Ranks of characters

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Little_kingsfan, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    It's apparently not fanfiction if you're paid to write it. :p
     
    JonnyQuest037 likes this.
  2. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2014
    Location:
    Sol III, Sector 001, 2017 C.E.
    As I understand the definition, something only has to be written by a fan to be "fan fiction" - officialized status doesn't change the fact that it is made by fans.
     
  3. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Literal dictionary definition, yeah, but there's definitely a certain connotation to the term "fanfiction" where it implies a freedom from the sort of subject matter or material constraints that licensed work is under; that it has an openness of approach that can take it in directions that licensed work would never be able to go because the IP owners would never allow it. (For some people that's a negative connotation, for others positive; YMMV for that, really.) But that's why I said "apparently"; while it would never happen in practice, if someone did give a paid license their work and gave literally no restrictions whatsoever, let them go 100% fanfic-style without a single word against it, I'd be hard-pressed where to categorize it under my personal concept web. If someone published a 90s-style badfic MSTing script-style under a paid license, and someone asked me if it was fanfic, I'd have to go "ehhhhhhhhhh" and do that hand wobbling thing. :p

    There's also occasionally a connotation in the term that the author is an amateur in general, but there are counter-examples to that, published and professional authors that still write and release fanfic on the side, so that's a weaker connotation I'd say.

    As a general umbrella term that avoids connotation of the status of the author, I think the closest you can come is "derivative work", but that also covers non-prose work like fanart. I can't think of a good umbrella term for franchise-based writing in particular that's free of connotation as to the nature of the work. "Derivative prose" I guess? But that sounds clunky to me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2016
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    No, that's too literal a definition. Given that countless professional creators have been fans, it's meaningless to use it that way. The term "fan fiction" was coined before it was common for fictional franchises to remain in production long enough for fans to become pro writers of the actual franchise, so it was meant to refer only to unlicensed, unauthorized amateur fiction.

    And the distinction still has meaning. If you're a fan of a show, then your interest is purely recreational. It's a hobby, something you do strictly for fun and for your own satisfaction. If you're then actually hired to work on the show, then that's a job, and that carries a ton of responsibilities and burdens that have nothing to do with personal indulgence. So, yes, there are a lot of pro creators who started out as fans, but once it becomes work, then it's a whole other ball game.
     
  5. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    I dunno about that. At least the way I've always parsed the term, I've never had "strictly recreational" as part of how I take the word "fan". It seems to lead to weird consequences too; if a TNG fan submitted a single freelance pitch to TNG and had it picked up, and worked on the script, would they stop being a fan for the limited duration of writing the script and then start being a fan again after it was done?

    I've always felt that, in the way it's internalized in my own parsing, being a fan is something parallel to doing it professionally. You might move away from being a fan because you're working professionally, but it doesn't feel to me that the two are necessarily mutually exclusive. That it's more that someone might drift away because their interest lessens or changes direction due to their inside status, but only might. Like, not to question your self-identification, but if someone asked me before I saw that post, I would've said you're a fan of Star Trek that also works professionally in the franchise.

    Hypothetical situation: ignoring the legal issues and the fact that I imagine you wouldn't have much interest in doing so even if there weren't legal issues, if you dropped a short story on AO3 or FF.net, would you consider that as not fanfic because you write Trek professionally and so you're therefore excluded from "fan" status?

    Edit: Oh, wait, I think I might've misunderstood. Are you saying that it's a cap you have to take off when creating a work professionally, because it needs to be approached from a certain way that working through the personal filter of "fan" can hurt? Not that you stop being a fan in a general sense, but that it's a box you have to step outside of when doing it as a job? Because okay, unsurety dropped if so.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2016
    TheAlmanac likes this.
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Yes, that's exactly it. It's not about what you are, it's about what the specific work is. In theory, a person on the writing staff of a TV show could write a script for an episode of the show, which would be pro fiction, and then go home and write shameless slashy shipfics that she could never get onscreen, and that would be fan fiction. The person is both a fan and a pro, but she's wearing a different hat when writing the pro fiction than she is when she's writing the fan fiction. It's like a football manager going home and playing fantasy football, or an animal trainer blowing off steam by playing Pokemon Go. Pro fiction is what you write on the job and get paid for, fan fiction is what you write purely for recreation.

    As I said, it's taking the label far too literally to think that it's about whether the writer is a fan. That's like assuming that slash fiction is written by machete murderers, or that dark fantasy can only be written by brunettes. It's a label characterizing the work itself, not the person who wrote it.
     
    Idran likes this.
  7. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Hey, everyone, I've got a new question: what rank/grade do Starfleet sector commanders hold; does it vary by character and/or story, or is there a specific rank involved? I know right now that Rear Admiral Riker is the Sector Commander of the Alpha Quadrant frontier zone, while Rear Admiral, lower half Shelby is in charge of Sector 221-G (last time I checked). One of the reasons why I'm asking is I'm re-reading the first Stargazer novel, "Gauntlet", and I was wondering if what grade admiral Arlen McAteer was - if all Starfleet sector commanders are one- or two-star admirals, or if he was a full four-star?

    Thanks.
     
