Who else has their own chronology of Treklit?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by ryan123450, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Wow, that's incredibly obnoxious and paternalistic of the programmers. Why does so much software these days take it for granted that all users are idiots who don't know what they actually want to enter and need to have "corrections" forced on them? Microsoft is bad enough -- Google these days is even worse. It now defaults to assuming that you didn't actually mean to type what you did but instead meant some more common search phrase that's broadly similar, so it defaults to showing you results for that common search instead of what you actually searched for. It even prioritizes entries that exclude one or more of the specific terms you entered, which is insane. Google has become virtually useless for finding any very specific item, unless it's very commonplace.
     
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  2. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Commodore Commodore

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    I feel like an amateur. My timeline info is in text documents. :p

    But I'm also in the (very slow) process of updating everything and the thought had crossed my mind to switch to a spreadsheet.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I used to have my chronology as a text document, but I converted it to a spreadsheet so I could take advantage of the versatility, having multiple "sheets" for different eras so I didn't have to search through the whole thing. That's the source of the problem, since I converted it directly from a .doc file in table format to a spreadsheet format (I think I misremembered -- I never had it in Corel spreadsheet format), and Excel does things to the dates that Word doesn't.
     
  4. Jinn

    Jinn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Can you Ctrl+h all the "19"s from the dates out? I guess you'd have to do that regularly but better than keeping the wrong dates.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, because if I enter a date with just two digits in the year space, Excel adds the "19" automatically. If I try deleting it, the damn program puts it back in. The only way to stop it is to enter the whole 4-digit year.
     
  6. Jinn

    Jinn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As I suggested above you could replace the slashes with vertical lines. Although that would change the look of the file which can be a bit weird.
     
  7. Garth Rockett

    Garth Rockett Commodore Commodore

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    I should also add - it does format the text exactly as you type it without autocorrecting the year if you type a ' before you enter the date (the Excel code to indicate you want to enter text without having to go through the cell format options), but that would require retyping all the existing data.
     
  8. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Wow, that sounds incredibly annoying. I've run into annoying autocorrections on my tablet, but usually if I just delete the correction and put what I originally wrote back it leaves it. I'm surprised Excel doesn't work the same way.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I actually decided to tentatively give this a try, and as soon as I tried typing a year by itself into the year column (it was 1776 for "The Veil at Valcour"), Excel converted it to 11/10/1904! This is insane.
     
  10. Garth Rockett

    Garth Rockett Commodore Commodore

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    Highlight that column and set the cell format to General; that should enable you to enter four digit numbers in any cell in that column without it converting. If you insert a new column, it will assume you want the same format as the column to the left; I think that's what caused it to change like that.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's still obnoxious that it doesn't default to general. I don't want my tools to make my decisions for me, certainly not without asking permission.
     
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  12. lawman

    lawman Commander Red Shirt

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    Like many of you here, I maintain my own Trek timeline. It's in an Excel spreadsheet, not online anywhere (at present). (And thankfully I've always used four-digit dates!)

    FWIW, I don't think it's radically different from what most of you have come up with, judging from past discussions here. I expect most of the differences come not at the year level, but only when it dives down into months or weeks. For instance, when exactly did "WNMHGB" happen — how far in advance of the other televised episodes?

    I basically try to comply as much as possible with specific date references that are found in (or can be derived from) canonical on-screen material (e.g., it was Thanksgiving on Earth during "Charlie X"; "Paradise Syndrome" took two months; "Day of the Dove" occurs three years after "Errand of Mercy"; the FYM ended at some point in 2270), and space things out as evenly as possible in between these reference points.

    I therefore do not assume that any season of TOS or any other series lasts exactly one calendar year... and as an important corollary to this, I do not assume that the seasons of TNG-era series correspond exactly to Jan-Dec calendar years. Yes, I know this latter bit is an operating assumption of the modern Litverse... but there are too many on-screen references (especially in DS9 and VOY, but even occasionally in TNG — e.g., "Data's Day") that make it impossible, at least for the years when shows were on the air.

