So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by captcalhoun, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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  2. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree with some of those points, in particular Charles Dance and Maisie Williams perform so brilliantly together that any of their scenes easily compensates for many ills. OTOH, I think Robb's love story was cheesy and diminishes the choices the character makes in the book, and the Winterfell arc was badly butchered with the removal of entire layers of story and important characters. This is especially annoying when time is instead spent copiously on characters that don't even exist in the book and have for some reason been kept around despite their exposition-carrying function from season 1 no longer being upheld. And Cersei's doing an odd little hot and cold dance vs. her rather more consistent portrayal in the book, and a lovely bit of finale-defining ambiguity is culled from Jon's story, and Tyrion's shining, key moment of the story got cut (leaving him with rather little to actually do despite copious screen time), and Stannis is behaving very out of character - even for the series - in the Battle of Blackwater, ...

    I'm not a purist; I don't expect an adaptation to cling to the books page by page. In fact, I thought the first season did a tremendous job at picking the best bits from the book, and adding its own, complementary beats that didn't contradict the book but instead showed events from new, interesting angles or gave new insights into characters. Season 2 is far less successful at this - it got jumbled up in the picking-the-best-bits stage and didn't even get to adding much in the way of complementary stuff.

    Ultimately, I think Clash was just a little too big for one season. I'm happy they're doing Storm in two seasons - it's even longer and higher-density than Clash. All the potential is certainly still there, it can easily recover (at least for now, when the changes haven't snowballed into insurmountable problems yet).
     
  3. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I know I read an interview with Emilia Clarke where she said they were changing things more dramatically as it when on. I just wasn't sure how drastic the changes were.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think it's best if a show does diverge from the books it's based on once it establishes its own identity. For one thing, you never know which actors will break out from the pack or turn out to have chemistry. If the heroine's love interest in the book turns out to be played by an actor she has no chemistry with at all, while the minor supporting character turns out to have great chemistry with her and steals every scene he's in, it would be wrong not to have the heroine leave the book love interest and hook up with the supporting character. The show has to be its own entity and do what best serves it as a show.
     
  5. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^ I would agree with that actually, except that I think in this case some of the changes that were made were not for the better of the story, nor easily explained by production pressures. IOW, so far they have been better when they have been closer to the books.
     
  6. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

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    I finished Redshirts: a Novel with Three Codas.
     
  7. Travis Chesser

    Travis Chesser Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    In theory I agree with this..... having read all of GOT long before the tv show and having watched the series, I don't think that could work for this show as well. I don't mind the changes they're doing, or what they're adding, in fact I love the show in its own right, but only because they're still not changing the overall plotline or where its headed and I don't think they can. In a series like this, where who people fall in love with are critical to what happens books later, couples can't really be changed up on a whim. You can't really change the overall direction of the book's plotlines and still have things work out. That being said - I do love the show, changes and all, and don't quibble about them. There were some things that surprised me, but I liked them.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^But that's just it -- after a while, once the show has established its own identity and direction, it wouldn't be trying to follow the same storyline as the novels anymore. It would be constructing its own version of the universe that might draw on elements from the novels but would put them together in its own distinctive way. It's just natural that over time, the two versions of the work would diverge more and more as the differences increased.

    To offer sort of an inverted example, consider The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This started out as a radio serial and then a couple of record albums before it became a series of books. The first book was pretty much a straight adaptation of the first few episodes of the radio series, albeit with an altered ending so that a cliffhanger moment in the radio show had a more conclusive resolution in the book. That meant the second book had to shuffle things around, still incorporating a lot from the radio series but putting it together differently, leaving out some bits, and adding other bits. It ended in much the same place that the first "season" of the radio series ended, though. But then the third book ended up going in a whole different direction from the radio series, with only a few points of commonality (in fact, I think it was largely based on an unused Doctor Who pitch), and later books just diverged more and more radically, so that most of the material in the second "season" of the radio series never got adapted into prose (or indeed any other format as far as I can recall).
     
  9. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Currently reading:
    *Goodbye, Mr. Shaft....(after reading Shaft Has a Ball, which wasn't too bad).
     
  10. Travis Chesser

    Travis Chesser Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I understand - its just hard to discuss since you have not read/seen it. I would be very interested in having the discussion once you have. It just wouldn't work with this series. Now what would work - is a tv show based on the world with an all new plot and characters. But if you were going to change the overall plotline, you would have had to change the beginning as well. There is stuff happening in the prologue that sets up events in book 5 and so on. What the show is excellent at doing is adding in new scenes with various characters, showing their POV that you don't get in the book, fleshing out a lot of details, and definitely changes its fair share of details throughout. I'm just speaking in broad terms of the general direction the show is driving (the overall main plot) - is still staying consistent. How things get there are changing (which upsets some fans, me I don't care) but the destination in the end remains the same.
     
