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. donners22

    donners22 Commodore Commodore

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    Geez, I loved Restoration and, while I wasn’t a fan of the time jump, I would take the later New Frontier books over most Trek novels.

    It was the trend to constant mass death and devastation which drove me away from Trek novels. I bought well over a hundred through the ‘90s, but that dwindled to a trickle in the early ‘00s and stopped completely soon after. Millennium made me really start to question if I wanted to keep buying, and Destiny was the final straw.
     
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  2. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

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    That time Kirk gave Carl the conn while he beamed down to negotiate a mining treaty.

    Carl. What a dick.
     
  3. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I actually feel the exact opposite about that. TATV is probably as close to actually hating something in Star Trek as I ever got. Even as bad as Voyager's "Threshold" was, I can watch it from time to time and if nothing else get a few laughs (I like that even Braga admits that was not his finest hour, a little self deprecating humor can help). But TATV didn't even have 'laugh at yourself' moments like some bad episodes/movies can have. The Good That Men Do found a way to retcon that episode without actually retconning it. What we saw happened from the standpoint that Riker observed those events as we saw in TATV, but it was later discovered that it was a false history. That novel actually made TATV somewhat more watchable for me in the sense that I watch it while keeping the novel in mind now. The way the novel portrayed those events made the story of the episode make much more sense.

    I did like where The Romulan War novels were going, at least through the first Romulan War novel. Unfortunately I thought they shorted it by taking it from the originally planned 3 to 4 novels just down to 2, and after the first one was already written meaning the last 3 years of the war had to be shortened to just one novel. The 2nd novel ended up basically being almost a summary of events with a lot of gaps. Overall storywise it was ok, but a lot probably had to be left out of what Michael Martin probably initially had planned. It's one reason I always wished S&S did a Tales of the Romulan War anthology like they did for the Dominion War to add more details to the Romulan War that were missing in the 2nd book (using the 2 books as a framework to build off of). But the ship has sailed on that I'm sure.

    I always found it interesting that Michael Martin seemed to have left the Star Trek fold not long after that. I sometimes wonder if the shortening of the series had something to do with that. I mean, it's always a risk when writing novels that something could be dropped or shortened. But it seemed to me like they were shortened to just 2 books after he already wrote the first one and probably had everything planned out for 3 or 4 novels (I forget what the original 'final' plan was supposed to be before it was shortened) and then had to condense what was going to be 2 or 3 more books down to just one. I imagine if nothing else an author might be irritated at that, even if they know the business. They are, after all, only human.

    Yes, exactly. As much as I disliked TATV, the episode did us one huge favor by showing us what happened as a holodeck simulation. That gave us an 'out.' It's why I say The Good that Men Do is a 'retcon' without actually being a retcon. Those events in TATV still happened from the standpoint of Riker going to the holodeck. We just learned it was a false history he was viewing.

    I understand Wormhole's point, that it might have given some novel readers an exaggerated view of how much non-canon sources actually 'control'. But I think many of us who read the novels realize they are not canon. If Picard has done anything, it has shown us just how little novels contribute to canon (which is not at all).

    Agree with you there. At first the DS9 jump was a bit jarring, but over the years they filled in most of what happened during that period so now I don't feel like I missed anything (at least significantly).

    But with NF that never happened. We learned very little about what happened during that period. Peter David wanted to shake things up, but I just don't think it worked out all that well at the end of the day. I didn't dislike the later NF novels. They had their good points and they were ok overall. But there was a noticeable drop off IMO. There were 2 for me in fact for NF. After the first Excalibur was destroyed then after the time jump another. Now, I suppose that could happen in any long running series. It seemed David had everything mapped out for the first several books and that served those novels well. They were exciting stories, with good characters and well placed humor. Then when he completed those it just seemed he lost a bit of that early magic.

    I know I'm in the minority on that one but that never bothered me too much. Kira's faith was always an important part of her psyche. And she always regretted some of what she had to do during the Occupation. I thought she had achieved all her secular goals, with the final goal guiding Bajor into the Federation. It seemed to make sense for me that she would work on her more faith based goals and becoming a Vedek seemed to make sense for me. It gave her the perfect opportunity to work more on her faith and where she felt she was lacking in that regard.

    :guffaw:Yeah. What moron writes about politics anyway :guffaw:
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm certain that their intent was to give themselves an out in case they had a chance to revive the series. Even within the simulation, we never actually saw the moment of Trip's death, which to me makes it pretty clear that the writers were giving themselves room to reveal it was faked.
     
  5. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    True. And there was the little wink by Trip. While the series didn't get revived sadly, it did give Martin some additional room to work with when writing his book.

