Star Trek Concordance -- One More Time!

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Captain Robert April, Jan 5, 2010.

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  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Commodore Commodore

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    I only discovered the Concordance around the time Enterprise debuted. One of the things I really enjoyed about it how focused it was. Including the guest appearances from the spinoff shows.

    It reminded me of a Superman encyclopedia from the 1970s I have. Which had an entry on Batman. But was limited to info about him seen in guest appearances in Superman stories. Got a similar vibe from TNG characters entries. Treating them like guest stars.
     
  2. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In 2010, I don't see the point of doing a reference book for people who think the only real Star Trek was the one with Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley, et al., and who think the only moments of later Trek worth noting are the ones they guest-starred in. I didn't like the way the Citadel ediiton approached the Star Trek universe, and I don't like what I'm reading about the new one here, though I can always hope Bjo isn't as negative and cranky about post-TOS Trek as her representative here seems to be.
     
  3. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    It's not a matter of thinking that "only the original series is Star Trek", it's a matter of what Bjo is allowed to include. Her rights to the Concordance only include TOS, TAS, and subsequent appearances and references to material from TOS and TAS. Unless there's an explicit connection to TOS, it's simply off limits.

    As far as my crankiness goes, you haven't chatted with David Gerrold lately, have you? That man has raised crankiness to an art form.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    All I can say is, what good is a Concordance that doesn't have the spinny index wheel thingy in the front cover? ;)
     
  5. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    More affordable?
     
  6. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If she's doing an unlicensed book, does any of that really apply? Ballantine had the rights to do some Trek books in the 1970s, but the Citadel edition and the new one aren't from licensed publishers. Does she have some nonstandard kind of deal with Paramount/CBS/whatever?
     
  7. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    At this point, it would be ridiculous to try to expand the "Concordance" beyond TOS character appearances. Why try to replicate "Memory Alpha"?

    As far as I recall, Pocket Books once rejected publishing an updated "ST Concordance" by Bjo (to include the first few movies) because they "already had something similar by Allan Asherman", ie the "ST Compendium". But he'd done it differently to Bjo.

    Bjo's eventual new edition for Citadel simply avoided duplicating Larry Nemecek's TNG focus (a licensed Pocket publication, the "TNG Companion" series), and tried to keep its focus on something she could update without digging up too many new production memos. Bjo already had lots of production material on TOS and TAS, and was given new access to some old callsheets for TOS between the 70s Concordance and the new edition, which named a lot of uncredited roles.

    This was also at a time when Paramount had begun to clamp down on some of the unlicensed books that were coming out, such as the "Nitpickers' Guides" (the writer's publisher got nervous), the Klingon martial arts book, and the one that got into big trouble in court for stating "All you ever need to know about Star Trek" on the cover. That Citadel's edition of the "ST Concordance" was merely updating a previous book that had been blessed by Roddenberry, and had been mentioned in movie publicity materials as a resource used to research several of the movies, helped.
     
  8. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You could as easily ask, why bring the Concordance back at all? If it's because there's a resurgence of interest in Star Trek, that movie Captain Robert April so dislikes would seem to be a factor, and something the book should embrace.

    The Citadel Concordance was published in 1995. The clampdown really started in 1996-97 (Farrand's last Trek book was in 1996, and he stopped in response to a situation involving an unauthorized Godzilla book). Even the notorious Hal Schuster had a couple of unauthorized Trek books as late as 1997. Sam Ramer's Joy of Trek, the one that Paramount went after in a big way, was published by Citadel in 1997. They stomped on the publisher of Secret Fighting Arts of the Warrior Race Volume 1 - betleH yIqel in 1996, but that wasn't as big a story, because that book didn't have the kind of distribution Citadel's books did.

    As did the fact that Paramount was still turning a blind eye to unauthorized Trek nonfiction books at that point. Fifteen years later, if that goodwill made a difference, the people involved are no longer around.
     
  9. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed. I'm thrilled for Bjo that she might have a chance to update her "baby" - and I thought I'd heard that she had enjoyed the movie - and, as a completist, I know how satisfying it would be to have a new edition. But Captain Robert April's attitude to JJ's movie leaves me cold, and I can't help thinking his bias will get in the way.

    Yep.

    Mind you, text commentary on a show in a guidebook is usually seen as "Fair Use". Wasn't the major complaint on Ramer's book the cover notation that you didn't need to watch or buy any ST product except his book - even though most of the content was quite tongue in cheek and, being mostly satire, Ramer and Citadel assumed they were safe from prosecution?

