STO: The Needs of the Many by M. A. Martin Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by nx1701g, Mar 25, 2010.

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Grade "The Needs of the Many"

  1. Excellent

    16.7%
  2. Above Average

    23.8%
  3. Average

    28.6%
  4. Below Average

    11.9%
  5. Poor

    19.0%
  1. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    ^I think it also mentions in passing an attack on Vulcan by Nero in 2387, which certainly wasn't in Countdown.
     
  2. Freman

    Freman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Maybe that was in the Nero miniseries? I don't know, I haven't read it.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    No, the Nero miniseries is about Nero's time in the past between the Kelvin prologue of the film and his reappearance 25 years later.

    There's nowhere in the continuity established in the film for Nero to have attacked Vulcan in 2387. Spock was en route to the supernova when Romulus was destroyed, and as soon as Spock reached the supernova, he was confronted by Nero. Shortly after that, both ships were sucked into the past. Unless Nero's ship had the ability to travel between Romulan space and Vulcan almost instantly (which is unlikely, given that the century-earlier Enterprise was almost able to catch up with it despite going by a roundabout route from Vulcan to Earth), there's simply no opportunity for Nero to travel to Vulcan after Romulus's destruction in 2387.
     
  4. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I didn't like this book very much. Most importantly, I didn't like the way the stories were told but numerous elements bothered me like the existence of the MACOs and Janeway NOT being dead (though she could return). It was just a really dry read, even for someone who plays and loves the game.

    That said, the story about Data's resurrection was excellently done. My hat is off to Mr Martin for that one. It was emotionally gripping and the exact tale I would want for that event. I don't think that story could be better told in a future novel. It was also cool to see Picard and Riker's kids grown up.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    ^The Needs of the Many was not intended to be set in the main novel continuity; indeed, it referenced that continuity as an alternate timeline. It's specifically a tie-in to the Star Trek Online MMORPG continuity. So it wasn't beholden to the novels' version of Janeway's fate.
     
  6. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Yeah, I know. My question with STO has always been when do they and the novels diverge? Does/will STO ever take the relaunch into account?

    Still, I just didn't enjoy reading the interview style accounts. But that is just me and I can't critique Martin for that as he did present the interviews well.
     
  7. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Game development takes a long time, and they needed their story set in place before the novels had been even conceived of or commissioned. They were actually pretty consistent with the Lit at the time that gave development began, but I think there's something about Ro (?) that contradicts even the DS9 relaunch. They did use some Lit characters and ideas, though.

    Either way, to keep things consistent, the alternative would be for the game devs to decide the next few decades of TrekLit, and make that be consistent with the game, but given the story they did come up with, I'm personally glad TrekLit is free to chart its own direction.
     
  8. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    ^ If I remember right, they use a lot of DS9 relaunch events, but at different times; like, Ro comes to the station several years later.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    That's not the way it works. These are independently developed creative works, not "actual" timelines that have some specific, measurable divergence. The people who invented the backstory for STO drew on other sources piecemeal as it suited them. They threw in some elements drawn from the novels even while blatantly contradicting others. There is no "divergence point" any more than there's a divergence point between, say, the 1990s Spider-Man animated series and the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies. They're two independent adaptations of a fictional work, and they both draw on elements of that original work and to some extent on each other as it suits them (the movie's version of the black costume/Venom story owes more to the animated series version than to the comics version). But they're not branches off of a common history, just alternate imaginary constructs sharing certain ideas.
     
  10. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    In my opinion, the books are just as good as any screen material and should be considered canon and the "real" story line. At the startrek.com boards, the books get a lot of hate, and I think it's a shame that trek fans don't hold the books to be as important as star wars fans do with their books.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Canon has nothing to do with good or bad. It's not a value judgment. It's simply a matter of what's feasible to keep consistent. It's difficult enough for the various different producers of the TV/film franchise to keep consistent with one another's creations and ideas, and in fact the franchise is fraught with inconsistencies as it is. But for a TV/film franchise to keep consistent with a set of books that are produced on a very different schedule, written by people scattered all over the English-speaking world, edited by people on the other end of the continent, and read by only a tiny fraction of the TV/film viewing audience would be vastly more difficult and impractical. The only times that book or comic tie-ins have ever been able to function as truly canonical works have been when the creators of the TV franchise have been able to supervise or write the tie-ins themselves.
     
