“The novels aren’t canon.”
Scarcely a week goes by that I’m not reminded of this little infonugget of fan wisdom, conveyed as it usually is from a “true fan” who doesn’t see the point of reading books, comics or whatever which are based on a licensed property, as those adventures “didn’t really happen.” Folks like this always seem to take a great bit of pride and even delight in pointing out this fact, as though they’ve just cracked Goldbach’s Conjecture.
They even do that with those of us who work with such properties on a regular basis and therefore are well-aware of this distinction. As anyone who writes such material will tell you: we know the score with respect to the “canonicity” of our contributions, but we usually don’t care. Why? Because it’s still fun. It’s fun to put my words into the mouths of characters I’ve enjoyed watching on screen, or reading about in other works of fiction. It doesn’t matter that some guy in a Hollywood office doesn’t care about what I’ve written; the people who buy and/or read my work “get it” the same way I do (at least, they do in general).
Still, the pastime of dismissing such works as “non-canonical” is very popular in certain segments of Star Trek fandom, where the topic has all-but incited knock-down/drag-out virtual fistfights, or the closest approximation to such a result when involving Star Trek fans arguing at each other via the internet. It’s also caused a fair share of drama in Star Wars fandom, where faithful followers are secure in the knowledge that “expanded universe” works such as novels, comics, video games, and whatnot actually ARE canon…albeit while operating on different “levels” of canon, none of which are observed by the folks who actually work in positions to care about such things while they’re busy making movies or TV shows or whatever.
Translation? Well, it’s like Gene always said:
With all the arguing, teeth-gnashing, keyboard-pounding, mouth-frothing NerdRage which can arise from discussion of this topic, it’s easy to forget that there actually is ONE Star Trek book that’s canon. That’s right, you can dismiss everything and anything with Star Trek on its cover, save for one single Tome of Goodness. What is the title of this seminal work? Well, allow me:
This oft-overlooked volume, authored by Terry Flanagan and Eleanor Ehrhardt, enjoys its singular status…uh, pretty much because I say so, and the fact that nothing contained within its pages has ever been contradicted by anything ever presented across the body of filmed Star Trek. Trek Or Treat documents important moments in the lives of Captain James Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise which for reasons surpassing understanding were omitted from the “official visual records” of the ship’s missions.
This oversight is easily correctable, and I think I’m just the guy to do it. I’m already working on a way of incorporating as many of the book’s entries as possible into my next work of Star Trek fiction, securing its place among the “Trek Canon” with the same level of respect I’d show such landmark episodes as “And the Children Shall Lead.”
Consider yourselves warned.