All posts by jespah

Shuttlepod pilot, fan fiction writer, sentient marsupial canid.

Review – Infinite Diversity

Review – Infinite Diversity

Infinite Diversity

Background

Infinite diversity in infinite combinations! First of all, Infinite Diversity was created as a means of showcasing LGBTQ stories within the context of Star Trek fan fiction. And while it says some good things, it does not really fit in with canon, personal or otherwise.

Plot

Because Infinite Diversity exists as a more or less anthology, it does not, truly, have any sort of a plot to speak of. Hence the main themes include the colors of the rainbow and any prompts. Most of the stories take place in the Interphases E2 timeline.

Therefore, the prompts and the colors devolve as follows:

  1. Wisdom (Red) – Dave and Frank dye their cabin in rainbow colors as they dye tee shirts for Pride Week. And the last dye job makes them look like serial killers (prime timeline).
  2. Fairness (Orange) – Diana and Preece Ti discuss why choosing each other isn’t unfair at all, even though there are no other choices (E2 timeline, first kick back in time).
  3. Grace (Yellow) – Diana’s funeral, where Jonathan gives the eulogy to cover Diana’s widow, Leah (prime timeline, refers to the Bread story).
  4. Melancholy (Green) – Kelsey cross dresses in private (E2 timeline, first kick back in time but also refers to the prime timeline story, In Memory of Kelsey Haber).
  5. Distance (Blue) – Luke and Preston fight  (E2 timeline, first kick back in time).
  6. Generosity (Indigo) – asexual pilot Christian Harris volunteers for a dangerous mission so others don’t have to (E2 timeline, either kick back in time).
  7. and Perseverance (Violet) – Melissa and Norri try to feed infant Tommy (prime timeline, references Temper).

Music

While the only song is this one, it’s a good one, particularly considering that character Kelsey Haber, in the prime timeline commits suicide. Hence he may very well have been more melancholy than he lets on here.

Story Postings

Infinite Diversity on Ad Astra.

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

While I feel my heart was in the right place when I wrote Infinite Diversity, it could have used more of a plot.

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Portrait of a Character – Makan Sinthasomphone

Portrait of a Character – Makan Sinthasomphone

Makan Sinthasomphone is necessary for Concord to work.

Origins

Makan Sinthasomphone was a means to an end. This character was brought to the fore in order to be able to fix and engineer Robert Lennox’s return in Concord (and, at the same time, return Malcolm Reed to the correct place and time period). Furthermore, I needed to give Monisha Padir someone to talk to. She would have to bounce her ideas off someone or other. After all, she’s not an engineer; she’s a historian.

Portrayal

Makan Sinthasomphone
Ananda Everingham as Makan Sinthasomphone (image is provided for educational purposes only)

Makan Sinthasomphone is played by actor Ananda Everingham.

As is the case with the rest of my Star Trek fan fiction, I like to try to match the actor’s ethnic origins to the character’s. In this instance, it’s close but I could not get it quite right. Makan is Lao and Ananda is Thai.

Furthermore, I wanted someone who at least superficially resembled Konerak Sinthasomphone. While the origin of Makan’s surname is utterly morbid, the intention was just to have a Lao surname. Since Concord is a rather black and white (by race) story, I wanted the future time travel team to mostly be Asian. I intend no disrespect to the Sinthasomphone family. Please do not infer any.

Personality

Smart, albeit a little impatient, Makan can’t quite figure out what went wrong with moving Robert Lennox in time.

Relationships

Makan has no known relationships, and I do not ‘ship him with Monisha Padir.

Mirror Universe

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Mirror Makan
Mirror Makan

There are no impediments to Makan existing in the Mirror Universe.  However, the later you get in the timeline, the longer the odds are. Because engineers are necessary in any universe, he could be wealthy or even an object of a lot of women’s desires.

Quote

“And we don’t have any evidence that he’s still alive, either. He’s like Schrödinger’s Cat.”

Upshot

While he’s a minor character at best, Makan serves his purpose well.

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Review – If I Could Do it All Over Again

Review – If I Could Do it All Over Again

Review – If I Could Do it All Over Again

Background

If I Could Do it All Over Again was written in response to a prompt of the same name. And of course the concept was, if you could have an instant replay, would you take it? Furthermore, how would it work?

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere | If I Could Do it All Over Again

However, I eventually realized that the story did fit in with my own personal canon, but I could alter it. How could I make it fit?

Plot

Captain Jonathan Archer mourns his Ikaaran bride from the first E2 kick back in time – Ebrona – before he meets Esilia. Because the relationship between Lili and José was already established in Together, I had to follow that. However, I wanted to use the E2 time frame as a vehicle for exploring a possible relationship between Lili and Jay. Furthermore, I wanted Malcolm to have someone, because I had always hated how that went down in canon.

