All posts by jespah

Shuttlepod pilot, fan fiction writer, sentient marsupial canid.

Review – Victory in Maine

Review – Victory in Maine

Victory in Maine came about quickly and with little thought.Victory in Maine

Background

Victory in Maine was written for Steff and takes place in her Arc of the Wolf series and universe. However, the truth is, these days I feel it ended up as a bit too flip. Furthermore, I was trying to be too clever by half and also provide a ‘cheer you up’ type of story rather than anything with any sort of a recognizable, coherent, consistent, or compelling plot. And that does not make for a good story at all.

Plot

So with very little plot, the story mainly centers around one of the few events I knew had happened in Steff’s timeline and in her universe – Corry and Scotty more or less just shooting the breeze. Furthermore, the prompt image felt kind of silly and I had to work within those confines.

Therefore, I learned one big lesson from this one: an odd prompt generally does not a good story make. In fact, while odd prompts may feel original and even clever, they just do not work well for decent story telling.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Because the prompt image really just weirded me out, I had very little to go on. Furthermore, some of that ended up being my own damned fault as I did not perform enough research on the characters or on Steff’s overall story line. While her own true story line interests and often dazzles, my own feels pale in comparison. While I do not hate this particular story, I also, most certainly, do not love it. Not one of my better efforts, not by a long shot.

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Spotlight on Medical Original Tech

Spotlight on Medical Original Tech

Medical Original Tech drives plots.

Medical Original Tech

Background

Because technology drives Star Trek, a lot of perfectly acceptable medical technology already exists in canon. However, there is always room for more. Whenever a particular activity needs to accomplishing, that may require the creation and application of original medical technology.

Occurrences

Drug Therapies

From tricoulamine (a nerve gas fatal to humans which can make Klingons sleep, shown in Intolerance) to hyprolanine (used to treat depression during the E2 timeline), I tend to make up new medications when I need them. I do this, rather than rely on canon sources and ideas.

Surgery

In the HG Wells series, Boris Yarin and Marisol Castillo perform a number of necessary surgeries. In these instances, they implant devices into the bodies of the time travelers. The surgical scenes ended up being rather limited in Ohio. However, these procedures require finesse which comes from both mechanical assistance and surgical knowhow. Marisol may be a trained assassin, but she is also a highly skilled surgeon.

Rehabilitation

In the E2 timeline, during the first kick back in time, Ethan Shapiro attempts suicide. As a result, he suffers from brain damage which I intended to mimic the effects of a stroke. Hence, once he awakens from his coma, Dr. Phlox has Ethan try to walk. Because Jay Hayes can whittle and carve, he fashions a wooden cane for Ethan out of wood from one of Botanist Shelby Pike’s Osage orange trees.

Upshot

Medical technology can drive drama when it fails to work as expected or even when it works all too well. Or it can just work as intended sometimes. And developing it provides as many opportunities for creation as anything else does.

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Review – Third Worth More Than First

Review – Third Worth More Than First

Third Worth More Than First? Maybe so.
Third Worth More Than First

Background

Third Worth More Than First was a Daranaean story written by FalseBill when I ‘accidentally on purpose’ allowed others to play in my universes.

Plot

FalseBill went with the idea of a second, failed contact between humans and Daranaeans, and he decided it would end in a tragedy. In February of 2160, the Columbia makes second contact with the Daranaeans. And as a result, the hierarchy of Daranaean wives ends up costing that species a ship and everyone on board it. Because the third caste female has no say in what is going on, her wise counsel ends up being ignored. Much like slaves and other submissives, no one gives a damn about anything she has to say. And as a result, the Daranaeans all lose their lives.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Because the Daranaeans really have to be written in a particular fashion, I do not get too excited when anyone gets them ‘wrong’. After all, the hierarchy and the complexity of their relationships can prove daunting to even me. And I’m the one who created that species in the first place. Furthermore, the concept is sound, that a third caste female would be ignored and that could have tragic consequences. My main quibble is that it breaks my own fan fiction ‘canon’, seeing as the second contact technically comes from Take Back the Night.

However, if I see the story as taking place after Take Back the Night, then the timeline works out.  Again, the Daranaeans are really a particular species to write, and I am pleased that FalseBill took the chance and tried to write them.

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Portrait of a Character – Kathalia

Portrait of a Character – Kathalia

Kathalia came about as a counter to Thessa. Not all Daranaean Prime Wives would live as passive-aggressive villainesses.

Kathalia
Image of Italian greyhound dog as Kathalia (image is provided for educational purposes only).

Origins

Because wealthy Daranaean men marry three women, the Emergence stories need a ton of female characters. Furthermore, I loved the euphony of this name, a kind of mix of Katherine or Kathleen and Thalia.

Portrayal

Like the vast majority of Daranaean characters, Kathalia isn’t really ‘played’ by anybody.

Personality

Bubbly, beautiful, and maybe a little overly privileged, Kathalia might have it too easy. Yet that constitutes precisely the idea, that Prime Wives get all of the perks. However, she also has a kind heart, and includes her half-sister, the secondary, Morza, when visiting Cria and in all of her other activities.

