Ask the chief

The Lower Ranks in Starfleet


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The Lower Ranks in Starfleet

Beginning with Mike Wilson's comments in the

2/27/98 column

[From Someone Identified Only As D4everman]: I've seen the answers given to my question awhile ago about the roles of NCO's in starfleet. I don't find them satisfactory..the reason is

doesn't make snense except for its what the writers said.

O' Brien being the man for the job does not wash. My boss is an E-8...he is

admittedly more skilled than I am...but that doesn't mean he's going to do the

dirty work! A weak analogy would be this...when i was first made an NCO in the

army, I had a soldier ask me to do a menial task basically because she didn't

want to do it, but my response was "Why would I? i have you to do it? i'll

help if its needed, but I have you and an entire squad to do do it, i

supervise...I worked for this position." Yeah, that sounds callous...but its

the way it works! Phil said it in another way in the Next Gen Nitpicker;s

guide on "Chain of Command"...would Gen Shwartskoff (SP) lead a delta force

mission? No...I just want the creators to make up their minds on O' Brien's

rank and portray it in a reasonabe sense. It would help if they made him

simply the 24th century equivalent of the stations Sergeant Major...lets face

it folks...the rank structure in DS9 makes no sense whatsoever unless it has

something to do with the plot. which tend to be thin

The Star Wars Guide

Beginning with Nick Oven's comments in the

3/6/98 column

John Burke of Hyannis, MA: Regarding the "Ask the Chief" discussion about the upcoming Star Wars Guide... I hesitate to even suggest what should or shouldn't be in it, first of all because I

acknowledge that you have the absolute right to put whatever the heck you want in your own

book, and secondly because I'm just pleased that the Star Wars Guide is taking place at

all.But everyone else seems to be making suggestions, so I thought I'd add my two

I'm curious about the decision to include the Young Adult books (either the earlier

kid-oriented ones or the more recent Kevin Anderson ones.)I suppose that technically

they're as cannonical as the adult books since they're in all the reference stuff, but I'm

just not sure that the people who read Nitpicker's Guides are the same people who are

interested in books aimed at children.(True, "Star Wars" itself was sort of aimed at

children, but there's still a difference)I for one read anything with the name Star Wars

attached to it...except the children's books.(By the same token, I would hesitate to

include the comics, except that they're referenced *so often* in the books.) Also, I

wonder whether a children's or "Young Adult" book can be held to the same nitpicking

standard as one that is aimed at an older audience--do children's books even try that hard

to take themselves seriously?
I don't know--maybe this is just "sour grapes" because those books appear to be the only

material in the Guide that I am unfamiliar with. Anyway, it's your book.Best of luck with it...

Phil: I simply can find nothing in the comments by the creators to differentiate the adult novels from the childrens novel. Some of the childrens novel are ever written by the same people who write the adult novels!

Mike Deeds: As for the title to your Star Wars Guide, I think that you

practically HAVE to call it either "The Nitpicker's Guide TO Star Wars"

or "The Nitpicker's Guide FOR Star Wars". As stated before, there

really is NO recognizable slang term for Star Wars fans.

Phil: It's a possibility! We just have to check out the legalities.
John Latchem: When I referred to the "Classic Star Wars" I was referring to the Dark Horse

series which reprints the Goodwin/Williamson comic strips from the early

1980s. These are readily availiable in three volumes from Dark Horse.
I vote for the entries listed in chronological order, with a sidebar listing

them by release date.

I assume that, if it works out with copyrights, that "Nitpicker's Guide for

Star Wars" is the default title (if it is do I get the autographed copy?

j/k) (Note from Phil: Unfortunately, Mike Deeds beat you to it! ;-) , since this is the simplist, most recognizable title, the best from a

marketing and sales standpoint I'd think. But if the problem is the copyright

of the term "Star Wars" then any use of that term, such as "Star Wars Fans"

would be a problem. There is a book called "The Ultimate Unauthorized Star

Wars Trilogy Trivia Challenge." So there's an instance of the use of "Star

Wars" in the title there.

That said here's a few more suggestions.

The Nitpicker's Guide to George Lucas

The Nitpicker's Guide to Blue Harvest (fake working title for ROTJ)

The Nitpicker's Guide: Special Edition (pictures of Millenium Falcon, X-Wing,

Star Destroyer, and a Death Star on the cover so there is no mistake what this

book covers)

The Nitpicker's Guide for a Galaxy Far, Far Away (again pictures to clear up

any doubt. Don't want anyone to think this is about a Tom Cruise movie.)

The Special Edition Nitpicker's Guide for a Galaxy Far, Far Away (or any other

combination thereof)
Matthew Patterson: So, if you will comment on discrepancies caused by extra footage in the

Special Edition films, where will it go? Will it be a Changed Premise,

since the original release is different from the Special Edition and

they were released at different times? Or will it be a Continuity and

Production error, since they're technically the same movie?
Phil: They are under a special category called "Special Edition Additions"
Amos Painter: I don't much care for the idea of a SW guide. I liked SW, I enjoyed SW,

but SW ain't no Star Trek. I might flip through it to read the nits for

the three movies, but myself being a SW novice won't be interested in

typos in Comic Books or some authors weird descriptions on Space

Oddities. I wouldn't be interested in shelling out my hard earned money

to buy a book which contains 80% information I don't care about.

