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Bring Back Kathryn Janeway

I have been involved in the Bring Back Kathryn Janeway movement just about since the beginning. At first the single goal of bringing Voyager’s Kathryn Janeway back into Trek Literature was enough, but as time has passed I have grown more and more concerned about the whole of Pocket Book’s vision for Star Trek.

I also have been involved in a boycott of Pocket Books’ Star Trek line as have a lot of others but lately my muse struck and I needed to know exactly what has happened in those books for the story that is forming in my mind. To that end I visited my used book store to purchase copies of the later books (well within the boycott as none of my money went into either Simon and Schuster’s nor any current Trek authors’ pockets.)

So far I have read Before Dishonor by Peter David (actually I skimmed through a lot of this as it was poorly written, and was so much in a comic book style I half expected to see popup balloons saying “pow.”) The Destiny Trilogy, by David Mack came next, it’s supposedly the pinnacle of Trek literature, and the bench mark of all that is good. The writing was better but the world building was poorly executed, leaving a couple of plot holes big enough you could drive trucks through. Finally came Full Circle, By Kirsten Beyer and while I didn’t particularly like the subject of her book, I was expecting something better written than what I got. Don’t get me wrong, she can actually write circles around any of the male writers but she still falls short.

The book was too long by a third, all the Klingon stuff with B’Elanna and Miral should have been in a separate book because everything seemed overcrowded. It did have romance as I expected because Beyer has aspirations of becoming a Paranormal Romance writer, but I can tell you that she has a way to go to be as good as a lot of the women already writing paranormals or even science fiction romance. She made one huge writing error that I caught, one so bad that I sat in disbelief over what I had read, it was plain and simple lazy writing.

One thing is now obvious to me although I would like to read Unworthy to confirm what I have suspected for a couple of years. Captain Afsarah Eden is a thinly veiled Kathryn Janeway and could easily be turned into our beloved Admiral via the Q powers at any point without a single glitch.

I have learned something and now I know that the death of Kathryn Janeway in Trek Literature is only the starting place with what is happening to all our beloved characters from all the series. If the character is a white male (or perceived as white as is Captain Chakotay) you fair pretty well in this new direction, almost two thirds or 60% of the male characters left from Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager have been promoted in Star Fleet or have accepted positions of power outside of Starfleet, but only two women have received promotions and that is only about 28% of the women.

As if this isn’t bad enough, the only active black human character has now had the moral center of that character thoroughly destroyed. Avery Books went to great lengths to provide a characterization of a role model that young black males could look up to. He went so far as to demand a change in the script for the final episode of Deep Space Nine, so that Sisko would promise Kassidy to return to her and their unborn child because he felt strongly that his death would only leave the negative message of another black child being raised by a single black mother.

Recently Trek Literature has released Rough Beasts of Empire, in this book we have Ben Sisko, leaving his wife, divorcing her, and having no contact with his small daughter. This is the very thing that Avery Brooks worked so hard to avoid. Supposedly Sisko is doing this to keep his family safe and everyone knows if your family is in danger you leave them without protection and run away to have a good old time as the captain of a star ship.

What it comes down to is that if you are female and/or non-white in this new Trek world, you can expect to be forgotten, killed or otherwise put into a refrigerator because this new Trek is all white and the only females allowed are those that can safely play in the back ground.

And how do I come to this conclusion, well here is my list of what is happening to the characters. Remember that Trek Literature just like all Science Fiction is aimed at teenage boys because everyone knows only teenage boys like Star Trek or Science Fiction. Really I am not making this up.

Beverly Crusher – Married to Picard and has given birth to his son. On the surface this sounds like the type of story we would want to read, but I fear that by becoming the mother of a small child, Dr Crusher will be sat on the side line. This is what usually happens in these kinds of stories. In any case she hasn’t been promoted.

Deanna Troi – not promoted, and has the same problem that Beverly has, she recently gave birth to a baby daughter.

Kira – has given up command of DS9, moved into a Bajoran monastery and is a religious leader. Of course she hasn’t been promoted either.

Ezri Dax – one of the two females that have received a promotion, she was the second officer of the Star Ship Aventine, and became acting captain at the deaths of the captain and first officer. She did so well Star Fleet promoted her two steps to Captain and gave her the Aventine. Ezri is the one pointed out with pride by Star Trek authors as our token strong female captain. She is young, and the fan boys love her, but she gives no orders to any male character from any of the series. And the budding relationship with Dr. Bashir has been ended.

Kathryn Janeway – presumed dead but actually with the Q (and cut off from all her friends and loved ones). The author did give up one night of love with Chakotay that was supposed to appease all her fans.

B’Elanna Torres – is the second female promoted, she is serving as the Fleet Engineer for the Delta Quadrant fleet lead by Voyager.

Seven of Nine – in a lot of ways she has suffered as much character assassination as Sisko. She has had a nervous breakdown following the deaths of her aunt and Kathryn Janeway. She was in such bad shape that Chakotay took her to the Delta Quadrant and Voyager because this was where any family she had left (as in Voyager family). She hasn’t been promoted either as she still isn’t a member of Star Fleet.

