Questions for Bring Back Janeway Panel

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

  1. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Actually, the first half of Full Circle wasn't a flashback. The book itself may have been published after Before Dishonor but the first half of the book actually takes place prior to those events. So it's 2 and 1/2 books.
     
  2. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    So she mounted Tom and he carried the lizard babies from Threshold?

    Besides, her sex organs (waste organs, half her skull and one of her arms) and reproduction system probably had to be replaced after she was assimilated and repatriated, so Kathy could have been as all woman as she wanted to be as she conducted the Doctor to put every thing back were it had been 15 years earlier.
     
  3. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    Good evening everybody. The baby went to sleep a little early tonight so there's a good chance we're going to finish up the submitted questions here tonight.

    First off, I find the reaction of your fellow club members astonishing. And your sentiment was echoed by others at the panel who have had similar experiences, which left me equally dumbfounded. Put simply, this has never been my experience among Trek fans, and I have yet to meet a man who would express such a sentiment to my face...and live.

    Maybe you and I are hanging with different people. Though clearly, what you have described exists. This is another part of the sexism question that I find odd and interesting at the same time. I don't know how old you are, but as I was growing up, it was never suggested to me that there were limits to what I could do because I was a girl. And had it been, I'm sure I would have taken issue with it. From society as a whole (growing up, as I did in the south)...from the subconscious messages received from seeing mainly white men in positions of authority...you would have think that over the years something would have slipped through the cracks to make me doubt my potential. But my real life experiences on a daily basis always proved the opposite. For most of my life, the boys were trying to keep up with me, even in sporting events, which were a passion of mine as a child. If anyone expressed anything akin to what you are saying, I'm sure I would have simply written them off as quite stupid and gone on my merry way.

    So I come into this without some valuable experience that might make me feel differently, but I am certainly opening my mind to believe.

    That said, did the people in your club change their mind as the series progressed? If they did, cool. If not...maybe we're asking too much of a television or book series? Is it possible we're going to need a bigger boat?

    Looking at Voyager as it is presently configured, a female is in command of the entire fleet. Both men and women captain each of the fleet vessels. The only other fleetwide position of authority is held by B'Elanna Torres. If Janeway were the only Trek character or Trek Lit character who could inspire, I might see things differently. Nothing we have done changes or erases the history she made as the first televised captain of a ship. If I'm reading you right you're saying, we have to keep showing her in her position because to remove her from it might confirm in some very stupid people's minds the notion that a woman wasn't fit for the job in the first place. Had she lived, she likely would have been Admiral of the Fleet. That position is currently held by another woman. So if we are sending message at all, it's that people who think a woman shouldn't be in charge need to get over themselves because it's not going to change.


    Except they have been told...most notably, Sisko, if we're trying to use apples and apples here. And I said in a post upthread, I do agree that giving women a special status in Trek, a society in which sexism is supposed to no longer be an issue, is problematic for me.

    But we're not living in the 24th century now, by which time I hope a lot of what we seen in Trek will have come to pass. We're living in a far less progressed society in which programs like affirmative action absolutely have a place. First, because anything that makes a conservative's head spin or a Tea Partier's head asplode thrills me to no end. And second, because if we're ever going to see the future Trek promises, we have to work with what we have now and try to fix it. But that doesn't mean we write Trek as if it were happening today. We're presenting what is in some ways an idealized future, one in which descrimination based on gender, species, sexual orientation, etc. etc., is simply no longer part of most people's day to day lives. So to protect Janeway feels wrong. She doesn't need it. A lot of people living in America and the rest of the world, however, in the here and now, do.

    Let's talk first about the doom and gloom thing. Stories are aspirational in as much as they show people we can relate to struggling against obstacles and overcoming them in a way that makes us look at our own lives and think...I could do that. There is no question that a lot of the stories told recently have been darker. But they do not descend into complete gloom for me because at the end of the day, the Federation is still standing and still trying to uphold its values.

    I also believe very strongly that people who create anything, including writers, are especially sensitive to the events of the world. So when we're trying to present something we believe to be true enough to write about, that's going to be informed in large part by how the world around us feels. I don't know about you, but the last ten years or so of my life in this world have felt pretty challenging. Some might react to that by writing super happy stories that allow us to escape from the real world. I react by taking the stuff that is annoying me the most at any given time and seeing if it informs what I'm working on in any way. I don't know how to avoid letting the struggles we are faced with now creep into the stories I am writing. I'm not sure I'd know what to write about, otherwise. I think we're seeing bigger obstacles now than we might have seen before in Trek because we're seeing some pretty massive obstacles in our everyday lives. So we're trying to tell stories about how to get past the really really big stuff.