But before my membership in the Nitpickers Guild is revoked, I like the

TNG and DS9 Guides. When I'm bored I'll just pick up a guide a flip

through and enjoy a good read. In my opinion, the next guide should be

Trek guide, like DS9 II or Voyager, or even a Combo Guide with DS9, TNG

Movies, and VOY (that would increase the Fan base you reach).
Not complaining, just commenting.
Phil: And everybody gets a chance to comment around here! (Unless they're beligerant and then I edit! ;-)
Tom Elmore of Columbia SC: Okay here's some ideas for tittles:

Nitpicker guide for Star Knights

Jed's Nitpicker Guide for the Force

The Forceful Nitpicker Guide

Nitpickers guide for starry knights

the nitpickers guide for knights of the force

Phil: Thanks for the input!
Jim Elek of Sterling Heights, MI: I love the idea of letting the Guild come up with the name of the Star Wars Guide. It is interesting to note that in all these years a simple, one word

term for Star Wars fans has never caught on. As a fan, I don't have a problem

with it. I think the frustation really sets in with abbreviation-happy

internet culture.

Another note on the comics section: John Latchem mentions the Classic Star

Wars reprints done by Dark Horse. I agree that the original series would make

a great inclusion in the Guide. These newspaper strips were written after

Empire Strikes Back to help fill in some of the gaps between Empire and Star

Wars. It was a valiant effort by the creators and deserves recognition. It

explains why the Rebels left the Yavin base, how they discovered Hoth, and

even shows the encounter between Han and a bounty hunter on Ord Mantell that

he mentions in Empire (note from Phil: Hmmm. Might have to pick those up just to mention in passign!)

A later series called Classic Star Wars: The New Adventures was also

published by Dark Horse. These were reprints of a newspaper strip that

appeared after Star Wars and before Empire. Aside from being out of sync with

the continuity of the Star Wars Universe, the strip itself had problems such

as not ending a story tread before starting a new one. It might be a good

candidate for the Fun Apocryphal Stuff section, though.

As for other comics, looking at your list from 3/13 of what you plan to

include and what you might include, I have a few comments. I think that if

you are going to include any Tales of the Jedi comics, then you should include

all of them. The Tales tend to form a continuity within itself and some

elements have appeared in the Bantam novels. Secondly, I reccomend including

the Rogue Squadron comics. It's a great series and it fits in with the series

of novels. If including these cause some space constraints for the guide,

then I would reccomend cutting out the Droids series. Getting background info

on 3PO and R2 is neat, but this info usually doesn't appear in other areas of

the SW Universe. I would also reccomend staying away from the comic

adaptations of the novels. These really don't add anything to the novels

other than illustrations of characters introduced in that novel. (Note from Phil: I take it from this then that the X-wing comics are *not* adaptations of the X-Wing novels? If that's true then, yeah, I should probably include them!)

I have a question for John Latchem. He claims that elements from the two Ewok

Adventures TV movies appear in the Bantam novels. I would like to know where.

The Ewoks are largely ignored in the adult Bantam novels. (Although look for

a cameo appearance of pair of Ewoks as part of Lando's and Wedge's crew in the

beginning of the Dark Empire comic ;-)
Matthew Patterson brings up the Ewok Celebration music at the end of Return of

the Jedi: The Special Edition. He claims that a nit is created in the drums

and Imperial helmets the Ewoks bang away on not matching the music. I

disagree. First of all, while it is safe to assume that the original

celebration music was meant to emanate from the Ewok village, I don't think

the same assumption can be made in the Special Edition. If we do make that

assumption, then we must also assume that the same music is being played on

Tatooine, Cloud City, Imperial Center, and Endor at the same time. That's a

rather large assumption. I think that the music is better viewed as an

overlay to the actual celebrations occuring on the different planets in order

to tie the celebrations together Perhaps the Ewoks are still singing

"Celebrate the love!" as they did orginally, but this time the audience hears

this new (and, IMHO, wonderful) piece of music.
Plus, if you listen closely in the movie, then you will hear the sound effects

for the drums and the Imperial helmets. They are not part of the music, but

they are mixed in with the other sounds of celebration.
I think that's enough for now.... ;-)

Andrew Corcoran: I also agree that the funniest nit is the Stormtrooper losing

a few brain cells! As for a title (good prize, good prize!), if you can't

use the name "Star Wars," how about "A Guide To Nitpicking the Universe of

Lucas," or something? I think "Nitpickers Guide" is a bit obsolete. I mean,

maybe it shows it is your set of books, but I thought, you know, new

frontier in nitpicking, new frontier in titles!

The content..... I don't know how I could get my hands on all the literacy

stuff (you know, the stuff on paper), so if I am to buy this book, please

make sure to angle it towards those who are movie watchers. I don't know

how, but maybe you should mainly focus on links within each book to movies,

or something.
Phil: Well, from a marketing viewpoint, "Nitpicker's Guide" is a recognizable term so abandoning it altogether would be business suicide. If "The Nitpicker's Guide to Star Wars" doesn't work, how about something like: "Of Stormtroopers' Helmets And Low-Slung Doors: A Nitpicker's Guide Star Wars." (I don't believe there's any problem with using trademarked terms in a secondary title.) The cover could feature and comic book drawing of the stormtrooper whacking his head on the doorway to the command bay. (Maybe even have C3PO leaned in from the side with a confused look on his face and R2D2 in the other corner snickering. And, yes, I know they were really in the closet at the time!)

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