    I doubt that there's much call from fans to buy a "Concordance" update in hardcopy, though, not now that "Memory Alpha" has continued to grow and is still free (and so searchable).
     
  10. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, I was pretty surprised that Viacom went after that book, having let so many other books go by. The idea was that it was everything you needed to know to get up to speed with Trek, presented with a lot of humour, but not that it was everything you needed, period. It was supposed to help bring people into fandom, which seems like a goal Viacom should have approved of.
     
  11. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    First off, the Concordance is not exactly an unlicensed book. Bjo got the copyright to the Concordance back when Ballantine published it, which is why, when the update was published in '94, it was able to carry the words "Star Trek" in the title, as opposed one of James Van Hise's completely unauthorized and unlicensed books, that can only have "Trek (fill in the blank)". "Trek" is not a registered trademark of CBS/Paramount, whereas "Star Trek" is. Bjo's copyright allows her to use the full title.

    And if she wants to keep that copyright, she needs to stick to the terms of that copyright, which only covers what I listed above, TOS, TAS, and subsequent appearances of those characters. So, only those movies and episodes from the spinoff shows can be touched.

    As for why now, the Concordance has been a fan favorite, in its various incarnations, for forty years, because it comes from a fan's perspective, and is not just a historical recitation like the Encyclopedia. And frankly, the last version was a pretty big disappointment to Bjo and many of us who were involved in supplying material (the fan art is another big draw, which was largely eliminated by the clowns at Citadel). So, there's more than a small element of redemption here. If there's to be a last edition of the Concordance, we'd rather it not be the Citadel version.

    And don't worry about my biases. As I said above, I'm not writing it. I'm only doing the layouts. I'm certainly capable of being a good soldier and doing what I'm told with regard to the material. Besides, in the end, we're only talking one movie in a book that covers over a hundred episodes of the various series and eight other movies. I'll certainly be willing to give Bjo my opinions of the film, since the polarizing nature of the thing certainly deserves some comment, but I'm not going to force my views into the book if she doesn't want them there; it's her book, not mine.

    I refer you to my major edit of "The Doctor and the Enterprise". I wound up doing a lot of tightening up of verb tenses, inventing a few sentences here and there (in the original, for example, Kirk never identifies himself to the strange man emerging from the Police Box, so I stuck in a quick, "I'm Captain James T. Kirk. You're on the Starship Enterprise.") But for the most part, I kept as much of Jean Airey's original text as I could, especially in the planetside scenes (those passages just needed some well placed paragraph breaks for the most part).

    Go and compare. My version is accessible by the "junk drawer" link in my signature, the original is here: http://www.scirev.net/who/archives/TheDoctorAndTheEnterprise.php
     
  12. OmahaStar

    OmahaStar Disrespectful of his betters Admiral

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    Dude, what ARE you talking about? The book isn't licensed, and it wouldn't need to be anyway. As a scholarly work, there's no need for it. And Bjo would always have the copyright, unless she signed it over to somebody else. She's not doing fanfiction; it's a reference book.

    A lot of what you're saying just does not make sense.
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    The Ballantine version is copyright Paramount Pictures Corp. and Bjo Trimble. Although Ballantine Books was a licensee at the time, the "ST Concordance" had already been published as a self-published item, and Bjo's contract with Ballantine must have permitted her to retain some ownership rights.

    Similarly, Franz Joseph retained rights to license out his ship designs and original concepts in the Ballantine "ST Technical Manual" to an RPG, with neither Roddenberry nor Paramount able to object. (They tried.)

    The Citadel edition gives Bjo sole copyright of her scholarly work. Had she sold that revised edition to Pocket Books, as originally hoped, she may have been pressured to sign over all rights, as most licensed book tie-in contracts do.
     
  14. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sounds to me like you're mixing up bits of copyright, licensing, and contract in there. Meanwhile, there are dozens of unauthorized, unlicensed books that have "Star Trek" in the title, though they're often more scholarly in intent than the books written by Van Hise and others for Hal Schuster's various imprints, and hence more protected. Some examples from the last year or two: Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek: Allegories of Desire in the Television Series and Films, Jewish Themes in Star Trek, Star Trek: A Comics History, Star Trek: A Post-Structural Critique of the Original Series, To Go Where No Other Has Gone Before: Gender and Race in Star Trek, BFI TV Classics: Star Trek, Star Trek and Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant, and, coming out in June 2010, Star Trek As Myth: Essays on Symbol and Archetype at the Final Frontier.

