Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Krog, Jul 28, 2022.
I thought the exact answer was "Very well, thank you!"
I just enjoy the stories, whatever form they come in.
It's still canon. Why wouldn't it be?
It plays very well, thank you very much.
People worry too much about whether the label "canon" should apply to something or not. The label is irrelevant. It's just a description of what stories do. So instead of worrying about the label, which just gets in the way, it's better to focus on the actual thing it describes, which is how stories relate to each other.
Question 1: How do the shows relate to the tie-ins novels and comics? Answer: The tie-ins follow the shows' lead, not vice-versa. The shows set the course for the universe and the tie-ins try to keep up. The shows may occasionally cherry-pick an isolated idea or name or word from a tie-in, but only if it's useful for telling their own stories.
Question 2: How does Strange New Worlds relate to TOS? Answer: It operates under the premise that it takes place in the same reality as TOS, although it exercises the prerogative of fiction to revise or reinterpret certain details of TOS while still staying consistent with the overall narrative. Like all fiction, it uses continuity only to the extent that it benefits the current story being told, which means the details are negotiable.
Somehow, I don't see Anson Mount's Pike complaining about women on the bridge. Or thinking about getting into the Orion animal women slave trading business.
Somehow, I don't see Ethan Peck's Spock making a rape joke at Yeoman Rand's expense.
Somehow, I don't see Paul Wesley's Kirk trying to hit on 19 year-old Lenore Karidian.
That's exactly covered by Christopher's second point above. There's just no way to keep some of the most egregious tidbits from the 60s in canon.
You can certainly consider them canon and enjoy the funstrating exercise of fitting in stories that get contradicted onscreen (I certainly do), but officially the answer is an unambiguous no.
For what it's worth, that line was only in the uncut, unaired (until the 1980s) version of the pilot, and was deleted from "The Menagerie."
To be fair, Pike never said he wanted that. He said he might go into business on Orion, and Boyce mocked the suggestion by bringing up the slave trade that was practiced there. Presumably it's not the only business conducted on Orion, but Boyce was reminding him of the disreputable elements he'd be associating with if he went there.
There I agree. Nor would we see Kirk referring to Asians as "the yellow race." Some part of TOS have not aged well at all.
First off, a 19-year-old is a legal adult. Second, it was Lenore who hit on him first, because she was one of his targets, and Kirk only played along as part of his investigation into her father. He wasn't interested in seduction, he was interested in discovering if her father was a wanted mass murderer.
The canon is the whole, not the parts. Any large canon will ignore some of its own past details. Like how TOS started out being about an Earth ship and then retconned in the Federation. Or how Harry Mudd recognized Spock as "part-Vulcanian" on sight, but we later learned that he looked identical to full Vulcans. Or how Lt. Leslie died onscreen in "Obsession" but was perfectly fine the next week. Or how TNG had Data use contractions and show emotions repeatedly until he was retconned as being unable to do either. Or how the first two seasons of TNG showed a peacetime Starfleet where the very idea of war games was seen as an unnecessary atavism, but season 4 retconned in a Federation-Cardassian war that had only ended a year earlier. Star Trek has always reinvented its details as it went. That doesn't mean they're "out of canon" -- it means that a canon is a created work of fiction that gets refined as it goes.
No canon has perfect continuity. Continuity is a storytelling tool, part of the illusion of a consistent reality that a fictional canon seeks to create. Like most illusions, the goal is to make it seem convincing on the surface, but you can see the flaws if you look closely enough.
You're right, I was imprecise. The point I was trying to make is that eg the sexism present in TOS has already been pretty much retconned by SNW. And it will best be ignored going forward for the continuity's current form's sake.
I know what the circumstances were behind Kirk's actions. And whether he was playing along or not, it doesn't change the cringeworthyness of his behavior when viewed from a present-day perspective. As I said, I don't see any 30-something-year-old guy acting toward a 19-year-old girl the way Kirk did to Lenore in any modern Trek show, even for investigative reasons.
A 19-year-old woman is a legal adult, and it's insulting to call her a "girl." It's also sexist to deny Lenore's agency by phrasing it as if Kirk was the only active participant. Again, she hit on him first and far more aggressively.
This is part of the reason that the reputation of Kirk as a "womanizer" is as completely wrong as everything else about Kirk's modern reputation. If you actually look at the episodes, the women are usually the ones pursuing Kirk, not the other way around.
I stand by what I wrote. Feel free to judge all you want. I made my point and am moving on.
This is a very important point that gets overlooked when talking about his character and his relationships. Since TOS-Kirk was usually a level headed and actually pretty prudent man, in order to show that he - being the hero - was also a hit with the other sex, the writers had to let the women take initiative.
