Spoilers Picard Autobiography by David Goodman - Discussion and Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by AutoAdmin, Mar 9, 2017.

?

Please rate the Picard Autobiography by David Goodman

  1. Excellent

    3 vote(s)
    30.0%
  2. Above Average

    2 vote(s)
    20.0%
  3. Average

    3 vote(s)
    30.0%
  4. Below Average

    1 vote(s)
    10.0%
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
    10.0%
  1. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    In terms of the tea reference, there's actually a misprint in the book that ended up accidentally cutting a footnote explaining why everyone in France has an English accent, and the earl grey footnote was a follow-up. Frustrating. In terms of getting rid of the Denobulans, I actually go further in this book, and it was used to make a couple of other statements about whether everybody in the Federation is truly oriented towards peace.
     
  2. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2001
    I thought so, but for some reason Memory Alpha didn't mention it on their page, and being too lazy to look into it further, I decided not to include that in my post.
     
  3. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    It's the vintage of the wine Robert serves in that dinner scene.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Here's the thing... People who are good at languages will speak English with an English (or American) accent no matter what their first language is. Because part of speaking a language well is getting the pronunciation right. The conceit that every, say, French person who speaks English must speak it with a French accent is a fictional shorthand for coding English-speaking characters as foreign, not a real phenomenon. For instance, actor Michael Vartan is French, but he speaks English with a flawless American accent. Sure, there are some people who never lose their native accents, like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jackie Chan, but there are others who do.

    Most human beings today are at least bilingual, and there's no reason to think that wouldn't still be the case in the future. It stands to reason that any 24th-century European who spoke English as a second language would've learned British English, and would've learned it early enough in their life to master the accent by adulthood. So they should speak English with an English accent, unless they're just bad with accents. By analogy, I've seen a number of Latinx actors or other media personalities who can effortlessly switch between speaking English with American English pronunciation and speaking Spanish with Spanish pronunciation. Because they grew up learning both languages and so both accents are normal to them.
     
    Markonian and Mad Jack Wolfe like this.
  5. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    This morning, I read the penultimate chapter. Including
    the one or two paragraphs that completely contradict the entire Destiny trilogy.
    I will certainly admit that the Stargazer series was relatively low-profile, downright esoteric, even compared with the few pages of A Flag Full of Stars that cover Tarsus IV. But Destiny was a very high-profile trilogy, with multiple follow-ups.
    Then again, alternate Borg origin stories are hardly uncommon. I'd be willing to bet a few got published in SNW, and (as much as I loathe Borg stories myself) I've even written one myself, "The Gray People," involving Jackson Roykirk, V'GER, and a race of computer geeks.

    Paradoxically, I'm still not as irritated as I was at the alternate Tarsus IV story in the Kirk "autobiography."
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^I think there were two different Borg origin stories in Strange New Worlds, at least the first 10 volumes (I don't know about the recent revival). There's another one in TokyoPop's first Trek manga volume.
     
    Idran likes this.
  7. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Certainly legitimate. I was just having fun with my explanation.
     
    Idran likes this.
  8. DavidAGoodman

    DavidAGoodman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Sorry you were irritated, but I appreciate you going all the way to the end!
     
  9. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I grew up on The Bobbsey Twins. It was not until I was in my 40s that I realized the level of research that went into a series of children's novels, particularly in the later years of the series (which started at the turn of the 20th century, and ran into the late 1970s, maybe even the early 1980s): for example, my first trip to Colonial Williamsburg, I found that I could find my way around the place solely on my recollections of The Bobbsey Twins' Red, White and Blue Mystery.
    I came to appreciate the depths of research the Stratemeyer Syndicate put into its children's novels (presumably The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were just as meticulously researched) My understanding is that Stratemeyer writers researched The Bobbsey Twins on the Sun-Moon Cruise (which was originally to have been a Nancy Drew title) by actually taking an eclipse viewing cruise themselves.

    All in all, Stratemeyer's research is worthy of a Master's thesis, if not a Doctoral dissertation. All for the sake of children's novels.

    Why do I bring this up? Because I have come to appreciate meticulously researched fiction, and because it may serve to explain why I become irritated whenever I perceive that fiction could have been better researched with relatively little effort (especially today, with such resources as Memory Alpha and Memory Beta).

    Of course, at the same time, we must constantly be aware of the fine line that separates good research from plagiarism.
     
    jaime and TheAlmanac like this.
  10. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Location:
    California
    Beta is pretty hit-and-miss, as we've gone into on this board more than once. I'm not saying I wouldn't love novelverse-compatable autobiographies (I'm the guy whose JTK review was "I liked it even though I had to keep telling myself it was no one's fault that Peter David didn't write it fifteen years ago"), but you'd have to be pretty into the milieu to have a chance of hitting all the big points, never mind the fine details that novels are filled with (MB might tell you that Picard was on the edge of a breakdown in "Destiny," but it won't give you the context and shading the narrative did so you can relate it from his perspective. And a lot of stuff isn't there, or is mixed in with RPG or STO content that could be contrary or not applicable).