  12. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I'm not in the biz and so don't by any means have the ability to dispute you, but I'd say it is much easier now with the existence of memories alpha and beta to keep everything in agreement as well as with there not being any prime universe screen material for the foreseeable future. I see little reason why the books falling under the "relaunch" category couldn't be canonized. I also think if the franchise were to say "the franchise books are to be considered canon and if a future tv show is produced we will try to prevent it from contradicting them" readership would go up.

    When I have polled members at st.com, most there consider the books nothing more than fan fiction they have to pay for and don't appreciate the editorial controls and licensing that goes into them. I get ignored when I site the books in discussions there with "the books are meaningless" or "the books don't count".
     
  13. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    And it's funny, because the books matter almost exactly as much to Trek as they do to Star Wars; George Lucas feels obviously free to contradict whatever the hell he wants to in the books when he's making movies or animated things, exactly as in Star Trek. And the Trek books, with only a very few notable exceptions, treat each other as part of the same continuity, exactly as Star Wars does.

    But whatever.
     
  14. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    The makers of "Threshold" might disagree with you. :p

    Exactly...it's all about the perception of the intended audience as to the "significance" of the books, as opposed to what the actual producers end up doing, so it's a little weird to me that CBS doesn't just go ahead and say that they're canon, since that level of canonicity is treated the same way in practice as franchises like Doctor Who and Star Wars anyway.

    The cancellation of the Abramsverse novels was apparently motivated by concerns with consistency, so it's starting to seem as if the current Supreme Court wants to adopt a Lucasfilm-like approach to their own tie-ins.
     
  15. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I think if and when more Star Wars TV series are made, people will finally have to confront this. It will certainly be useful in convincing people to give the Trek novels a go. Sadly, I too have seen many dismissive comments about Trek books "not counting" because they're not canon. That includes more than a few explicit assertions that "I don't even read Trek books because they're non-canon".

    I suppose sci-fi fans who operate through a primarily Star Wars worldview are used to the idea that the canonicity of a work determines the degree to which it matters. If I recall correctly (perhaps one of you can confirm?), because the Star Wars tie-ins have always been linked together, a lot of Star Wars fans treat that universe in a manner parallel to how they'd view real history - like a fun fictional exercise in something resembling historical research. Of course, that's pretty much what Trek novel fans like I do with the Trek verse (in this very forum among others), only with Star Wars the idea is that they're justified in doing so because it's deemed an "official" history. Which I believe is why some fans are angry by creative choices in the Clone Wars series - it undermines the sense that the books they've been buying are the official history of that universe.

    Under this view of things, linked with the idea that the Expanded Universe is canon, non-canon Star Wars works "never really happened". So I think people whose "first franchise" is Star Wars often carry those assumptions over to other franchises and judge works meaningful or meaningless based on "did this actually happen or not" - so, determined through the question, "is it canon?" Again, I suppose this is really not that different from what continuity fans like I do anyway, except our standards of what "actually happened" ;) are only ever personal, not backed up by official labels of canonicity.

    I've certainly been in conversations with other sci-fi fans to whom Star Wars is what Trek is to me, and when I've mentioned the books, they politely ask "but they're not canon are they?" :)
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    No, it wouldn't be easier. It's not a matter of the availability of reference materials, because the people who make the shows have total access to the tie-ins anyway, since the studio has to approve them in the first place. It's a matter of time. Producing a TV show or a movie is not something you can do on a weekend. It's an immense commitment of time and effort. The creators of a television series have to devote huge amounts of their lives and energies to developing their own ideas and making them happen onscreen. It's neither logical nor appropriate to suggest that they should make their lives even more impossibly difficult by paying attention to stuff done by people who are merely following their lead to begin with -- particularly when it's stuff that only 1-2% of their viewing audience will even know exists.


