Progress Report – January 2017

Progress Report – January 2017

January 2017 ended up as yet another quiet month for Star Trek fanfiction writing.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill
First of all, on the G & T Show forums, I posted nothing. Because at that site, the forums were removed due to the influx of spammers. And at this moment in time, the replacement blogs have not yet been created or started. Hence, nada!

However, at this time, I have no replacement. Therefore, I posted very few stories and, as a result, the read counts did not advance too much.

And on Fanfiction.net, I continued to post The Point is Probably Moot.

Finally, on Wattpad, I posted the end of Ohio. And then I started to post You Mixed-Up Siciliano. And on the @WattNaNo side of things, I added How to NaNoWriMo.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

Because I finished and won NaNoWriMo in 2016, I continued to edit The Real Hub of the Universe. Furthermore, this wholly original science fiction work takes place in Victorian Boston. As a result, I have been working on outlining a sequel and I will also look to line up a group of beta readers.

Prep Work

Because You Mixed-Up Siciliano already existed in draft form on Wattpad, I next created a draft for the following fanfiction piece from The Times of the HG Wells. And that turned out to be Spring Thaw.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

As always, sometimes the muse just takes a vacation. And that can be extremely frustrating! I ended up working for three separate companies and that, of course, made me rather busy indeed. Furthermore, I wanted to take something of a break. The Real Hub needs editing and beta reading, and that means I need to take any changes into consideration before I can really get started on the sequel.

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Review – Siberians

Review – Siberians

Siberians? What?

Background

Yes, I went there. A lot of people feel this is the worst ever episode of any of the Star Trek series. Or at least it comes awfully close to that. Why? Is it because of the squicky sex between the captain and the pilot? Or because of the wacky way Warp 10 somehow messes with Paris’s DNA? Could it be because the writing feels utterly bankrupt of imagination, so much so that the writers could not figure out what comes after humans? And, instead, they cop out and decide to regress and have us go back to, of all things, salamanders?

There are a lot of things wrong with Threshold. It would be a mistake to deny that. And my list barely scratches the surface.

Plot

Barking up the muse tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Siberians
Siberians

It was a kind of irresistible premise: what the hell would Tom Paris and Kathryn Janeway do after Threshold?

Because of course it would have to be awkward. Of course.

I decided I wanted a piece of their time on the planet to be related to something rather biologically primal. It wouldn’t just be the sex drive. Instead, a part of the issue would be something which happens to non-human animals on Earth: they would go into season.

So in order to be able to deal with this, I didn’t have them recreate what had happened. Then they decide to commemorate the occasion and remember their children.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

While Threshold is roundly (and justifiably, in my opinion) criticized as one of the worst episodes the entire franchise has to offer, it does raise this very question. How do you work together after that?

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Portrait of a Character – Nyota Uhura

Portrait of a Character – Nyota Uhura

Origins

Uhura (Zoe Saldana version)
Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana version)

Nyota Uhura. The character is, of course, canon.

I have always loved this character’s quiet competence. She was perhaps the first actress I ever saw who worked under the hood of a display, with a screwdriver, as wires sparked. It meant, to me, that she was not just another pretty face and she had more going on. She was an important and valuable member of the crew and not just some eye candy.

Portrayal

As in canon, the character is played by Zoe Saldana when young and by Nichelle Nichols when more mature.

I was particularly thrilled when, in the JJ Abrams films, she showed her competence by making it clear she could speak Romulan. This was a great check back to Hoshi and to what communications people really should be in space.

Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols version)
Uhura (Nichelle Nichols version)

In the Original Series, she was always the calming presence on the ship. If you heard her voice, you knew that, no matter what, everything was going to be all right. For young girls growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, she proved that you can be young and beautiful and feminine, but also powerful, intelligent, and adventurous. I hope Ms. Nichols knows just how many people she inspired.

Personality

Friendly and kind, Nyota is almost the mother hen of the ship in either timeline. She is its heartbeat.

Relationships

Spock

Like a lot of fans, this relationship seems a bit odd but maybe it can work. In the Eriecho series, I give their relationship some play.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Universe Nyota is canon.

Mirror Universe Nyota (Nichelle Nichols)
Mirror Universe Nyota (Nichelle Nichols)

Quote

“It is, and maybe I’m not helping things by calling you sir. Still, uh, I want you to know that, in this timeline, there’s something between us. And I was wondering, in your timeline, was there ever anything?”

