General Q & A Session For The Authors

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Chrizmo, Sep 3, 2021.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    That's certainly true. But reviews are no different from the things they review -- some are more worth your time than others.
     
    captainmkb and 100Pic like this.
  2. mastadge

    mastadge Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2021
    I think retrospective reviews are very useful. I'm sure in any genre or medium there's a recency bias: the conversation is on the more recent stuff. Old reviews are lost in the pages of (out-of-)print magazines and defunct websites. It's nice having vital critical discussions of the older novels, I think, to help direct newer readers to older titles that may be very worth their time, or to look at old stuff through new critical lenses or new and different understandings of the characters and cultures.
     
    Greg Cox likes this.
  3. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    I know one thing I try to do when reading old Star Trek novels is to try to be fair to the timeframe it was written. For instance, before TNG there was a lot less information to go on so I don't judge a book because it shows a different Romulan history, like Diane Duane's Rihannsu novels, from what we later saw in TNG and later shows. That's an obvious example but there are plenty of others. It is interesting to read those novels at the same time. Since there was a lot less information from what we now call 'canon' book authors probably had a lot more freedom to develop stories. I wonder if some of our current Star Trek authors wish they got to write a Star Trek book during that period. An obvious plus is that freedom, though I suppose there are advantages too to having a lot of back story as well, in that you don't have to develop that foundation, it's already there and you can just get right into your story.

    I also allow some latitude when reading older books based on when they were written. I'm not a big fan of judging something written (or even filmed) decades in the past based on our standards of today, unless it's something really egregious. It's important to recognize that we would probably not write/film something today, but it's a bit unfair to judge something created decades ago by those same standards when such an issue may not have even been considered back in the day. So I try to be fair in that regard as well.
     
    Cyfa and Ronald Held like this.
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    That's why I like to focus on unexplored parts of the universe, like the post-TMP era, the post-ENT era, Picard's pre-Enterprise lost years, the business of the DTI, Titan's far-ranging journeys to new parts of the galaxy, etc.
     
    Ronald Held likes this.
  5. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    A type 13 planet in it's final stage
    I get the genral gist on here before I buy a Trek book, unless it's a big "event" like Coda.

    And then I disagree with you all anyway, I loved Red Sector which crops up on "worst ever" lists all the time. Make it amazing or make it a mess, just don't bore me.
     
    captainmkb likes this.
  6. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    Those are some of my favorite books too. I hope to see more movie era books :) . I like the Ex Machina continuity that's been created thus far (and it still leaves plenty open for other stories to take place during that era). I'd love to see that continue closer to TWOK and maybe some post-TFF novels even :biggrin:

    The Enterprise relaunch seems largely untouched. It'd be nice to see those novels continue at some point, though I'm not holding out a lot of hope for that at the moment.

    I always hoped to see more Stargazer books in the Lost Era. Friedman's novels just touched on the first year and your novel the very end. I would have loved to have seen more novels in those missing years, including stories featuring Jack Crusher. There are very few stories about him and Picard. On the one hand the Picard show might help generate interest in Stargazer stories, but it also might be a challenge since the show might cover something about that as well. So far it doesn't seem the existing Stargazer stories would be significantly affected (except for the doctor in season 1, but that can probably be explained away pretty easily).

    And certainly anything in any of those lost eras. How bout something pre-Enterprise, between First Contact and "Broken Bow" for instance.

    BTW, just a word of caution--I almost threw out a potential idea off the cuff about explaining the doctor discrepancy in Stargazer. Don't do that, LOL. Story ideas here are bad. My thought might seem an obvious solution but it's a story idea nonetheless and I don't want to accidently take something off the table ;)
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I pitched that to Margaret, but she didn't think it would work and offered me what became Rise of the Federation instead. I guess that era doesn't have enough familiar characters to have tie-in appeal.


    I don't see that it needs an explanation. Personnel come and go. Picard commanded the Stargazer for 22 years, so it's natural that there would be a lot of crew changes. Heck, even TNG replaced its doctor and then brought her back.

    If anything, the tendency of Trek series to keep the same crews together for decades on end is extremely implausible. If it had been up to me, I wouldn't have had so many of the Stargazer crew from Reunion introduced as early as the SGZ novels set at the very start of Picard's command. Indeed, I kind of wish I hadn't had the Reliant crew in my last two novels be almost entirely the same crew as in TWOK seven years later. Though at least I managed to include a different first officer that Chekov would eventually replace.
     
    Damian and dupersuper like this.
  8. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    This is something Dayton Ward and I have talked about as a blue-sky idea - along the lines of the Enterprise episode "First Flight" - a Star Trek take on The Right Stuff, with a For All Mankind, Apollo 13 feel to it. I think that'd be a fun era to write about.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    When I pitched the idea (unsuccessfully), I was more interested in the aftermath of First Contact -- how human society adjusted to the arrival of advanced, benevolent yet condescending aliens. More like Carl Sagan's Contact (the novel more than the movie) or the early parts of Childhood's End, or maybe along the lines of what Earth: Final Conflict was originally meant to be before studio meddling dumbed it down. Also how the transformation from a battered "Post-Atomic Horror" world to a peaceful, united, utopian human society took place in less than 50 years.
     