    Or it could just be me.

    As to what Peter David did in Before Dishonor, stressing Janeway's arrogance and attempting to use it to justify her fate...that's just a place where Peter and I disagree fundamentally about Janeway as a character. All I can say is that had I written that book, that would not have been my choice.

    Nor can I really speak about what David George has done with Sisko. In that instance, I know there is more story coming so before we get a judge's ruling on whether or not he has taken the character somewhere no human being in his circumstances could possibly have gone, I'd like to see the rest of the story and how that pans out.

    Finally, we haven't had much time watching Picard or Riker successfully navigate what it means to have a career and be a father. I think the jury is still out on that one. But for what it's worth, and despite the fact that B'Elanna is not a captain, I devoted an entire story thread of Children of the Storm, to the challenges she faces as Fleet Chief and the mother of a young daughter. Again...that's probably my life informing what I'm writing about...but also, another story I hadn't seen a lot of in Trek Lit and was only too happy to explore.

    I do believe the stakes are higher now for all of our characters, primarily because there are no canon stories on the horizon about them to contradict what we're doing. And the stories we are presenting have all been approved by the licensor so I can only assume that they, too, appreciate the risks Trek Lit has been willing to take.

    As to killing Picard..um..yes. In a DS9 novel? I don't know. That part is tough for me too, but I did a fairly lengthy description of Trek Lit above that should shed some light for you on why Janeway's death happened in a TNG book as it did.

    KB
     
  4. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    And last but not least...

    Let's do the marketing thing first. I find your numbers interseting and have no reason to question them, particularly as they relate to the number of Trek fans who read Trek Literature. But this really isn't a question for me. I don't write books for men. I don't write books for women. And I certainly don't write books for the fifteen year old boys that are supposedly the only people Trek is marketed toward. I write books the feature the characters I have come to know from the series, presenting them with obstacles I believe they are uniquely qualified to overcome, and I leave it at that. I don't market my books. That's the publisher's job. And never in all the years I have been writing these books has the publisher seen fit to ask me how I think they should be markeing them. They do their job and they let me do mine, largely, I suspect, because the books I have written sell well enough for them to keep asking me to write more. I don't think about how to sell the stories I create because were I to concern myself with that while writing them I would be consciously and subconsciously limiting myself creatively and that's just not something I think it's a good idea to do.

    There is an underlying assumption to your second questions that I just don't agree with. You are taking the position that books that feature a living Kathryn Janeway would sell better than books that don't. You base this upon your understanding of what you think sells to the women who make up the bulk of the Trek audience. The reality is that until a book were to be presented that brings Janeway back, we don't have any evidence to argue this one way or the other. You may think it. You may be right. But you may not. It's possible that lots of women read books for all kinds of reasons beyone the presence of Kathryn Janeway and that the new direction is working just fine for them. I know what interests you and the rest of the Bring Back Janeway Community. I also know what interests people who aren't fussed one way or the other by Janeway's presence. You keep trying to argue that there are numbers to support your side that are far more compelling than anything else. I'm saying we can't base content decisions on such things, so instead, we base them on our best judgement, knowing full well that not everyone is going to like every choice we make.

    Losing Janeway has limited my ability to tell stories about Janeway. But it has not limited my ability to tell stories about Voyager. And as I hope I have expressed here, it has also not restricted in any way the possiblity that in the future, there will be more Janeway stories.

    I've read many of the comments posted here, on Amazon, and Facebook since I started answering these questions. The consensus seems to be that I have said nothing new and only reaffirmed your belief that I have no interest in telling stories about Kathryn Janeway.

    So I'm going to say this one last, and I do mean last time.

    I adore Kathryn Janeway. She is a pleasure to write about. Thus far we have only told stories that deal with her death and its aftermath. But that does not in any way preclude telling future stories in which she is again featured as a character, and given the opportunity, I'd be thrilled to write them.

    I know that some have posted follow up questions to some of my answers here and most of the things I would have taken issue with have already been answered by others so I'm going to bring this thing to a close now, at least for me.

