Spoilers A Lit-verse Grand Finale...What We Know (Spoilers for Entire Lit-verse)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by ryan123450, Nov 8, 2020.

  1. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    A distinction that appeared to have been lost on my SW fans, who were convinced that, unlike Trek books, SW novels were "canon."
     
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  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But that's because their publishers and Lucasfilm's licensing people overtly claimed they were canon, something Pocket and Paramount/CBS never did with Trek books (except with Mosaic and Pathways for a while, even after Voyager started contradicting them).

    The thing is, they weren't entirely wrong to say that, even if it was misleading. A canon is a unified body of works considered complete or authoritative -- not only in a story-continuity sense, but in a wider sense of something like the Shakespeare canon, the film noir canon, etc. So since the SW tie-ins did strive to maintain a consistent continuity among themselves, they could be said to constitute a canon -- just not the canon of the movies (and later TV series). Similarly to how you could say the Marvel Cinematic Universe constitutes a canon of its own even though it's distinct from the Marvel Comics canon it adapts. And eventually Lucasfilm and the publishers did start defining "canon levels," with the tie-ins as a secondary tier of canon less authoritative than the screen productions.

    The problem is that fandom has gotten the idea that canon means "correct" or "real" rather than just "comprehensive." They see it as a seal of approval or "truth," as if there were such a thing as a "true" version of an imaginary universe. So they don't grasp how a franchise can potentially have more than one canon within it. The misperception of the word as a value judgment or official sanction, that competitive "there can be only one" mentality, prohibits using it that way without misunderstanding.
     
  3. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    "A" canon is exactly the way to put the old-style Star Wars system, with its codified tiers of canon, where anything in a higher tier was free to ignore or contradict anything below it.
     
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  4. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I suppose that's why Star Trek might be a bit 'better' from that standpoint. There's no ambiguity with Star Trek tie ins. They are not canon, and outside the 2 examples you noted with Voyager (at least as far as I know), they never were.

    Star Wars created a tiered canon system. While it's been noted what's on screen in Star Wars still over-rides all else, by even just hinting there is some canon 'value' to tie in works, they created an impression among Star Wars fans that tie ins have more value to the primary canon of on screen works than they really do. Esp. among more casual fans who may not frequent online discussions and know the details.

    But with Star Trek there is none. Tie ins have no standing in canon and Paramount never gave any impression that they do. The current showrunners appear to want to have a tighter continuity with their tie ins but there is still no ambiguity about what counts as canon.

    All that being said, though, I still think fans obsess over what is 'canon' way too much, and many times when I see comments here about 'canon' is really about 'continuity.' That's really a completely different animal. What is and isn't canon is really only a concern to tie in works, and only because tie ins usually have to be consistent with the canon.
     
  5. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Admiral Admiral

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    They also claimed that (almost) everything that released after the EU wipe would be canon, with no tier system like in the EU.

    Something would either be canon, or not canon, no levels/tiers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    See, that's just what I'm saying. The problem is this frustratingly wrong notion that canon is about "value," the ludicrous idea that one totally made-up story can somehow be "worth" less than another totally made-up story. It's that pathological need to turn everything into a competition with winners and losers that screws it all up. If people understood that canon is just a description of something, not an endorsement or pat on the back, it would be so much simpler.
     
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  7. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Of course there is value to a canon tie-in. It will be purchased regardless of who the writer is or how their stories have been received so far, simply because the reader is looking to find out more about Jyn Erso as part of the Big Event. That book is the story of Jyn Erso from this many to that many years BR1, and the buyer’s guarantee is that the Story Group, having received access to productions as they’re being developed years in advance, regardless of the extent to which those productions have consulted with the Story Group, is sufficiently informed to know that nobody else (or nobody who won’t listen to them) will contradict that story in any points that are far too difficult to work around.

    This doesn’t mean that a Legends story can’t have greater literary value because the writer in question is simply better or because the universe is less restrictive and therefore more intricate, but all other things being equal, will it sell as well as a story that ties into the main event? Probably not.
     
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  8. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    IIRC, Legends novels do still sell just as well as the new canon novels with some Legends novels, like the old Thrawn trilogy actually still surpassing the new stuff in sales. Canonical value is not a deciding factor in book sales.
     
  9. Admiral Rex

    Admiral Rex Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Stories should stand on their own. They may or may not fit in with all other stories in a franchise. Fans should forget all about canon.

    For funsies, pretend all Star Trek is not canon. It's less stressful to ignore what is canon and what fits together perfectly. Look at each work independently as it plays with and make nods to other Star Trek works.
     
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  10. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I’m not saying it is, necessarily, just that it can help a great deal, especially if a writer isn’t well established. Canon Thrawn by Zahn can be expected to sell just as well as Legends Thrawn, followed by all the other books in the Zahn “miniverse”, because he’s just that good. But try to equalize everything else and then consider if a tie-in being canon helps. It’s not a random business decision.