1. ST Novels, comics, &c are not canon. And just about every bit of SW lit got demoted from secondary canon to "Legends" when Disney, having bought Lucasfilm, decided to finally do the Sequel Trilogy. On the other hand, since Sherlock Holmes originated as prose fiction, anything Doyle wrote is canon, and everything else, especially the movies, are non-canonical. Ditto for Oz: only Baum's 14 Oz novels are canon. Ditto for Humanx Commonwealth, where anything Alan Dean Foster has written and published is canon. (although in that case, since nobody but ADF has ever published a HC novel, if any non-canonical HC does exist, it would be very low-level fanfic).
2. The producers of a canon are perfectly free to take whatever they want from non-canon sources (since they own the milieu outright, and therefore they own any non-canon sources they choose to license), and make those individual ideas canonical, by incorporating them into canonical productions. That's how Sulu and Uhura's first names became canonical, for example. But that only makes the ideas, names, images, etc. that were used canonical.
3. The Sherlock Holmes canon is full of contradictions. So is Oz. So is HC: for example, in Orphan Star, ADF has the insectoid Thranx not only body-surfing, but even allowing Human friends to ride them as living, sentient, surfboards. In later HC novels, the Thranx are terrified of open water, because the location of their breathing spicules makes them extremely vulnerable to drowning.
4. Real life is full of contradictions.
It was never really "secondary canon," despite the hype. New screen productions frequently contradicted the tie-ins, like when The Clone Wars' version of Mandalore contradicted Karen Traviss's whole series of novels about them. And Lucas was on record that he didn't pay attention to the tie-ins. The only difference is that when "Expanded Universe" content was contradicted, the tie-ins just retconned or ignored the contradicted parts and kept going with the rest, pretending it was still consistent, so the changes happened piecemeal. When the sequel trilogy was made, it overlapped so much of what the EU had done that it was simpler just to make a clean break.
Which is pretty much exactly what happened with Trek tie-ins. When Enterprise or the movies introduced things that contradicted bits and pieces from the novel continuity (e.g. "The Aenar"'s depiction of Andoria differing from Andor: Paradigm's portrayal), later books would go with the new version and gloss over or explain away the inconsistency with the earlier work; but when Picard came along and overwrote pretty much the entire post-Nemesis novel continuity, it made more sense just to wrap it up and start over. The only real difference, aside from Pocket choosing to do a finale storyline, is that Trek never pretended its tie-ins were canonical in the first place.
On a practical level, no media tie-ins are ever truly "canon" in that they can and will be contradicted by the actual shows and movies if necessary. This is not an artistic decision, but entirely a practical one, given that only a tiny fraction of the viewing audience are even familiar with the books.
The tail does not wag the dog.
Which doesn't mean, of course, that stuff can't occasionally percolate up to the shows and movies sometimes, and thereby become "canon, whatever that means. .
The best way to understand it is that the word "canon" isn't really about the continuity of the story -- it's about the continuity of authorship. It means the complete body of work of the original creators or their direct successors. Anything from outside creators is a separate thing, discontinuous from the original work, no matter well it creates the illusion of being a continuation. It's peripheral to what the makers of the core work choose to do. They're making their own series their own way and can't be expected to subordinate themselves to an outsider's interpretation of their work.
That's why, as I mentioned, the only times you can really get canonical tie-ins are when the original creators write or oversee them, as with the Avatar novels and comics or the Whedon-overseen Buffy and Firefly tie-ins. Then it's a case of the creators continuing their own work in another medium. The authorship is the same, so it is part of the canon. Of course, it can still potentially be overwritten by new screen canon, but so can screen canon itself -- just ask Bobby Ewing.
Personally, I would even question "or their direct successors." But then again, my decision to ignore all Oz books after Baum's posthumous final opus, Glinda of Oz, is driven by a perceived nosedive in the quality of the writing, from that book (superb) to the only Ruth Plumly Thompson Oz book I ever read (definitely not superb).
I mentioned in another thread that I grew up on The Bobbsey Twins. Like such sister series, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, &c, it was created by Edward Stratemeyer, certainly the first book packager in the children's literature market (and arguably the first book packager, period), with the vast bulk of the individual novels written by uncredited ghostwriters like Howard Garis and Nancy Axelrad, under house pseudonyms ("Laura Lee Hope" for The Bobbsey Twins, "Franklin W. Dixon" for The Hardy Boys), and under close editorial supervision (does this, except for the writers going uncredited and the books being released under house pseudonyms, sound familiar to readers of tie-in books? It should!). In that case, it would be the editorial staff that is the "keeper of canon," just as the executive producer and production staff that have that role for a television series.
I made one of those "galaxy brain" memes once after seeing a Twitter discussion about if deleted scenes were canon, and someone brought up the X-Men movies. It's pretty much my opinion on the issue at this point.
Separate names with a comma.