    Whatever you're talking about in the paragraph above, it isn't copyright.

    Um. Interesting. You rewrote someone else's book and posted it on your site?

    I don't see where she's letting anyone create and distribute derivative works from her copyrighted (albeit unlicensed) material. Does she know you've done this?
     
  15. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Still her name on the byline. I'm not claiming it as my own work, just my polish of her's (which is why her forward is retained, it's her story). I think I made that abundantly clear in my forward on the very next page.

    If Ms. Airey wants to take issue with it, I'm certainly not hiding. I'd welcome the chance to get her impressions of how I did, and if she wants changes, fine, let's talk. But personally, I think I did a pretty good job with that story, which is why I have it posted. So far, the reactions have been pretty positive.

    Getting back to the Concordance, if Bjo wants to hold onto her baby, she needs to play by the rules, which means none of the spinoff stuff unless it touches on TOS, TAS, or one of the original cast movies. And unlike my reworking of "The Doctor and the Enterprise", this will be a collaborative work, with Bjo in very firm control of the text (even corrections of obvious mistakes will be run by her first).

    So don't worry about any virulent anti-JJ screeds getting slipped in. I do enough of that here, I don't need to hijack someone else's book.
     
  16. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Woah!

    The only reason Jean Airey ended up uploading her original digital version of the story is because she was so livid that the original magazine installments (she'd happily contributed to a Hal Schuster title) were collected, tweaked and republished as a Pioneer paperback book without her knowledge! Her first knowledge of its existence, IIRC, was when people asked her to autograph a copy.

    My interpretation of her notes is that we can read, but not mess, with her work. As in "... 'publication' of these files in this format does not grant anyone anywhere permission to make copies either electronically or in print which carry *any* charge to anyone of any type for that copy."

    She'd be the last person I'd be tweaking and reposting without her knowledge. Jean Airey - and perhaps Harlan Ellison.
     
  17. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    I'll have to dig up the previous published versions and compare.

    I think one big difference in this case is that those previous versions never said anything about there being heavy editing taking place. Mine does. I'm very upfront about the fact that you're not getting the unexpurgated original text with my version.

    Maybe Ms. Airey should ask why so many folks see the need to tweak her story. Maybe because it needs it?

    Anyway, I suggest that any further discussion of this story be moved to "Fan Fiction". I've got a thread there on this subject that I can drag back from the abyss.
     
  18. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Simply because it's her work, and she likes to know - in advance - what other people do to it. If editors want changes, the author is usually the one who does it.

    It's not ethical to take someone else's work, play with it or publish it, without the owner's knowledge and approval.

    I've had it happen to me, and it can be bewildering and hurtful.

    We aren't supposed to drag old threads back "from the abyss". Board rules, IIRC.
     
  19. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But Airey claims copyright on everything in the story she created, though obviously she can't claim any rights to Trek and Who names and characters. So you can't just take her work and do what you want with it. She's laid out the things she's allowing you to do, and they don't include what you've actually done. You haven't respected her rights to the material. You're talking a lot about what Bjo has the right to do, but you don't seem to be thinking -- or answering questions about -- what you have the right to do with someone else's work.

    Her story is not your property to do with as you wish. I'm not sure what's so hard to understand about that.

    What are these rules you're talking about? It's nothing to do with copyright, she's not working with the publisher with the license to do Trek books, so where are these rules laid out? Did someone in 1976 foresee the spinoffs and put some clause in her Ballantine contract about what she could do in the event of the reversion of her rights to the book? Did she get some kind of legal clearance from Paramount in 1995 for the Citadel edition? If so, would that apply to a new edition?

    Two people aren't "so many." Hal Schuster had unauthorized changes made to her work because it was the only way he could cash in on an unlicensed Who/Trek crossover novel. The main changes in his edition were losing all the proper names (Kirk became the Captain, Scotty the Engineer, etc) and adding goofy cover and interior art and a back cover blurb to make the book look like a satire, because satire is protected speech. The book isn't satire, though. But the reason for the rewrite had nothing to do with Airey's writing and everything to do with Schuster wanting to make some easy money unethically.

    I don't approve of what Schuster did, but at least I can understand his motives.
     
  20. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    This has really gone down the rabbit hole a ways...
     
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