Star Trek Q & A
What sources do I consider "canon" within the Star Trek universe?
I'm of two minds on the canon question.
First, I fully accept the "official' position that canon is limited to the live
action films and episodes. Having this official view of canon is a good thing.
Since writers of new Trek stories cannot be expected to track and stay
consistent with everything that is out there, limiting the "official" canon that
writers should respect helps to keep some order and consistency to the ST
On the other hand, I also believe that each Trek fan should be free to decide what they want to consider part of the ST universe.
My personal view is to view the ST universe in a way similar to the way a historian would look at a variety of historical sources. Some sources are better than others, but even "weak" sources can be used to fill in gaps - at least until contradicted a more "reliable" source.
Historians have a variety of methods for determining the reliability of a particular source. And when I look at ST sources, I employ my own method for determining the reliability. Live action episodes and movies are at the top. Somewhat lower are other sources that have been officially licensed by Paramount - novels, TAS, comics, etc. I usually put novels near the top of that list, with TAS next and comic books after that. I don't even completely dismiss non-licensed sources, such as fan fiction as a potential source, but I normally rank it pretty low in terms of "reliability."
But even within those different types of sources, I view some examples as more reliable than others. For example, I consider the novels written by Jeri Taylor to be quite reliable because of the position that the author had in creating "official canon" - she basically created (or helped create) the Voyager characters, so her view of their back-stories deserves a higher degree of deference than would be the case with another author. Conversely, some novels, like the X-men crossover, are just by their nature not very credible.
Another example would be if some "fact" is "established" in a non-canon source such as a novel, but that fact is subsequently repeated in several other non-canon sources, that would add to the validity of that fact and the original source.
Anyway, the point is that fans are free to view the sources however they want. But we should also recognize that there is an official canon, so that we don't get upset when a new episode contradicts something in a Peter David novel.
Why did Klingons in The Original Series not have forehead ridges like they did in all the other series?
There are not "two different races of Klingons." That was firmly established in DS9 when three Klingons that Curzon Dax knew in the TOS era (and whom we saw on screen in TOS episodes - without forehead ridges), showed up as old men with the forehead ridges. My view is that "real" Klingons have always had forehead ridges - its just the TOS series didn't have the budget or available makeup technology to accurately depict them.
What is Gene Roddenberry's "vision"?
Gene Roddenberry's vision is what originally attracted me to Trek, and it's what has kept me interested all these years. The ideas that humanity continues to improve itself, and we have solved the problems of hunger, crime, disease and war (at least among ourselves), and that we have gotten beyond bigotry, greed, superstition and ignorance - these are all powerful and attractive ideas to me. To me, Trek portrays a future worth looking forward to and worth striving to create.