

    Absolutely. The issue has never been can she return, but should she. Were she to return, integrating her organically without sacrificing some of the newer, more complicated dynamics between everyone else would be the task at hand.

    Well, for me it was never dead. (Maybe mostly dead.:)) I kid...I kid...but thanks for the vote of confidence in any case.

    KB
     
  9. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    Honestly, sometimes there is and sometimes there isn't. It's very much a case by case basis. Janeway's death was established by one editor, Martha Clark, and the task of fleshing out the arc beyond that was then given to Marco Palmieri and myself.

    KB
     
  10. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    There's nothing to worry about in that regard. Janeway's return would not of necessity alter the events in the lives of the characters that have already been portrayed. It's just new information that has to be integrated. It's not like her return would suddenly make everyone's life really simple. And if it did, well that would be a pretty boring story, wouldn't it? Her death was a major complication. Her return would be equally major. Such complications are fertile ground for stories.

    KB
     
  11. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    There is nothing preventing me from making a request of my editor or publisher. I can always ask. But they don't have to say yes, and the final decision rests with them because they own the property. In the same way, the kinds of things I would have requested prior to the decisions about Janeway and Tuvok might also have been rejected. These books are work-for-hire. Sometimes we get lots of leeway..other times, not so much. It's a case by case thing and ultimately, never completely mine to do with as I would. But you know that when you accept the job, so you don't let it worry you. You just do the best you can with the part of the process that you do control...telling the best story you have in you within the parameters that have been established.

    I anwered this question for you at the panel, but I've seen some of the responses on the Facebook pages suggesting that I am intentionally trying to be unhelpful in this regard. Because I did not actually know the best way to direct you in this instance, I asked someone who did know and was told that by addressing any such letters to "Star Trek Editor" that would insure that the request went directly to the individual responsible for the line at any given time. Things change pretty fast sometimes in the publishing world and as I understand it, though it may sound like a generic address, it is actually the best way to reach your intended audience.

    KB
     
  12. NoStrings

    NoStrings Ensign Newbie

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    Thanks so much, Kirsten, for holding this panel and addressing as many questions as you can. There are many of us who long for the day that Janeway might return in novels...but quietly. :D I personally appreciate that you're considering various viewpoints. I believe your writing proves that you respect the characters you write, and because of this, I will give thought to the points that you have made. I might not agree with all of them, but I can do that and still continue to support you as a writer because I feel that you've earned this courtesy many times over. So thank you again for the time you took with this panel and for sharing your thoughts with all of us.
     
  13. Tidus79001

    Tidus79001 Lieutenant Commander

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    Kristen, thanks for taking the time to reply to my question both at the Shoreleave 33 convention & here on the TrekBBS. I want to say that I never felt that you were trying to be unhelpful with your answers as to who to contact at Pocket Books.

    I do want to thank you for the re-launch of Voyager. Voyager has always been one of my favorite series in Star Trek. You have done a excellent job with Voyager, and the characters. I am sure that if you are chosen when the time comes to bring back Janeway that you will be able to write a compelling story.
     
  14. Kathryn J.

    Kathryn J. Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Thank you, Kirsten, for your efforts to answer to our questions. Hopefully also our questions which where sent by email or posted on amazon will be considered and not forgotten.

    Thank you for following the discussions on the site of our Facebook group Bring Back Kathryn Janeway. It would be nice, if you would continue this. So we don't need to post our opinions on both places and you would get access to even more people who don't come to the TrekBBS. We would appreciate very much if you would decide to post on our site too.

    I believe, that a huge majority of all Voy fans would like to get Janeway back. Even such people who refuse to buy more Voy books without Janeway (like I do) would come back into the book stores and raise the sales figures of Trek books again.
    As I said before, I believe you are the only actual Trek writer, who is able to bring Janeway back in an appropriate way. I believe too, you even have some ideas "in stock" how this could happen.
    It wouldn't be any lost for Trek lit. It would a benefit for the Trek universe and for the sales figures of Trek books. You would win more fans and I think, you wouldn't lose any reader, even those who prefer a death Janeway would stay with your Voy books though.

    The "15 year old boys" ST lit is supposed to be directed to, are not interested in reading Voy books. They are more reading ST Titan or Vanguard, maybe some TNG novels.
    The majority of Voy fans are adults and among them mostly women.

    The writers and editors should consider that the structure of the fandoms of the particular series is different by age, gender and even interests and taste. So the result should be also completely different characters of books (e.g. books for boys with space battles and books for matured readers with adult themes like relationships of people to each other).

    Hopefully, my English wasn't too messy this morning. Sorry for my mistakes.
     
  15. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm waiting for her to answer Guy's question.
     
  16. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    There's no reason you couldn't have Admiral Janeway stories paralleling the adventures of the crew. It sounds like you'd like to see Janeway used as a character that could expose us to parts of the Federation we haven't seen much of yet, and that could be a cool concept. Working that into the adventures of the rest of the crew would be challenging, but as I've said before..there are as many ways to do this as there are people to imagine them.

    The bottom line is this...what has happened thus far in the relaunch novels does not prevent us from taking the story any damn place we want to.

    KB
     
  17. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    Here's a question where only reading spoilers or others thoughts about the books, but not reading them yourself has clearly misled you as to the content and feel of the stories we are telling right now.

    You don't have 4 main characters missing. Kes has been gone since season 4 of the series, apart from "Fury", which I think most of us would just as soon forget. Janeway died in Before Dishonor. Tuvok transferred to the Titan, and is featured heavily in those books. I'm assuming the fourth you are thinking of is Neelix, but he appears in both Unworthy, and Children of the Storm.

    So, by my math, you've lost three out of ten, and only two of the eight that originally made it home from the Delta Quadrant, plus Neelix. That leaves seven main series regulars that are the primary focus of the stories we are still telling. No, it isn't everyone...but it's hard to say we're not still telling stories about the Voyager characters.

    No. I know that isn't going to be a popular answer, but I will never be able to see the choice to kill Janeway as a mistake. You're talking about a completely subjective thing here. For you, and many others, it might seem like a poor choice. For me, and many others, it was a choice that has created some incredibly interesting and exciting story possiblities. Yes, Janeway was the main character, and a very good one, but what the relaunch thus far has demonstrated to many...though not you, I understand...is that even without her physical presence on the ship, the impact she had on the characters is still intense and colors everything that they do and how they approach the situations at hand. She is gone, but hardly forgotten.

    Sadly, this is an area where we must agree to disagree. I respect your opinion and your choice not to read stories that do not feature the living presence of Kathryn Janeway. You don't have to agree with my opinion on this, but it would be nice if you could respect it as well.

    I agree that making Janeway an Admiral complicated her ongoing presence in stories that were to remain centered around the adventures of those serving aboard the Starship Voyager. But given the new mission and the fleet's purpose in the Delta Quadrant now, there are many possible roles she could play were she to return.

    KB
     
  18. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well umm.. YEE HAW! LET'S DO IT.

    btw the other day a grand theory popped into my head about PAD's real meaning in BD. All this time we militants thought he was being
    an ass
    but I'm wondering if he was actually gifting us, the fandom, with a great big blessed-by-lit-canon opportunity to explore the wonderful world of Lady Q/Janeway shipping. I mean they have all the time in the world together now plus loads of tension after those horrible conversations and Lady Q being a bitch. It's perfect.
     
  19. Gates

    Gates Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Wait a second... people didn't already ship them?
    ROFL! Those were some of my favorite on screen moments and I can only imagine how epic the arguments could be if they were stuck together for an elongated period of time :rommie:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I could be a very very creative kind of hell.