Since I wanted these other relationships to work out, I had to do something different. Hence I created two kicks back in time. Most noteworthy, because the short story established an early death for the Ikaaran species, I had to determine a manner in which to get that convincingly onto the page.

So some of my inspiration came from the old TOS episode, The Mark of Gideon. In that story, an overpopulated world use’s Captain Kirk’s recovery from Vegan choriomeningitis as a means of obtaining germs to deliberately sicken and kill off a part of their population. It’s implied that they don’t believe in birth control. Hence, I gave a similar purpose to the Ikaarans, except they would send their youth out for farming stints in order to obtain more food and then return to marry. However, their bodies would have almost an effective kill switch, and they would die young because of genetic manipulation.

As a result, Ebrona (and eventually Esilia) dies young. And this story, which is about that event, is instead read by Archer during the second kick back in time, as he goes over old logs.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I loved being able to use this story in a rather unexpected and different fashion but still get what I needed out of it.

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Portrait of a Character – Robert Lennox

Portrait of a Character – Robert Lennox

Origins

Robert Lennox had somewhat mixed and strange origins. Because I needed a means of getting Malcolm Reed home during the events of Concord, it took me a while to figure out just how that could possibly be accomplished.  Since I had a Colonial story but very little else, I had to figure out a way to make it all work within Star Trek. As a result, I needed a means of traveling through time.

Hence Lennox is a time traveler, and he is a professional one, much like Richard Daniels. And so he works with Monisha Padir and Makan Sinthasomphone.

Portrayal

Robert Lennox
Ioan Gruffudd as Robert Lennox

Robert Lennox is played by actor Ioan Gruffudd.

I find this Welsh actor not only to be rather handsome, but also striking in period costume. Furthermore, he would have the correct accent for Charlotte, Jim, and Benjamin to believe he (Robert) was a redcoat.

However, the truth is quite different, as Robert’s mission was to observe the NX-01 at the commencement of the Xindi war. Instead, though, he and Malcolm both end up in Concord, Massachusetts in 1775.

Personality

Professional and intelligent, Robert’s mission is solely to observe. However, he probably would have inadvertently changed history anyway, as he tells Malcolm to duck when they face the enemy. Since there is incoming cannon fire, the warning is a wise one. And neither Lennox nor Malcolm are supposed to be there, but Lennox does not know that yet. Furthermore, when Malcolm first arrives, Lennox comments on the smoke and noise.

However, there is no way he could have known that, unless he had been dumped there earlier. Or maybe it wasn’t Robert’s first time in Concord. That presents an intriguing idea; I might write it some day.

Relationships

Robert has no known relationships.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Robert existing in the Mirror Universe, although the later you get in the timeline, the moreMirror Robert Lennox difficult the odds become.

Good-looking and intelligent people tend to rise to the top of our universe, and the Mirror rewards similar characteristics, albeit mixed with a healthy dollop of violence, sex, and cruelty.

And a smart professional time traveler could have a lot of advantages.

Quote

“I can’t say much. But there was an experiment in time travel. I was to travel in a pod and observe you.”

Upshot

While Robert is unconscious for a lot of Concord, he’s awake long enough for Charlotte and Malcolm to get a decent impression of him. And that might be enough.

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Review – I Got Married to the Widow Next Door

Review – I Got Married to the Widow Next Door

Background

I Got Married to the Widow Next Door is a bit of fluffy silliness. It came about because I was in a jam. But music saved me! Thank God.

"Barking

I got an assignment to write a story in trekfan’s universe. And I was utterly stumped as to what to do.

Plot

Henry Harrison, known as Hank, is a truly romantic character. But he does not get the girl until a lot later in life. Instead, his teen years are fraught with teenaged boy perils. These are familiar to most people.

I truly loved the idea of using Mary-Kate Olsen for the nasty Queen bee character, Jolinda Fredericks. The character makes for a harsh contrast to how I ‘cast’ her identical twin, Ashley Olsen (spoiler alert: I ‘cast’ Ashley as Jhasi Tantharis AKA Josie O’Connor).

Hank is basically minding his own business in high school when Jolinda decides to use him to make her boyfriend jealous. Furthermore, she gets to humiliate Hank and she even gets in a dig at Hank’s dream girl, part-Andorian Bethany Reeves.

Music

The music is, of course, Herman’s HermitsI’m Henry the Eighth, I Am

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Oh, Jolinda is a nasty one. And this story gives her a comeuppance. However, by the end, Hank is humming the song and congratulating himself on how his life turned out, versus hers. Because Jolinda is the epitome of the selfish, spoiled brat. Then she takes shortcuts and expects everyone else to fall in life. But life does not work quite like that. And Daddy’s connections do not impress either adulthood or Starfleet. I loved this nasty character, and should try to find another place for her.

