"Hundreds of forgettable novels"

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by robinson, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. robinson

    robinson Ensign Newbie

    Aug 24, 2013
    In a recent New York Times article, reporter Logan Hill interviewed JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst about their new novel, called S.

    In the article, Hill cites one reason people might be wary of the book:

    Note that Hill doesn't attribute that quote, "hundreds of forgettable novels," to Abrams; rather, that's Hill's personal opinion (which has no place in his article).

    Here's a link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/28/books/j-j-abrams-and-doug-dorst-collaborate-on-a-book-s.html?_r=0

    I'm sure this seemed like an innocuous remark to Hill; I'm sure he doesn't realize there's a smart and active community built up around Star Trek (and Star Wars) novels. We don't consider the novels "forgettable"; rather, we enjoy them very much.

    If this offended you like it offended me, please send Mr. Hill a (respectful) note and tell him so. Hill's email address is logan@loganhill.com. On Twitter: https://twitter.com/loganhill33.
  2. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2001
    Burlington, VT, USA
    Of course, by the same token, "memorable" doesn't necessarily mean "good". I cite "Spock's Brain" as supporting evidence.

    While "forgettable" may be a poor choice of word, I'm unfortunately reasonably sure there's a significant number of Trek novels that aren't exactly the best entries in the franchise.
  3. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Apr 26, 2001
    Isn't "forgettable" literally true, though? I mean, can anyone name all the novels? I think the early stand-alone novels are particularly forgettable, and there are hundreds of them.

    There are far more important things to get offended over. Bombarding this one reporter with e-mails about a passing remark hardly seems like a worthy use of our limited time.
  4. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

    Jan 25, 2003
    New York, NY
    "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel." —Mark Twain
  5. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Feb 19, 2001
    Birmingham, AL
    It's just one dude I've never heard of's opinion. He probably hasn't read any. And they ARE mostly forgettable.
  6. CaptPapa

    CaptPapa Commander Red Shirt

    Feb 15, 2009
    I really do not know . . .

    A very good point.

    My two-cents worth . . . we don't hear the words of the Klingons.
  7. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    I'd say the ratio is about on par with the 700+ episodes.
  8. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Commodore Commodore

    Jan 20, 2005
    Woodward, OK
    I'll add my voice to the ones who say there are, in fact, hundreds of forgettable novels. Several dozen great ones too, but still
  9. Robert D. Robot

    Robert D. Robot Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 20, 2009
    Pre-Warp Civilization of Alaska
    This quote is coming from a reporter who should also be able to frankly admit that he has written hundreds (if not thousands?) of forgettable columns and articles.

    I understand that what he is saying might be true, but using the word 'forgettable' comes off as a 'dig' when such a seemingly dismissive comment was not called for, IMHO.
  10. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 9, 2008
    Most of any type of creative work is forgettable, so it's both perfectly true and nothing notable when Star Trek novels are mentioned in this context.
  11. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Many of the Trek novels are forgettable. I do tend to remember details of the novels I've read better than many other people, but essentially the ones we remember the best are the ones that have remain our favourites, and the ones we truly hated, yes?

    And, as we know, every truly bad Trek novel turns out to be someone else's quirky favourite.

    There are also voracious readers out there who read a lot, and enjoy the journey of each book while they are reading it, but seemingly forget the entire contents when they start the next one.

    "Forgettable" is not necessarily insulting. It's true.
  12. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

    Jul 22, 2004
    Arizona, USA
    While I do agree that it could be seen as rather insulting, I don't really see where it's worth harassing the guy over. It is annoying that most people are rather dismissive of tie-in, but it's the kind of thing I tend to just brush off. As long as there are people like us out there that do enjoy the books, and occasionally convert others, I think that's really all that matters.
  13. CaptPapa

    CaptPapa Commander Red Shirt

    Feb 15, 2009
    I really do not know . . .
    While 'forgettable' may be a bland (even accurate) term, I think it's safe to say it was used in a derogatory, and/or, dismissive manner in this article. I think that as fans, it's okay for us to debate and even criticize Treklit (or the franchise in general), but don't like others (the unclean) to do so. Kinda like me beating up on my brother, but turning on you if you dare touch him.
  14. Mimi

    Mimi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 17, 2013
    I'm inclined to agree. I've read a lot of tie in material, and while I would never profess trek to be the top of the literary world, it is one of the better ongoing franchises. As far as I'm aware, trek doesn't have a deception level abomination.
  15. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 21, 2011
    The Black Country, England
    Forgettable is fair comment. I've been reading Treklit for over thirty five years and a great deal of it is forgettable or worse.

    There's also a lot of good novels, particularly since the relaunch...
  16. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

    Sep 11, 2007
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Mainstream critics and journalists (and others) will often throw out comments like that without having any basis for them...

    I read a review of a Doctor Who novel on a site which usually doesn't review tie-ins, and the reviewer made a dismissive remark about their lack of quality right at the beginning. I asked the reviewer in the comments about how he arrived at that opinion and got no response from him; none of the commenters who did respond had even read a single tie-in novel in the past decade.
  17. Leto_II

    Leto_II Captain Captain

    Aug 31, 2013
    Room 303, The Heart O' The City Hotel
    Further, if you happen to pick up virtually any of the major, non-tie-in SF anthologies published in the past 20 years, they often contain a "Year In Review"-type feature where the editor will comment on the overall state of print science fiction up to that moment in time.

    In most of these, media tie-ins (up to and especially Star Trek and Star Wars books) usually get shit on hard from a very great height (particularly if said editor happens to be Gardner Dozois).

    Attacks on shared-universe fiction frequently happen from within the industry, as well as from without.
  18. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

    Dec 19, 2011
    Not to mention how many teachers will consider Trek novels to be in some sort of way "not-true-fiction", or not on the same level as "Moon----" (I forget the rest of the book title; it was first printed in the 17 or 18 hundreds, featured a teenage boy getting mixed up with some rum smugglers in the 16 or 17 hundreds. It's one of only a couple of stories known to exist by the author, due to his other stories being stolen) or "Catcher In The Rye".
  19. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 6, 2006
    Orange County, CA
    I would agree. Just the sheer volume of work is a guarantee that hundreds of ST and SW novels are forgettable (and I can think of a few SW novels, and one or two ST novels, that I wish I could forget!)
  20. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 8, 2006
    Berlin, Germany
    I dunno. If every Trek novel were a high-stakes, life-changing roller-coaster event certain to make me re-examine self and world, I'd probably start thinking twice before picking one up while relaxing on the couch after work.

    Personally, what I usually hope to get out of them is entertainment. I tend to be more entertained when I'm engaged, and there's a spectrum of valid types of engagement, and Trek novels manage to successfully occupy some of the parts of that spectrum pleasingly often. That's not a small thing; it is, obviously, a worthy enough cause to build respectable careers on.

    As for the whole forgettable-vs-memorable stuff, I think whether a particular story, or a moment in a story, sticks with you is more about whether it speaks to you personally on some level, which is hard for a writer to optimize for, since it also makes quite some requirements of the reader in terms of either life experience or empathy.