    I'd like to thank everyone who participated in the panel, Nick for making it available, and everyone who submitted questions. I hope my answers have shed a little light on where I'm coming from and now it's time for me to get back to the task at hand...writing the next Voyager novel.

    I look forward to hearing from all of you next year when it is released.

    Best,
    Kirsten Beyer
     
  5. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    You've counted them all? :confused:

    Edit: Mmm, sorry kimc, I answered this not realising you had issued a request that we leave the issue alone.

    When Richard Arnold represented Paramount at ST conventions (he was "Star Trek Archivist" from ST IV till Roddenberry's death), he used to say that Paramount's estimation of a ST movie audience was that it contained approx. 10% fans, and that less than 1% of the movie audience regularly bought and read licensed tie-ins. They could calculate that based on cinema tickets and tie-in sales.

    The hardest parts of such statements are: how do you know the difference between casual and diehard fans (ie. during the height of TNG's popularity, a huge number of the general public admitted in polls to identifying as a "Star Trek fan" in that, yes, they watched it on TV regularly); what about fans who go back to a movie over and over and over?; and what about fans who borrow their friends' ST books and comics?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Bring Back Janeway panel from Shore Leave audio now available

    Any way to grab an mp3 without having to install iTunes?
     
  7. The Entire Bee Movie But

    The Entire Bee Movie But Badass Admiral

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    True.

    Although it has to be said, these kinds of numbers can be very closely approximated by the toolsets we have available in the context of, for example, a marketing research mix ("MR mix") - in general, a look at both secondary (existing) data and primary (as in: collected by or for the organization) data works best.

    Of course, this is costly both in terms of time and money.
     
  8. Nick M

    Nick M Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Re: Bring Back Janeway panel from Shore Leave audio now available

    I believe, I will have to check, that you can download it as an mp3 from http://gantshow.com as well. Under the button to play there it says Podcast: Download, just click on the work download.

    We are working to make our show as accessible as possible. :)

    Thanks again for your interest!

    Jolan Tru,
    Nick
     
  9. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Bring Back Janeway panel from Shore Leave audio now available

    Ah, thanks very much!:)

    But the link's broken. Working one from above: http://www.gandtshow.com/
     
  10. Amal_Chakotay

    Amal_Chakotay Ensign Newbie

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    Apologies for not making it clearer. Yes, that's what I'm saying. The J/C 'timeline' (culminating in Janeway's death so soon after the consummation) was such a tease. Some would say that the J/C arc was about 15 years in the making in real-time as Voy started in 1995 - and the consummation was so swiftly followed by a bucket of iced water from the character's (and our) point of view. It was unbelievable, and to me, rather callous. Talk about flashing the tray of brownies to a hungry kid and then whisking them away again :wtf:

    But, anyway - thank you for at least entering into a dialogue with Janeway fans over this. I realise that you were handed a poisoned chalice after Peter David did the deed, and you did what you could to give us SOMETHING :) It's my hope that one day Janeway will be brought back from the Q, cash in her Admiral's rank-bar, and lead from the front again side by side with Chakotay and as many of her old crew as possible :)

    Gill
    xx
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  11. forrie

    forrie Ensign Newbie

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    Kirsten,

    I'm surprised to hear that the people that decide the direction of these stories don't, even in some way, consider the fans opinions in the matter. Surely they must consider something --- otherwise, why even bother having this panel? What would be the purpose of it other than to allow a place for people to constructively vent and for your clarification of the story process?

    Correct me if I've misunderstood something.

    Again, thank you for participating here. I love your writing.



    Forrest
     
  12. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    I guess fan opinions matter in the sense that if sales of the books are affected in some perceivable way, the editors might consider changing course or authors. But when it comes to story specifics, fan opinions can't matter because they are always widely divergent. It may seem like the fans who want Kathryn Janeway back are the only or biggest group out there, but in my experience, they aren't, and their opinions do not reflect much of what I've heard about the novels since they started coming out. This does not, however, invalidate their opinions and I think for a long time most of them have thought just that...their opinions don't matter. What they need to understand is that no one's opinions matter in the way they seem to think they should...and why that is.

    The purpose of the panel was, my attempt, futile though it seems to have been, to make sure that the Janeway fans, and those who felt strongly otherwise, had a chance to air their concerns directly to someone who is really connected to the process and hopefully that in addressing their specific questions I could offer some fresh insight into the process for them. I kept hearing for so long that no one was listening to them, and that troubled me. I wanted to make sure they knew that I was listening, even if I haven't yet been able to write a story that they find appealing.

