New Catalog covers and info- cover/info not final

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by JD, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    And when they read their next novel and he's not in there?

    What if they read another one and he is a main character and they go Ah-ha! It's the same guy from 60 years ago! Neat!
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But where's the fun in that? And really, it's not that unrealistic that someone who's been prominent in an organization for 80 years would've met quite a few of its other prominent members.

    Which would surely outnumber those he has met, and thus prove my point that, statistically speaking, the number of meet-ups involving Vaughn and a canonical character is not excessive or improbable. Although to be fair, it should be limited to characters encountered before the "present" timeframe of the books, because we know he's met pretty much the whole TNG crew (The Battle of Betazed) and most of the DS9 cast.

    You might be interested to know, by the way, that I considered giving Vaughn a cameo in The Buried Age, but Marco nixed it, thinking he didn't want to overdo Vaughn's appearances. (I think. The memory's a little fuzzy that far back.) So it's not like anyone's going out of their way to cram him in everywhere. Vaughn is included in a story when there's a good story reason to do so.
     
  3. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    Well, different strokes.

    I feel the same way about Uhura and Chekov not only still being alive but on active duty in the 24th century. It feels like a gimmick.
     
  4. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    No, they'd say, "This must be the loneliest guy in Starfleet. Never interacts with anyone we know, only allowed to participate in parallel plots. Why is he even here?" ;)
     
  5. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    Mot at all. If he were a main character (i.e. DS9-R) then sure he'll meet people. But he doesn't have to meet up with everyone in the past as well.

    I like my universes large. I don't need someone stitching every piece together for me.
     
  6. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    ^ What other fictional universe, ever, is the size of this one?
     
  7. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    The larger the universe, in order to be more believable for you, the less commercially viable. Tie-ins rely on recognizable figures featuring in the main action.
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    But is Elias Vaughn isn't recognizable to anyone outside of TrekLit.
     
  9. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    Comic universes are as big or bigger.

    Perry Rodan is huge.
     
  10. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    And while we're at it, it's not really even hard to believe, statistically speaking.

    Last year, I finished up a certification in math instruction in Los Angeles, and the class I was taking had a presentation from someone who, from being a student in LA Unified School District and all the way up for the last 30 years, has worked in the organization. She gave a history of the entire LAUSD, the largest school district in the country. And the whole point of her presentation was that it was basically the same 5 or 6 people that had charted the entire course; they kept showing up, as consultants, as principals, superintendents, on the school board, as politicians, etc.

    Now, I know that LAUSD is one organization in one city, but it's a HUGE one. And if 5 or 6 people end up knowing absolutely everyone that matters, and making most of the important decisions, how implausible is it that out of a cast of something like (conservatively) 100-150 present-day main characters and probably twice as many minors (including Valeris, for instance), that a lot of them have met each other?

    People get probabilities wrong. You only need 23 people in a room for there to be a greater than 50% chance that two of them have the same birthday. Out of 365 possibilities, you only need 23 for the odds to be more than half you've chosen the same one. Out of that many main characters, the odds that some have met has got to have similar properties.
     
  11. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    Some have met, yes. It's a quasi-military organization and people will serve together or meet for various reasons. However, what are the odds of ONE person meeting 30 specific people over the course of 80 years in a Federation that's 8,000 across, has thousands of ships and hundreds of bases and covers thousands of planets?

    The LA school district may be big but Vaughn isn't running Starfleet and the Federation is MUCH, MUCH bigger.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Thrawn makes a very good point. There's always going to be a performance curve -- a small percentage of a group will have the highest performance, be the most active or capable or involved, and the larger percentage will be at a lower level of performance. There are over 5000 registered members of this BBS, but probably most are lurkers or limited participants and it's only a few dozen or hundred who post most actively. In a classroom there are typically a few students who raise their hands all the time while the bulk of the students just sit in the back and try to avoid being called on.

    So yeah, there are perhaps hundreds of thousands of individuals in Starfleet, but most of them are junior officers on scout ships, ground bases, etc. The percentage who rise to high rank is relatively low, and of those, the percentage who do exceptional and important work would be relatively low. Star Trek focuses on the people who rise above mediocrity, the best and the brightest, and that's a fairly small sample of the whole. Yes, it would be more realistic if that sample were larger than one or two ships, but that's what the books have given us over the past decade.
     
  13. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Exactly. This is just one of the conceits of series fiction. I mean is it really plausible that Columbo keeps running into an elaborate, fiendishly complicated "perfect murder" scenario on a weekly basis? Usually committed by a famous brain surgeon or symphony conductor? How many ingeniously convoluted murders go on in his precinct anyway? Is that realistic?