  11. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    If you're adapting something into a new medium, some things are going to change simply because different things will work in different media, but it's also a truism that you'll have to have some changes in order to give the people familiar with the original the same level of surprises and so on that the new audience will have...

    Most of the changes to GoT season 2 have been pretty obviously because of the sheer size and scope, but overall they're still heading in the same direction with the plotlines.

    What's interesting is that, despite having to hack out a lot to fit ACoK into 10 episodes, they've actually included (especially in the last three episodes or so) a bunch of stuff from A Storm of Swords...
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think I'm likely to. From what I've heard, it's too dark and depressing and violent for me.


    Or something that incorporates characters and plot elements from the books but combines them in new ways and tells new stories based on them, as The Dresden Files and Legend of the Seeker did, or as a movie like Clash of the Titans (the Harryhausen original) did with Greek mythology, or as superhero movies do with the comics that inspired them. It doesn't have to be a binary choice between slavish copying and complete newness. There are countless ways to rework the elements of a story, or to combine pieces of different stories to generate a new story.


    But what you do in that case is what Straczynski did with Babylon 5: have certain key events and plot points that you need to pay off, but be flexible about when they happen, what happens in between them, what leads from one to the other, or even which characters play certain key roles. There can be multiple paths to reach the same endpoint. Again, it's not a binary choice.
     
  13. Travis Chesser

    Travis Chesser Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    It is dark Christopher, and violent, so if thats not your thing, than you're probably right to avoid it. It is actually my favorite series, and I picked up the first one about 11 years ago, long before HBO made him uber famous. The third book is my favorite modern novel written.
     
  14. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I was worried about not having books to take with me to D.C. (since I'm a very fast reader), so I went out and picked up the ENT-R book The Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor's Wing and started reading it. I've also got the DS9 Millenium Trilogy waiting in the wings, and will probably go pick up The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm either before I leave or, if it's available, while I'm in D.C.
     
  15. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Another good example of this is True Blood. It the takes most of the characters, and a lot of the basic concepts from the books, but then tends to take them in a very different directions.
     
  16. S. Gomez

    S. Gomez Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I decided to pick up Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles as a sort of tribute. It was the first book of his I'd ever read and fell in love with it.
     
  17. WarsTrek1993

    WarsTrek1993 Captain Captain

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    Finished The Wrath Of Khan novelization. I appreciated all of the extras the movie didn't offer. 8/10

    Now onto The Search For Spock.
     
  18. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    Just finished reading The Anubis Gate & Rivers of London.

    Anubis Gate was pretty good. It's the second Tim Powers book I've read(after On Stranger Tides, which I read yonks ago on finding it served as partial inspiration for The Secret of Monkey Island), and both have a main character who makes bad choices and screws up a bit. Which isn't that odd, but Powers has an interesting way of doing it that I can't quite put my finger on.

    Rivers of London was an fun enough magical detective book for me to try the next in the series.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I just finished reading the Bantam ST novel Planet of Judgment by Joe Haldeman, which I haven't read in a long time. I'd forgotten how much it got right about Trek continuity, by the standards of the time. Either Haldeman was a fan, or he really studied the James Blish adaptations in detail. (He even includes Blish as a character in the novel, as the scientist James Atheling; Blish wrote literary criticism under the pseudonym William Atheling, Jr.) Haldeman added a number of ideas of his own that are hard to reconcile with continuity, but that make good sense, like the use of high-tech body armor on dangerous missions and helmets for the security staff (an idea actually adopted in the TOS movies). When I read this book in the past, I wasn't aware of Haldeman's experience as an Army veteran, which heavily influenced his most famous work, The Forever War; but now I can see how much his military experience informed his portrayal of the crew's procedures in crisis situations.

    It's also quite an epic and ambitious story, both in terms of the great hazards the characters face (and ultimately the civilization-wide stakes they must contend with) and the attempt to explore and develop the main characters; this book was the first attempt to depict the details of McCoy's divorce, for instance. Unfortunately, the writing style is somewhat cursory and compressed, so that events that should be big and emotionally powerful just get a few brief sentences of description before moving on. So it doesn't feel as profound and epic as it really should, which I suppose is why I've always only liked this novel rather than loving it. Also, Haldeman goes to some lengths to introduce several supporting characters and their relationships -- the borderline romantic triangle of Atheling, Sharon Follett, and Andre Charvat -- and then never really does anything with it, as those characters fade into the background when the climactic events draw near.

    Still, for all it's flaws, it's one of the two strongest Bantam Trek novels by a good margin, surpassed only by David Gerrold's The Galactic Whirlpool.
     
  20. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    Currently reading DRGIII's Plagues of Night, and i'm really enjoying it :techman:
     

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