TOS novel length

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by EnriqueH, Feb 2, 2020.

  1. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I’ll probably get tomatoes thrown at me for this, but I always found it amusing how Trek episodes were 45 minutes long and James Blish’s adaptations were just a few pages long.

    But all TOS era novels are these HUGE tomes dedicated to one adventure that could probably fit an entire season worth of adventures.
     
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  2. marlboro

    marlboro Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Try the ebook "Miasma" by Greg Cox. It feels like a TOS episode, imo.
     
  3. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I remember picking up “Double Double” when I was around 13 or 14. (Badass cover, by the way, featuring a TOS era Kirk and Romulan ship). I remember thinking, “Damn, this is bigger than the novelizations for the films!”
     
  4. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I didn’t thank you for the tip! Thanks!
     
  5. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think it's that strange. You write for the medium you're dealing with. Time is of the essence in TV and movies, and books can get much more in-depth about certain things. Generally speaking, I expect more depth and detail from a prose version of Trek.
     
  6. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Thanks for the plug.

    Relevant to the discussion, "Miasma" actually started out as a pitch for a VOYAGER tv episode, featuring Chakotay and Tuvok instead of McCoy and Spock, but when the show passed on it, I kept the outline on file, hoping to recycle it someday as a short story or novella.

    Because, honestly, a full-length novel needs way more plot than a 43-minute episode, so a typical TV plot translates to a longish short-story.
     
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  7. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Totally. It’s just an amusing thing I always wondered about.
     
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  8. Doc Mugatu

    Doc Mugatu Captain Captain

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    Well, to be fair, they were more than a "few" pages. A TV script, which is what he worked off of and why some of his adaptions differed from the episode that aired, was roughly 60 pages. Boiling it down to about a 15-20 page short story is about right. I mean, have you read a script?
     
  9. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    And just for the record, I’m pretty sure I own ALL Trek novels until 2015.

    including Greg Cox’s...;) \\//
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
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  10. Doc Mugatu

    Doc Mugatu Captain Captain

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    I am so sorry for you! :wah:
     
  11. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Tell me about it!
     
  12. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I would enjoy a collection of new Blish/Foster adaptation-length adventures.
     
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  13. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    A general rule of thumb in TV and film is that 1 script page equals 1 minute of screen time. Also, with scripts a lot of time they’ll get cut down or edited before the shooting because of budgets.

    I seem to remember in “Voyages of Imagination” John Ordover lamenting over how many times he would get a manuscript for a novel and the action and SFX would be something TV, and he would have to remind authors that they had an unlimited SFX budget and could have gigantic space fleets and battles, and unlimited action effects. Peter David even mentioned in his DS9 novel that the amount of effects he had Odo do would’ve been possible on a huge budget like $500 million but not on the show’s $2 million an episode budget.

    But one realllllllllllllllllllllly great novelization is Voyager’s “Flashback”! I read it before I saw the episode and I thought I was in for a 3-part episode. Very disappointed by the actual single episode.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's a case where I consider the novelization more "real" than the episode, not only because it fleshes out the story so much, but because it makes the climax much better. The episode's climax is just "The Doctor techs a virus to death," but the novel makes it more about Janeway's convictions and resolve overcoming the disease, so it's much more character-driven and personal.
     
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  15. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Hmm. Good to know. I have that novelization but have yet to read it yet.

    It's funny, I usually put novelizations of episodes on the back burner because I figure I want to read an original story first. But whenever I read the novelization I always find I enjoy them immensely. The last one I read was for "Day of Honor" by Michael Jan Friedman and I really enjoyed it.
     
  16. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Is there a difference in the end product length if you adapt a shooting script verses adapting a finished episode that you've watched?
     
  17. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    Novelizations are usually based on a shooting script, since the publisher wants it on the shelf on the same day as the episode or movie is released and the author is usually writing with just the script. I remember when the 2009 movie came out there were reports that Alan Dean Foster, the novelization author, was allowed on set to see some of the sets and the actors shooting scenes, but that was about it. And when you read “Voyages of Imagination”, some of the other novelization authors, especially for the pilots would have nothing to go on but the script.
     
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  18. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I have just been recently reading some of those. But those don't even feel like full adaptations. When reading them they almost seem like after action reports. They're mostly just a summary of the various episodes and a lot is left out.
     
  19. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I think the biggest difference would be last minute changes. Sometimes things are changed when shooting a script at the last minute that won't be reflected in the script.

    And seeing the episode might help a writer get the visualizations when writing the episode. But other than that it's probably not all that different. It helps that in Star Trek, the writers already know the characters pretty well (unless it's an adaptation of a pilot episode) as well as the Star Trek universe--so that probably makes it a bit easier to adapt a story.
     
  20. David Weller

    David Weller Commander Red Shirt

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    When I read the first original TNG novel I felt the characters were a little out of sync with what was depicted on screen; as if the author had the series bible but hadn’t seen any episodes.