    It's one of those rare cases where a bad story (IMO at least) left a number of options for it to be, um, rehabilitated (for lack of a better word).

    But yeah, I'm sure there intent wasn't to give non-canon sources a way to revise things, esp. considering during the Berman reign virtually no consideration was given to novels. Probably true even today, though it sounds like the showrunners are at least aware of what the novels are up to.
     
  6. Csalem

    Csalem Commodore Commodore

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    This is actually one of the problems I had with the later DS9 novels - we got a time jump but then spent a lot of time filling in the gap. So it felt to me those novels lost momentum and just came to a shuddering halt.
     
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  7. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I've got to put in another vote for the time jump in DS9, not so much for the jump itself, but just because I disliked almost every was made after it. Pretty much the only change I liked was Ro becoming Captain. I've only read up to The Fall, but so I haven't liked any of the new characters David R. George III brought to replace the people who left. They're all boring and barely developed, which is a huge step down from the characters from the early relaunch books, who are some of my favorite Trek Lit characters.
    While the NF time jump was kind of jarring, and it was annoying that Peter David split up the cast, at least he put the characters in interesting new positions, and I think I remember liking at least a few of the new characters.
     
  8. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Commodore Commodore

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    That time jump for DS9 was simply whack. There is so little to bind together the idea of DS9 post-destruction that any parts that were good, that finally filled in gaps, or hit nice tones of what was before were just so few and far between in chapters of nothing connected together by threads of nothing. Not sure if it was a direct decision or just one of those 'its how things ended up' situations, but having Shar and Prynn move away from main cast and killing off Vaughn ended the special feelings I used to get from DS9 books.
     
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  9. Divine

    Divine Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I can't think of anything worse then "Control" which took a giant crap all over the entire star trek universe.
     
  10. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Crazy AI took a giant crap all over the Star Trek universe? :wtf:
     
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  11. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I seem to recall at the time that they wanted to bring DS9 up to the same time period that TNG and Titan novels were in. For whatever reason DS9 had fallen behind TNG/Titan (I think by 3 years by the time The Soul Key came out). After that is when we got more crossover novels like the Typhon Pact and The Fall series. I was glad they filled in some of that missing period but I did miss some of the DS9 characters we lost like Shar and Vaughn, and Prynn basically disappeared. Other characters came in that varied in quality.

    Voyager fell behind as well, and in that case it seemed they decided to leave Voyager alone. Kirsten Breyer brought Voyager up to date with her first relaunch novel but then they fell behind again and never reached 2387. I wonder if the upcoming Coda series will bring Voyager up to date as well. I imagine at least some elements of Voyager will make it into Coda since I'm assuming some of the events of To Lose the Earth that we saw will play some role.
     
  12. oldtrekkie

    oldtrekkie Captain Red Shirt

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    The irony is that a sophisticated AI turning against its creators is one of the most plausible scenarios seen in the franchise. It was one of Stephen hawking's main concerns about the future.
     
  13. Smiley

    Smiley Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I understand why the editors in charge would want to work with people they like and find dependable. However, it seems like there has been little new blood in the Trek author field in the past decade. I'm thrilled that we are getting some newer voices with Shadows Have Offended and Revenant this year.
     
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  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It didn't "fall behind" -- rather, the various series weren't in sync in the first place. Their chronologies were determined by their own respective series rather than by each other -- the DS9 post-finale novels continued from where DS9 had left off at the end of 2375, the VGR books picked up after that series ended in 2377, and the TNG novels kept pace with the movies and eventually relaunched after Nemesis in 2379. So they were all in separate time frames to begin with. SCE was roughly in sync with DS9 since it had occasional crossovers, and Titan was in sync with TNG because they were both post-Nemesis, but that was about it. There was no reason for everything to be in sync; it wouldn't have made sense when the different series were following up on TV and film series that all concluded at different points in the timeline.

    The success of Destiny changed things, as did the loss of Marco Palmieri. Margaret Clark decided that it would be better to bring everything into sync so that future crossovers could use characters from all the series. Although even then, the sync didn't last. My Department of Temporal Investigations books tended to be a year or two behind the Typhon Pact and TNG stuff, and Kirsten's Voyager books proceeded at their own pace that fell well behind both. And even closely linked books like the first four post-Destiny novels and the initial Typhon Pact miniseries weren't released in chronological order.
     
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  15. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It was definitely very, very subversive.
    The United Federation of Planets exists not because of peace and love, but a malevolent AI making sure it happens and eliminating any potential threats to it, up to and including inciting the Earth/Romulan war
    Personally, I think that's amazing but YMMV.
     
