Where'd This Phase II Cutaway Come From...?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Praetor, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    No, because that doesn't account for the redesigned NCC-1701 also being referred to as Constitution-class, starting with Roddenberry's novelization of TMP. I'm trying to be all inclusive.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, that's your approach, but I was addressing everyone, suggesting what, as far as I know, is a new approach, one based specifically on canon evidence. I'm asking the readers in general if they think it makes sense for two ship classes to be differentiated mainly by internal variations.

    I don't think the TMP novelization is a particularly viable source, given how much about it was later contradicted even by Roddenberry himself. All the early movie novelizations take liberties; studios were a lot less strict about conformity to the finished film back then.
     
  3. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^^ this is what I suggested up-thread, when I wrote...

    "Therefore there is no contradiction with the "official" blueprints for that "refit",(TMP) or the simulator scene in WOK, this ship was once again "Enterprise class" because this time it was the first (and perhaps only ship) to be uprated to these newer specs. Remember, the "E-A" is not the same ship, full of subtle differences from the original TMP/WOK/TSFS ship and therefore probably is of a different subclass and would be referred to as such, as it was (I believe) in the scene from TUC."

    You simply enumerated the subtle differences I was referring to. ;) So yeah, we reach one another brother!
     
  4. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    But you don't need to consider the novelization at all; it's enough to look at the Encyclopedia, which appears to be mandatory reading for every licensed publication these days. It's not safe to disregard such works, since Mike Okuda still has direct influence over the canon. A theory must be developed on solid ground if it is to become more than fan-fiction.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Err, how does he still have direct influence over the canon when the only new canon being produced is the Bad Robot film series? The only Trek veteran working on those is John Eaves.

    The Okuda references -- the Chronology and the Encyclopedia -- never, ever claimed to be canon. The Chronology contains a clear disclaimer that anything it asserts beyond canonical information is purely conjectural, that the book was meant for entertainment, not be some binding legal document or something. And since the Encyclopedia is from the same authors (et al.), I have no doubt it was written in the same spirit of fun conjecture. (Particularly since it does contain a number of factual errors, e.g. referring to Nella Daren as "Neela.")

    Now, for those of us who write licensed tie-in fiction, the policy of Paramount/CBS licensing has usually been that we were expected to use the Okuda references' conjectural dates and assertions except where they had been overwritten by later canon (as a number of them were, such as the year of Cochrane's first flight or the year Kirk's 5-year mission ended). But the very fact that some of its conjectures were ignored by canon is all the proof you need that they are not canon. It makes zero sense to think that a couple of reference books read by, at most, a hundred thousand people or so would carry more weight than TV shows and movies seen by tens of millions of people. Tie-in books are a niche entertainment product aimed at the tiny fraction of a screen franchise's audience that wants more than what they get onscreen and likes to read. "Nonfiction" or technical tie-in books are an even smaller niche within that niche. Assuming that they would dictate the content of screen canon is expecting a very small tail to wag a very massive dog. It simply does not work that way.

    Yes, as a Trek novelist I had to respect the Okudachron and the Encyclopedia. But as a Trek novelist, I know that while those books are a tier above mine in their "canon value," they're still just a tiny sidebar to the canon and could be swept away or disregarded by canon just as easily as anything I wrote. Mike Okuda was never an executive producer on the franchise. He was a senior illustrator and technical consultant, and that's very, very low on the totem pole. The producers were perfectly free to ignore his suggestions even when he was working on the show, which is why we got so much inane technobabble like Demon-class planets and deuterium shortages. And he has no role at all in the production of the Bad Robot movies, so there is no possible way in which he would have "direct influence" over them. Maybe some of the creators of those films respect his work enough to reference it or maybe ask him a few questions, but he has no authority to dictate their decisions in any way.
     
  6. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    He has direct influence over some of the Okudagrams on TNG-R (which override the previous canon), while Orci obviously used the conjectures to come up with dates like 2230 or 2233 in STXI. Before that, TOS-R had confirmed Greg Jein's conjectural registry number scheme, also adopted by Mike Okuda.

    I'm not saying his and Rick Sternbach's works are canon, only that it makes no sense to ignore them, since you never know how much of that will eventually become canon. Those works are that close to canon-makers, aside from their obvious influence on licensed publications.

    Why adhere to one interpretation when you're writing a tie-in novel and are bound by Okuda's conjectures, another when you're not? Star Trek should be more integrated than that. So we start with the official interpretation and add the Enterprise-class bit, which is also supported by the simulator door label. There is no need to ignore evidence, canon, near-canon or only licensed.
     
  7. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Shane Johnson's old Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise was referenced in the last movie (the Enterprise's shield technology seen in display graphics). Okuda's books weren't.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    He has "direct influence" because he was hired to work on the production. That's all. He's a paid staffer making decisions that are limited to artistic and visual matters. He's not a studio executive dictating the direction of the franchise.