Seven women with only two promotions are the 28% percent.

Incidentally the male members promoted or otherwise having position of more power are Chakotay, Geordi LaForge, Harry Kim, Odo, Quark, Tom Paris Tuvok, O’Brian, and Worf. The unpromoted men are Captain Picard, Captain Sisko, and Captain Riker (already carrying high rank), Dr. Bashir, Jake Sisko, the Doctor and Icheb.

The Bring Back Janeway Campaign is once again calling on you to write some letters, how many and to whom are your choice. As for myself, I will be again sending a couple of letters to Simon and Schuster, but this time I will be sending letters to CBS. CBS Corporation owns both Simon and Schuster and Paramount.

CBS like a lot of American companies have a greater awareness or just what constitutes ethical behavior, since the Enron scandal. They have posted statements on their web site pledging to make every effort to assure that all employees, and all suppliers be aware that certain behaviors will not be tolerated and this includes sexism and racism. While the authors of Trek Books are not employees of CBS, they are suppliers.

Ethics is the difference in knowing what you have the right to do, and doing the right thing.

The names and addresses of both CBS and Simon and Schuster officers are here along with some sample letters.


Thank you very much.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 24th, 2011 12:54 am (UTC)
*standing ovations*
Thanks for sharing the results of your research, your knowledge and your opinion. I completely agree with you. There is nothing to add.
You know how much I appreciate your engagement in our Bring Back Janeway Campaign and all the inspiring talks we have around it.
Jun. 25th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks I really appreciate the fact that you understand why I do this. Yes it has cost me a few people that I thought were my friends, they never had to agree with me but they should have respected how deeply I care that this is happening to Trek Books. If they truly had been my friends in the first place they would have understood too. You are a true and a wonderful friend.
Jun. 25th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you, hon. This is what friends are for - and we learnt to know each other because of the Janeway Lives Challenge. - The love for Janeway brought fans closer together.

You know, that I don't understand people who write JC and even Bring Back KJ fics and don't care about the fate of the character in Trek universe.
Fanfic can never replace or outrank Trek lit. There will be always the "termination" of the character laying as a shadow over the fanfics.
Nov. 17th, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
Hey, Elorie... I read your essay twice. I must express surprise that you say you lost friends because they did not fully understand your vision for Janeway. You're right, of course, in saying that while people may not agree with you, that they at least respected your drive in this campaign.

I have stopped writing fanfic, as you might be aware, and my view has always been that to me, Janeway is alive and I shall ignore anything to the contrary. Our South African bookstores don't stock Trek literature, while there's an abundance of science fantasy novels. Neither seems to be my cup of tea! I recently donated all my Voyager novels to a charity organisation, so I'm really out of the loop as to what's happening in Trek lit.

But your essay here has really caught my attention as far as portraying minorities [in my country I am a minority] so I have full empathy with what you expressed about Sisko.

The statistics are staggering enough to make a TV channel sit up and take notice immediately. But as you've indicated correctly, a certain target group and hard finance will always override any moral imperative, to appease the greater majority out there [who know the truth anyway!] with little morsels from a breakfast table, treating that majority with a certain disdain.

It is this disdain that has made it easy for those in power to discard the finest female captain in Trek. The debris of their cutting and pasting without so much as a moral blink, all lie on the cutting room floor - the women in Trek.

Well, just thought I'd add my comment here and hope you attain success in your campaign.


Nov. 18th, 2011 02:11 am (UTC)
Van Hunks, thank you so much for your kind words and yes it is true that some people that I thought were friends turned out not to be.

I had come to the conclusion that I was not going to write any more fan fiction but instead concentrate on the original fiction ideas that I have. One close to my heart is a young adult space adventure, but now I have been drawn back into Voyager because I know that a good Janeway story can be told building out of what Trek Lit has already written. We shall see, but so far I am doing on with my idea.

I've seen you on face book a couple of times as we have a couple of friends in common; I am using my real name there, not Elorie. My good friend KathrynJ has encouraged me to start drawing and painting again and there is a lot of satisfaction in that too.

I think that it's the discrimination against women and minorities that upset me the most with Trek Lit. I have been a fan of Star Trek since the beginning in the sixties and it was supposed to be about how much better we can be and not this dark dismal place that we have now, and it truly upsets me to see these author's posts on a public message board, bragging about how many people they have killed in their story.

I have also been following the problems in the publishing industry itself, your book stores may not stock Star Trek books but in the very near future you will not have to go to a store at all but instead paperback books will be phased out altogether and everything will be available as a digital file. Today authors are already getting back the rights to their older books and actually publishing these older books themselves as digital books, and making pretty good money at the same time.

There is a revolution going on even as we speak and these guys at Trek Lit have their heads in the sand, but maybe in the not too distant future they will not have the power they hold right now. It's very interesting.

Thanks again for your support, I truly appreciate it.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )