Category Archives: Review

Review – New Toy

Review – New Toy

New Toy is, unfortunately, a failed story.
New Toy

Background

First of all, New Toy never really had much of a plot. Because the concept behind it was to try to get people to donate to Ad Astra and give them more story if they did so. However, it sadly backfired. As a result, there is very little story and a lot of going to nowhere. While the concept is of interest, it never really got off the ground and now, I am certain, it never will.

Plot

Hence the main plot of New Toy, such as it was, consisted of a kind of enemy creating a brand new weapon. And here’s all I’ve got, sorry: In August of 3110, the Chilo try out a new temporal weapon that threatens the multiverse.

Therefore, Carmen has to send HD and Marisol. And so Boris threatens HD (hence HD’s song).

Because I was looking to get people to donate, any number of disparate extra plot elements were thrown. Meet the kitchen sink of short stories!

Yeah, that is just never, ever a good idea for plot development and story lines, okay?

Music

The music is Lena Lovich’s New Toy.

And HD also sings Joe Jackson’s Is She Really Going Out with Him?

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

While it might have been a good idea at the time, it just plain isn’t anymore. This one will (highly likely) never be finished. I have no plans to pick it back up again, and I have little doubt that no one is exactly clamoring for it these days.

Ah, well. They can’t all be good ones. Hey, at least I tried something new!

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Review – Smells

Review – Smells

Smells
Smells lingered over this little story, just like they do in real life.

Background

First of all, Smells was written because of some petulance on my part. Because I was posting on a site requiring beta reading before posting, I got tired of that. I didn’t want to do that as it was fan fiction. Furthermore, I was seeing suggestions of changing some of the fundamentals of Reversal. With so much dependent upon that story, imperfect as it is, I wasn’t interested in subsequent ‘fixes’ which I felt would gut the plot. However, I was curious about the beta reading process and reeled off Smells with two brand-new characters in order to see what it was all about. Hence my reasoning was to offer up two characters I didn’t really care about in the hopes that I wouldn’t be offended by any suggestions and would potentially learn something.

And then I mostly forgot about the story, but revisited it when I began writing the E2 stories as I needed names and I needed relationships. Tracey and Osh fit the bill rather nicely.

Plot

Because Smells was not intended to have a plot, the story progresses linearly although it barely goes anywhere. Essentially, Trace and Osh discover they are going to become parents. Furthermore, Phlox once again proves he has the lousiest bedside manner of any Starfleet doctor, ever, in the history of all Starfleet doctors.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

Most drabbles suffer from length and depth issues, and this one is no exception. However, the story is decent even if a little oddly executed. Certainly, within the E2 time frame in particular, this sort of thing could happen.

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Review – Multiverse Mini

Review – Multiverse Mini

Multiverse Mini seemed like a good idea at the time.

Multiverse Mini

Background

First of all, Multiverse Mini was my idea, to add a round robin mystery style story. However, the story was never completed, and the mysteries were too odd and no one really ‘got’ them.

Plot

The concept behind Multiverse II consisted of a puzzle and a mystery to be solved by the other players. Hence my inspiration came from Dungeons and Dragons and the like.

Music

I wanted this one to be loaded with music. Hence the prelude song (before anything else happened) became Neil Young’s My My Hey Hey because I wanted to instill a feeling of foreboding.

The first song posted? The Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds because  I wanted the participants to think about the illogic of Pepperland.

And then to give a hint that a river had to be crossed, I added Lenny Kravitz’s version of the old Jimmy Cliff tune, Many Rivers to Cross.

So for the next trial, I wanted the characters to teach each other something. Surfing was supposed to be fun. Hence I went with the B52s’s Rock Lobster.

And then in order to make the training sessions obvious, I added the Beach Boys’s Surfin’ Safari.

Because Lili becomes distressed by the sound of the waves (I added a thunder and lightning storm to the night of her parents’ deaths; that detail had not been there before), and the test was ended before Naurr, a Caitian, would have to get wet.

