Are Trek BBS fans jaded when it comes to Trek?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Nathan, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Commander Red Shirt

    May 18, 2008
    I always wonder if Trek BBS fans are jaded and truly don't represent the Trek Community at large.

    Case in point, just based on comments in another thread about how well received Ex-Machina is, you'd think it was Pulitzer Prize winning, yet Ian wrote in another thread...

    "And yet Christopher was unable to continue after "Ex Machina" as full novels because that book hadn't sold strongly enough, so he's revisited the period in sneakier ways, such as an installment of "Mere Anarchy" and within the plot of "Forgotten History". "

    I guess since I've been reading Trek for over 20 years, suffice to say there is plenty of crappy books out there (not just Warped, Laertian Gamble, and Romulan War books by Michael Martin) --those tend to get bad reviews on this board.

    Even the last 50 books or so written over the past few years, I think there are a lot more shittier books than people admit. Guess if you didn't like Trek books, why would you even bother to surf TrekBBS let alone make a post.

    And yeah, I think there are a bunch of EXCELLENT Trek books out there, but I think there a bunch of "I can't believe the author got this crap published." Books. With those I suppose I set my eyeballs on maximum warp to get through the book -- in case I'm surprised that it turns out good.

    Guess I am saying that even though I thoroughly enjoy Trek Lit (ie. Vanguard, Lost Era, Destiny, The Fall, DS9 Re-Launch), there is a bunch of shit out there that no one wants to admit or goes easy on it.

    I thought SCE was horrible from the get-go. I always thought the characters were so shallow and lacked dimension (even when a favorite author of mine contributed to it, I thought his story fell flat). I mentioned that once years ago and fellow Trek BBS threw the figurative tomatoes at me. But SCE is no more -- I suppose the sales were flat so it was discontinued, yet again Trek BBSers thought that series was awesome...hence my question is that do you think the Trek BBSers are jaded?

    Your Thoughts?
  2. bfollowell

    bfollowell Captain Captain

    Sep 10, 2010
    Evansville, IN, USA
    By the comments you made, no, I don't think most readers are jaded. But, then again, unless I misunderstood your intention, I don't think you're using the right term.

    It sounds as if you believe most of us read crap and think that it's great just because it has Star Trek on the cover. I don't think that's the case but, if it were, I think that would make us biased toward Star Trek, not jaded.

    The definition of jaded is tired, bored, or lacking enthusiasm, typically after having had too much of something.

    If we were jaded, we definitely wouldn't be thinking something was good when it wasn't; likely just the opposite.

    Did I misunderstand what you were getting at?

    Anyway, to answer your question, and I can only answer it for me, no, I'm not jaded or biased. I've read a lot of excellent Star Trek novels over the years. I've read some crap too. I don't really care what the title is. If I don't like a book, I don't like it. If I do, then I couldn't care less if the bulk of other readers think the title is crap. On the whole though, I think I'm much easier on books and writers than the typical reader. It's not often that I find much that I think is really bad. I guess my standards are just lower than the typical reader. I'm just easy that way.

    - Byron
  3. otomo

    otomo Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Jun 27, 2013
    I'm very hesitant about labeling someone's creative work "crap". Even if I didn't like it for one of several reasons, there IS typically a reason it was published, and the author did have to spend hundreds of hours, as did the editor to create it.

    I read the majority of my star trek novels in my teen years, and I pick one up every few years now. I think as we all age we do become a little bit "jaded" as readers, since we've seen a lot of different prose before, know what to expect, so the next becomes ho-hum. What you've defined as the prior post said, was not jaded but instead looking at things through rose colored glasses.

    I think it just depends on what you expect looking into a star trek book. There's a series that's already developed, with characters that are already developed, rules to the universe that are already developed and made for television for a budget of putting aliens in rubber masks. Throwing that into prose automatically is rough for suspension of disbelief. Add in that you can't really "change" the attributes of the main characters too much, you run into a lot of the same problems the comic industry has. So are you expecting the next Stranger In a Strange Land, Foundation or Dragonflight out of a Trek novel? Well, if you are, you're probably going to have a negative opinion of the books.

    I view them as a bit of popcorn books, something not to take terribly seriously, but something that brings me comfort in seeing my characters again as I can't see them again (especially in the case of Deep Space 9). Because of that, I'm more inclined to look at the book favorably and probably won't dissect it like I would something by Heinlein or Herbert.

    Now then, I'm about 1/4 through Chistopher Bennett's "Only Superhuman", and I can tell you without the constraints of playing in someone else's sandbox, he can take some risks, really worldbuild and make something both entertaining and a little more impactful from a character growth perspective. Not necessarily plugging that but I am reading the book right now and thoroughly enjoying it. With such a hard-worked science fiction novel under his belt, I'd say Star Trek prose is in good hands there. I'm sure some of the others have similar pedigrees.

    These guys and gals are good authors, that's why they got picked up. Some of the books will be more to your tastes than others which is colored by how you view your own star trek experience more than anything else. Some of them will be more under a deadline gun than others, but at the end of the day someone worked pretty hard to bring you a brand new star trek episode, and for the most part, it's pretty entertaining. What more can you ask?

    But that's just my opinion.
  4. ronny

    ronny Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Mar 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    I don't think jaded means what you think it means.

    Are we overenthusiastic about the books? Well, maybe a couple people. :) I'm not sure if that's the case or if the people who vote and post here for the most part come here because they like the books. I've looked at the published books the last 3 years, because The Trek Collective only goes back to 2011, and it looks like it averages out to half the books each year I like a lot, a quarter are meh and a quarter or less are varying degrees of dislike.