Upshot

I do not write enough of her, and I mainly write her in the context of the JJ Abrams timeline. I should revisit her.

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Review – Eight

Review – Eight

Background

Review – Eight. Aw.

So this is a mixed bag of stories intended to fill in a few small gaps and inconsistencies or untold stories. Truth is, I was most likely the only person who ever noticed or gave a damn about these little untold moments or inconsistent bits. No problem. It is always important to keep writing. Hence I was able to do so with this small set of exercises. Furthermore, it may serve as an introduction to my work for some people.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Eight
Eight

As a gift for the Chanukah holiday (to myself), I decided to write eight little family-centric stories taking place within my various universes. The various characters would interact, or not, but the main idea was for each story to be related to family somehow.

Plot

Even in the future, and regardless of species, it is all about family. Home and hearth abide, even in space.

Stories cover In Between Days, the E2 timeline, the Daranaean Emergence series, the Eriecho series, Times of the HG Wells, Hold Your Dominion, and there is also a second HG Wells story which focuses on Levi Cavendish and Otra D’Angelo.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Unfortunately, I am not so sure if anyone can relate to this series of stories as well as I can. Maybe they’re more like inside jokes? I don’t know.

These stories. And these worlds. Plus these timelines. And the same number of universes. And in all of them, home and hearth abide.

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Spotlight on Chi Band Radiation

Spotlight on Chi Band Radiation

Chi Band Radiation Background

Chi Band Radiation can do anything.

Chi Band Radiation
Image of background radiation

I needed a garden variety phenomenon. Chi Band Radiation  would have to be able to stand in for a lot of almost magical properties. It had to be a kind of technobabble thing. Hence I needed for it to sound just mysterious enough.

The idea would cover all sorts of issues. This would include crossing people over from one universe to another. Or it would be the kinds of temporal switches and shenanigans shown in Concord and Crackerjack. However, for both of those stories there were other explanations for their issues.

Chi Band Radiation particularly comes to fore in the Barnstorming series. I used it to show how and why the Mirror Universe was attempting to cross over and potentially invade our own. The Emperor would have been deposed and fallen on hard times. The radiation would be, to him, a  godsend, a means of regaining his past glories. Therefore, he would be itching to use it.

Instead of living the high life, he’s living in a shack. He depends upon the kind charity of the native Calafan people. This would be quite the harsh reality for a proud man.

The radiation would also be a means of almost communicating. It would be a way of knocking on the door of another universe, as it were. This would attract the attention of weird ADHD-addled temporal engineer Levi Cavendish. Giving Levi a means of investigating all possible universes was a fun idea. The way to fulfill his mission to find the ultimate pumpkin pie (spoiler alert: it’s in the universe with a 49 centimeter radiation band on the hydrogen line) proved irresistible.

Upshot

This Swiss Army knife has stood me in good stead. I am sure I will be using it again in the future.

Chi Band Radiation
Chi Band Radiation

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Portrait of a Character – Soval

Portrait of a Character – Soval

Soval Origins

Soval
Soval

Soval. The character is, of course, canon.

A lot of fans are not too impressed with the portrayal of Vulcans in Enterprise. For me, I loved it. I always found them to be far too perfect, and when the Original Series was running, I was a lot more likely to side with McCoy or Kirk than Spock. This may have carried over a bit, but either way, it was a refreshing change, to me, to see Vulcans with feet of clay and less than stellar motives.

Hallelujah!

Portrayal

As in canon, the character is played by actor Gary Graham. The actor embodies the character well and it is difficult to think of another inhabiting him so well.

Personality

Standoffish like most Vulcans, he seems to be genuinely moved when Admiral Forrest sacrifices his own life to save a, perhaps, friend.

Relationships

His relationships are not really known. In Biases, I bring a human woman into his household, but Bridie Kelly is not intended to be a love interest at all. I really hope nobody ‘ships them.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Universe Soval is canon. Intelligent and resourceful, he is one of many Mirror Universe characters who is just plain stuck. As I write the Mirror, it boasts a violent military dictatorship.  Not an easy place for an unemotional person.

There isn’t a lot on him in canon except that Archer became xenophobic.  This would make life even more difficult even if Jonathan Archer had lived (the way I write the Mirror Universe, Hoshi Sato is successful in murdering Archer).

Mirror Universe Soval
Mirror Universe Soval

Quote

“I am one hundred and forty-two years old. That is almost a logical observation.”