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Progress Report – May 2017

Progress Report – May 2017

May 2017 turned out 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 a few months ago, due to the influx of spammers. And at this moment in time, the replacement blogs have not yet been created or started. Hence, still nada!

However, at this time, I still have no replacement, and neither do they. Therefore, I posted very few stories and, as a result, the read counts did not advance too much.

And on Fanfiction.net, during May 2017, I continued posting Shake Your Body.

Finally, on Wattpad, I continued to post Spring Thaw.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

Because I finished and won NaNoWriMo in 2016, I sent The Real Hub of the Universe our for beta reading. And that has proven more difficult as usual, as people are just plain busy. Furthermore, this wholly original science fiction work takes place in Victorian Boston. However, I would like to put off completing the second book until I get at least a modicum of feedback on the first one, and that has proven elusive.

Also, the editing for The Enigman Cave is finished and ready for querying. However, I need to get psyched up to do that. It can sometimes be difficult to be able to mentally handle what can often be a lot of rejection.

I also worked on the sequel to The Real Hub of the Universe, called The Real Heart of the Universe. I had already written over 37,000 words in April. Hence I am perhaps one-third to one-half to maybe even two-thirds done.

Prep Work

I edited a Wattpad draft for the following fanfiction piece from The Times of the HG Wells, Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

As always, sometimes the muse just takes a vacation. And I did, too, as we went to Cape Cod to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Furthermore, I wanted to take something of a break. The Real Hub needs editing and beta reading. Hence that means I need to take any changes into consideration before I can finish the sequel and begin to outline the third book in that series. In addition, I must get psyched up to query The Enigman Cave as it is ready. I just need to pull the trigger.

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Portrait of a Character – Jim Warren

Portrait of a Character – Jim Warren

Origins

Jim Warren founds a dynasty. As a part of the Concord book, it made sense to add a character who would be able to do a lot of the heavy lifting at the Hayes farm while Jacob was off to war. Benjamin was really too old, so I came up with Jim. Jim is named for the Huckleberry Finn escaped slave character, although he and his family are not slaves (however, it’s possible their ancestors were brought to the Americas as slaves originally).

Portrayal

Jim Warren
Chiwetel Ejoifor as Jim Warren (image is provided for educational purposes only)

Jim Warren is played by actor Chiwetel Ejoifor. Because I used this actor to portray Anthony Parker, that signals the sharp-eyed reader that Jim is Anthony’s ancestor.

Personality

Friendly, upbeat, and with a bit of a wicked sense of humor (see the quote; he’s teaching Malcolm how to milk a cow), Malcolm relies on Jim almost as much as Charlotte does. Malcolm refers to Jim as the farming expert when they work together. And this is absolutely not what would usually happen in an interaction between two men of different races during that time period. Malcolm, of course, is a man of the future, but Jim is certainly not. So does this conversation change Jim and even give him confidence? Maybe it does; that’s an interesting idea and I may write something about that some day.

Relationships

Jim has no known relationships. However, he clearly marries and fathers at least one child, as he is part of the foundational stock for the Warren and Parker families. So he is an ancestor to both Rosemary Parker and Lakeisha Warren, and a more distant ancestor of Anthony Parker. Jim is a key character in the timeline.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Jim Warren
Mirror Jim Warren

Jim must exist in the Mirror Universe because Anthony Parker is from there. The Mirror is a rough place, and agriculture is not favored. Hence it is entirely possible he would live in grinding poverty unless he took up arms. And this would not necessarily be a race-related issue; I feel it would relate more to class.

Quote

“You gotta do more’n that, sir. You ever had a woman who had a lot up here? And she, uh, maybe didn’t mind if you were a little, um, rough? Do it that way.”

Upshot

As I’ve noted in most of the other biographies from this book, I would love to write a sequel to Concord, but there just doesn’t seem to be a good place to put it.

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Review – I Do Again/ I Do Again (And Again)

Review – I Do Again/ I Do Again (And Again)

I Do Again! And again!

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Times of the HG Wells | I Do Again/ I Do Again (And Again)
Times of the HG Wells

Background

The first story was prompted by a ‘Now What?’ prompt. Then the second was a POV shift. Since I loved the first one so much (and had never really written Yilta’s point of view before anyway), I added the second. Hence they are shown together as I practically tackled the two at once.

Plot

Long after the events of He Stays a Stranger, Kevin O’Connor and Yilta the Calafan marry. And it is a second marriage for both of them.