Relationships

Trinning

Trinning loves all three of his wives equally, and it shows. While Jamae loved him first, he gives Kathalia and even his third case wife her due. A model of how a loving Daranaean home really should be, Trinning gives this lovely character a truly wonderful life.

Mirror Universe

There exist no impediments to Kathalia existing in the Mirror. Daranaeans don’t have the Y Chromosome Skew, but she probably would not receive different treatment at all. A Prime Wife would do well on either side of the pond.

Quote

“Humans? How interesting. My father says they fought together with us when he battled the Klingons. I am sure they helped him. I should thank them for keeping Father safe.”

Upshot

Delicate Daranaean beauties who can cook will always have advantages. And if they’re also Prime Wives, then the deck is stacked rather heavily in their favor.

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Review – The Golden Lady and the Knave

Review – The Golden Lady and the Knave

The Golden Lady and the Knave came about as a result of a poetry challenge on Wattpad.
The Golden Lady and the Knave

Background

First of all, the Golden Lady and the Knave was the poetry from Intolerance, stripped bare. I wanted to introduce people on Wattpad to the In Between Days series and a little poetry contest provided the incentive.

Plot

While the plot does not exist, the poetry adds some color and substance. However, without the background of who the participants are (Malcolm Reed and Dr. Pamela Hudson), the poetry, while lovely, falls kind of flat in places. Since the characters were not introduced, a curious reader cannot learn how dysfunctional their relationship ends up being, or why he writes what he does. And the reader cannot know how the damages Pamela suffers from, or why she closes herself off so very completely.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Because I do so love the poetry, the story does get something of a pass. After all, it was never truly meant to be a story without the additional trappings of the Intolerance novel. Furthermore, it does introduce readers to my poetry. However, Wattpad is a hard place to break into when it comes to fan fiction writing. The issue is the overabundance of non-Star Trek fan fiction on that site. Those other stories drown out pretty much anything Star Trek unless the reader makes it abundantly clear they are writing within the Kelvin timeline and, quite frankly, it’s really only Kirk slash which goes over (semi-)big. Kirk’s partner, inevitably, ends up as either Spock or McCoy.

And since I am not writing any of that, subtle poetry really gets lost.

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Progress Report – September 2017

Progress Report – September 2017

September 2017 was another slow month for Star Trek fan fiction writing. And this was fully expected by me.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | September 2017
First of all, on the G & T Show forums, I posted nothing as the spam situation remains an issue there.

And on Fanfiction.net, I posted He Stays a Stranger.

Finally, on Wattpad, I posted The Point is Probably Moot.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

Currently, I am not working on any fan fiction. However, I am working on plenty of wholly original writing. This includes the sequel to The Real Hub of the Universe, called The Real Heart of the Universe. I recently cut this book in a different place than originally expected. The idea is to finish up earlier as the middle book of a trilogy can sometimes drag, plus it also gives me fodder for the third book in the series, tentatively titled, The Real Power of the Universe.

Prep Work

It is getting to be that time of year again, so I will need to start preparing the outline and wiki for this year’s NaNoWriMo project, Mettle. This will involve a lot of research, more particularly in the scientific realm. I will need to understand a lot more about chemistry than, frankly, I ever have.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

Oh my God – work! I started a new job in August and it did not let up at all. I am happy with the work but I am also one beat puppy. However, it feels as if it is paying off as I am hoping to get a full time job (yes, I am this beat and it is only part time). Plus I would like to drop my three remaining other clients.

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Portrait of a Character – Troy Scott

Portrait of a Character – Troy Scott

Troy Scott started off as a throwaway character for later. However, his back story came in useful.

Origins

The concept behind Troy Scott came about because I was looking for a character to be the handsome stand-in groom for He Stays a Stranger. However, I liked the idea of Troy, so he ended up showing up earlier, as both a news reporter and also as Tina April’s love interest after Rick Daniels.

Portrayal

Troy Scott is played by actor Matt Damon. I love this intelligent Boston-based actor.

Troy Scott
Matt Damon as Troy Scott (image is provided for educational purposes only).

Personality

Good-looking, smart, and a little stiff, Troy comes across as a decent way for Tina to, in her mind, get back at Rick Daniels for breaking her heart.

Relationships

Tina April

In the prime timeline, when Rick calls Tina again after their breakup, she doesn’t like that. Hence, even though she and Troy don’t know each other too well, she invites Troy over to have him stay overnight. While this move is an impulsive one on her part, they do continue dating.

Eleanor Daniels

In an alternate timeline, Rick interrupts their wedding. I have nothing on their relationship other than the brief scene in the alternate timeline.

Mirror Universe

While there are no specific impediments to Troy existing in the Mirror, the later you go, the worse the odds get. As a viewer personality, he might end up considered to be a member of the artistic elite. And if he is, then he would get his pick of women, including attractive and intelligent companions such as Tina April (who might have a counterpart).

