What's the worst non-canon decision in the history of Trek?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by F. King Daniel, Jul 3, 2021.

  1. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Inspired by this thread, what's the worst choices the Trek novels, comics and other non-canon print media have ever made?

    My choice is the retcons and creative choices made in "The Good That Men Do" and the following Romulan war arc. "These Are the Voyages" was awful but it could have been tackled so much better. Did not enjoy.

    What are everyone else's?
     
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  2. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My vote is for Vedek Kira. That just never clicked for me. Nothing ever done with it ever felt like it justified that decision - at most, I feel like it’s something that might have come in to play with regards to the Endala falsehood storyline, but one, it doesn’t seem likely to be a conclusion we’re getting and two, I’m not a fan of telling the story backwards. Kira joining the Vedeks never really seemed to fit her character.

    I’d easily go more broadly and say a lot of the post-Destiny DS9 personnel shakeup never really clicked, though I get that was more enforced by editorial decisions than necessarily anything else, which, the topic is about in-universe events, not necessarily out of universe choices.
     
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  3. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Worf's next girlfriend being murdered too and then whining for 10 books about never getting a promotion.
     
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  4. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The hasty DS9 time jump and the huge, seemingly out of left feild changes that occurred during it. I almost quit reading the novels after they left us on that huge Ascendants cliffhanger for so many years.

    Not a very big deal long term, but the early TNG comic where they meet f$@!ing Santa Claus was one of the worst ideas I’ve ever seen.
     
  5. Cloud

    Cloud Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Killing off Si Cwan in NF and pretty much anything in the entire series from that point on. That was a huge jump the shark moment for me.
     
  6. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Admiral Admiral

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    Nana Visitor didn't like that either.

    Not the novel'verse, but STO's backstory also had her join the clergy, and by 2409 she was even the Kai.

    When they did their DS9 focused expansion and brought in Nana to voice Kira, they wrote a story where you rescue Kai Opaka, she becomes Kai again so Kira can get her commission back in Starfleet lmao.
     
  7. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    I feel like the New Frontier time-jump was far less successful than the DS9 one. The DS9 jump was at least motivated by external factors (no more leaving DS9 out of cross-overs), and even though it took forever, all the blanks were filled in artfully enough that if you read the books straight through now, it might almost seem like it wasn't a creation of circumstance. The NF jump was meant to shake things up by restoring mystery to the characters' backstories, but it sacrificed all the inertia the series had, none of the new mysteries could be that interesting (since if anything really juicy happened, it'd make more sense to have it happen within the narrative, after the time-skip), the subsequent novels tended to be repetitive (were there two or three times the Excalibur had to travel to another dimension to fight evil pan-universal invaders?), a number of plotlines and character arcs were stuck in holding patterns, and the sexual relationships got, like, Dan Simmons-weird and uncomfortable. Which is why whenever I hear someone is starting the series, I recommend they treat "Stone & Anvil" as the series finale and don't continue with any of the later books.

    And I agree that Šmrhová never really came into her own the way Choudhury had, and with the Trip's death retcon being hasty and damaging the dynamics of the crew during the Romulan War arc by removing him from the action. The Andorian transporter duplicates weren't "bad" so much as "a nagging, dangling thread."

    I don't think I'd say it's the "worst," but I'll also throw in a dishonorable mention for "A Time to Be Born/Die." I remember reading the book and being intensely frustrated that the crew seemed to be so utterly passive throughout the plot. Then there's a scene where the bad guys fridge the guest character Wesley is sweet on, and he flies into a rage and uses his Traveller superpowers to kill them all in revenge, and I actually sighed and said "Finally!" because someone was doing something to resolve the situation, even if it was a terrible thing that was making things worse. Then I got to the end of the passage, and it was revealed that Wesley was merely daydreaming about taking revenge and was still just sitting there, feeling awful, and I felt very betrayed by the cruel tease that some events might occur during this story. Many years later, John Van Citters was giving an interview on Engage, the former official Star Trek podcast, and described that scene as an example of the kind of thing licensing approval exists to put a stop to, so apparently, Wesley actually was going to kill a bunch of people at one point in the book's development and the scene was hastily edited. I'm not saying it would've made the book better to have Wesley Crusher fly into a vengeful rage and disembowel a bunch of... whoever they were... but I do think having him still be provoked in the same way and then just think about it really hard made it worse.
     
  8. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Worst decision: allowing Richard Arnold to have any involvement in the books.

    Oh, you mean creative decision. In that case...