During the ceremony, any number of odd things happen. Best man Levi Cavendish drops the rings. Twice. Then Maid of honor Deirdre Katzman bends down to look for them and nearly loses her flowers. And then half-Witannen Otra D’Angelo‘s floral-like chavecoi point where the rings are on the ground. And officiant Branch Borodin, the colony alien, interrupts the ceremony asking if the happy couple want to take a survey.

So these shenanigans are nearly enough to drive Admiral Carmen Calavicci back to drink. But at least she can refrain, for the moment. However, I cannot promise she won’t fall off the wagon at some later date. And I like that idea.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

So I really loved how both of these came together. Sometimes, writing is a lot like taking dictations. The characters simply speak, and then I transcribe whatever it is that they are relating to me. And that happened both times. Furthermore, I loved writing Yilta’s point of view, because she is an interesting character. However, I had neglected her inner life until these little stories. Let’s say I do again! And again!

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Recurrent Themes – Victims

Recurrent Themes –Victims

Victims exist throughout my fan fiction.

Loomis Victims
Loomis – one of my Star Trek fan fiction victims

Background

Victims. For every conqueror, some gets the short end of the stick. Hence a victim needs to exist, and Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Victimsoften more than one does. Because they can be such great plot drivers, a common trope is to create a superior style of person, organization, or species, and pit it against whoever it has victimized.

Furthermore, look at the subjects and you will understand their rulers.

Victims and Their Appearances

I’ll only go with the highlights here as the list stretches rather long.

Leland Loomis

Dovetailing with canon, Loomis ends up in a psychiatric facility after claiming he saw a bunch of lizard people and a ‘chick with a ray gun’.  While he maintains his sanity to the ancestor of the Dr. Morgan known best in my universe, Morgan still doesn’t see fit to release the guy. Loomis will live and probably die in custody, a prisoner in every way but the name of the holding facility.

Phlox (Mirror Universe only)

For an alien doctor, canon holds some nasty fates in the Enterprise time period. Phlox was earmarked for death anyone. So in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, I show it.

Aidan MacKenzie (Mirror Universe only)

Originally, Aidan‘s comeuppance was supposed to be complete. However, after a while, I realized I had really hurt the character, and I kind of liked him, particularly as a pal to Chip Masterson in both universes. Hence babysitter Aidan, disgraced in Reversal, eventually gets his due in He Stays a Stranger.

Travis Mayweather (AU and MU)

In the nasty AU story, The Black Widow, Travis‘s death occurs off-screen and even before the action starts (spoiler alert: T’Pol has killed him). However, in Temper, MU Travis is fragged by his own troops.

Inta I

While both the original Inta and her son are both victims of Arnis’s wrath, it’s Inta who perhaps suffered more, as she could see what was happening to her. Furthermore, truthfully, all Daranaean women are victims in some fashion.

Anthony Parker

Finally, in the deep future, Anthony loses his life because the Perfectionists no longer have a use for him as an assassin and time traveler.

Upshot

Finally, whether they rise above it or get their revenge, die, or sink into oblivion, victims have their place in the Star Trek universe, too.

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Review – Hub of the Universe

Review – Hub of the Universe

Background

Hub of the Universe is a gift to a Star Trek fan fiction writer who goes by the moniker of funngunner.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Hub of the Universe
The Hub of the Universe

Boston is often called that. So I played on the title and the imagery. The character has a description as being from Boston but little else. He did not even really have a look to me. Seth McClusky’s main description was ‘barrel chested’ and nothing more. He was the kind of forgotten third of a love triangle as well. Hence I decided I would shake that up. Seth would get a back story. And he would get a friend and a rough family life. I wanted to give him a personality and a history.

Plot

Just after World War III, Seth McClusky thinks about leaving Southie and hitches a ride with Jennie from the block, AKA Jennie O’Connor. Sharp-eyed readers will pick up on Jennie’s surname. Because she is a consanguineous ancestor of deep future engineer Kevin O’Connor.

And even sharper-eyed readers will notice her widow, Milagros Torres. Because Torres is a consanguineous ancestor of José Torres. Furthermore, in both cases, the characters are linked to future engineers, as is fitting, for Jennie herself is an engineering apprentice when she dies in Brazil in the Xindi attack on Florida and South America. As a result, Jennie’s little story is almost a harbinger of future In Between Days events.

Story Postings

Hub of the Universe on Ad Astra

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

I love this title so much, I am more or less reusing it. But this time, for the 2016 NaNoWriMo novel, the circumstances are rather different. Hence that novel is called The Real Hub of the Universe.

However, the accents are admittedly a little difficult and may be hard for some readers to get used to. But I wanted Seth and Jennie to be real Southie people, and that meant more than just the occasionally dropped R.

As for the story, Seth’s original creator loved it.

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