    People can have opinions on this subject, but I’m trying to look into the business reality here. The concept of a tie-in didn’t come out of nowhere: it ties in because tying in sells, because aside from literary value the reader is looking to see what else happened or what happens next, and if you can convince your buyer that a tie-in is “permanent” and may well be referenced by other tie-ins or even the main entries in a franchise, the value of what you’re selling only increases.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
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  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I wouldn't go that far, because canon can be a useful concept when not abused or overinflated in importance. It shouldn't be forgotten, just kept in perspective. The problem is that people take it to an unhealthy extreme. The response to an unhealthy extreme is not to embrace the opposite extreme, but to reject extremism altogether and seek a healthy balance.
     
  12. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    As I've said before, I would pay good money to never hear the word "canon" again. What started out as a decent respect for continuity has become this ridiculous fannish obsession, to the extent that the moment some new project based on a beloved old property is announced, the internet starts fretting and wringing its hands over whether it's "canon" or not. Which, from where I'm sitting, honestly seems to generate more agita than entertainment.

    Remember when we just watched (and read) this stuff for fun and didn't stress out over what was "canon" or not?
     
  13. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I wasn't making a value judgment, just canon value. I couldn't think of a better way to put it. But it certainly doesn't mean how good it is.

    Hell, I follow the novel continuity almost religiously. While I'll always take new shows I was still upset that Picard was likely going to disrupt the existing novel continuity. I can't help it.

    In fact, I actually see the Picard continuity as the alternate, parallel reality and the novelverse reality as the actual 'prime' universe. I guess part of it is the relaunch continuity is what I was exposed to first, so everything that came after will be compared to that in my eyes. And there is simply much, much more in that continuity at the moment. Over 20 years of stories.

    So certainly in my case canon is virtually meaningless.

    I guess we could probably blame Richard Arnold for that (RIP). And I'm sure the internet probably didn't help anything. It's much easier to debate the little things these days.

    As Garak would say, it's probably best not to worry about such minutiae. :beer:
     
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  14. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Admiral Admiral

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    They're even doing reprints with new covers of some Legends books this year.
     
  15. mastadge

    mastadge Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I don't think anyone would blame you for that. Going back to the SW EU, that's how it was there, too. When there's a ~generation long gap in the release of source material and those decades are filled with a (more-or-less ;)) cohesive furthering of the story in supplemental media, where we get to follow characters new and old over years of life and adventures and relationships, of course we'll develop quite an attachment to it and of course it will feel bad, even feel grief, if it suddenly stops because another story goes in a different and contradictory direction.

    But, hey, we'll always have P̶a̶r̶i̶s̶ the Lit-verse, right? First Contact didn't make Federation vanish. This rare feat of storytelling and worldbuilding will always have enthralled us and will remain available for others wishing for that kind of Trek storytelling rather than the more standalone stuff we tend to get tying into shows currently running.
     
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  16. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Lit-verse is the entire ‘Star Trek literary multiverse’, though, past, present and future? There is no reason to exclude the same writers writing similarly interconnected tie-ins, only in another base universe (which remains ‘prime’ as a relative term)?

    Or should it be Lit-verse 20 (for the year PIC-Lit started) vs the original, Lit-verse 1? It does seem to be something the upcoming finale could clarify.
     
  17. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry, I shouldn't have used the c word, I know all of this very well.
    But my point was just that I'm happy we're actually getting a story to tie up the Novelverse continuity, because they never did anything like that with the Star Wars stuff. They just dropped everything, even books that had been announced, and started over from scratch.
     
  18. Smiley

    Smiley Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Both Star Wars and Star Trek had periods where no or few major film/TV projects were in the works, and the books and comics were able to tell more ambitious stories or cover ground that would have been forbidden in other times. We've got a veritable buffet of new films and TV shows from each franchise in the last decade with more on the way, and we also have tie-in materials being made. There are a lot of potential stories for both new and old fans to enjoy, and that's what keeps the universes vibrant and fresh.

    The Star Wars Legends continuity was in no way building toward a grand finale, and the announced projects that were canceled were not positioned to be such, either. Golden's comments about the Sword of the Jedi books were that they had not plotted out a trilogy, just gotten to the basic concept of a trilogy that featured Jaina Solo. Could the switch from Legends to the new canon material have been handled a bit more delicately, especially with regards to press releases and announcements? I think it could have. However, the basic goals of appealing to new people and lowering the barriers to entry by starting as freshly as possible make sense to me.

    I don't have a strong need to see the Trek novel continuity wrapped up in a bow, but I am curious as to the tale that Ward, Swallow, and Mack have crafted. I'm hopeful it will be a good yarn.
     
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  19. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Jr. (who is now all grown up, apparently) is a massive Transformers fan, has been since he was a toddler.

    Now they've got continuity issues ! It's not unheard of for a show to have different continuation shows in Japan and the U.S., for comic adaptations and continuations to contradict or exist in different continuities, for subsequent shows to (repeatedly) reboot and reinterpret, for new continuities stemming from the switch from Marvel to IDW and back, and on it goes.

    He's got a detailed and comprehensive approach for dealing with it all :

    A) These I like !

    B) These I dont !
     
  20. Tim Thomason

    Tim Thomason Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't know much about Transformers other than seeing a couple movies and some of their cartoons back in the day (and Rescue Bots in the modern day with a different audience). But I've curiously glanced at the Transformers wikis and, My God, they have continuity families and multiverses and explanations for everything ever released. Star Wars and Star Trek and probably even DC and Marvel have nothing on the Transformers fandom in how convoluted their stuff gets.
     
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