    Allowing Richard Arnold to have any involvement in the books. :)
     
  9. Unionized Elf

    Unionized Elf Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    At the time, I remember scratching my head over the wisdom of rapidly jumping through the early 2380s back around 2012-2013-ish. This was done partly due to the fact that after the old DS9 was destroyed, they wanted to jump right to the new one being finished construction, which happened in The Fall, a big crossover event, so all the other novel series jumped accordingly. Problem was, by the end of The Fall, they were at the end of 2385, meaning subsequent novels would be in 2386, and at that time the novels weren't allowed to cover the Romulan supernova meaning they had to avoid 2387, which I figured was going to really hinder the Litverse seriously and unnecessarily given they didn't have to rapidly jump years ahead and bring themselves closer to the glass ceiling imposed by legalities.

    Granted, now, that's worked out for the better. A combination of slumming in 2386 and the 2018 gap year means the novels never got to address the Romulan supernova which works out since if they had it would be contradicted by Picard anyway, but no one had anyway of knowing that in 2012 and 2013 when the decisions were made.

    There's also the aforementioned decision to rewrite TATV with the Enterprise novels, which I think has resulted in the novel fans getting an exaggerated opinion of the novel's value. Because of that, everyone seems to think the novels should always be allowed to do what they want. IE, when the licensing issues prevented the Litverse from handling the Romulan supernova everyone was all "then just ignore it like you did TATV" and now that the presence of Picard is necessitating the end of the Litverse everyone is once again moaning about "can't the novels just ignore Picard like they did TATV?" By doing that with TATV, the novels set themselves on a slippery slope of precedent that set fans expectations to a level they never should have been set. And really, the whole thing was just cashing in on the knee-jerk hatred of TATV that existed in fandom, which struck me as a rather unprofessional manner for the tie-in products to be behaving in.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And of course, the novels didn't ignore TATV. They took advantage of the fact that TATV only showed a simulation rather than the firsthand events. They still remained true to the letter of the text, as all tie-ins are obligated to do.
     
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  11. Unionized Elf

    Unionized Elf Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    A subtlety which seems to be lost on the vast majority of the novel readers who are now demanding that the stuff they don't like in the new shows be ignored in the novels the way TATV was. If the novels hadn't done that, those fans wouldn't be able to make those demands today.
     
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  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Then they would've just stuck with the old "Well, the books don't count anyway" complaint, like they always did before. It's a vain hope that anything could prevent fans from complaining.
     
  13. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Rear Admiral

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    Ironically, however, in the Deep Space Nine retrospective documentary What We Left Behind, the writer-producers (Ira Steven Behr, Ronald D. Moore, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Hans Beimler, etc.), when speculating about where the characters would be 20-odd years after the end of Season 7, immediately posited that Kira would be a vedek — and they were unanimous in supporting that choice. So in that respect, David R. George III was closer to the producers' intentions than any of us realized at the time.
     
  14. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I was JUST talking to some guy on FB who was insisting that the books should be able to ignore the movie and TV continuity "like they have before." He didn't mention that ENTERPRISE novel, though.
     
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Moderator

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    Have you met fandom? ;)
     
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  16. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Well, if we're talking about that kind of decision, then Pocket laying off Marco Palmieri was a bad one. It didn't take long for it to work out well for Marco, who's had quite the career over the last several years. But there was a real golden age in Trek fiction for a while there. There are still good Trek novelists doing great work, but there was a sense of direction and exploration that was lost.

    As for in-universe bad decisions: pretty much anything in any of the later New Frontier books.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It wasn't really Pocket, it was Simon & Schuster as a whole having to downsize considerably, firing people in a bunch of departments to avoid bankruptcy in the 2009 economic crash. They chose Marco because he was the highest-paid one of the Trek/tie-in editors. So it wasn't a creative decision, it was a business decision -- or more of a business necessity, desperately throwing stuff overboard to keep the ship from sinking. Although its impact in creative terms was definitely negative, at least for Pocket (though it was Tor's gain).
     
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  18. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If Restoration or Stone and Anvil had been the finale -- and I hated Restoration -- I'd look back on New Frontier with genuine fondness instead of disappointment. It's historically significant for what it is, rather than for what it did.
     
  19. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Yeah, I was just keeping it simple. And I don't mean that firing Marco was a creative decision, any more than Richard Arnold losing his job was a creative decision -- but those were real world events that shaped the creative decisions of the Star Trek tie-in books' editors and writers.

    Yep. I'm happy it was as successful as it was because that led the way for other things. But that's about it; I can't imagine ever wanting to reread any of it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2021
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  20. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Letting that DeCandido hack come up with a Federation government. What a convoluted unoriginal mess that was.....