Discovery prequel novel: Desperate Hours

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by WebLurker, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. WebLurker

    WebLurker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    DSC is getting a new prequel novel Desperate Hours, by David Mack.
    Description (taken from Amazon):
    While I have mixed feelings about DSC right now and am not sure if I'll be able to actually see it (I don't hac CBS Access), I am interested in this book. Anyone else curious?

    Also, any thoughts as to whether this will be considered canonical to the TV show or not?
     
  2. Noname Given

    Noname Given Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^
    Unless, CBS/Paramount decide to change the LONG STANDING TRADITION wrt Star Trek canon (IE that only what's been shown on screen in a licensed Star Trek production is canon); the book WILL NOT be considered canon.
     
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    David Mack mentioned that some elements of the character notes he wrote for the novel ended up being used on the series. That said, the novels likely won't be considered any more canon than any other.
     
  4. tenmei

    tenmei Commodore Commodore

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    In the SDCC and STLV panels they were pretty explicit - they're considered canon until someone proposes a different way of doing it that works for the television show, and then they're not canon anymore.
     
  5. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Then they aren't canon.
     
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  6. Mirror Mirror

    Mirror Mirror Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Novels are not canon. Which is a good thing. Books can build up rather fast, often far faster than the show could keep up with. Look at the number of Trek novels now. Making them canon ties everyone hands.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Rather, what they said is that they're not going to worry about the label "canon" because it would be making a promise they couldn't guarantee they could keep. The label shouldn't matter. What matters is that the writing staff is aware of the books' contents, much more so than usual with tie-in novels, and so the books are part of the background they have in mind when writing the episodes. That doesn't guarantee the show will always stay consistent with them, but then, series don't always stay consistent with their own past, which is why we don't follow the adventures of the Earth ship Enterprise commanded by James R. Kirk and his part-Vulcanian first officer who shouts a lot. But it does mean that the relationship between the show and the novels is closer than it's ever been, except maybe when Jeri Taylor wrote Mosaic and Pathways.

    Although, of course, the above applies only to the Discovery novels, not to all of the novels. The rest of the novels will be as non-canonical as they've always been -- though with Kirsten Beyer on the staff and drawing on her experience as a Pocket novelist, we could potentially see some concepts from the novels working their way into the show in some form. Though there's no guarantee of that, of course; it depends on the needs and goals of the show's staff.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
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  8. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Sweet fuck, canon is not a fluid concept. Something either is or isn't canon. If something is described as "canon until it isn't" then that's just a sloppy way of saying non-canon.

    And this novel is not canon.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
  9. Vger23

    Vger23 Commodore Commodore

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    @#$%!!!!!!

    A prequel of a prequel????????

    How will the Trek Ragers handle this concept?????

    FESTIVAL!!!! FESTIVAL!!!! ARRRGHGHGHGHHH!!! RODDENBERRY...GUIDE US!!!

    [​IMG]

    ;)
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Of course it's a fluid concept, because any ongoing series is a work in progress and is subject to change. Dallas retconned a whole season as an extended dream. The X-Men films reinterpreted multiple characters even before their big time-travel reboot. A number of film series like Highlander and Halloween have retconned unpopular sequels out of continuity. Canon has never been a guarantee of permanence.

    Fans ascribe this mystical importance to the word "canon," invest it with a sense of immutable authority equivalent to its original, religious usage, but it carries little actual meaning to the creators of fiction. After all, what they create is automatically the canon by definition, so it's not something they really have to think about in most cases. It's a word that outside observers use to describe what they create in opposition to what other people create. And like most any label, it's too limited and rigid to cope with the variety you find in real life. Canon is defined relative to tie-ins and fanfiction -- basically, it's the stuff that isn't those things. But different creative works can have different relationships with their tie-ins, which is why legalistically fixating on what the label means just gets in the way of recognizing the nuances of individual cases. Dwelling on labels is mistaking the map for the territory. Don't worry about the word so much. Focus on what each specific case is, not just what it's called.
     
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  11. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    You are NOT of the body!
     
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  12. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    I'm really starting to think this forum needs a daily Red Hour.
     
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  13. Vger23

    Vger23 Commodore Commodore

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    You MOCK the lawgivers!!!?!

    You SCORN festival???!?

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Kemaiku

    Kemaiku Admiral Admiral

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    That's coded language for 'open bar' right?
     
  15. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Return of the Archons really was prophetic in predicting Black Friday, wasn't it?
    Hey, either one's fine. :bolian:
     
  16. WebLurker

    WebLurker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Okay, makes sense. Wonder why the different policy from the rest of the tie-in series? I mean, I do get the idea that having a franchise extend its story into multiple media is fairly popular and can work really well (like how the Star Wars movies and the tie-ins are all canonical and work together to create a bigger whole), but why make an exception here against historical tradition? Or write canonical Star Trek tie-ins to other shows and movies?