    KB
     
  13. forrie

    forrie Ensign Newbie

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    Kirsten,

    I don't believe your attempt here is futile at all. In fact quite the opposite. I wish more authors would take the stance you've demonstrated. Not only was I able to air my concerns, they were heard, responded to (by the author!) and I received further information that caused me to re-evaluate my position objectively; and, I learned a few things about the writing process that I really hadn't understood.

    At this moment, despite my want for Janeway to return, I now feel at peace with all of it, because I know more about what's going on. Had you not cared enough to take this time, I'd still be frustrated, joining the many other voices that felt betrayed for reasons of their own. ((THANK YOU))

    I doubt I'm alone in being grateful for your being here.

    Even with the absence of Janeway (thus far, and hopeful I remain), your stories and writing style are *very* appealing. You really have a talent for this, and I'm hoping you get to continue churning out these novels for a long, long time... as long as your fingers and mind can stand it :-)



    Forrest
     
  14. Kathryn J.

    Kathryn J. Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Thank you, Kirsten, for taking the time to answer to our questions, no matter if we agree in all the points or not. I appreciated to have the possibility to hear your personal opinion after I heard David Mack's one earlier this year - and especially both in a businesslike way. I don't care about unqualified hecklings which are usually done here.

    I would be thrilled to read this book of yours. As I said, you are the only actual Trek writer who would write this properly. What about thinking about such an opportunity? Bringing Janeway back doesn't mean necessarily that she has to be in the middle of each new book (which she wasn't in the old VOY novels either). But I believe her re-added character would make the VOY series richer again as well as get many fans back into purchasing VOY books again.

    Thank you again.

    Kathryn J.
     
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Only about six months before Janeway's character died, the BBS had a heap of fan complaints that the ST licenced tie-ins were toothless. Like the shows, most major changes were too easily undone by The Reset Button. That they didn't "have the balls" to do something substantial with one of the main characters and change the status quo with a character death. With no reset button.

    I'm sure those fans feel that their opinions were finally being considered by "the people that decide the direction of these stories". :vulcan:
     
  16. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, I got to give you a lot of credit for giving us fans a chance to discuss this matter with you. If it had been those who were in charge of the TV show, they wouldn't have bothered to have a debate with the fans. Insteda they would have come up with some morbid story in which Janeway returns as a total lunatic determined to destroy the ship and then she would have been killed of in some bestialic way at the end of the story.

    Anyway, correct me if I'm wrong but I get the impression that there are certain "guidelines" set by those in charge of the book company. So I have to ask a question: Isn't it a bit frustrating to have other people tell you what to write and not? I mean, I would get one of my well-known outbursts of rage if someone told me that I must kill off one of my main characters in my fanfiction stories.

    And when it comes to how much the books are selling, imagine how many more people who would buy the books if Janeway was back. ;)

    Therin of Andor wrote:

    And the only way to create some edge to the stories is to kill off beloved characters from the series? :eek:

    Hardly conmstructive at all.

    As for those fans, I don't think that those fans are a majority among the Star Trek fans. And if they want doom, gloom and death, then they can watch BSG or the daily news.
     
  17. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    It most certainly created a stir, and got the interest of fans who normally wouldn't pay any attention to the Trek novels.
     
  18. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Well, Kirsten hasn't had a debate either. She answered fan questions and offered explanations for certain decisions.

    And those "in charge of the show" most certainly took opportunities to answer fan questions and offer explanations. Gene Roddenberry, Michael Pillar, Jeri Taylor, Lolita Fajo (who coordinated the open fans'/newcomers' script submission process for TNG), Ron Moore, Brannon Braga and many others have attended conventions, chatted to fans, listened to critiques, responded to complaints, etc. Janice Rand, Beverly Crusher and Spock returned to the "Star Trek" universe partly due to pressure/interest from fans.

    But... they didn't.

    No, the main guideline the licensees must follow is that the tie-ins conform to events shown in canon (ie. on-screen). The editors of the Relaunch books do develop a possible broad direction for ongoing plots, but the various authors fill in the details themselves, but everything must be approved by the team at CBS Licensing, who act on behave of the copyright owner, CBS (previously Paramount/Viacom.)

