Star Trek Vanguard: The Finale Thread (SPOILERS)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by David Mack, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I guess you didn't follow the link to the thread about the many canonical characters who've been killed off in Trek Lit, including other fairly big ones. And no, Shakaar was not a "walk-on," he was a major guest star in three episodes (one of them named for him), was referenced in multiple others, was a pivotal figure in Kira's past, and was the ruler of his entire planet.


    The last time any Prime-universe series was "active" was -- wow -- nearly seven years ago now. Everything is equally inactive except the Abramsverse, which has no presence at Pocket except in the young-adult books.

    So no, Janeway is not the exception to the rule, she's the illustration that the old rules no longer apply. CBS Licensing is no longer watching over the books and saying we can't make this major change or that major change. Except where the Abramsverse is concerned, the novels these days pretty much have carte blanche; as long as we don't contradict canon, there's no problem with making major changes, because there aren't going to be any new films or shows in the Prime timeline in the foreseeable future.


    Depends on the book. If you follow that link I posted previously, and don't mind spoilers, you'll find that two novels have depicted the deaths of lead TOS characters, though only one is in the main Pocket continuity. And Spock was permanently married to Saavik in the novels years ago, although that's in keeping with canon because "Sarek" established that Picard had met Sarek at his son's wedding.
     
  2. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    Sorry, Christopher, but I'm not buying it. As a character, he's at best a "recurring guest star", not a series lead. The only mention I saw in the thread you linked that was a series lead (title character) was McCoy, and I'm presuming it was "old McCoy" from the 24th century. Killing McCoy (or Spock, et al) in the 23rd century (and having it 'stick' might be another story.


    So we can expect a book showing the death of, say, one or more of the TOS characters BEFORE their scheduled demises when, exactly?

    There, you just admitted it. You can't "contradict canon". So they have "script immunity" for any point save going forward from Nemesis on. That makes, for example, the TOS line featuring the Enterprise and her crew virtually locked in as far as storytelling goes.

    Not so with OC characters, which was the point I was originally making. You can do virtually anything you want with OCs, since they have no inbuilt expectation of "script immunity" on the readers' part.
     
  3. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What about poor Scotty?
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, obviously not, because we know he's still alive in "Encounter at Farpoint."


    There's nothing to "admit," because it's hardly a secret. Every tie-in in every franchise is obligated to stay consistent with that franchise's established canon. You might as well say I "admitted" that gravity makes things fall down or that water is wet. The only way you'll get a character death that contradicts established canon is in something overtly marked as an alternate universe, such as under the Myriad Universes banner.

    But the point is that it's irrelevant to the current novels, because just about everything we do these days is set after the ends of the various series. That's why Janeway isn't an exception. The books have been free to make major changes in the lives of canonical TNG, DS9, VGR, and ENT characters, and if a story came along that featured the death of Picard or Kira or the like, it would probably have no more difficulty getting approved than the story of Janeway's death.

    If anything, the exception is the TOS setting that you're mistakenly treating as the rule. TOS is the only series in which the current books are usually set during the canonical run. Everything else has been advanced beyond the endpoint of what canon says about the characters' fates, so we have free rein with the majority of Trek characters.
     
  5. shanejayell

    shanejayell Captain Captain

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    I also assume it's easier to knock off OCs because it doesn'y interfere with other writers plans. If Chris wants Ben Sisko to die in a blaze of glory but David also has a Sisko novel in the works, Sisko ain't dying. *lol*
     
  6. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    ^ Part of the problem is this obsession with killing off characters. There's more to life than death; there are more interesting ways to alter the status quo of characters' lives and their fictional universe than destroying them.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What Dave said. Death is not the only meaningful way to change a character; it's just the most bluntly obvious way. Using it as some kind of benchmark for creative freedom is superficial and lazy.

    I mean, in the novels in recent years, Riker and Troi have had a daughter, and Picard and Crusher have married and had a son. Those are profound, life-changing events, just as much as a death, but far more positive. So why doesn't that get just as much attention as what happened to Janeway?
     
  8. shanejayell

    shanejayell Captain Captain

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    :rofl::rofl::rofl::rommie::rommie::rommie:

    This from the guy who wrote Star Trek Destiny?