Quote

“I’m Troy Scott, here now the news. Riots broke out in Madrid when a wine shipment was inexplicably delayed. Witannen officials blamed the delay on the Klingon borer worm which has infested many vineyards on Kronos. New pesticides are being developed, but there is a bit of lead time required to determine whether they work. Citizens are instructed to limit their intake to no more than one liter per day and to share with their neighbors. There is a possibility that rationing is in our future.”

Upshot

Because I have the deep future valuing intelligence over looks, Troy has fewer advantages than he would now. But don’t worry about him; he will be just fine.

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Review – The All-Stars

Review – The All-Stars

The All-Stars introduces the Barnstorming series.
The All-Stars

Background

First of all, the All-Stars was intended as the kickoff for the Barnstorming series. And that series would also hold Crackerjack and The Future Cat under its umbrella. Hence, I plotted it as a sprawling series. Except it suffered from an excess of plot and subplots and complications, even worse than the Times of the HG Wells series. And I should have known better! Seriously. Because the middle of the Wells series was hard for me to write, and some it drags a bit. Stories I had really thought about got short shrift. And the same ended up being true for Barnstorming.

Plot

It was a time for new beginnings, for a woman who had over half of her adult life stolen and for her cousin, a new job and new challenges. And this promised a new life for a young man with few plans and no real direction. Furthermore, it was a chance for three women to change their lives, and for fifty athletes to do something new. And there was a secret project by Section 31 that threatened to break a treaty and had the potential to open up a portal to another universe while someone out there – whose intentions were unknown – was trying to get in.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

While the story resolves itself pretty well and the characters make sense, the story leads to a series which ends up going nowhere. Although I did write the immediate sequel, Play, that story has never been posted anywhere (if I end up really scraping the bottom of the barrel at Wattpad, then maybe I will haul it out; the same might end up as true for Fanfiction.net). And then the following stories never really get off the ground at all. A pity; the concept is a decent one but I just ran out of gas there.

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Focus – Time Ships (Fan fiction)

Focus on Time Ships

Time Ships are fascinating, and exist within canon.
Time Ships

Focus

A focus Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Focus Magnifying Glass Time Ships (unlike a spotlight) provides an in-depth look at a Star Trek fan fiction canon item and my twist(s) on it.

Of course, all of fan fiction is like that, but the idea here is to provide a window into how a single canon concept can exist within in fan fiction.

Background

Instantaneous temporal transportation generally does not make for good drama. And this also points out the problems with transporters: when it’s easy to save someone’s bacon, the drama suffers. Furthermore, it’s possible that writers just plain didn’t want to go in that direction. And they don’t, until Enterprise and Crewman Daniels with his time portals.

Occurrences

To add some fun to the HG Wells series, I had engineer Deirdre Katzman name all the ships after old time travel fiction. Hence the ships are as follows:

    • Audrey Niffenegger

– the first of the ships is manhandled by Rick; the name comes from the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife.

    • HG Wells

– this ship replaces Audrey.

    • Jack Finney

Tom Grant gets this one. Jack Finney wrote Time and Again.

    • Flux Capacitor

Sheilagh Bernstein gets this ship.

    • Elise McKenna/Simon Morley

– these ships are counterparts in our and the mirror universes. The Elise McKenna never gets built. Both get their names from character in Time And Again.

    • Audrey II

– Deirdre has a wicked sense of humor and, while this ship is intended to replace Audrey, the name refers to Little Shop of Horrors.

Upshot

Ships mean drama, as fuel can run out, they can suffer attacks or breakdowns, and enemies can steal them. Hence I rarely use time portals in my fan fiction.

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Review – Storm Clouds

Review – Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds gather and the multiverse experiences threats.
Storm Clouds

Background

First of all, Storm Clouds began as a round robin style story which never got to the finish line. However, I introduced Kevin O’Connor and Crystal Sherwood to a larger audience. And while they did not become beloved until right about the time of Multiverse II, at least readers would have some passing familiarity with them. Hence the story did serve a purpose although at the time it felt an awful lot like a failure. And it still, more or less, does. Since round robin stories, by definition, should sprawl and go on for a while, it stinks when a round robin collapses in short order. And one of the reasons, most likely, ended up being that no one other than me really knew what went on in my characters’ heads.

Plot

During the time period covered in You Mixed-Up Siciliano, Kevin O’Connor and Crystal Sherwood go to lunch but end up … elsewhere. This Round Robin story includes other participants.

Because Storm Clouds did not go that far, the plot did not emerge too forcefully or well. However, the characters did assemble, and I did get a chance to have Kevin mention Josie.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

As a preliminary kind of story to the better round robin affair, Multiverse II, this story suffers because the characters I introduced had no history with the other writers. Kevin did get some love; I think people could relate to his loneliness and his bereavement. However, Crystal did not fare as well. Furthermore, they both paled considerably when compared to the wacky and complicated charms of Otra D’Angelo, Levi Cavendish, and Branch Borodin.

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