What Books Are "Canon"?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Stevil2001, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, I know, no books are "canon."

    Barring that fact-- what books have had claims from their creators to be canonical. Jeri Taylor indicated that Mosaic and Pathways were canonical, yes? And didn't Bob Orci say something similar about Countdown?

    Anything else out there? Did Roddenberry ever make any such claims for the TMP novel?
     
  2. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    He recanted.

    Claiming that a written Trek work is canonical is just a lame way of trying to say, "Our work here is important...much moreso than all those other silly books." Feh.
     
  3. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, that's interesting, too. Where/why did he do that?
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    She thought of them that way, but her successors didn't.

    As for Orci, I recall him making many clear statements that the comics weren't canon, but I don't recall for sure if he ever claimed they were. I think maybe there was an early statement that was misinterpreted or taken out of context and led to the "Orci says it's canon" article, but then he clarified. There's a difference between what people actually say and what words reporters put in their mouths.


    Even if he had at the time, I doubt it would've made much difference later on, because Roddenberry never hesitated to rewrite his own canon. Indeed, the TMP novelization was where he advanced the idea that TOS itself had merely been an "inaccurately larger-than-life" dramatization of Kirk's "real," more believable adventures. And in the same passage he explicitly established the novelization itself as another dramatization, which he purported to be more accurate, but still, the very fact that it was presented as an interpretation and fictionalization of actual events inherently suggests that it wasn't inviolable gospel.

    I think that Roddenberry saw canon, not as a fixed structure, but as a work in progress that could try things out and discard them if they didn't work. His opinions about canon seemed to focus more on what it excluded than what it included, since any part of it might be subject to exclusion if he decided he was unsatisfied with it.
     
  5. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    He recanted his statement that the ongoing comic series is canon after that debacle on Trek Movie where he was goaded into calling it canon. I don't recall him ever saying Countdown is canon. Hell, the movie presents the destruction of Romulus different from what we see in the comic, kind of negating that notion.
     
  6. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Oh, yes, I remember now. Pascale was being a very irresponsible interviewer, trying to impose his personal agenda and pressure the interviewee into going along with it. And it was pretty clear that Orci was just humoring him to get him to stop harping on the issue. In context, it's clear that Orci himself never considered the tie-ins to be canonical, because literally everything else he's ever said on the subject has affirmed that they aren't.
     
  8. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So just Mosaic and Pathways then? I wonder if the old interviews where those statements came from are available anywhere. (I want to see sources!)

    I was reminded today that Star Trek Online is supposedly "soft canon," whatever the hell that means.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I believe Startrek.com used to say those two were canonical, but that's not the same as a quote from Taylor herself.

    Of course, the best evidence for Taylor's views on the canon status of Mosaic is the episode "Coda," which referenced Janeway's backstory from the novel.
     
  10. urbandefault

    urbandefault Commodore Commodore

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    Since I don't read many of the novels, I'm going to say "not a scrap."

    I'm pretty sure that there is a large portion (if not a majority) of fans of the tv series and movies who don't give a crap about the novels and comics.

    Conjecture? Maybe. Call it intuition.

    For me, if it ain't onscreen it's "alternate universe."
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^But that's not Steve's question. He's asking whether there were books which were declared to be canonical by their authors or by the showrunners, which is a different issue from personal opinions on the subject. Because, of course, the only people whose opinions ever have any bearing on canon are the creators of the franchise.
     
  12. urbandefault

    urbandefault Commodore Commodore

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    Ok, fine. ;)

    You've said repeatedly, paraphrasing, that canon has been overwritten or interpreted differently through the decades.

    But unless something is directly stated to be canon by TPTB and referenced in subsequent onscreen works, there is no way to interpret it other than "alternate universe." IMO, YMMV.

    It has also repeatedly been stated that if it isn't onscreen it isn't canon.

    What an author states as canon makes no difference unless it's backed up by the owners of the property.

    I didn't make the rules. If they've been changed, fine. But still, in my opinion, print is not canon. Only what's onscreen. That's the only way to have any kind of coherent continuity.
     
  13. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think you still don't grasp the intent behind this thread. Steve is only asking which books have been CLAIMED being canon by the authors, no matter if they were canon or not (which they were not).
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Exactly. It's not about debating the validity of canon claims, since there are already sixty-three million threads about that topic. It's simply asking about what specific claims have actually been made.
     
  15. urbandefault

    urbandefault Commodore Commodore

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    Claims are like ... never mind. :lol:
     
  16. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sure there was something in the "Official Star Trek Magazine" at the time. Interviews with Jeri Taylor. Taylor was still with the show when she penned "Mosaic", and she used her own backstory she have developed for Janeway when creating VOY and during its first few years. So, as far as she was concerned, the information she was putting into "Mosaic" was canonical. IIRC, she left the regular staff to complete "Pathways" and similarly said it was definitive for the writers to use onscreen, but they started overwriting some of the characters' "Pathways" backstories almost immediately.

    In that same mag - in one of his monthly columns - Richard Arnold specifically said that not even Gene Roddenberry's own novelization was canonical, except for the bits actually depicted onscreen.

    Can be overruled by onscreen evidence at any time? But we've even seen examples of "hard" canon (ie. actual episodes) being overridden for the sake of a new script.
     
  17. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But canon you can override at any time and nothing is beholden to isn't canon at all!
     
  18. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I imagine it's marketing-speak for "completely and totally non-canon, but if we call it something else, maybe you'll attach more authority to our tie-in product than actually exists".

    Either that, or it's the type of canon they serve at Dairy Queen.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Meaning that canon isn't canon at all, since creators frequently override their own past ideas. (Otherwise Spock would be a Vulcanian with a human ancestor and would work for UESPA.)

    Canon isn't a measure of permanence, simply a classification of origin.


    I have the impression that some people who are new to the licensed Trek tie-in game, like the STO people, have perhaps had some unclear ideas of how canon works in Trek, and have made statements reflecting their best understanding at the time but not really reflecting how it works. Canon can be confusing because of all the mythology that's accreted around the word. It makes it hard to recognize how simple it actually is at the core.
     
  20. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, thanks for the lecture, I have not been frequenting Star Trek literature forums since 1999.

    I said "nothing is beholden to." Tie-ins are beholden to the Star Trek canon. It is more than a classification of origin.