    But if there's no new screen material being made, then IT DOESN'T MATTER whether something is called canon or not. The term "canon" only has meaning as something that the makers of new onscreen material treat as authoritative "history."


    Well, then, they're ignorant, and there's nothing you can do to change that. If you told them "the books are canon," they'd probably just concoct some other excuse for not reading them, because they're probably just not interested in reading books anyway.

    The term "canon" has a specific meaning. It is the core body of work from the original creators or owners of a property, as distinct from derivative works by other creators. Using that label to refer to something like tie-in novels not created by the show's actual makers would be a misuse of the word. It would be a lie. And there would be no point in misrepresenting the truth just to pander to a bunch of people who can't be bothered to read. They're not worth it.

    Heck, there are just as many people out there who dismiss Star Trek as a whole, or science fiction as a whole, or television as a whole, because they imagine it's beneath their notice for one reason or another. You can't force an audience to embrace or understand your work. You create your work with as much care and integrity as you can, you put it out there, and you let the audience choose for themselves whether to experience it and how to interpret it. Sticking a false label on it won't make any meaningful difference.


    What would be the point? "Canon" is not a label that's meant to inform the audience of what they're "supposed" to read. It's merely a description of a category. The core material is the canon, everything else is the apocrypha. It's not a value judgment and it's not an instruction. And it doesn't have any genuine impact in any case. As you say, Star Wars and other franchises are free to ignore things they've declared canon. Star Trek has contradicted its own onscreen canon more than once, and so have many other franchises. Calling something "canon" doesn't make it more "real" than anything else. It's all made-up anyway, and that gives the creators of future material the freedom to ignore or retcon earlier material however they like. The label "canon" is merely descriptive, not determinative. It's not a magic word that will change the way something is treated if it falls under the label. It's not a shield against contradiction. It's not a guarantee of audience interest. It doesn't make a thing what it is, it just describes what it is.

    Besides, what is it with these readers who think they need some higher authority to tell them what they're allowed to read or enjoy? How sad is that, that they're unable to take responsibility for their own entertainment choices? We shouldn't pander to that, shouldn't feed their delusions of submission to authority by assigning some artificial label that says "Yes, you should pay attention to this." We should try to free them of this terribly restrictive belief that they lack the right to make their own choices about what to read.


    Which is exactly the problem with Lucasfilm's use of "canon" labels to apply to the tie-ins. It's an empty promise that's given fans a lot of false expectations about the relationship between a fictional creation and its secondary works, or even about the degree of continuity within a single ongoing series.
     
  17. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

    ^ Very excellent points, Christopher. Solid reasoning. You reinforce to me, as a fan, the value of reading the books and that it isn't worth it debating their value with those who have their minds made up against the books. The books and STO are valuable for deepening the trek experience. Even if there are contradictions later, it isn't like the screen material doesn't contradict itself at times.
     
  18. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Re: STO: The Needs of the Many by M. A. Martin Review Thread (Spoilers

    http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/2013/05/star-trek-online-needs-of-many-review.html

    My review of the book. Basically, I don't think it's a very good tie-in to the Online game (which I play quite a lot). It doesn't reference much of the game much at all and seems to be more an epilogue for the series. However, there's some really good fiction here including the only "resurrection" plot I've ever liked other than Jean Grey. I think it's definitely worth checking out.
     
  19. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Re: STO: The Needs of the Many by M. A. Martin Review Thread (Spoilers

    BTW,

    RE: Canon

    I think the Doctor Who series is the best place for Expanded Universe relationships to be discussed. According to RTD he considered the books, audio dramas, and so on all to be canon except when they were specifically referenced on screen and liberally mined them for ideas.