    :rommie::rommie::rommie::rofl::rofl::rofl:

    Getting (sorta) back on topic, I do think the possibility of character deaths has made the series more exciting than some other Trek works.
     
  9. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well its been a wild ride can't wait to see how it all ends.
     
  10. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure what's funny. He didn't say that death is not an interesting way to alter the status quo of a character's life, just that there are other ways that can be more interesting. He was saying, in other words, that killing a character off is only one tool in writing an interesting story about them, not the be-all, end-all.
     
  11. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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    I would like to ask both Chris and Dave, how the find the experience of killing off a major character? Does it come easy? Or is it a difficult task? Does it slow down the pace of your writing as you detail the event? Have you ever regretted doing it?

    IMHO, the deaths in Vanguard have been justified and made sense to the progression of the story. Some have been a surprise, while others were a matter of time. I don't fixate on them, but I do enjoy a good fight/battle scene with real life/death consequences.:D
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Who, me? What major character have I killed off? There was Leybenzon in Greater Than the Sum, but I'm not sure he was around long enough to count as "major." And there was a certain original character I created in Watching the Clock who was pretty major within that book, but not beyond.

    I've sometimes had to kill off major characters in my original fiction, and it can be very painful. A couple of times I've cried for half an hour after I did it. But it was what the story needed. But I haven't yet had that experience in Trek Lit. Leybenzon wasn't a character I really connected with, and getting rid of him was an editorial mandate, so I didn't really feel it as much as those others. And the DTI character's demise was offscreen, so it wasn't as direct and hard-hitting.
     
  13. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    If you mean a major canon character, I haven't iced any of them … yet.

    If you mean a major character within his or her series, such as…
    Kieron Duffy in Wildfire, Intendant Kira in Warpath, or Regent Worf (or many other MU characters) in Rise Like Lions
    …then those are moments I take very seriously. I try to craft them in ways that capture what I think reflects each character's intrinsic nature, as it pertains to facing the moment of his/her own oblivion.

    However, I find such scenes no more difficult, nor any easier, to write than any others, and I don't regret any of the creative decisions I've made regarding which characters to usher into the final darkness.
     
  14. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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    ^I was refering to killing off of any major character in your own series/books. I imagined it may not be the easiest decision for a writer to grapple with. I appreciate the insight you both have shared.
     
  15. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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    By the way I love the cover art by Doug Drexler. It looks awesome:bolian: I'm using it as my desktop backround:D Having the book downloaded to my black and white kindle, does the cover art a great injustice.

    How much input do you have in the cover art Dave? Does Doug get an advanced read to help him decide what look to devlop? Who has the final say, you or an editor?
     
  16. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    The editors sometimes have solicited ideas or suggestions from myself, Dayton, and Kevin (and also Marco on the Declassified anthology).

    The editors have passed along some of those ideas to Doug Drexler, who then developed the art, with some notes from the editors on the early concept images. Usually by the time we writers have seen the finished cover art, they have been "done deals".

    In the case of the cover for Reap the Whirlwind, it was inspired by a scene from the book that I thought would be a good showcase for the previously unseen Archer class of starship. I thought it would be a space scene, but the art arrived as a blue-sky image complete with a fire trail from the Sagittarius's warp nacelle. I was so taken by the art that I actually rewrote the scene in question to match the cover art. :)
     
  17. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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    ^ Thanks for the skinny on how the cover art is decided upon. That is the second time you have been inspired by a picture. The Destiny article, related a similar story of how a picture of the NX-02 lead to that trilogy. Very cool indeed.

    Any word on the Podcast you are planing?
     
  18. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    ^ The recording date is scheduled for April 1; a bit later than I wanted, but that was the first day that all us Vanguardians were available.
     
  19. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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    ^Not sure if I should believe you, as that is April fools Day:lol: I hope they are not putting you on either;)
     
  20. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thinking back to Fallen Heroes, I think Dafydd ab Hugh's answer to that question would be a broad grin.

    (Gee, this is a scary thread to navigate for someone who's just about to finish Summon the Thunder.)