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 Pocket Book cuts back production of Trek books..., A response...
Jag2112
Posted: Jul 31 2005, 03:30 PM


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Joined: 11-December 04



Recently, Daniel Berry from the famed Book Trek wrote me because he was seeking my feelings on the recent announcement about the slashed production schedule of Pocket Book's Star Trek series.

Going from roughly 24 books published annually to 12, Daniel was looking to write a column for his site discussing this moved.

I thought it fitting to reflect my thoughts on this subject here. Once Daniel publishes his commentary, I'll provide a link to that on this forum as well.

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2005 is a year that will clearly go down in Star Trek history, but not necessarily on a good note. We lost Enterprise and, for the first time in two decades, new episodes of Star Trek will not grace the airwaves in the fall. Further, Pocket Books announces a curtailed publishing schedule, essentially cutting the number of new Star Trek novels in half. This, coupled with previous announcements that Pocket books would likely not publish any more trade paperbacks related to Star Trek (technical manuals, episode guides, etc.) really hits home for an avid collector of Star Trek books like myself.

To me, this is a reflection of the status of Star Trek of late. Comments that it is tired and/or run its course often creeps up. And while I can't fully agree with those statements, I also realize that they do hold some merit.

Star Trek in the world of entertainment in 2005 is vastly different than the Star Trek in the world of 1987 when TNG appeared which, in turn, was significantly different from the premiere of Star Trek in the late 1960's. My point is that entertainment in general has changed significantly over the years, and Star Trek along with it. But perhaps not enough to keep it fresh and vivid enough for the viewing - and reading - audience.

"Star Trek needs a break" many say. I don't fully agree. I feel that Star Trek needs an infusion of new ideas, new perspectives, a re-working of sorts. This can't happen overnight, and so we are left with our current state of affairs - a prematurely canceled series and a slashed publication schedule.

If any good is to come of this, then it lies with Pocket Books. I would personally address pocket books with the following statement:

Cut the schedule of Star Trek books in half? Then make absolutely certain that the books you do publish are worthy of inclusion in the Star Trek universe for they are the only new infusion of life into the Trek franchise. Stop producing technical manuals, episodes guides and other non-novel trade paperbacks? Then you risk alienating the audience that finds these products as valuable, if not more so, than the novels.

In essence, you currently hold a big piece of the future of Star Trek in your hands, Pocket Books. Make the most of it while you have the ability, otherwise you may be seen as the true source to the extinction of Star Trek.


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Thoughts...comments...disagreements...all welcomed...

-John


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ponfarr07
Posted: Jul 31 2005, 09:18 PM


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I find myself agreeing with you on this. When the scale-back notice was released on the number of books published I really couldn't believe it. The books are currently the only link we have to Trek, other than re-runs on TV and our (expensive) DVD collections. "The books will be better and bigger" seems to be the mantra that is being repeated over and over to placate people, like me, who fear that this signals the death of Star Trek. Trek has been a part of my life for 21 years, and it feels like it is slowly but surely passing into a subtle demise. I may be totally wrong about that, and I sincerely hope that I am. However, in the meantime, I wait in trepidation.

I think that those who are responsible for Trek have been slowly killing it since the advent of Voyager. I finally gave up on that series after the trillionth episode where they messed up or messed with "time." Were they so lacking in originality and ideas that the only thing they could offer us was another temporal anomaly? I'm surprised that the entire multiverse didn't band together to kill the entire crew--and writing staff--of Voyager just so it could catch a break.

And Enterprise.... So much opportunity. So much opportunity wasted. Do these people even KNOW, READ or WATCH Star Trek?!?! All Enterprise did was rape, pillage and plunder what everyone knew. I watched the first season, hopeful that it would get better. I watched a few episodes of the second season and finally gave up. Out of a sense of SOMETHING I watched the final episode. My feelings about Enterprise to that point were not changed.

The people involved in Trek need to look to the future, not the past. Leave the past alone. Let it be written in stone, or at the very least, become familiar with what has come before and add to it. Don't change it. Don't make it suit the purposes of one story.

I will admit that some of the books I've read recently have been of better quality. I have my favorite authors, and I have a list of authors that I would like to see shot from a photon torpedo tube. There is so much promise for Trek right now. However, I feel that there is even more promise for it to die. If they do intend to make another series, I hope they at least have the decency to put some thought and effort into it. And for God's sake, STAY AWAY FROM UPN!!!!!!!! Put it on a network that will treat it with respect! And get writers that have new ideas, not ideas that have been rehashed or rely on the audience swallowing yet ANOTHER temporal anomaly that grates on the nerves.

I realize this post isn't strictly limited to books, and I apologize. Just taking out my frustrations in the best way I know how.
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Jag2112
Posted: Aug 1 2005, 01:19 PM


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Joined: 11-December 04



So much opportunity wasted with Enterprise...

I couldn't agree more. And while I did enjoy much of the 4th season, as well as bits of the other 3, I saw each episode as yet another opportunity to expand on the beginning of the Trek universe squandered...

Let's hope that the powers that be recognize their failures if and when Series #6 hits the airwaves...



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JainaTenebrea
Posted: Aug 4 2005, 01:42 PM


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Joined: 4-August 05



I must say that I am puzzled as well at pocket books decision to cut back on the Star Trek books. It doesn't make sense to me. I recently finished the new Voyager book Cohesion, and was a little disappointed. I thought the other didn't have a great handle on the the characters. However, I know that I will buy the sequel and a second run has been ordered for the book even though I would say it probably isn't one of the better Voyager books. If things are going successful, why limit the number of books you put out?

Also by cutting the number, you lose books from each series. I know that I only buy certain series' books. If those happen to be the ones that are cut, then I will stop buying the books.


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Confine yourself to observing and you always miss the point of your own life - Darwi Odrade, Chapterhouse Dune
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ponfarr07
Posted: Aug 12 2005, 05:13 AM


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Joined: 6-July 05



Another thing that concerns me with the cut back on the number of books put out each month is how they are going to shift gears when they eventually decide to go back to the old schedule. From what I've seen they have everything mapped out into 2007. So, that's a year and a half of decreased schedule. How hard is it going to be for them to reverse what they've done? I think it was a very bad idea to do this.

And I, too, only read books from certain series, namely TNG, DS9 and NF. These books are becoming so few and far between now that it's going to be infuriating to wait that long.

And while I'm on my soapbox, what has become of continuity?!? I loved KRAD's "Articles of the Federation," but near the end of the book we're introduced to a new head of Starfleet Medical. AotF takes place after the A Time to... books, which end with Crusher going to fill that position. I e-mailed him about that, and he said that a lot can happen in a few months, and the answer would come out in "A Death in Winter." That book doesn't come out until next month. They just need to get it together and uphold their promise of better quality.
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