    One key point where I do diverge from others at the "year" level: there are fifteen years between "Space Seed" and STII:TWOK — not 18 or any other number. There are at least 20 years between "Errand of Mercy" and STV:TFF, given the history of Nimbus III. Yes, this means STII and STV are more than just a few months apart from each other. A lot of people seem comfortable ignoring this, but I don't, dammit. :-)

    Once all the canonical reference points are in there, I do my best to incorporate all of the novels. I also attempt to honor their internal chronological references, but if contradictions arise (and they certainly do), I adjust as necessary to accommodate the larger structure based on canonical references. I've made a lot more progress on this with TOS-era novels than with TNG-era novels... I have basically all of the former included (yes, all, going back to the early days), but relatively few of the pre-Litverse TNG novels. (This is primarily for the simple reason that I just haven't read many of those, and I'm not in a hurry to do so.) Are there some contradictions between early novels and later canon? Of course. Are those contradictions drastic enough that the details can't be elided and they should be considered part of an alternate reality, as CLB often says? Not to my mind. It's my head canon, and I'm sticking to it!

    It's a pet project. What that means is that I'll let it lie dormant for months at a time, then revisit it and make significant updates when I need a good excuse to procrastinate from something else. ;-) I don't expect it'll ever be finished completely, nor that it will ever correspond perfectly to anyone else's version. Still, I like having it to refer to, and I love discussing the fine points of this stuff with others!
     
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  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    More like between "Balance of Terror" and TFF. That's the most intractable data point -- there had been no UFP/Romulan contact for over a century before that episode, therefore no joint UFP/Romulan/Klingon diplomatic project could've been possible for some time before then. I don't see "Errand of Mercy" as a hard terminus post quem there, since it's possible that the early talks for a "peace planet" could've been underway earlier as an attempt to prevent the war that broke out there. Although, of course, the Vanguard novels put its origins after that.

    On the "20 years" thing, I never liked the Okudas' insistence on treating every round number as an exact date, ignoring the fact that people round things to the nearest 10 or 100 all the time. It would be an insanely improbable coincidence if not even one of the round numbers uttered by the various characters over the history of the Trek universe were an exact figure instead of an approximation or an error, so it makes the universe more realistic if you don't take every stated date as a precise figure, especially the round numbers. And the assumption that some such figures are rounded off makes it easier to deal with discrepancies and unlikelihoods. (For instance, the Okudachron's claim that the Valiant was launched in 2065, just two years after Cochrane's first flight, is ridiculous. That's a case where some degree of rounding must be assumed, since there's no way it could've been launched that early. The "200 years" figure has to be rounded up from something more like 170 or 180.)


    Well, yes, of course. That's part of the fun of it, the fact that everyone gets to make their own decisions about their personal take on the universe. We can share our own reasoning with each other and debate what approaches are better, but it's just with the intent of exploring the ideas and the creative process of building these chronologies, not demanding that others conform to one's own model.
     
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  14. dstyer

    dstyer Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Try this: When selecting your format for the date column, use the "More Number Format" at the bottom of the options. Then specify Date in the Number tab and further select way you want it to appear. There are options (for example) of "3/14/01" or "03/14/01" where only the last two numbers of the year are displayed. I tried it using several non-"19" years and it simply displayed the last two digits.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^But sometimes I want the whole four digits displayed, like at the start of a new century. I wish it would just let me type what I type and not try to change it.
     
  16. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    I worked out my own chronology back in '86-'87, which included all the movies and novels up to that time. I included the Marvel and DC comic runs as well, but I didn't consider the Gold Key comics as part of my timeline.

    I even sent it off to Dave Stern at Pocket Books, as a potential book. He didn't bite (obviously).

    It took extensive tweaking of stardates and time spans to make all those stories fit, but I did manage to get everything into a single chronology, including both versions of "the first adventure" (McIntyre's and Barr's.)

