Media tie-in novels

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Jon_Snow, Sep 17, 2002.

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  1. Jon_Snow Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2001
    star 3
    Are they good or bad? If you read any of the ?Years Best? anthologies of science fiction, you see annual complaints about how the Star Trek and Star Wars expanded universes are taking up shelf space that would be better used by ?good? (re: original universe) novels. These sorts of books have been around forever, but in the late eighties and early nineties in particular it seems that people really began seeing them as problems.

    Are they really problems? If there are eight shelves available in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section of a bookstore and one of those is taken by Star Trek, another by Star Wars, another by Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms and the other AD&D tie-in novels that Wizards of the Coast puts out, and other random novelizations and tie-ins taking up the equivalent of another shelf, is this a bad thing? Are they choking the life out of the subgenres or are they providing a hook to draw new people to read the subgenres? Do they steal revenue from authors, or is that revenue just redistributed to those who are willing to ?lower? themselves to write Xena or Babylon 5 books?

    And finally, are media tie-in novels by nature inferior to novels wherein an author writes in their own universe?

    (Note: I don?t want this to turn into a canon war. Don?t even think about it.)
  2. Glockenspiel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 1
    It's an easy cash cow, what else can be said? I'm all for your idea, time for bookstores to do house cleaning in their fantasy isles but getting rid of cheesy continuing television and sci-fi novel spinoffs is not even far enough. I wish there was written documents that immediatly label a book 'defective reading material to be sold in the $1.00 bin' or just plain ban them, books that have Tolkienesque plots or long winded alien names like GORBECOCKSMEGIGGEN from the planet BUTJIZBAT (but in actuality there really the exact same as humans) or stuff involving gnomes, unicorns, fairies, or made up butcherings of superior fantasy, (Ice Dwarfs, Lizard men and the Lizard Dark King? the hell is this?). It's high time for fantasy to get a colonic. Yeah that's right, pipe all the bad, stale, rotting unappealing stuff out, slim it down, and make way for some tastier more fattening material.
  3. JediOverlord Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2000
    star 5
    I don't think they're bad. As long as someone is reading something,be it an original work or the novelization to XXX (the Vin Diesel movie),it's all good.

    But I do think they should cut down or slowly get rid of Star Trek novels,becuase the producers don't acknowledge their existence when writing new TV shows and movies,so a lot of Trek novels out there have contradicted information. Plus,it means more room for SW books :).
  4. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    Most of them are just crap, just put out to make money. Most end up on the best seller lists. There are some that are good, and there are some that should be made, such as one for Minority Report or AI. All that's out for them are the novels that they were based off of, which are pretty different from the movie.
  5. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    On the whole, they're awful. Yes, good ol' Sturgeon said, in response to the question of why 90% of Sci-Fi is crud, that 90% of everything is crud, but I think well over 90% of media tie-in novels are crud. And they sell better than most others. It's sad. There is the argument that they get people reading, but it just doesn't cut it. I'll admit, I started off reading Star Trek novels, but at the same time I was also reading other stuff -- Tolkien and Ende and Lewis and Bellairs and Cooper and others -- and eventually I recognized most of those books for the crap they are and stopped reading them. Now I still read two media-tie in series -- Star Wars, and STDS9. Both of them have more than their share of crud. DS9 is worse, I'll admit. Out of the probably 30-40 DS9 novels on my shelf, there are maybe 4 that are worth reading more than once. Star Wars has a slightly better worthiness rating, but mostly it's crud, too. But people like me, who recognize that, are the exception. God knows how many times I've seen 30-, 40-, 50-year-olds reading the latest Trek novels, and I'll put two and two together, and realize that that's, for the most part, pretty much ALL that many people read. And they think it's good SF, because it's their ONLY experience with SF. Blech.
  6. shnarbles Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 27, 2002
    I think a lot of them aren't really worth the paper they're printed on, to be honest. But they're there for two very specific reasons. Reason one is for the companies to make more money. Reason two is that some people just have to know what's going to happen next. The ending to the movie/TV show/whatever was not enough for them, and they want to know what happened after that.

    Which isn't a bad thing, necessarily. It only becomes so if it starts becoming an epidemic. Where you can't turn around for fear of finding yet another TV/movie spin-off book with exactly the same plot and characters as the orginal had.

    Well, that and the fact that if the people they hire to write them still need lessons on actually writing.
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