Litverse & Star Trek '09

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Christopher, Apr 27, 2017.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    MESSAGE FROM TRAMPLEDAMAGE
    Annoyingly I can't figure out a way to move @MadeIndescribable's first post in this thread to the beginning. These are the posts from the Control thread.



    As I've said before, why is it huge? The vast majority of Star Trek stories have not involved the Romulans in any way. So why is it suddenly impossible to do Trek literature that doesn't address the Romulan situation? Yes, there are certain areas that would have to be avoided and tiptoed around, but it's a big galaxy with plenty of other stuff going on.

    I mean, TNG revealed in its fourth year that the Federation had been at war with the Cardassians up until a year previously -- but the first three years of TNG gave no hint that such a war was going on. Of course, that's because it was a massive retcon, but it shows that there's precedent for the galaxy being big enough that a major astropolitical situation in one part of the quadrant can go unaddressed in years' worth of stories dealing with other parts of the quadrant.
     
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  2. woodstock

    woodstock Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I would be fine with that as long as it's considered as having happened. If any future allusions are no more specific than Mr. Mack's in Control, at least we readers who care should be satisfied.

    As far as anything I've read about it, Countdown is considered canon. But if the books don't put Data on the E or Picard on Vulcan, I personally can live with that. It's a comic book for crying out loud.
     
  3. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Captain Captain

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    Personally I haven't heard anything that updates Paramount/CBS's onscreen canon/off screen non canon ruling, but I'd be interested if anything has been changed, specificaly since the advent of the Kelvinverse.

    Even so, I'm all about the head-canon.
     
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  4. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No, it isn't. No comic, or book, ever is.
     
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  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's a common misconception. In fact, Countdown doesn't quite fit with the events of the '09 film -- it establishes a prior friendship between Spock and Nero, while Spock Prime's dialogue in the movie suggests that their encounter at the supernova was the first time they'd ever met ("He called himself Nero"). Indeed, the novels have already been free to diverge from Countdown's version of the 24th century in several ways, especially in the particulars of Data's resurrection and subsequent life.

    Let's see, the current status of the novelverse as of mid- to late 2386:

    • Captain Picard commands the Enterprise-E.
    • Worf is first officer of the E-E.
    • Geordi LaForge is chief engineer of the E-E.
    • Data Soong is a civilian living with his daughter Lal and remaining incognito using his new body's shapeshifting powers.
    • B-4 has been recognized as a legal person and upgraded, and works with Bruce Maddox at the Daystrom Annex.
    • The Romulans are members of the Typhon Pact.
    • The Borg and all their technology ceased to exist five years before.

    And the status quo in Countdown as of sometime in 2387:

    • Picard has retired from Starfleet and become an ambassador.
    • Worf has left Starfleet and become a general in the Klingon Defense Force.
    • Geordi has retired to become a civilian engineer, and has designed and built the Jellyfish in that capacity, a process that must've taken years.
    • Data's mind is living inside B-4's body and is captain of the Enterprise-E.
    • B-4 has been erased to allow Data to live in his body (although ST Online retconned this odious idea by saying B-4 sacrificed himself).
    • The Romulans apparently have no allies to turn to except Vulcan.
    • The Romulans still have Borg technology, which they used to upgrade the Narada.

    Some of those are impossible to reconcile, and the rest are changes that are very unlikely to happen in just a year or so.


    There is no "ruling." It's not an official policy. "Canon" is merely a term that people talking about a fictional universe, such as critics and fans, use as a shorthand label for the original body of work, as a way of contrasting it with derivative works from other sources like fan fiction or professional tie-ins. Calling something canon does not define it, but merely describes it. It's like discussing land vs. water. Applying the labels "land" and "water" doesn't make those things what they are. It just describes what they already are by their intrinsic nature.

    When people say "onscreen Trek is canon," all they mean is that Star Trek is a television and film series -- therefore, the original body of work (which we nickname "canon" because it's shorter) is onscreen. Print works like novels and comics are not part of the original body of work produced by the owners of the franchise; they're published by different companies under license from the owners of the franchise, and are almost invariably not created by the same people who create the TV shows and movies. That is why they aren't canon -- because they're secondhand. So "what's onscreen is canon" is not an official ruling or policy, just a shorthand description of the difference.

    It would be more accurate to say "what's canon is onscreen," because that's the way the cause and effect goes. If we were talking about another franchise that was originally in prose form -- for instance, Sherlock Holmes, probably the first fictional franchise that the term "canon" was ever applied to by critics and fans -- then we'd say that the canon is in prose and the onscreen Holmes stories are not part of the canon. Because the canon is the original work, by definition.
     
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  6. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Captain Captain

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    That's certainly a great description, I just seem to remember hearing about an "official" rule from the copyright owners way back when. Especially regarding whether TAS was/wasn't canon?? Ah well, live and learn.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That was purely a function of its time and hasn't been relevant for a quarter-century now, which makes it ridiculous that fandom still thinks it matters. It was a memo issued in Gene Roddenberry's name in 1989 (I question his authorship because his physical and mental health were very poor at that point), and there were a couple of factors behind it. One was that Filmation had gone out of business and the ownership of TAS was unresolved. It was the one part of the Trek franchise that Paramount (as the company was called at the time) didn't have full ownership of, so they weren't free to make full use of it. But that no longer applies. Paramount/CBS gained full ownership of TAS ages ago.

