All righty, then.
I’m a sucker or good blog fodder. After all, it’s either this, or I let people pay me $100 a throw to advertise their crap products in this space. That’s probably a great idea for paying off my liquor bills, but I respect my readers (both of you) too much to subject you to that sort of thing.
The question included with this latest e-Mail asked about my feelings about how all of the various “non-canon” Star Trek stories–books, comics, games, and whatever else–fit together, if they can be fitted together, is it madness to try, and do I have trouble deciding what stays in the mix versus what gets left on the side of the proverbial road.
I guess those are going to have different answers, depending on who you ask.
For me, I shrug and say that, sure, most if not all of the stories can fit together…provided you’re willing to squint to varying degrees, or smooth over rough edges of contradiction here and there. After all, we’re talking about stories written over a span of nearly fifty years, more than a few of which tread the same ground in one respect or another. Example: How many stories depict the end of Kirk’s five-year mission from the original series? How many fates have been offered for the U.S.S. Defiant after it disappeared into spatial interface in “The Tholian Web?” How did Jack Crusher die? Etc. etc.
I also nod and say, “Yes, it’s madness to do any of the above.”
I used to worry about such things, particularly when it came to Kirk’s five-year mission. After all, how many adventures can one group of people have in such a strictly defined period of time? Well, a buttload, as it turns out, starting with the original episodes and adding in everything that’s been written since then, right up to this very year, which has already seen a couple of novels set within that timeframe. My bookshelves are crowded with stories featuring Kirk and the gang written over the bulk of those nearly fifty years that have passed since the original series was first on TV. Does that stop me and Kevin from starting in on writing another one here in a week or so? Hell, no.
With the release of Armageddon’s Arrow, the reader of the e-Mail we’re discussing asked if I had tried to fit all of the Next Generation-era stories together, and which ones might I keep in the mix. As with the original series, I learned to stop losing so much sleep over such things (Truth be told, I wasn’t ever losing sleep over such things, but you get what I mean).
When I write a new Star Trek story, I pay attention to see that I’m not deliberately trouncing over anything that’s come before, whether we’re talking about the ongoing and often interconnected storylines of the current crop of Star Trek novels, or those awesome Trek books of yesteryear. If I can avoid contradicting something regardless of when it was written, then I’ll make every effort to do so. There are occasions where this ends up not working for one reason or another, but that’s simply a reality that comes from contributing to a narrative that’s well into its fifth decade.
In that respect, I liken Star Trek to other long running novel or comics series–Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, James Bond, Mack Bolan, and so on–who receive frequent soft or even hard reboots in order to remain relevant to the time in which the new stories are published.
Of course, all of this stuff is made up, anyway, but if we view the Trek episodes and films as “what really happened” to those characters, then I tend to view everything else–novels, comics, games, etc.–basically as “historical fiction.” That way, I don’t have to worry about making it all fit together. I’m free. FREE, I TELL YOU.
What do you think?