    Also, are we going to get hung up on the canon question or are people interested in the book, regardless of canoncity as well?
     
  17. Serveaux

    Serveaux The Wind Premium Member

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    And once again, someone is confused about what "canon" means.

    It does not mean "consistent."

    Canon can and does contradict itself.

    It was Trek canon that in TOS Kor looked like a human with a beard and weird eyebrows. It was canon that in DS9 he was a bumphead. No explanation was given, and the lack of an explanation did not make one appearance canon and the other non-canon.

    Enterprise providing a sort-of justification for the difference did not restore the TOS Klingons to canon - the fact that they were later changed never removed them.
     
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  18. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    People are jumping to the wrong conclusions on this matter. Yes, there is a degree of coordination going on between the show's writing staff and the novel writers that is unprecedented for the franchise's history. This is done mainly to make the novels an organic companion piece to the show, and especially at this early stage of the show's life, cut down on those "early tie-in weird stuff" that almost always pop up in when tie-in material is written when their isn't much material for the authors to base things on other than scripts and whatever they learn from set visits.

    Yes, David Mack had access to the show's bible and other material while writing this novel that the writing staff had access to while writing their episodes. However, in the end none of this makes the novel canon. And I guarantee that if a future storyline means contradicting or even overwriting this or any other Discovery novel, that's going to be a very easy decision for the show's producers to make.
     
  19. mattman8907

    mattman8907 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    They could pull a Disney and reboot the trek eu ala Star wars eu.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's different because Kirsten Beyer, an acclaimed Trek novelist, is on the writing staff of Discovery, and the people involved realized that gave them an opportunity to coordinate more closely between the show and the books and comics than has been done in the past. This was explained in the Las Vegas panel discussion whose audio can be heard here (thanks to David cgc for the link).

    And, again, let's be clear: they did not say that the books "will be canon until they're not." Kirsten made a point of saying in the STLV panel that it was best to avoid the word "canon" for these books and comics because of the impossible expectations attached to that label. This is not about labels. This is about what makes sense to do practically and logistically. They're doing the best they can to coordinate the tie-ins as closely as feasible, but of course it's impossible to make absolute guarantees about the internal consistency of a work in progress.


    There's no "tradition" here. That makes it sound arbitrary. It's a matter of practicality, plain and simple. The makers of a TV show have to focus on making their own show. They usually don't have time to pay attention to everything being done in the tie-ins, certainly not tie-ins as abundant as Trek novels and comics. Also, it takes a lot longer to create novels than it does to create TV episodes, so what's current when a novel is written might be obsolete by the time it comes out, and the show can't be expected to delay long enough to stay consistent with something so much slower -- not unless there's close coordination ahead of time. (Note also that all three of the Discovery tie-ins announced to date, two novels and a comics miniseries, are prequels, so they don't have to keep pace with ongoing developments in the show.)


    The thing to keep in mind is that it would have to go both ways. Keeping tie-ins consistent with the canon to date is not the problem; that's actually obligatory. We all have to get our outlines and manuscripts approved by CBS to make sure that they are consistent with the canon as it stands at the time of writing. The issue is whether later canon can be kept consistent with the tie-ins. And it's up to the creators of the shows (or films, depending on the franchise) to be willing and able to pay attention to what the tie-ins are doing and incorporate it into their work. As I said, usually that's too difficult or impractical. It requires close coordination ahead of time, and it can be too great a distraction from the creators' main priority, which is the show itself.

    Canon, at the root of it, is the stuff that the creators or current inheritors of the franchise create. So in order for tie-ins to be canonical or canon-adjacent, they basically need to be created by or in partnership with the same people who create the canon. The Del Rey Babylon 5 novels were canonical because J. Michael Straczynski outlined and supervised them (and the earlier Dell novels failed to be as canonical as intended because JMS was too busy making the show to give them the attention they needed). The post-series Buffy and Angel comics are canonical because Joss Whedon outlines and supervises them (whereas the ones that came out during the series were never anywhere near canonical). In the case of Disney's Star Wars canon, they have the Story Group overseeing all SW productions in every medium and making sure all their creators are in sync -- but even so, everything else is merely a supplement to the movies, so if the movies have to contradict something from some random comics issue or Rebels episode, the Story Group probably won't stop them. The tail doesn't wag the dog, after all.

    And in the case of Discovery, we have the phenomenon that is Kirsten Beyer -- a veteran novelist who's close to the other writers and editors of Pocket's Trek books and is also a junior but respected member of the show's writing staff, who knows both the business of books and the business of television, and is thus able to serve as a bridge between them.
     
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