    The other reason for the memo was Roddenberry's ego, pure and simple. He'd gotten very possessive and jealous about ST and wanted to decanonize just about anything that he wasn't directly responsible for, including some of the later movies and parts of TOS. Ironically, he'd been given full creative control over TAS, something he never had with any other incarnation; but he'd chosen to step back and entrust D.C. Fontana with the show instead. Which made it totally hypocritical for him to devalue it just because Fontana (and Filmation's Lou Scheimer) had been in charge of it instead of him. It occurred to me just the other day that this was only a couple of years after he'd gone out of his way to cheat Fontana and David Gerrold out of their right to co-creator credit for TNG, so maybe devaluing Fontana's other contributions was an extension of that. But all of that ceased to matter when Roddenberry died over 25 years ago.

    Heck, the "TAS ban" didn't even have any canonical weight in the brief period when it was in effect. "Unification" came out during the "ban" period, but it freely alluded to elements from "Yesteryear."
     
  8. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Captain Captain

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    I have to admit I find the whole concept of Canon, and its interpretations, to be fascinating. Even to the point where I'm looking to do a PhD on the subject.... :biggrin:
     
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  9. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Didn't StarTrek.com have some poll some time relatively recently about "making TAS canon again" or something weird like that? Presenting it as though the community was deciding it somehow?
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    StarTrek.com is just a promotional website. It's really just another tie-in, so its interpretations of things aren't representative of studio policy. For instance, it continued to have text claiming that Jeri Taylor's Voyager novels Mosaic and Pathways were canonical for years after actual VGR episodes had contradicted plenty of details from Pathways, such as the names of B'Elanna's parents and Chakotay's home planet.

    TAS has been as good as canon for decades. DS9's writers and ENT's writers and the Bad Robot movie writers have referenced elements from it. If a Discovery writer wanted to feature Arex or M'Ress or Carter Winston or whatever, absolutely nothing would stop them from doing that. That's got nothing whatsoever to do with fan beliefs or preferences -- it's a matter of the fact that CBS (formerly Paramount) legally owns TAS along with all the rest of Trek. There was a time back in the late '80s when it didn't own TAS, so that left TAS's status as part of Paramount's franchise unclear, and that business consideration (along with an old, sick man's fragile ego) was the main factor behind the '89 memo. But then they gained full ownership and the distinction ceased to matter.
     
  11. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    FWIW Hobus should explode on schedule, but keep the novel continuity as is.
     
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  12. woodstock

    woodstock Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That was my thought when I first posted to this thread, but since seeing these other responses, maybe not anymore. If the literature can't go all in, and are not supposed to reference anything regarding the Kelvinverse anyway, then ignore it all. Countdown and the reboot can be a different timeline altogether occurring prior to the Borg invasion or whenever. They go their way, lit goes it's own way.
     
  13. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The novels have to keep to onscreen canon, which means they can't ignore the explosion of Hobus. But because of the FL's, they can't *reference* it.

    So the novelists are in the unenviable position of being forced to accept an event THAT THEY CAN'T TALK ABOUT. Now there's a Catch-22 for ya. :sigh:
     
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  14. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Captain Captain

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    I reckon it will be ignored in that it won't be referenced, but won't be contradicted either.

    I don't see the Enterprise and its crew conforming to Countdown though.
     
  15. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Can't do that. It's a tie-in work, it can't contradict the main franchise even if they have a really good reason. Like, the editors and the studio wouldn't allow writers to do that.
     
  16. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Captain Captain

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    I'm sure they can find some way around it, I guess it depends on what's been embargoed, and what hasn't. Obviously they can talk about Spock, but not Nero, but is there anything to say they can't talk about Spock "dissapearing", without giving discussing when/where/how?
     
  17. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Vague allusions seem up in the air since writers have done them already? But they can't just have Spock not disappear at all is the thing, or have Romulus still around in 2388, or something like that.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Right. What needs to be understood is that tie-ins are subordinate, secondary works. We don't have the freedom to do whatever we want. CBS has commissioned Pocket, IDW, etc. to publish stories that purportedly take place in the Star Trek universe. That universe is their property, and they're letting us into it as guests. There are parts of their property that, as guests, we may not be given permission to tread upon, but those areas are still part of the property and we can't pretend otherwise. The literature cannot "go its own way," because we are working for CBS. They own Trek, and they're allowing us to borrow it, and there are limits on what we get to do with it.

    I've seen it said, in the context of debates about fan films and their limitations, that being allowed to do Trek fan fiction is like having a cool friend who lets you borrow their fancy sportscar. For tie-in writers, it's even better, because the cool friend actually pays us to drive the car. But if the cool friend says "Okay, you can drive the car, but don't you dare mess with the preset stations on my car stereo," then that means we have to leave them alone. It doesn't mean we get to change them to whatever we want -- in fact, that's exactly the opposite of what it means. And it especially means that if we're actually under contract and it's specified in the terms.
     
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  19. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Captain Captain

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    *Carrying on the discussion from another thread which was straying*

    The lit-verse is currently telling stories set in 2386, just one year away from when Spock/Nero travel to the past in Star Trek '09. The only thing is that because copyright, red tape, and all that, the novels can't mention anything that occurs in the films from '09 onwards. So what's going to happen?

    I have to admit that I don't know the specifics (there's always smallprint and/or wiggleroom), but deals like this don't always last forever. Big Finish's classic Doctor Who audio adventures were originally banned from mentioning anything from the new series, but now have that lisence and are producing newWho content.

    Could it be possible that, even if it's just for one specific Countdown style novel, a lisence could just be granted for the sake of continuity (the novels can't contradict what happens in '09)?

    Or will it just be ignored all together, and neither Spock nor Romulus will ever be mentioned again. Ever.
     
  20. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    Do you want me to move the posts from the Control thread into here? I can do that.