I got an odd e-Mail this morning:
“I see in your blog that you’ve just finished writing an original series novel. I don’t really like those, so I won’t be buying or reading yours. I like to support writers whose books I enjoy reading, so I hope your next book is about the Next Generation or maybe Deep Space 9, because I like reading those books.”
Now, I get that not everyone will like everything (or even anything) I write. Within the realm of Star Trek fandom, I understand that not everyone likes every flavor of Star Trek. However, I’m not sure what this person was attempting to accomplish by sharing this little missive with me. Was I supposed to pledge to never again write a TOS novel in the hopes of retaining this person’s patronage?
I’ve seen similar discussions pop up along these lines (see below), and more than once I’ve been asked some flavor of, “Why write a TOS novel? Aren’t there enough of those? Why not write something else?”
Because I wanted to. I mean, duh.
So, I’m not bothering with a response to the e-Mail, but it did remind me of this bit I wrote back in 2010 when I came across a bulletin board discussion that covered some of the same ground. It prompted the following post originally written on May 9, 2010: “More original series Trek stories? Yes, please. Always.”
So, I’m reading message boards this morning, and I come across a discussion started by someone commenting that they didn’t want to see any more stories with the original Star Trek characters. He’d done some thinking, and figured that this one group of people had encountered far too many adventures to be credible. It wasn’t realistic, apparently. To make it more interesting, he was referring only to the original series’ 79 episodes, and not even the subsequent animated series and movies, to say nothing about the novels, short stories, comics, and what-have-you produced in the nearly 45 years which have elapsed since audiences first heard those now-immortal words, “Space…the final frontier.”
I’ll admit that I used to wonder every so often how Kirk and company ever got any sleep. If you were to chronologically order all of the adventures featuring them over the years, it probably comes out to them encountering an alien planet, ship, or other threat about once every six or seven minutes, give or take. Yeah, that’s more than a tad unrealistic.
Then, I remembered one key, salient point: Kirk and the gang? Um, they’re not real.
I’ve been reading Superman and Batman stories my entire life, and both of those boys were cranking out adventures decades before I was born. I also dig my fair share of James Bond tales, and he’s been rockin’ the spy thing since before I showed up, too. Ditto Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom, and so on. Guess what? I still like a well-executed story with any of those characters. Hell, there are any number of characters who’ve been doing their respective things in book/other form for decades and for which I have little or no interest, but I know they’ve got their fans. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys? Tom Swift? Mike Hammer, Nick Carter, or Spenser? Even “men’s adventure” heroes like Remo Williams and Mack Bolan still draw fans after decades of stories, and new Bolan adventures continue to be published at a regular (and rapid) pace.
A good story is a good story. If it’s a bad story, then it’s one I’ll likely never revisit again, so no problem there. That still leaves a lot of good ones, and if they feature characters you’ve long ago grown to love, then so much the better. For me, that goes double for Kirk and his merry Enterprise band. I can’t ever imagine myself saying something like, “Please, no more stories with these characters. There are too many.” If I have my way, I’ll be reading a good original series-era tale while being wheeled into the dining facility at the retirement home.
Besides, I figure at that age, I’ll be in the bathroom a lot, and I’ll need something interesting to help pass the time.