  8. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Doesn't appear to have been specified in text, but given that "Admiral" is the generic title in addition to potentially being the specific for the 'four-star' rank, I'd say a Rear Admiral or Vice Admiral at best is more likely.
     
  9. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2013
    Location:
    USA
    Yep, I can confirm that. I mistakenly called a Navy Senior Chief "Chief" and was rapidly corrected that I should have said "Senior Chief".

    In the US Air Force, one may address a Staff Sgt, Tech Sgt, Master Sgt, or Senior Master Sgt as simply "Sergeant", but a Chief Master Sgt is "Chief". And a formal directive came down from upon high that "Senior" is NOT a proper way to address a Senior Master Sgt.

    It may have been noted above already, but on the officer side, a Air Force/Army/Marine Second Lt, First Lt, and Navy LT-Junior Grade and full LT may all be addressed as "Lieutenant". Likewise, a Lt Commander or Lt Colonel may be addressed as "Commander" or "Colonel", respectively, and flag officers may be addressed as "General" or "Admiral" regardless of the number of stars.
     
    SolarisOne, JonnyQuest037 and Idran like this.
  10. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sunshine cottage,Lollipop lane,Latveria
    Heh,anybody foolish enough to address Miles as "senior O'Brien" would deserve the soon- to follow kick in the pants.:angel:
     
  11. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Well, I suppose he is probably the "ChOps" (Chopper?).

    Although I also considered COO or COOp (Pronounced like the first syllable of Cooper) at one point.
     
  12. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    That's one of the reasons I started this thread - because all grades of Admirals and Generals are addressed simply as "Admiral"/"General", and not every author will mention whether they're a one-, two-, three-, or four-star; similarly, some will not tell us if "Petty Officer X" is a third, second, or first class petty officer (and Starfleet doesn't appear to have rates like the US Navy or Coast Guard, so they're all Petty Officers rather than Yeomen/Culinary Specialists/Boatswain's Mates, etc.) or if they're a Chief, Senior Chief, or Master Chief Petty Officer... "Lieutenant Y" might be a Lt. (j.g.) or a full Lieutenant, and "Commander Z" could be either a Lt. Cmdr. or Commander. Not to mention doctors are usually only referred to as doctors regardless of whether or not they have a commissioned rank, it makes it difficult for those who are as curious/nitpicky as myself when we can't see them on the screen to know what their collar or sleeve says (if I remember correctly, Dr. McCoy was never referred to on the show by his rank and the only reason we knew it was because of the stripes on his sleeve).

    Speaking of doctors, I don't know if it's been mentioned anywhere, but in Rise of the Federation, Phlox is actually in Starfleet and no longer a (active) member of the IME, correct? And if he is Starfleet, is he considered a civilian member, or does he hold a rank? (I believe he's the only major character in that series without a defined rank.)
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    That's incorrect. The fact that Phlox is still a non-Starfleet civilian and an IME member was a plot point in Live by the Code. Earlier, in A Choice of Futures, when Reed asked Tobin Dax to stay on as Pioneer's acting chief engineer and Dax protested that he was a civilian, Reed pointed out that Phlox was also a civilian, and that T'Pol had served as a civilian first officer during the Xindi crisis (since she resigned from the Vulcan High Command in "The Expanse" and didn't formally join Starfleet until season 4). Other civilians serving in key starship posts include "Philip Collier" as Pioneer chief engineer in books 3-4 and Dr. Lucas filling in as Endeavour CMO in LBTC.
     
  14. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    That's right, I do remember that now. Thanks for telling me.
     
  15. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Mr. Laser Beam is in the visitor's bullpen
    Phlox was in the Denobulan military before he joined the IME, wasn't he?
     
  16. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2001
    He served time with the Denobulan military, but IIRC that was in his youth and he wasn't a doctor at the time, just a medic. I was under the impression he mostly just served a tour of duty or something as opposed to being career military. When he was done with the military he likely studied and became a doctor, had a career in medicine which eventually led to him joining the IME.
     
  17. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Hey, guys, I'm back with another question: what rank is Admiral Parvati Rao from Control? During my first read through, I thought she was a four-star, but when Admiral Ko, the Chief of United Earth Starfleet Intelligence, was introduced as her superior, I was wondering if they were both four-stars, or if one or both of them were lower-ranking (Rao a Rear Admiral and Ko a Vice Admiral, or Rao a Vice Admiral and Ko an Admiral)?
     
    Markonian likes this.
  18. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Location:
    The Republic of Ireland
    @David Mack, as it's your book:

     
    Markonian likes this.
  19. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Don't know. Not sure it matters, really. In that scenario, they could have the same rank, but one could occupy a senior billet and therefore have supervisory capacity over the other.
     
    Markonian and Dimesdan like this.
  20. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Several Rear or Vice Admirals (including Pressman, Nechayev and Fujisaki (as Deputy Director) have been mentioned as part of Starfleet Intelligence), the only 4-star admiral seen as part of SI IFAIK was the Udine recreation of ADM Gareth Bullock suggesting that he is SI Director. If so, it's likely that the head of SI for Earth/Sol System is junior to him (The ONI Director is I believe typically a RADM).