    Or that Jessica Fletcher stumbles onto a murder every time she goes shopping? What about all the other homicide detectives and nosy old women out there? And how come 007 is always the only guy on hand to save the world? What the heck are 005 and 003 doing anyway?

    People read STAR TREK novels because they want to see Star Trek characters, and hopefully not always in the same combinations everytime. Is it realistic that popular characters keep bumping into each other? No. But neither is Carl Kolchak running into a zombie or vampire every time he covers a city council meeting.

    It's all part of the fun.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  14. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly, so he is only used when associating with known canonical characters.
     
  15. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    Like I said, different strokes. I like a large universe where I can connect the pieces once they're laid out. Other people want everything connected with solid dark lines with a big arrow. And then there's the middle group who don't care one way or the other.

    I prefer the feel of a big city and we're getting a small town.

    But they characters DIDN'T always bump into each other all the time. That's a rut that the novels have. I could watch TNG and then DS9 and then Voyager and know that they all worked for the same organization but they didn't all know each other. It made Starfleet seem like a vast organization rather than Wednesday night bowling.
     
  16. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I think TNG made it seem like the only ship in the Federation that wasn't flying in circles in bumfuck nowhere was the Enterprise, which accomplished or was present at every major political event...

    ...until DS9 showed up, and then in the most important event in Trek history up to that point (the Dominion War) the Enterprise was nowhere to be found, but funnily enough, the DS9 crew was absolutely essential.

    You just get more annoyed by some instances of "small universe" than others, and it seems pretty arbitrary to me.
     
  17. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, I like when the authors set up elements that suggest the arrows and let us draw conclusions, eg. in-jokes and clever connections that casual readers won't ever get, but that regular readers will. You won't hear me demanding to have solid, dark lines and big arrows on my Star Trek entertainment. An example: Janos's "retirement" to planet Neural at the end of "Stone and Anvil", an in-joke probably known only to those who'd read the original script of "A Private Little War", or who had read Bjo Trimble's "ST Concordance", because the planet in that episode was never named onscreen. Or, dare I mention, Therin Park in "Andor: Paradigm", an in-joke only for my friends and BBS acquaintances, and perhaps viewers of the first "Starship Exeter" fan film.

    But Vaughn was created to be a mature character who had a long and colourful background in Starfleet. The only way that background can ever be unfurled is through his connections to other events, and known canonical characters, who need to be in those events... because otherwise the ST novels stop being tie-ins, and begin to resemble any other science fiction novel, populated with characters who are fated never to recur, because of an arbitrary demand that they not continue to mix with established characters.

    I am reminded of the second DC Comics movie era run. Richard Arnold enforced the 1989 memo that saw M'yra, Fouton, Blaise, Li, and others (the replacements for M'ress, Arex, Konom, Bearclaw, Bryce and Sherwood), be dismissed after only a short run of appearances, and replaced by others (eg Chekov's cousin), who also had to be dismissed after the next main arc again concluded. Cool characters fated to vanish.
     
  18. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    DS9 was essential to the Dominion War because it was located at the wormhole that let the Dominion into the Alpha Quadrant in the first place.

    As for the Enterprise, I just assumed that the war was happening over a vast area. It's a big, important ship and there were probably lots of places it could be.

    What I would have liked in the Dominion War arc was if we got to know some of the crew of a ship that was attaced to DS9. Perhaps even a minor character or two could have transferred off DS9 to fill in for losses. Then the ship would be lost and we'd feel the loss. Not every ship has to be the Enterprise. Imagine if Solok and the crew of the T'Kumbra had stuck around for a few episodes. Nothing too big just letting us see the crews interacting. Then they have the baseball game and an episode or two later it's reported that the sip has been lost with all hands. To me, that would be more interesting than a guest shot of by the Enterprise.
     
  19. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Which may well have blown the budget. Actors having to keep several weeks aside for filming, rather than just the one, protracted contract negotiations, increased royalties for recurring original characters, etc.

    The Romulan T'Rul (Martha Hackett) was planned as a possible semi-regular when the cloaking device was introduced, but the writers lost interest in the character (but not the actress, because she ended up going to VOY).
     
  20. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    The point being that characters don't have to be regular, ongoing characters for you to care about them. Also, in the earlier books you know Vaughn is essentially indestructible. You know he's going to survive. You know he's going to live to be over 100. It's like introducing another character from the shows, you know they'll survive. (Well, except for Janeway but let's not reopen that particular kettle).

    There's more to the federation and Starfleet that the ships and characters we've seen on the shows but you'd never know it from some of the crossovers.