    Since it's not coming from "within the family" as it were, combined with Trek's lingering distrust of its own tie-ins, I think it's only natural that the autobiographies go their own way to tell their own stories. And, hey, it's not like "Crucible" wasn't a thing. There can be advantages to off-screen Trek being regarded as optional.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
    Idran likes this.
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    But that analogy doesn't really work, because the kind of research you're talking about is for getting the facts right. The conjectures in tie-ins are not facts, they're just one set of possibilities. Yes, stories that are set in that version of the continuity should be researched to stay consistent with each other, but other tie-ins are not in any way wrong or negligent to choose a different path.

    I like to say that if canon is history, tie-ins are historical fiction. You'd expect the writer of a novel about World War II to do their research about MacArthur or Rommel or whoever, but you wouldn't expect them to include Victor Laszlo or Captain America, because that's a different fictional extrapolation from their own.

    Although now I want to see a Captain America/Victor Laszlo team-up story.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
    trampledamage and Idran like this.
  12. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    There were some great moment and I liked how Picard commented he felt embarrassed by how much his younger self was a manwhore.

    I did think he could have used a bit more irresponsibility but that's subjectiveness.
     
  13. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    A lot of novels are fictional memoirs! This goes all the way back to the beginning of the form, with Robinson Crusoe.
     
    JonnyQuest037, TheAlmanac and jaime like this.
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Yes, obviously, but that doesn't necessarily mean that all fictional memoirs are novels. All giraffes are mammals, but not all mammals are giraffes.
     
  15. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2001
    If this were a biography/autobiography of a real person, it would still be a novel, no? Does being based on a fictional character really make that much of a difference?
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    What? No! Novels are works of long-form narrative fiction. A nonfiction biography is a biography.
     
    jaime likes this.
  17. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Just because the scope of the narrative is an entire lifetime, rather than a single incident, and the structure of the narrative is biographical, and episodic, rather than unified by one plot, does not mean that it is not a novel.

    If you were to exclude the Kirk and Picard "autobiographies" from the category of "novel," you would also, logically, have to exclude one of the most popular novels of the 1970s, one popular enough to support the simultaneous release of at least half a dozen distinct cover variants of its MMPB edition, one that was the required reading in the lit class I took at CSU Long Beach in the early 1980s: John Irving's The World According to Garp.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Certainly there's a gray area here, but generally, if something is meant to be a novel, it will be referred to and promoted as a novel (as Garp is -- it says "A Novel" right on the cover). The Goodman biographies seem to be getting promoted as part of the same subgenre as "fictional nonfiction" books like Federation: The First 150 Years, The Klingon Art of War, the art book New Worlds, New Civilizations, the TNG and DS9 tech manuals, etc.
     
  19. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    But that goes against your own characterization of the Kirk and Picard "autobiographies" as "coffee table" books (which implies that they are intended more for the general reader than for the completist Star Trek geek who has all [or nearly all] the novels, and most of the non-narrative works, along with a shelf or two of ship models, and enough Hallmark Star Trek ornaments to decorate a medium-sized Christmas tree).

    At any rate, I will certainly grant that referencing novelverse events in a way that presumes the reader is already aware of them would confuse and annoy the general readers, interferfering with what Coleridge called "willing suspension of disbelief," but which Tolkien (in his monograph, On Fairy Stories) more correctly called "literary belief," and perhaps throwing them completely out of the story. But that's not what I'm talking about. And continuity porn simply for its own sake is one of the most effective ways of making fiction non-literary: the genre should serve the story, not the other way around, and if the story is made slave to the genre, both story and genre suffer.

    Goodman has repeatedly demonstrated that he can allude to canon events in a way that walks the line between throwing general readers out of the story, and insulting the intelligence of the more knowledgable readers (and indeed, I've read more than a few ST novels where I was thrown out by references to things I'd read and forgotten years earlier, when they were delivered in a way that assumed they were fresh in my mind, as well as by having "throwaway" references over-explained). I'm not asking for an active effort to incorporate Novelverse events. Just a more active effort to avoid contradicting them.

    In spite of the fact that I agree with the concerns over
    the handling of the Hobus Hypernova and over Q bringing back Data in what could be called a "machina ex deus,"
    on storytelling alone, I would have given this opus an "above average." If there had been fewer and less jarring discontinuities with the Novelverse, it would have pulled up to one of my rare "outstanding" ratings, but instead, it dropped to merely "average."
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I don't see why, since coffee table books are usually not novels. They're generally nonfiction, and they tend to be oversized, art-heavy hardcovers that are suited for displaying on a coffee table for guests to page through -- things like The Art of Star Trek or New Worlds, New Civilizations or Federation: The First 150 Years. I think the only examples I've ever seen of coffee-table novels are things like illustrated, annotated editions of classic novels like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

    Plus, I concede I was probably incorrect to use that characterization for the "autobiographies."

    I don't think that's really fair to ask of David. He's been hired to do his own take on things, and it's his prerogative to use his own imagination and take the continuity wherever he feels like. Besides, the novelverse is hardly the only continuity out there -- both IDW and Star Trek Online have their own continuities that already conflict with it. So if David were to try to stay consistent with some prior continuity, why should he prioritize the Pocket one over the others?
     
    Vger23 and trampledamage like this.