    I can see where you might get the opinion you have though. Sometimes when I look at review threads poll stats page I wonder if it's really true that half the books deserve to be 4.00 out of 5.00. Especially when you compare the number of books scoring 4.0 or greater with the number of goodreads books scoring the same. It's like half.

    I guess the thing that keeps me coming around to your point of view is the fact that I'm here because I like the books. If I didn't like them as much as I did I wouldn't be here and as I've said previously, I don't like them all. Guess the diff between you and me is I like more of the books than you.
  5. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    I think this bbs probably does represent a snapshot of Trek fandom at large, but certainly not a snapshot of the general TV-viewing and movie-attending public.

    Well, perhaps people avoid TMP-related novels because they recall that they disliked TMP, especially when compared to other Trek films?

    I hate "Warped" and "The Laertian Gamble" with a passion, but some reviewers I respect loved both of those novels. The point is, Trek readers as a whole have very broad tastes, but many individuals have very specific, often quirky, tastes. Luckily, there are as many styles of Trek novel as there are fannish tastes. Every novel is someone's first novel. I recall being lukewarm about "Chain of Attack", but it was the first original Trek novel after the high-profile ST IV, and so it is a beloved/nostalgic novel for many fans.

    And if you didn't like Trek, you're very unlikely to pick up a Trek book. There would also be many Trek fans who love TV and film but hate reading for pleasure.

    Huh? Such as? You really think Trek readers pretend to like some novels?

    Would "jaded" fans give novels the benefit of the doubt if they weren't up to scratch?
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  6. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    I don't think we're giving weak books 'the benefit of the doubt', I just think people's tastes really do differ that much - and the opinions of a hardcore sampling like TBBS is never gonna match up to the casual readers of the real world.

    I used to love the TNG TV series until a recent attempt at a rewatch has changed my opinion somewhat - but there are a lot of people here for whom TNG is still the ultimate incarnation of Star Trek. I'm somewhat bewildered by some of the praise they heap on it (TNG is the show TOS wishes it was?:ack:) but... each to their own.

    And FWIW, I quit on S.C.E. too - they just felt like unimportant filler stories.
  7. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

    Mar 24, 2011

    When I look at the polls, the ratings generally seem to trend higher then I would personally give - not always, but generally. I think there's an element of truth in that trek fans who post in a trek forums are more likely to to give higher ratings for trek books then they might critically deserve.

    But then there's a strong element of different strokes for different folks to - OP lauds Destiny & the DS9 Re-Launch, which both really didn't do much for me personally. I've seen people argue passionately for Rough Beasts of Empire, a book I absolutely cannot stand.

    SCE stories were ok. I kind of agree with you there in that when it first came out I wasn't a huge fan, but it really came together once Tev was introduced.

    The styles I tend to prefer seem to be out of vogue at the moment too. I'd like more wide eyed exploration and less political intrigue.
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    You have to consider the context there. It was an experimental e-book series that came along a few years before the Kindle and Nook came out and thus before e-books really took off in popularity. So it was never going to be more than a niche product anyway. If anything, it's impressive that it lasted as long as it did.

    Really nice to hear. Thanks! :)

    Well, it's unlikely to be a truly statistically representative sample of the fanbase, because it's limited in size and self-selecting (and thus biased in favor of those fans who are more inclined to be active online and more motivated to participate in discussions). At most, it's a snapshot of online Trek fans who are of the right age range to be into bulletin boards (rather than tweets or tumblrs or whatever's trendy these days) and like to read books.

    Yup, the attitude in the sales/marketing department is apparently that the TMP era doesn't sell.
  9. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 2, 2009
    This is the place where Trek fans come together that spend time on the Internet to talk about Trek. Yes, it's a very special subgroup of the fandom, and in no way representative.
  10. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
  11. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 21, 2011
    The Black Country, England
    Slightly. I've slogged through the long stretch of TOS novels while awaiting the 24th century 'The Fall' series which is much more to my taste. Now it's here they are sitting there unread as I've started on the Game Of Thrones novels instead.

    It's happened before, but I'll get some enthusiasm back sooner or later...
  12. Ricky Spanish

    Ricky Spanish BillJ Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2001
    Escaped from Trumpistan
    I don't know whether Trek novels have left me behind or I've left them behind but anymore I have little enthusiasm for the novels outside of TOS. The relaunches have just moved so far away from the TV series that I really don't recognize them anymore.

    But jaded? I don't think so.
  13. David Brennon

    David Brennon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    May 31, 2009
    That is really unfortunate too, as it was one of my favorite books you wrote as well as one of my favorite settings. I also read somewhere that it was one of the projects you always wanted to do, so it's sad that you don't get a lot of opportunities to play in that setting.
  14. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 22, 2004
    Arizona, USA
    I really don't think the people that post here are overly positive, I think it's just that people like different things. There are going to be a lot of situations where you find youself baffled by how much people seem to love something that you don't like. For instance I can't stand Adam Sandler but there are people who love him.

    There have also been plenty of times on here where I have seen people have been very open about there dislike of stuff. Just look at the threads for Michael A. Martin's last few books, or Rough Beast of Empire or Revelation & Dust, lots of negativity there.

    I'll admit, I tend to be pretty happy with most of the stuff I read, but I also tend to only read stuff that I've researched beforehand to find out if it is something I'll like.

    I think the positivity on here has more to do with the quality of the writing in the current novels than it does attitude of the posters.