Where the heck do I start with ST books?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by TheSublimeGoose, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I stand corrected.

    And there was A LOT from that era that was terrible. Some of it terrible from a continuity standpoint (Spock Must Die! comes to mind, because the Klingons end up out of the picture for a few millennia, as I recall), some of it perfectly good SF, but terrible Star Trek, and some of it just plain terrible.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Just to be clear, it's only some fans and news-site writers who treat the post-finale DS9 novels as "additional seasons." They were never actually written that way. Marco Palmieri's goal behind the post-finale series was not merely to copy what had been done on TV, but to take advantage of the potentials and opportunities of the novel format to do things that the TV format couldn't do. Nothing can live up to its own potential if it's pretending to be something that it's not. The only way the novels could be the best they could be was by embracing the fact that they were novels. So they were never plotted or written as "seasons" and they were never promoted that way.

    And I'd say the post-Marco DS9 books haven't come anywhere near fitting a "season" model either, since they tend to span quite a lot of time in each single book or trilogy, sometimes a year or two, not to mention the jumps between books. I don't see anything about the DS9 novels that bears the remotest resemblance to a TV season format, so I don't know how this myth endures.


    Yes, but what I meant was that "The Business, As Usual, During Altercations" (the name of Lawrence's original Mudd novella) was nowhere near the quality of James Blish's work. I wasn't citing its quality just to be negative, but as additional evidence that Blish didn't write it.
     
  3. Jinn

    Jinn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That is not entirely correct as Cross Cult promoted the books from Avatar to Unity as DS9 season 8 and the following three novels as DS9 season 9. They are even numbered that way with Avatar 1 being 8.01 and so on.
     
  4. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Commander Red Shirt

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    Hm, well in that case I'll just say that I personally treat this bulk of stories as seasons, as apparently a good number of others (but not everyone) does. My reason being is that later books are so far separated from each other in both time and story that the current DS9 continuity just kind of feels like stories in the "DS9 Universe" and not so much a continuing "DS9 Story"...if that makes sense. I understand that that is just how the litverse is basically set up now, but when I started the DS9 relaunch I burned through one book after another in a blaze of reading glory. Given that so many books happen one after another (for the most part) within the same two years, it really felt as if I were reading episodes of the series, where little bits of plot and character development is carried over across the entire whole.

    I will concede though, that these 'seasons' don't fit a strict Star Trek style episode model..more of a modern 13-episode serialized model would be a better analogy.

    Also, to clarify, I only feel this way about the initial DS9 relaunch before the time jump. Post-Marco stories are again the ones I consider 'Stories within the DS9 Universe', but Marco era novels are 'The Stories of DS9' which as presented, could easily be additional episodes of the series, as they continue and complete a lot of material that was not fleshed out from the series.

    I hate to put it in such an abstract manner, but for me, these books just FEEL like Deep Space Nine.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, they were never promoted that way by Pocket. And the pretense that Unity was a "season finale" doesn't really work, because it's only set about 6 months after Avatar, and the end of 2376 doesn't come until Warpath. If the books were forced into a "season" model, then Unity would be more like the big February-sweeps 2-parter and Warpath would be the cliffhanger finale. But of course they were never actually plotted or written with anything so artificial in mind, which is why the analogy is such a poor fit.

    If anything, I'd say the DS9 novels are more logically divided into several phases. The first phase was Avatar through Gateways. The second was Mission: Gamma, Rising Son, and Unity. The third was Worlds of DS9 and Warpath, and the fourth was Fearful Symmetry and The Soul Key, plus whatever would've followed them if Marco's original plan had continued. Or maybe WoDS9 was the third phase all on its own, and Warpath et seq. are the fourth.
     
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  6. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Commander Red Shirt

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    I believe when I read them, I thought of it this way:

    Avatar -> Gateway Crisis = Season 1 (or, as per Christopher, Phase 1)

    Twilight -> Unity = Season 2

    Worlds of DS9 = Season 3.0

    Warpath -> Soul Key = The epic made for TV movie finale, season 3.5

    Looking back, yes, this is an inelegant organization-view, but honestly this is the only group of Trek books I feel this way about. It might not be the perfect way to describe the relaunch, but it makes personal sense to me.
     
  7. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    That was rather short-sighted on Blish's part. Since the Klingons were a major enemy, chances were that any future Trek productions would feature them again. And they did appear a few years later in TAS, and then again in TMP.

    Kor
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What future Trek productions? He wrote the book in 1970. The TV show had been cancelled. As far as anyone knew at the time, Star Trek was dead. Nobody could've predicted that it would be revived and become an enduring franchise. I'm not sure if any cancelled TV show had ever been given a revival or sequel up to that time. (Although I'd be interested to know if there were any that had.)
     
  9. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    True... but in the foreword, Blish himself asked fans to push for a revival of the series. If such a revival had actually happened, it surely would have just ignored what Blish did with the Klingons. And "Spock Must Die" still would have ended up as an oddball just like it did the way things actually turned out... if that makes sense.

    Kor
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Which still wouldn't have been seen as a big deal, since nobody back then would've expected a show to follow the continuity of its tie-ins anyway. Tie-ins of the day were generally not that concerned with fidelity to the source; they were more like variations on a theme, parallel versions of a concept. They were just stories, not some big interconnected "reality." Heck, even within a single series, the individual stories didn't generally fit together all that well. Continuity was not the priority that it is today.
     
  11. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Very true, Mr. Bennett.

    And "Kor," how refreshing it is to find somebody who can spell "foreword" properly, when referring to the front-matter in a book.
     