    It's not like there's some master Star Trek policy office at CBS handing down dictums that control canonical productions. Yes, CBS Consumer Products has a couple of employees whose job it is to oversee the tie-ins and make sure they stay consistent with canon, but you're mistaken if you think that the makers of actual screen productions are subject to similar oversight. The screen productions set the course of the franchise, and their makers decide for themselves what the continuity will be. The licensing people just make sure that folks like me follow that lead.


    Because he's a fan and he wanted to. If he'd wanted to contradict those dates instead, Mike Okuda would've had no ability to stop him. Producers tell the art department what to do, not the other way around. And someone who was in the art department of a previous production would have even less ability to influence decisions.


    Again, that's because Mike was actually hired to work directly on that project and was paid to create those visual effects shots. He hasn't been paid to make decisions about the Abrams films.


    If you decide to exclude something without even considering it, that's ignoring it. But if you do consider it, take it into account, and decide that it's non-binding and unlikely to matter, that's not ignoring, it's making an informed choice. "We don't know it won't be canon someday" is a rather weak standard, and one that could become quite a straitjacket on the imagination.

    And let's not forget, this is all just imagination. Canon itself is not some absolute standard of truth -- it's fraught with massive inconsistencies and contradictions and mistakes, because it's made by a bunch of different people making different assumptions. Any attempt to craft the pretense of a consistent set of rules underlying it all requires glossing over a few details here and there. Bottom line, the conflict between the "Enterprise Class" and "Constitution Class" references in the movies is simply a mistake. We can try to make up imaginary fixes for the continuity error, but there's no explanation that's completely consistent, because it's really just an attempt to handwave an inconsistency. So whatever the case, we have to "ignore" -- or rather, make an informed choice to disregard -- something, somewhere. That's how handwaves work.


    When you go home from work, do you only do things that you're allowed to do in the office?

    Besides, it's been quite a few years since the Chronology and Encyclopedia were updated, so I don't think the old rule about following their lead is really in place anymore. These days Memory Alpha is probably considered the go-to reference. After all, the reason for respecting those sources is that at the time, their authors were actually working on the shows and so it was possible that their ideas might end up in an episode someday -- although, as stated, many of their conjectures were instead contradicted, so that was simply about the licensing people hedging their bets. But now, the Okudas are no longer employed on Trek productions except for the remastered home-video releases, so they're not as "close to canon" as they were. Sure, Orci or the Bad Robot people could draw on those books for reference, but they could also draw on any other tie-in, like the way they got Kirk's parents' first names from the novel Enterprise: The First Adventure. And they're totally free to disregard them if they want.


    Except that canon ignores the last two of those quite casually, and sometimes ignores the first as well.
     
  9. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    Where did I said that Okuda was dictating the direction of the franchise? I'm talking about the ability to canonize one word onscreen. And if something different happens, then it happens; analysis deals in probabilities, and there is great likelyhood of the TMP ship being canonized as Constitution-class (assuming it wasn't already, in a screen graphic I'm not aware of).

    I'm not trying to be imaginative or creative, since I don't have the legal license for that; tie-in writers get it to a degree, and the series/movie writers to a much greater degree. The shows and the movies can absolutely disregard a lot, but when we're analyzing existing evidence, it's about reading the text and making conclusions based on it: stitching the pieces together in a research exercise, which prioritizes evidence based on its proximity to the canon. If the evidence changes, the analysis changes: no pressure. If the analysis is sufficiently consistent with what came before, it may even end up in licensed to highly-official works (think Star Charts), since the people responsible can see that you've been taking into account their previous work.

    However, if you'd like to splinter Star Trek into work and home versions, that's your approach. I see only a continuum of sources, some more reliable than others.
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Not a mistake, just a misunderstanding. ;)

    Bottom line, all the three decisive TOS creators / producers had settled for the TOS Enterprise to be a member of the "Enterprise Class", the evidence is Matt Jefferies pre-production sketch (and later interviews) according to which the Enterprise was "the first bird" and the "first of the series", Bob Justman's reference to "Enterprise Starship Class" and Roddenberry's / Whitfield's "Enterprise Class Starships" in The Making of Star Trek.

    Whether Roddenberry's reference to "Constitution Class" starships in the TMP novelization refers to the TMP Enterprise is inconclusive. On the other hand, the Official TMP Blueprints, approved by Gene Roddenberry, refer to the TMP Enterprise as the "new Enterprise Class".

