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. Timby

    Timby HAVE YOU HEARD THE WORDS OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR Administrator

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    David didn't want to have a sequel title, as he felt that the book he had written, Triangle, was a completely different beast from Imzadi. So Pocket convinced him to allow "Imzadi II" as a small subtitle below the primary title, Triangle.

    When the cover was designed, it was reversed; "Triangle" was in tiny typeface while "Imzadi II" was in 72-point type all across the cover.
     
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  2. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Moderator

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    IIRC, PAD didn't want it being called "Imzadi II".

    Memory Alpha notes:
     
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  3. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I understand marketing needs, but sometimes it can be a real PITA.

    I read both Imzadi and Imzadi II one after the other and yeah, other than the characters there wasn't much linkage between the two. I mean, I'd argue the editorial decision by Paramount to nix a Riker proposal is a bigger deal than a title, but still.

    Of course it's not the first time a 'sequel' didn't have much to do with the original work. :shrug: The biggest thing I liked about the 2nd book was a chance to see a story involving the relationship between Worf and Deanna. It was a short lived relationship and it was an opportunity to see that developed a little further, and a chance to see how it ended, since we never really saw it on screen. In "All Good Things..." they were a couple, than suddenly in Generations it was gone.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    To be fair to Pocket, there was already a Trek novel named Triangle, so they couldn't just reuse the exact same title.
     
  5. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Considering who wrote the prior novel, maybe Pocket wanted to forget it existed :rommie:

    I kid :devil:
     
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  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    All the more reason not to reuse the title and create the risk of confusion with it. I'm surprised they just appended a subtitle rather than changing it to something else entirely.
     
  7. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ha-ha. True when you put it that way. Though they probably felt ok using it as a subtitle here since the previous Triangle was written over 2 decades prior and wasn't a very memorable book at that. There was probably little chance of them being confused together.

    Honestly I don't get too hung up on book titles. Though I can understand why an author might sometimes be partial to a particular title, or conversely not wanting to use a title.

    Do you guys usually pick your own book titles? It sounds like you don't have much say on what appears on the cover itself (as far as artwork, title font, etc.) but do you usually pick the title itself?
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, or at least we work with the editor in settling on a title we're satisfied with. I've had some of my title suggestions rejected, but in those cases I've been asked to provide an alternate rather than having one imposed on me. The one title I didn't choose was The Darkness Drops Again, because KRAD picked all the Mere Anarchy titles based on the Yeats poem "The Second Coming."

    The final decisions about the cover art aren't ours, but we usually have at least some input. Sometimes we're asked for information about something the cover artist or the editor wants to depict, say. A couple of times when Doug Drexler has done my covers, he's contacted me to ask if there was a scene I thought would work well as a cover. And we usually get to give feedback on the draft cover and point out anything that needs adjustment.

    The one cover that was actually my concept to start with was Uncertain Logic, and I'm still surprised that happened. I just had the idea pop into my head one day of a cover depicting an IDIC symbol made up of the planet Vulcan and the Kir'Shara, and I made a quick mockup and sent it to my editor out of the blue, with the full awareness that it was a long shot and with no expectation that they'd actually go with it.
     
  9. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    It really varies. Sometimes your original title flies through unscathed. Other times a book may go through several titles before one gets settled on.

    This is not unique to STAR TREK or tie-in books, btw. Working titles are not sacred and are frequently revised and changed before a book goes to print, often for very good reasons.

    As an editor at Tor Books, I'm pretty hard-ass about titles. No way am I automatically going with whatever title happens to be on the original ms. Indeed, I've been known to torture authors to keep coming up with new titles until we get one that works. It's a marketing decision as much as an artistic one, and the last thing I want is for a good book to fail because of its title.

    Some examples from my Trek work. THE BLACK SHORE was originally (and unimaginatively) titled PARADISE, but my editor rejected that because it was too close to Melissa Scott's THE GARDEN, which was being published only a few books before mine. THE EUGENICS WARS was originally titled ASSIGNMENT: ARMAGEDDON and, later, was almost simply titled KHAN -- and I have some early cover mock-ups to prove it. THE WEIGHT OF WORLDS was originally THE TWILIGHT REALM, A CONTEST OF PRINCIPLES was originally A STRIFE OF INTERESTS, etc.