    Jarvisimo and dupersuper like this.
  10. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    Yeah, I agree. It's just that I almost presented an actual idea on how to explain it and realized that could cross the line.

    Yeah, probably right there. I forget how long Picard was in command of the Stargazer, 20 some years, wasn't it? But highly unlikely in the real world that even a semi-military crew would be together that long. I guess Friedman got caught in the same trap the movie and show runners get into of wanting to keep the main characters all together. And I guess he wanted to use the same characters he developed in Reunion.

    One thing I give Peter David credit for in his New Frontier series. He did not do that. He broke up a lot of the Excalibur crew over the years. The relaunch novels also did some of that as well. By the time of the Coda series there were some significant changes in the crew structure. Especially on Deep Space Nine. Other than Quark and Odo I don't think any of the actual show characters were still actually stationed/living on the station.

    I personally like both ideas. I'd be interested in seeing how mankind's space exploration evolved pre-Enterprise (and perhaps how the Vulcans impacted that). And how Earth evolved during that period from a post-WWIII horror to the united utopia it was just about 100 years later.

    Sadly I don't see that happening anytime in the near future unless there is a resurgence of interest in that era. I have noticed a greater appreciation for Enterprise in more recent years. So who knows, someday maybe you guys will get to revisit that.
     
    Jarvisimo likes this.
  11. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    Oh, yay, I just got promoted to Admiral :D Woo hoo.

    Well Rear Admiral. But still :)
     
    Avro Arrow, Ronald Held and Cyfa like this.
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    The original idea was that he served aboard the Stargazer for 22 years, which I took at the time to mean that he started as a junior officer and rose to its captaincy some years later. But somewhere along the line, it was simplified to Picard commanding the ship for 22 years.
     
    JonnyQuest037 and Jarvisimo like this.
  13. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    I just wish they had spread the stories out a bit more. That's an area in Trek history that has a lot of stories that could be told. I'd love to see stories taking place while Jack Crusher was on the Stargazer. How they became friends, how they served together on the ship, what kinds of missions they went on during that time? There hasn't been much.

    Perhaps Picard might create more interest again on Captain Picard's backstory there. Even if Picard touches on it a bit, I doubt it would be extensive. I'd love to see the Stargazer series rise from the ashes in the novels at some point.
     
  14. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    Unfortunate that you were not allowed to cover that era, Christopher. Can you provide any more details on how that series would have progressed?
     
  15. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    Well, you never know... All the references to the Europa space mission in Star Trek: Picard recently got me thinking about the history of Earth's pre-warp/early warp space exploration in the Trek universe. I like the notion of something that ties together all the stuff like Nomad, Ares IV, OV-165, the DY-100, the Saturn probe and the Charybdis, etc all the way up to the NX project... Hmm. Maybe I should just pitch a new, updated take on the old Spaceflight Chronology...
     
  16. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    I remember Greg Cox had touched on the DY-100 in his Eugenics Wars novels, and there was the novel about the Saturn probe (I forget the name off hand now, I think that was Greg too IIRC) and some of Dayton Ward's original series and TNG novels got into the 21st century, so there's certainly some precedent for novels during that period, and maybe even some material there to play with more if someone wanted to expand on that.

    Maybe that'd open the door for Christopher's idea too, because it'd be interesting to see something developed from that angle as well.

    Maybe Picard going into the 21st century might reopen some doors again ;)
     
  17. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Lancaster, PA
    Rings of Time.
     
  18. ColdFusion180

    ColdFusion180 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2021
    What are your opinions regarding fan fiction? How have your views changed (if at all) compared with before and during your career as a professional writer? What kind of legal concerns do professional writers experience regarding unofficial writings based on their work? What kind of fan fiction do you read, if any?

    Thank you for continuing to take the time and effort to answer questions!
     
  19. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Lancaster, PA

    Honest answer: I've got nothing against fan fiction; lord knows I wrote a slew of it back in high school. Nowadays, I mostly stay away from it, simply to avoid any possibility of somebody accusing me of stealing their ideas. Not a value judgment of any kind; just a matter of practicality. I don't need the grief.

    And, of course, I can't afford to write fan fiction myself anymore, since I have deadlines (and bills to pay) so I can't really justify writing something that has no chance of selling.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2022
  20. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    I'll pretty much echo what Greg said. I think it's an important avenue for fannish creativity and a great place to explore ideas and themes that the source material can't or won't go into. I wrote some back when I was a callow fanboy, I even co-edited a fanzine (remember those?) at one point. But since I crossed over into writing professionally, I keep clear of the whole thing.
     
    ColdFusion180 likes this.