ST: TMP Novelization...

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Overgeeked, May 24, 2009.

  1. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Captain Captain

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    There was a link posted to these articles over in the ST11 forum.

    Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

    The articles discuss the validity of canon, Roddenberry's view of canon (at least around the time of TMP), and the new film. I'm posting this here because I'm hoping to get impressions from others who have read Robbenberry's novelization of TMP.

    Here's a quote from the article...

    These articles are really interesting in the kerfuffle about canon, but considering Roddenberry's complete tossing of TOS in this novel, and his apparent desire to make Trek more in line with the depth of SF novels is really interesting.

    From a SF fan to other SF fans: What do you make of this? And: Have you read the TMP novelization, and what did you think?
     
  2. T'Ressa Dax

    T'Ressa Dax Captain Captain

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    It's certainly interesting, though I think Roddenberry was just messing with us. And it's been so long since I read the TMP novelization I don't really remember my thoughts. I think that's when I finally decided to watch the movie though.
     
  3. JB2005

    JB2005 Commodore Commodore

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    It was stated in a book, therefore it's not canon :P

    Seriously though it raises an interesting point, but I think it is just abit of poking fun at the whole idea of what counts as "real"
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It has long been the prerogative of creators to reinterpret their own past works. The fannish insistence that canon has to be some rigid, immutable thing is completely mythical. Creators don't care that much about canon; the canon is whatever they say it is, so they generally don't worry about it any more than a fish worries about water. What creators worry about is quality. And many creators look back on their earlier works and are disappointed with them -- because they were younger and less experienced then, because there were limitations imposed on them from outside, because technical or budgetary factors kept them from achieving what they had hoped for. Sometimes they get to go back and make changes, as Arthur C. Clarke did with Against the Fall of Night (which he rewrote as The City and the Stars), as Poul Anderson did with many of his early Dominic Flandry stories, as David Gerrold did with many of his early novels, or as George Lucas did with the Star Wars prequels. Sometimes they just retcon things and ignore the inconsistencies, as most long-running comic books do. Sometimes they just don't bother much with continuity in the first place, as with the Sherlock Holmes canon or Doctor Who. This is yet another reason why the fans' preoccupation with canon is totally misguided. Canon doesn't mean absolute consistency.

    Roddenberry was disappointed with a lot of aspects of TOS that didn't turn out the way he'd hoped because of budget and technology restrictions, network meddling, the loss of his creative control in the final season, etc. As is usually the case in television, the result he got was only an approximation of what he'd been hoping for. So he exercised the creator's prerogative to reinterpret the creation, to say that what we saw was only an approximation of what really happened. He's not the first or only creator to do that. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the Holmes stories as fictionalized accounts written by Dr. Watson based on their actual cases, and many a story had Holmes chastizing Watson for exaggerating or sensationalizing the facts in his earlier stories -- thereby making it canonical that the canon itself was unreliable. (And of course we can assume the names were changed to protect the innocent.)

    So there's nothing remotely shocking about Roddenberry presenting his own canon as a fictionalized account of some separate reality. That's what many works of fiction over the centuries have blatantly done. And if anything, now more than ever, there's good reason to accept that interpretation -- now that we have Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy, et al. played by two significantly different sets of actors. Maybe it's time we all stopped taking Trek canon so damned literally.
     
  5. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    I think I took it, at the time, as Roddenberry having a dig at the Bantam novels and Gold Key comics, and maybe fanfic, not necessarily TOS episodes. Maybe it's also a dig at Season Three and Fred Frieberger. Although the idea that all of TOS might be holographic representations of Kirk's actual logs is fine with me, too. That's also how I read any of the ST tie-ins I found wanting over the years.

    But, as mentioned numerous times in items about ST canon (in "ST Communicator"), even the unfilmed stuff in Roddenberry's novelization is not canon.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But we know from other sources that Roddenberry was unhappy with elements of TOS and preferred to consider aspects of it apocryphal. When the Klingons were redesigned for TMP, he wanted viewers to pretend they'd always looked that way but that TOS simply hadn't had the means to represent them accurately. And I recall reading a quote on this BBS from someone who'd spoken to GR late in life -- I think it was Paula Block -- revealing that in the TNG years, he did indeed consider parts of TOS apocryphal and didn't feel bound by them. I imagine those "parts" were mostly the third season, but I'm sure there were cases where he looked back and wished he could've made the story more convincing or plausible, or where he hadn't been constrained by budgetary limits to do fanciful things like duplicate Earths and alien Romans and whatnot.
     
  7. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Hence: "I took it, at the time, as Roddenberry having a dig..." :bolian:
     
  8. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This is Richard Arnold's explanation of canon in 1991, from the interview Tim Lynch conducted:
    Whether or not that's actually Roddenberry's views, or Arnold's interpretation of what he believed to be Roddenberry's views, or Arnold making shit up because he could I leave as an exercise to the reader.
     
  9. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    Well, that's interesting, since this is the exact opposite of what he did in disallowing tangents and going beyond what was/could be depicted on screen. :vulcan:
     
  10. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Captain Captain

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    The extended version of Stranger in a Strange Land, or the revision of Forever War. Still weird about the revisions and the Hugo shout-out.

    I'm not much of a canon guy, more of a good story well told guy. I'm an amateur writer so that's where I'm coming from. But it is nice to see that Roddenberry at least was trying to include more social-impact of technology elements into the story (with the new humans and the primitives that Kirk and co belonged to).
     
  11. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Another example of an author changing his mind: the original Zorro stories by Johnston McCulley are wildly inconsistent with each other. In the original novel, for instance, Johnston made the mistake of having Zorro reveal his true identity to the world in the final scene. (At the time, he had no expectation that he would ever write a sequel.) But when Zorro proved to be a cash cow, he simply chose to ignore that scene and keeping on writing Zorro adventures in which Don Diego's secret was still a secret. I believe he brought back a dead villain as well, conveniently "forgetting" that Zorro had killed him in the previous adventure . . . .

    "Canon" tends to be whatever a writer can get away with! :)
     
  12. ClayinCA

    ClayinCA Commodore Commodore

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    Or, as Terrance Dicks used to say when script-editing Doctor Who, canon is whatever the producer and the script editor can remember at the time!