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  12. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Here's the list of DS9 Relaunch books I put together for Memory Omega.
    The big time jump happens between The Soul Key and Zero Sum Game. The Left Hand of Destiny, and N-Vector (a comic book miniseries I've still never read) are both side stories that tie into the main arc, but don't really have a significant impact. The Never Ending Sacrifice, is another side story that follows Rugal (the Cardassian boy raised by a Bajoran from the episode Cardassians) from the shortly after he was taken to Cardassia to the Relaunch era. Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) and Rules of Accusation are the Quark e-novellas.
     
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  13. Cap'n Calhoun

    Cap'n Calhoun Writer Red Shirt

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    Not that it really matters that much if someone chooses to view the books as having "seasons" or not, but just because the TV shows had one season equate to one year of in-universe chronology (ignoring discrepancies like how quickly Alexander and Molly age) doesn't mean that books, comics, or even future shows like Discovery have to use the same equivalency. To use some non-Trek examples, Lost had 3-4 weeks elapse per season (roughly a day per episode) and the final season of How I Met Your Mother (largely) took place over three days. To say nothing of 24.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Of course not, but everyone who favors the "season" model tends to assume that Unity is the "season finale," as if that were some absolute, unquestionable fact, and that's simply not the case. There's no single, unambiguous way to read them as "seasons" because they were never intended to fit a "season" model at all. They were meant to be books, to embrace being books, to do things that only books could do.
     
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  15. Jbarney

    Jbarney Captain Captain

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    My god....I think Spock Must Die was the first trek novel I ever read. And err....I liked it. :whistle:
     
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  16. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    SMD was good science fiction, and it was even fair ST. Especially for its day. S:M was good science fiction, but lousy ST, because it involved, in effect, techno-telepathy at a distance. Both were lousy in terms of continuity, but then again, that was typical of that era, when the very idea of ST returning in any form other than prose was beyond most people's wildest dreams.

    Even today, continuity is really only of concern to geeks like us, except in special cases like soap operas, or miniseries, or in JMS's 5-year miniseries, Babylon 5. And of course, there are series that deliberately thumb their noses at continuity, regularly killing off characters only to have them reappear unharmed the very next week (my understanding is that South Park does so, although I've never actually seen it, and that The Simpsons also does so, although I'm not sure I've seen even a single episode all the way through).

    BTW, as far as television series being resurrected, yes, it did happen, but not, so far as I'm aware, with anything that only ran three seasons. Dragnet was resurrected (fairly successfully, with Jack Webb reprising his starring role) in 1967, and Perry Mason was resurrected (failing at 15 episodes, without so much as a single member of the original cast) in 1973 (it, of course, returned as a series of 30 made-for-TV movies starring Raymond Burr, in 1989).
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  17. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    You're about 10 or 20 years out of date, hbquikjamesl. Serialization has been increasing more and more since the 90s, and it's been essentially the direction for television ever since the mid-2000s; I can't think of a single prominent show to be primarily episodic that's premiered in the last decade. Definitely not in genre television, but even sitcoms have gone more towards serialization to some degree.

    I mean, you mention South Park, but even it's used full season-long story arcs for a couple seasons now.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I wouldn't call Spock: Messiah good science fiction, or good anything, really, except titillation fodder for a boy in his early teens. Okay, there's potential in the concept of the "dops," but it isn't well-realized (there's a massive plot hole hinging on the main characters' inability to differentiate Spock's voice from that of a completely different person, even after hearing it extensively throughout much of the book). And the alien culture is just a stock pre-industrial society, the kind SF writers use as an excuse to pass off what's essentially historical fiction as science fiction rather than imagining something genuinely alien or futuristic.


    The New Perry Mason was a reboot with a different cast (including Monte Markham and Sharon Acker). I was talking about a revival of the same series with the same cast and continuity. So Dragnet does count there. But not many people at the time would've expected a science fiction series to have as much enduring popularity as one of TV and radio's longest-lived crime dramas.


    I'm actually getting a little tired of how virtually every Arrowverse episode needs to end with a cliffhanger setup for the next episode, even if it's an unrelated story. That's the sort of thing that I think should be saved for when it really matters.
     
  19. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I never said The New Perry Mason wasn't a reboot (although the term hadn't occurred to me in relation to it until you mentioned it). But Dragnet 1967 and The New Perry Mason (which came at a time when there was a lot of "the new this" and "the new that" on television, even in game shows: the Bob Barker/Dennis James retooling of The Price is Right was, for the first year or two, The New Price is Right; Match Game '73 [. . . '74 . . . '75 . . .] was an outlier) were the only two examples that occurred to me, and it's purely dumb luck that they represented opposites in terms of both approach and result.

    What's an "Arrowverse"?
     
  20. Trekfan12

    Trekfan12 Captain Captain

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    I'm currently reading a very good TOS novel called "The Latter Fire," by James Swallow. It's about a first contact gone wrong (but was it the Enterprise, Starfleet or the Federation's fault?)
    The five-year mission of the Starship Enterprise has brought the vessel and her crew to the forefront of an important first contact situation. Under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, the ship is heading to the planet Syhaar Prime in the Beta Quadrant—the home world of an alien civilization preparing to take its first steps on to the galactic stage. One year earlier, the Enterprise came across a badly damaged Syhaari explorer vessel drifting in deep space. In collaboration with the explorer’s captain, Kirk and his crew were able to restore the ship to full function and send it on its way. And now, as the Syhaari display rapid technological advances made over the past year, hard questions must be asked. Did the Enterprise crew leak advanced technology or information to the Syhaari during their first encounter, in total violation of the Prime Directive?