    But the continued torrent of Star Trek (TOS) stories over the ensuing three decades, plus the sequel and prequel series have made such a project impossible today. I could shoehorn ~50 novels, ~60 comic books, 79 episodes and 4 feature films into a 30-year timeline (just barely) but we're now at something like 150 novels, 200 comics, 6.25 films (and the same 79 episodes) and a 40-year timeline. It just can't work any more.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    When I first started out, I tried cramming every book and short story I had into my chronology, ignoring a lot of the contradictions (and putting most of the Pocket books post-TMP to make them fit). Eventually, though, I realized there just wasn't room, and that's when I started getting more choosy about what stories were consistent with the continuity and what ones weren't. (Heck, "Mind-sifter" in Bantam's The New Voyages took up well over a year of the 5-year mission all by itself, probably closer to two years. So it was basically a choice between that one story and everything else.)
     
  18. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Commodore Commodore

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    That's where I like the approach of the Pocket Timeline in Voyages of the Imagination. Place everything were is would best fit and let the reader decide what counts or what doesn't.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
  19. lawman

    lawman Commander Red Shirt

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    You're right, BOT constitutes a more inviolate constraint than EOM. It's theoretically possible that the Klingons could've been collaborating to establish a "Planet of Galactic Peace" even before the Organians imposed a peace treaty on them. It's just not especially plausible. (It also strikes me as implausible that the Romulans would get on board such a project before seeing that their two major rivals had had their thumbs tied by the Organians.) Since the two episodes are just a few months apart, fortunately, it doesn't really pose much of a difference.

    I wholeheartedly agree. I'll admit, however, that I have something of a "sliding scale" for how much I'm willing to fudge a number. Basically, if Spock (or Data) said it on-screen, I'm going to assume it's accurate to every significant digit. If it's a human character, though, I'll assume they're liable to engage in the ordinary sort of rounding we all do. That is to say, people are likely to be precise about something within their own living memory, especially the last couple of decades (e.g., if I was asked how long ago George W. Bush was elected, I'd say "seventeen years")... but the further back we go, the more likely we are to round things off to the nearest large number (e.g., I'd say that World War II was 70 years ago, and the Civil War 150 years ago... and if asked when Shakespeare was active, I'd say 400 years ago... never mind that none of those things was a single-year event to begin with).

    FWIW, I haven't generally made any attempt to include comics, but I make an exception for the DC Comics runs and treat them as at least provisionally valid, for what I admit are subjective reasons. 1) I thought most of the storytelling was just as good as the novels being published at the time, which I can't really say for other comics runs. 2) They fill in a lot of between-the-movies events that have hardly been touched in other TrekLit (never mind canonically), so on balance they're actually more likely to help flesh things out than they are to contradict anything.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I like both DC runs, but I treat them differently from each other -- to me, Vol. 1 is its own distinctive reality, while I include the majority of Vol. 2 in my Prime continuity. That's not because I think Vol. 2 is better, but because I realized long ago that quality and continuity are two entirely unrelated matters. There are plenty of Trek books that I love but that couldn't possibly fit with later canon, and I realized that trying to mentally edit them to force them into consistency with canon was stripping them of a lot of the flavor and character that I loved about them. So I decided to let the stories be themselves first and foremost, and either count them or not count them merely as a matter of bookkeeping, with no value judgment involved. In this case, it's simply that DC Vol. 2 is (mostly) easier to reconcile with current canon than Vol. 1.

    For that matter, Vol. 1 has its own internal continuity problems that are hard to reconcile -- the big one being the captured Bird of Prey turning out to have been in the Excelsior shuttlebay all along in "The Doomsday Bug," when the earlier Mirror Universe Saga had clearly (and correctly) shown that it was way, way too big to fit inside the Excelsior and had to be towed behind it. It's also hard to reconcile all the stories between TWOK and TSFS with the implication in TSFS that they're returning to Earth for the first time since TWOK's events (although they do help explain why the Enterprise somehow has more battle damage all of a sudden). DC's writers did the best they could to accommodate the movies in their storylines, but it was an imperfect fit.
     
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