Yaznez, Alaska?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by acappellasaurus, Apr 20, 2024.

  1. acappellasaurus

    acappellasaurus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't have a copy readily available, and need some help from the TrekLit Brain Trust™.

    In the early days of TNG before we had our hero's backstories fully fleshed out, some of the details presented in lit were wrong (no slight to any authors, it was the wild west then). I have a memory of Riker's hometown being stated as Yaznez, Alaska, which is not a real place in my state (later in canon established to be Valdez, Alaska, a very real place). Am I imagining this, or is it in print? I feel like it was somewhere in the beginning of the Peter David novel "Strike Zone", but maybe I am wrong. Bonus points for a screenshot, if this is real. Thanks in advance from your friendly neighborhood Alaskan Trekker!
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I definitely recognize the name Yaznez, Alaska, but I don't remember from where. I checked, and it isn't from the series bible. I may have seen it in magazine coverage, possibly David Gerrold's Starlog columns written during his tenure on the writing staff. Or it may have been something Frakes mentioned during a press appearance to promote the show; I remember seeing the actors appearing on morning news shows and Entertainment Tonight and the like to talk about the show and their characters.
     
  3. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

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    Nothing on Memory Beta either, they only offer Valdez as a hometown for Riker.
     
  4. Oddish

    Oddish Admiral Admiral

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    Well, we need a place to put the statue of him. Preferably straddling a chair or bench or something.
     
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  5. T'Ressa Dax

    T'Ressa Dax Captain Captain

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    As big and empty as Alaska is, there's plenty of room for new towns to be established in the next 400 years.
     
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  6. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Okie dokie! Moderator

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    I tried searching my ebook of Strike Zone, and could not find any references to "Yaznez", sorry. Alaska itself was mentioned a couple times, but not seemingly in connection with any city/town names.

    Just to see, I tried searching the first 10 TNG ebooks (at least the ones I have), and was unable to find "Yaznez" in any of them. There weren't really any references to Alaska, either, until #10: A Rock and a Hard Place made lots of references to Riker's Alaskan background, but his birthplace was given as Valdez there.

    Note that I only get the ebook versions when they go on sale, so I don't have #6 Power Hungry or #9 A Call to Darkness.
     
  7. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Searching the Internet Archive, I found it in a 1992 fanzine. So it was definitely out in fandom.
     
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  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Found it! Issue 5 of Starlog's Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine, copyright 1989 with a March cover date, the first issue covering season 2. On page 7, the second page of an interview with Jonathan Frakes, Frakes is quoted as saying: "Anyway, in the writers' bible for the show, it says that Riker is from Yaznez, Alaska. Yaznez, Alaska?"

    That must've been the season 2 revision of the bible, since it's not in the season 1 version I have.

    Anyway, I would conjecture that the bible actually said Valdez, and maybe the photocopying in Frakes's edition of the bible was muddy and he thought it said "Yaznez."
     
  9. acappellasaurus

    acappellasaurus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Huh! Some cool sleuthing on this, thanks all! I wonder how in the world I got "Yaznez" in my brain just from those rare references?! I would for sure have been reading Starlog in '89, but that was a very young me. Maybe it stuck in my brain because it's my home state. Anyhow, cool find - thank you!
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It stuck in my brain too, and I think it's because Frakes said it twice in a row in the interview, calling extra attention to it. As my father always said, "Repetitio est mater discendi. Repetitio est mater discendi. Repetitio est..." :D It's also a weird enough name to stand out.

    As for the sleuthing, I just got lucky that it was in a magazine I still have, and that it was early enough in the run that I found it before giving up. I felt it was either one of Gerrold's behind-the-scenes columns in Starlog proper or an interview in the TNG magazine, and it turns out I only still have two of Gerrold's columns. I would've assumed I'd kept all six of those issues (or however many he did before he left TNG).

    I guess the next thing to do is to track down a Season 2 TNG writers' bible and see if it says Yaznez or Valdez. Unfortunately, all I can find online are the March and September revisions of the Season 1 bible (the former of which is the one I have in hardcopy), and neither of them mentions Riker's hometown.
     
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  11. BK613

    BK613 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  12. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

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    Okay... that's interesting and means that it could be the name of a fictional city somewhere on Earth (or a Human colony)... but if possible makes even less sense as the name of a fictional Alaskan town than it did already.