    When you were a kid at school, weren't you ever set a topic for storywriting? Should fiction writing always be "free choice"? Some people perform at their best when writing to strict parameters.

    As you would say, it's science fiction. There are hundreds of ways you can bring them back.

    A drop in the ocean. Just as many might stop buying because they hate Reset Buttons.

    No, but that's what some fans were asking Pocket Books to be brave enough to do. Perhaps as many as didn't want Janeway to die?

    There may be more of these than those who love Janeway. How do you plan to count them?

    None of which is remotely likely to give them the "Star Trek" book they are asking to read. The recent novels with "doom, gloom and death" are actually very uplifting as the Starfleet heroes rise to face the various tragedies.
     
  19. May4thbewithyou

    May4thbewithyou Cadet Newbie

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    The purpose of the panel was, my attempt, futile though it seems to have been, to make sure that the Janeway fans, and those who felt strongly otherwise, had a chance to air their concerns directly to someone who is really connected to the process and hopefully that in addressing their specific questions I could offer some fresh insight into the process for them. I kept hearing for so long that no one was listening to them, and that troubled me. I wanted to make sure they knew that I was listening, even if I haven't yet been able to write a story that they find appealing.

    KB[/QUOTE]

    Hi Kirsten

    Apologies as I havent been able to listen to your panel all the way through yet so if what I am about to say goes over old ground I apologise.

    I absolutely love your Voyager novels, I'm a huge fan of Janeway and I would love to see her back in trek fiction but please do not think for one moment that you have not written a story that I can find appealing.

    Your characterisation is spot on and your imaginative, challenging, emotional stoylines have been a pleasure to read. Ive read a lot of trek fiction. Ive always been a fan of Peter David's TNG work in particular for many, many years. But you may well be my new favourite trek author....sorry Peter I bet he's just going to be gutted when he hears that...:p

    The death of Janeway has given the opportunity to explore the other characters in a unique and fascinating way (for example watching Chakotay unravel so spectacularly, he's always - well nearly always- been the calm, rational and moral focus of Voyager - your books are probably the material Beltran always craved when on the show).

    If I have one gripe, and it is really only one - I can accept the death of Janeway for the reasons outlined above but did the powers that be have really have to do it in a next generation novel. Its like taking Picard to the DS9 novels and killing him off there! ;)

    I can also accept the death of janeway because, lets be honest, this is sci fi. And the reason I love sci fi so much is that we can always bring people back from the dead (or the continuum....)

    Since Janeway's death the Voyager characters have grown so much in their own right. Just imagine how interesting it would be to bring her back into this new dynamic. Not that I am trying to influence your future writing in any way shape or form. Really. Honest.

    Anyway enough of my rambling. Kudos to you for the panel, as a mere fan its fascinating to get an insight into world of trek lit. I shall go and listen to the rest of it now.

    Thanks.

    p.s so voyager novel....2012?
     
  20. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    This really is a case by case thing...

    In the first place...I often see people refer to the "guidelines" that are or were part of the submission policy for unsolicited manuscripts for potential new writers. In that case, there were specific do's and don't's, including not killing major characters...but that never had anything to do with the actual books being written. That, along with the other stated perameters were designed to see if a potential author could follow established rules...whatever they may be...and still produce a compelling story. If they demonstrated that, then the work might begin on an actual story that might someday be published that would then be free to ignore the parameters established for the "audition" phase of the process.

    If we're talking about actual books the publisher is contracting to publish, sometimes the editor has broad ideas and the authors get to create the details. Sometimes, as in Before Dishonor, the editor has one or many specific story requirements and the author has to follow those if he/she wants to write the book.

    Is it frustrating at times? Sure. But it comes with the job. If you don't want to follow the editor's direction, you don't write the book and someone else does. If these kinds of creative contraints are too stifling to imagine, you're definitely better off writing your own original work and not trying to write tie-in fiction of any kind.

    And, no, killing a major character isn't the only way to create some edge, as you say. It is one of many choices that were before us, and the one we chose to explore at the time. That's all.

    May4th...

    Thanks for your many kind words. Youre specific question about killing Janeway in a TNG book rather than a Voyager book was addressed somewhere above and basically had more to do with what was happening in Treklit as a whole at the time than any intention on anyone's part to tick off Voyager's fans.

    As to 2012...nothing is official yet. When it is, I'll share.

    Best,
    Kirsten Beyer