  16. Sci

    Sci Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think some of the book's readers have had a tendency to overstate the extent to which Control/Uraei were "in control" of everything in Federation history. It is, for instance, probably fair to say that Control/Uraei killed or disabled certain dissidents who might have delayed the formation of the Federation, but I don't think it would have been able to inspire the kind of widespread change in social values that planetary and then interstellar unification would have required. And there's also just the matter of how reliable a narrator Control/Uraei actually are, given that they literally seem to suffer from an A.I. version of multiple personality syndrome.
     
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  17. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not a fan of the new DS9 design.
     
  18. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    True. It just seemed to get more noticeable around the time The Soul Key came out. I think a big part of the reason for that was in TNG/Titan timely Ezri was captain of her own starship, while in The Soul Key she was still on DS9 as a Commander (or was it Lt. Commander, I forgot). After that it seemed they started doing more crossovers, in fact I think it was a while before we got a DS9 novel that actually carried the DS9 logo. But if they wanted to do more crossovers then I guess it made sense to bring it up to the same time period as TNG/Titan.

    Voyager was interesting. When Beyer took over that line from Christie Golden she brought it pretty close to the time period TNG was, but then they fell behind again. Though in that case it didn't seem to matter as much since the crossovers didn't involve Voyager at all. I think the only thing that seemed to crossover was when Tuvok joined the Voyager fleet for a period of time. Like I said, it'll be interesting to see if any of the ships or characters from Voyager appear in Coda or if we find out how things eventually turned out, since TNG/Titan/DS9 are several years in the future last we saw.
     
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  19. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think my main issue was about the impermanence of death. Be it with Trip, be it with Janeway etc. Especially the latter one. If it's decided to kill a character off, then stick with it. Resurrection only works once in a certain setting such as the TrekVerse, and it's already been done with Spock.

    I loved the way Beyer developed all the characters in the first Full Circle novels, giving Chakotay leadership qualities and developing all the others that were overshadowed by Janeway, Seven and the Doctor (and B'Elanna's Klingon issues)... and then Janeway's back and it's like a giant reset button, everyone's back in her shadow with little to no room to breathe. It simply shows that Beyer's a huge Janeway fan, especially having read her short stories... It's not that I didn't like the immediate follow-ups to Eternal Tide, but the focus shifted too much back on Janeway and Seven for me to entirely enjoy them. And let's not mention that ridiculous Conlon subplot/medical crisis... Beyer completely lost me with that one, so I stopped reading halfway through Architects of Infinity.

    The DS9-relaunch was long one of my favourites in TrekLit. All the characters that were added post "What you leave behind" were well developed and clicked with the crew still on DS9. That got lost in time, when everyone left DS9, died, joined the clergy or whatever. The replacements were never developed thoroughly... and frankly, now years later I couldn't even name one of the newer characters. And I especially don't care about captain Ezri and the Aventine, also don't care about the Robinson's crew - neither are particularly well developed beyond the "all specialists and geniuses in their field with some quirk or another"-trope. Where are the ordinary/average people that grow with the challenges they face, that the ordinary, non-genius reader can identify with? The stories themselves though remained pretty top-notch, and I'd love to see more, especially on the political/Cardassian side. So I hope the Coda-trilogy will touch on that, especially the Bashir situation on Cardassia.

    ad TNF - everything's been said... to me the end of TNF will always be Restoration, with Stone & Anvil as sort of a coda, after that I pretty quickly stopped reading.

    And just to mention it: I think it's a shame that we never had another Challenger novel - loved the setting and the characters... and would have loved to see the fallout of the Gateway-conclusion.

    But overall, I think that modern TrekLit with all the crossovers etc suffers a bit from small-universe syndrome. Whereever you go, you'll find at least one known character, and it's funny how often their paths cross, given how long it once took to get from one point to another, it used to be weeks which sort of contributed to the isolation and danger of i.e. DS9... being an immobile outpost close to the Cardassians etc. ST09 brought that one up to new levels of ridiculous, but TrekLit isn't that far behind.

    Even having said that, TrekLit was a part of my life for decades. I've lost touch in recent years, especially with no new 2387-novels coming out, but some of the characters are still much loved (Vaughn, O'Donnell, Shucorion, the way Garak shines on Cardassia), and some of my all-time favourite books are Trek-novels: Crucible McCoy, The Never-Ending Sacrifice, the Vanguard-series...
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
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  20. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I just remembered another one that bugged me, the whole thing with Dukat and the real Illiana Ghemor in Fearful Symmetry. Dukat was definitely a bad guy, but I never really saw him going that far.
     
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