    You correctly observed yourself the internal differences between NCC-1701 (Enterprise Class) and NCC-1701-A (Constitution Class) and therefore provided a clue to solve the riddle, IMHO. ;)

    Bob
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    "The ability to canonize" implies some kind of overarching authority. It's also a complete misunderstanding of what canon is. Canon is not a seal of approval or a policy declaration. It's simply a descriptive term referring to the original body of work itself as distinct from derivative or licensed creations. Nobody decides what is canon and what isn't. The core creation is the canon by definition. Anything outside it is non-canon by definition. Canon doesn't mean right or real or superior or important. It's just another word for the work itself. When someone, such as Mike Okuda, is employed in the creation of that work, then anything he creates for it is part of the canon. But when he or I or another author creates something for a derivative work such as a tie-in book, then that creation is not part of the canon, because it's not part of the core work. Those are just two ways of saying the same thing.


    I see no such likelihood. There is no new canon being created in the Prime timeline, nor is there currently any reason to expect there to be. The precedent has been set for creating new Trek in a new, separate timeline, which gives the creators the advantage to be unrestricted by the accumulated baggage of past continuity and reinvent things however they want. It seems likely to me that future Trek creators would embrace the same freedom, either continuing to develop the Abramsverse, establishing another alternate timeline, or just abandoning the "timeline" pretense altogether and straight-up rebooting the franchise. I'd say the odds of any further Prime-universe canon being established are pretty slim.


    :eek: What are you talking about? "Legal license?" You think someone needs to give you permission to use your imagination? That is just sad. This is recreation. It's play. You're allowed to have fun with it. I get paid to play with these toys, and that means I have to work within certain limits. But as long as you're not trying to sell something for a profit, as long as you're just exploring a fictional universe for the sake of enjoyment, you're free to imagine whatever you want. That's the purpose of fiction. It's not about imposing control on you and restricting your imagination. That is getting the whole concept of fiction completely, tragically backwards. Fiction is supposed to inspire your imagination, to make you want to think and wonder and create beyond the letter of the page. And nobody's going to stop you or punish you for doing so. Sure, there's only one official version of the universe, more or less, but that's why it can be fun to imagine other possible interpretations, as fanfiction and pastiche authors have been doing for generations. Whether it's "real" or not is gloriously irrelevant, because the "real" version isn't real either. It's all just made-up stories. So just relax and let yourself play with ideas however you want. You're not taking a test. You're not being graded. You don't have to earn anyone's approval. Just have fun.
     
  12. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    Mike Okuda can alter the canon during Remastering; therefore, he is still creating the canon, if only in the tiniest ways. He did replace the Okudagram in "The Naked Now" with one of the TOS ship as opposed to the TMP ship. He did replace the Clare Raymond family tree, thus providing us with a number of canon dates. All that is canon and it was created recently, not in 1987.

    And I'm not saying that I need a license for imagination in general, but I do need one to create official, licensed Star Trek. Fan-fiction is only being tolerated by CBS, presumably for good PR. Most writers of original works aren't too thrilled about it. However, reporting on a text and analyzing the text as written, without contributing anything original to it, is as legal as literary analysis. I prefer to remain in that realm.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Canon is the broad strokes, not the details. Any long-running canon has contradictions in its details building up over time (is it James R. Kirk or James T. Kirk?), so to argue whether one tiny detail is "canon" or not is applying the label on a far more reductionistic level than is meaningful. The canon is the conjectural reality being depicted in the stories we're told. But any story is filtered through the interpretations of the teller, so different stories about the same reality will have discrepancies between them. Canon is in the whole, not the parts.

    But as far as I know, you're not doing so. You're a fan making conjectures on a bulletin board. So you're free to imagine whatever you want.


    You're worrying over nothing. If you try to write fiction based on a copyrighted universe (i.e. stories with plots and characters) and market it for profit, that's illegal, because then you're competing directly with the intellectual property. But if you just talk and speculate about the ideas behind show on a public forum with other fans, that's just part of being a fan. It's part of what promotes the show and builds a community of supporters for it.
     
  14. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Since when is "alteration" the same as "creation"? As a matter of fact alteration is the revision of somebody else's creation (and at the expense of the original creator, and therefore ethically quite debatable). ;)

    Bob
     
  15. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    And then things get even Mudd-ier when subsequent creators go back to the original unaltered version for inspiration:
    [​IMG]
     
  16. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Did they really? (Genuinely curious...)
     
  17. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    There's been no official word, but the shapes are so similar I'd really be surprised if it were a fluke (and the Into Darkness ship is actually upside down in that shot, so the profiles are actually more alike than they seem)
     
  18. Tallguy

    Tallguy Commodore Commodore

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    Ok, THAT's pretty cool.
     
  19. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    This is one of the things I liked about ST:ID.
     
  20. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    IIRC the view of Mudd's ship (left) was a stern view while the ship on the right appears to be watched from the side.

    Bob