Upshot

I have never written Mirror Universe Soval, and maybe it’s time I should.

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Review – Coffee

Review – Coffee

I love coffee! Maybe not so much the story. However, I certainly enjoy the brew, as do a lot of people. One good thing about it is how it humanizes Captain Kathryn Janeway. For all of the issues which the writers may have had with her, at least this quirk gives her humanity. After all, even if you prefer tea, you always know someone who would prefer the French Roast or the Sumatran blend.

Background

Barking up the muse tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Coffee
Anyone for coffee?

For an inspiration of the same name, I wrote a quickie drabble. The truth is, the story could be about anyone. In fact, I may have originally crafted it that way. The truth is, I can no longer recall. No matter.

It does not have to relate to Star Trek at all – and this little drabble just about barely does.

Plot

So anyone who knows Star Trek: Voyager is abundantly aware that Captain Kathryn Janeway enjoys her morning brew. One thing I liked about the show was that, despite replicator technology (and its seemingly magical properties), she’s still got to have real coffee. She notices if she’s getting something ersatz, a pale imitation. Hence this humanizing, relatable detail works on a lot of levels. I wanted to capture that, where she would muse over something so simple yet so personally potent. Furthermore, for Janeway, it serves as a quiet(er) moment in a life filled with everyone wanting something yesterday. As a result, this tiny moment starts her day off right.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I wanted to capture that moment, right before everything goes to hell and you’re being called on for a million different things. Did I make it? You tell me.

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Portrait of a Character – Kathryn Janeway

Portrait of a Character – Kathryn Janeway

Kathryn Janeway Origins

Kathryn Janeway
Kathryn Janeway

Kathryn Janeway. The character is, of course, canon. As a strong female character, fans are sometimes not sure of what to think about her, it seems.

Portrayal

As in canon, Kathryn is played by actress Kate Mulgrew. The actress has particularly hit her stride after the series ended.

Personality

Tough, smart, and driven. Kathryn is between a rock and a hard place much of the time.

Relationships

Tom Paris

It is hardly anything, and the canon episode is something of a joke, but I like the idea of Threshold. In particular, I love the inevitable aftermath that had to have occurred. You can’t make whoopie with the captain without there being at least a few consequences.

Mirror Universe

Kathryn Janeway
Mirror Kathryn (Kate Mulgrew in Orange is the New Black)

There are no known impediments to Kathryn existing in the Mirror Universe.

Of course the women are tough. Being older, she would be a survivor. I love the idea of chefs and cooks trying to deal with what I feel have to be the inevitable scarcities that go along with living under a dictatorship.

A smart, fierce woman could make a decent living and maybe even stand out if she could be creative, frugal, and able to fix the replicators.

Quote

“Actually, this drink is called a Siberian. It’s four parts milk, two parts coffee liqueur, one part vodka and one part real vanilla extract. The mug is rimmed with vanilla extract and bitter cocoa powder.”

Upshot

I have seen very little of Voyager, and maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about (it would not be the first time).  I’m sure there is a lot more I could do with this character. If I had the time, I would do some binge watching!

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Review – Overture

Review – Overture

Background

Overture came about from a Star Trek fanfiction prompt about new beginnings.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Overture
Overture

I could not get the idea out of my head about the start of a classical concert. So that led me to Lakeisha Warren. Then the story and the prompt gave me the prequel (more or less) to Crackerjack. It also serves as a prequel to The All-Stars. So this little story wears a lot of metaphorical hats.

Young love is often a good idea for a story, and this was no exception. I had already shown (in Imprecision) how they had met. At this point in time, I wanted to show them beginning their commitment. Lakeisha and Wes would get really serious, really quickly. But that’s okay. Because sometimes, you just know.

Plot

Therefore, I sent Wesley Crusher out to visit Lakeisha, not too long after they had first met. As a direct sequel to Imprecision, and as a prequel to The All-Stars, Wesley would be very interested in this amusing musically gifted girl. And all he would want to do is show it.

A classical concert, for her, could easily encompass music from The Who’s Tommy rock opera.

As Lakeisha practices, Wesley listens in a little, and then he proceeds to knock on her door. He tells her that he does not believe in holding back. He wants her to know she already means something to him. She already matters.

Music

The story’s music is The Who’s Overture.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Just like a regular overture, the story hints at great things to come. I hope it whets readers’ appetites for more Wes and Lakeisha. They certainly deserve an exploration!

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