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All material related to Trek fall into two categories - 'canon' and 'non canon'. A canon source is one which is part of the official Star Trek timeline - the events described by such a source can be considered to have 'really' happened. Conversely, events described in a non canon source are not a part of the timeline.
Within Trek fandom there is considerable debate about just what is canon and what is not. After literally years of searching, I have found only one sourced quote by a show insider concerning canon. It's by Ron D. Moore, writer and producer on TNG and DS9. In an interview, the following exchange occurred :
|Questioner :||"What type of books are considered canon? The ones written by Production staff?"|
|Ron :||"Actually, NONE of the books are considered canon. We consider only the filmed episodes (and movies) to be canon for our purposes. We do use things like the Encyclopedia, the Chronology, the Technical Manual etc. for reference, but unless it was explicitly mentioned on screen, we won't feel bound by anything stated even in those books."|
Find the full conversation on this External Link, which is valid as of 25th August 2003.
The canon policy of this site is based around Moore's statement. To deal with the different strands of Trek on a case by case basis :
Series episodes : all episodes of all series are regarded as canon, with the exception of 'Star Trek : The Animated Series' which is excluded by Moores use of the term "filmed episodes".
Movies : all movies are regarded as canon. Rodenberry reportedly said that he considered some elements of 'Star Trek V : The Final Frontier' and 'Star Trek VI : The Undiscovered Country' to be apocryphal, and some fans take these films to be non canon. However, I have never seen a sourced quote by Rodenberry or anybody else to this effect - the closest I have seen is some rather vague second hand opinions attributed to Rodenberry in the Chronology. As a result this site accepts all aspects of these films as canon.
Reference books : those written by the shows insiders are NOT regarded as canon - many fans regard these sources as being 'provisionally canon', that is canon unless and until contradicted by an episode. However, Ron Moore specifically excludes these sources from the canon in his statement above. My policy is that these sources are not canon, and information from them is coloured green for "backstage information" throughout the site. However, I do give them priority over other non-canon but official sources such as novels, sketchbooks such as "The Art of Star Trek", comics, and so on.
Novels : All novels are considered to be non-canon, including those of Jeri Taylor. Ms Taylor was a writer and producer on Trek, and co-creator of Star Trek : Voyager. She has written two Voyager novels which she has reportedly declared to be canon, and these have apparently been used as a source by the writers on the show on occasion. However, I have never seen a sourced quote to support the idea that Ms. Taylors novels are canon, and so do not accept these books. Information from novels is occasionally used as backstage info, a catchall term which covers any official publication, but this is quite rare. This isn't intended to imply any lack of support for novels on my part, it's just that I don't have the money or time to buy and read every Trek novel, so there are many aspects of Trek which may be covered by these books which are not on my site.
Franz Joseph's work : There is a considerable and somewhat controversial history
concerning Franz Joseph and Gene Rodenberry. The story goes that Joseph consulted
with Rodenberry frequently while working to create the TOS Technical Manual
and Constitution class blueprints, and recieved his full support. When "Star Trek : The Motion Picture" came into existence Gene decided to take Trek in
his own direction, and did his best to discredit Josephs work. I have no idea
of the truth of this, but for the purposes of this site Franz Joseph material
is classed as official backstage info and weighted as being about equal to the
modern crop of Tech Manuals written by the shows insiders.
It should be noted that just because a source may be canon, this does not mean every detail must be accepted entirely at face value. The simple conventions of English mean that not every statement is literally what it says it is. Usually this is completely obvious - for example, in "Star Trek : First Contact" when Zephram Cochrane looks at the distant Earth and exclaims "it's so small!", Riker replies "it's about to get a whole lot bigger." I don't think anybody would seriously propose that the Earth subsequently grew in physical size - Riker was obviously talking about the planets importance within galactic affairs.
With statements this obvious there is no problem, but other statements present more difficulty. Star Trek retains a remarkably high level of internal consistency considering it now spans over five hundred and fifty episodes and nine movies. Nevertheless, errors and contradictions are bound to creep in. In cases where two pieces of dialogue directly contradict, my policy it to try and interpret one or both to remove the contradiction. For example, in "Encounter At Farpoint" Data declares to Riker that he graduated "class of 78", yet subsequent dates have contradicted this. My interpretation is that Datas graduating class consisted of 78 people, rather than that he graduated in 2378. Sometimes this process can get a little controversial - in "The Dauphin" Data comments that a communications source is rated at 1 terawatt output and Riker comments that "that's more than our entire ship can generate". However, other episodes point to much higher figures for the power output of a starship. So while I interpret Riker to mean that 1 terawatt is more than the ship can generate for communications purposes, others prefer to reinterpret the other lines so as to keep the output low.
Then we have occasions when something just seems to be flat out wrong
- for example the episode "Darmok" features the Enterprise-D firing a phaser
beam from the forward torpedo launcher. If a scene or line cannot, in my
opinion, fit in with facts established in two or more other episodes then
my policy is to disregard it. This is a judgement call - one could solve
the above problem by saying that the crew installed a phaser into the torpedo
launcher prior to that scene and then removed it afterwards, but to my
mind this is just silly.
The purpose of this site is two-fold. Firstly, I want people to be able to use it as a reference guide. You can come to this site, read anything in yellow, and know that it comes directly from an episode or film. At least, to within the limits of my own accuracy - if you spot mistakes like this, please email and let me know. In the blue section, which is written from within a 20th Century context, the Lists and Series Guides sections are intended to be a useful reference guide to various aspects of the Trek universe.
Secondly, the site is intended to act as a source of entertainment. Everything in white is purely my own creation, and my hope is that people will read these sections and enjoy them - no more, no less. To that end I've added the likes of fan fiction.
One final thing - this web site and its US mirror are both basic private sites, not commercial ones. I devote a huge amount of time to making it as good as possible - it's rare that I don't put in ten or twelve hours a week. I'm not paid for this by anybody, I don't have any sponsors - I do this purely for the satisfaction it gives me. So I can guarantee you that you will NEVER see one of those annoying adverts on this site, you will NEVER be asked to pay for access to anything on this site and you will NEVER be spammed because you have visited this site. If you wish to copy images and information from this site then please check out the FAQ for the rules.
|Copyright Graham Kennedy||Page views : 5,878||Last updated : 31 Dec 2013|