LAST GENERATION: More from the TrekWeb interview

More highlights from the in-depth interview that TrekWeb conducted with me about my upcoming series Star Trek: The Last Generation. Check out the whole thing when you get the chance.

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Can you talk about the time-travel aspects of Last Generation? Many fans are like you, they love time-travel stories, but are also critical of when they’re not done well.

For the time-travel elements, once again I don’t want to give too much away-but I will say that what you won’t see, and what I’ve never been a fan of in time-travel stories, is the notorious “Reset Button”: Something goes wrong in the past, the characters time-travel to fix it, and then–in a crucial moment at the climax of it all–suddenly everything blinks back to normal. And then you’ve got Deanna Troi rubbing her eyes on a bed somewhere, whispering, “Will, I just had the most incredible dream.”

From Voyager "Non Sequitur". Hit the Reset Button, Harry!

Hit the Reset Button, Harry!

It’s very, very unusual to witness that story executed correctly, and it’s fraught with narrative peril, paradoxes that never get fully explained and all sorts of other permanently unraveled story threads. Even when they do offer an explanation, it’s usually so convoluted and preoccupied with resolving stray, random details that it drains the finale of all dramatic color and impact.

Everyone who’s ever read or seen a Reset Button story knows exactly what I’m talking about–to the point where when you see the button blinking in the distance, you stop bothering to care about how the characters get there, because you already know it won’t matter in the end. Tom Paris dies getting Harry Kim to the dimensional rift, and you’re somehow expected to be hanging off the edge of your seat, wondering how Robert Duncan McNeill will ever pay his rent next week. And then: Oh, look, there he is again on the bridge of Voyager, just in time for the final credits. Whew, close one.

Alien Spotlight series. Yep, that's Species 8472. Yikes!

Borg from the future, in the issue I wrote for the Star Trek: Alien Spotlight series. Yep, that's Species 8472, assimilated. Yikes!

Those who checked out my Borg Alien Spotlight know I’m a fan of time-travel stories, but also know my approach to them, so in The Last Generation it remains an open question throughout the series whether the characters will ever succeed in repairing their timeline, whether they somehow forge a new timeline, or whether they even prevail at all. That’s really the only way I’d even consider writing a time-travel story, and it’s the only way to legitimately establish honest dramatic tension without so typically cheating the readers out of everything at the end.

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