    Never get wedded to your titles because they can and will change.
     
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  10. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Commodore Commodore

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    "Never get wedded to your titles" is a good title in itself
     
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  11. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    As for the cover art and design, authors are often consulted as a courtesy, because nobody wants an unhappy author (or agent), but they should NEVER be given cover approval since that's simply not our job or specialty. We're not art directors or marketing people and, yes, we may well be too close to the work to step back and figure out the best way to sell the book. Not that publishers always get it right, of course, but, trust me, the world is also full of very talented authors who may have very peculiar ideas about cover art.

    Ideally, of course, everybody is on the same page. One positive example: the original art for CAPTAIN TO CAPTAIN featured Number One, Kirk, and McCoy down on the planet. When I politely pointed out that the scene in question actually involves Number One, Kirk, and Spock, it was fixed before publication. But I didn't come up with the basic cover concept myself; I was just given the opportunity to look it over before it was revealed.

    That's a case of everything working smoothly, the way it should
     
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  12. JJMiller

    JJMiller Writer Red Shirt

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    Cover design from a marketing perspective has been something I've long had a role in at other stages of my career, so I will make suggestions, and some are occasionally followed. You can't predict for everything, though. I was convinced that Enterprise War should feature Enterprise prominently so you could identify it across the store floor — which is reason enough, but subsidiary to that is I wasn't sure how recognizable the new Pike would be when the book came out. Of course, he turned out to be very popular, and I envy the German cover which put him on the front!

    (Later, with Rogue Elements, I'd already seen reaction to Rios -- so I didn't object to that cover at all!)
     
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  13. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    To be fair, the onscreen franchise is no stranger to doing this sort of thing as well, with even less time between releases...
     
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  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But those are only approximately identical, differing by an article. This wasn't The Triangle.

    VGR: "Tsunkatse" was called "Arena" until very late in the game, when somebody finally remembered there was a very famous TOS episode of that name. If it had been "The Arena," they probably would've let it be.
     
  15. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    A certain recent trilogy became LEGACIES when we belatedly realized there was already a Trek novel named LEGACY.

    And I swear to God I had completely forgotten a certain Heinlein novel when I titled a book ASSIGNMENT: ETERNITY.
     
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  16. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    And sometimes we never come up with anything better. Articles of the Federation was always a working title for that book, but nobody ever come up with a better one. My original title for Q & A was Quite Ugly One Morning.

    And I'm still stunned Diplomatic Implausibility made it through.......
     
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  17. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Outside Trek, TOMORROW SUCKS started out as a joke title for a sci-fi vampire anthology I co-edited some years ago, but we ended up using it in the end. And as I understand it, Ellen Datlow's "Untitled Alien Sex Anthology" ended up titled ALIEN SEX . . . just because people kept calling it that and it stuck. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
  18. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Commodore Commodore

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    The name of my senior art show was "none of the above" because we put that as the fifth choice of a list and everyone voted for it because all the other ideas sucked. The discussion went on. Eventually someone said, "none of the above is actually sounding pretty good at this point."
     
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  19. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    The main character in my college animated short was named after me because I argued we were spending too much time trying to think of a name after we gender-swapped the character. As revenge, I gave him the last name of the person who half-jokingly suggested "Dave" thinking I wouldn't go for it. We had fun.
     
  20. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    Almost everything about Sisko from Rough Beasts of Empire and onward. The man should have been made the Admiral over the Bajorian sector so he could be on DS9 and the Robinson or another ship could have been his flag vessel. Him becoming just another captain on just another starship was a waste of material. DS9 clearly shows him to be a capable commander of more than just a ship, a man who can think big. Plus, the loss of his connection to the Prophets in the end just never sat right either. Nothing has made me madder in ST lit than what happens to Sisko, my favorite captain.
     
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