So the next test concerned getting out of heat, and the song? Buster Poindexter’s Hot Hot Hot.

However, the test really evinced cooperation, and that meant, of course, Miami Sound Machine’s Conga.

Unfortunately,  the story ended here, as the other participants abandoned it. A pity, as there were other challenges.

Unposted Challenge Songs

So for the fourth challenge, it concerned harmony and working together, a la Emilie-Claire Barlow’s O Pato.

And then the hint song? The Youngbloods’ Get Together.

The fifth challenge involved getting from place to place and that meant cars. Hence the first song (why? I can’t recall why) – Warren Zevon’s Sentimental Hygiene.

And then the hint song made more song, Ronny and the Daytonas’ Little GTO.

Since the next one concerned vision and identity, the song was David Bowie’s Sound and Vision.

And the hint song? The Who’s The Real Me.

Furthermore, I can’t honestly recall the theme of the next challenge, but the song was Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, and Lili and Naurr had to cook something.

In addition, the hint song – Jay and the Techniques’s Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie.

Finally, the finale song – The Tubes’s Talk to Ya Later.

With the hint being Donna Summer’s Last Dance.

Furthermore, as the aftermath, Kantalia converted to her true shape, similar to a creature called a Spanish Dancer.

Spanish Dancer - Multiverse Mini
Spanish Dancer – Multiverse Mini

 

Second Spanish Dancer image - Multiverse Mini
Second Spanish Dancer image – Multiverse Mini

In addition, others joined her and the big reveal would be that they were of Branch Borodin’s species and that they belonged to universe #49.

Finally, the epilogue song (because the planet was 100% water and with no dry land) –Manhattan Transfer’s Trickle Trickle.

Yeah, as I look back on it now, it is really … weird.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Unfortunately, the Multiverse II round robin barely got off the ground. Participants did not seem to understand the puzzles and they went off in unexpected directions which derailed the ultimate plot, which was intended to show Branch’s origin world. I can only blame myself for that.

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Review – More than a Will to Live

Review – More than a Will to Live

More than a Will to Live is not one of my favorite pieces, sorry.
Review – More than a Will to Live

Background

First of all, More than a Will to Live arose as a round robin style story created with a few friends. Those sorts of stories often do not work out well, although at least this one was completed. And that’s a lot more than I can say about other such collaborative efforts.

Plot

Because the plot is a bit of a mishmash, it’s a little hard to retell it, so many years later. The main concept was about a primitive alien race fighting invaders. And that would have been a fine idea, except it got derailed and the plot never really got off the ground. As I wrote the primitives, I enjoyed putting them together and tried to get something out of their story. I wanted them to be seen as people. Instead, it became a lot of tropes. However, I cannot fault my fellow writers. This is because we were all relying on tropes after a while. And I will be the first person to admit that they make for far easier writing at times.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Round robin stories can often have consistency and transition issues. This one was no exception. I can see where the prose needs to be tighter. Furthermore, there were any number of plot threads which were lost or ignored altogether.  Hence the wrap up feels forced and strange, and as if it does not quite follow from the parts preceding it. And without a decent, logical, step by step flow, I feel that a story such as this suffers. And that does not serve either the readers or the writers well at all.

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Review – Inspiration

Review – Inspiration

Inspiration is an exceptionally personal thing.
Inspiration

Background

First of all, Inspiration was a response to a prompt of the same name. As a result, I decided to go with an author insertion type of theme. Hence the idea was to write a story about the more or less near future. And the future would begin to intersect with canon, which says we are supposed to be in the midst of World War III, right about now.

Er, not so much.

Therefore, it seems as if some of the premise falls flat. Furthermore, the concept now, as I review it from a remove of a few years, feels trite and, frankly, more than a little bit weird. And in some ways, the story twists the concept and the plot too much. In short, it feels as if I was trying way too hard with it.

Ah, well. They can’t all be gems now, can they?

Plot

There is not too much of a plot, although it does dovetail with the In Between Days and Multiverse II story lines.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

While I feel the concept was an acceptable one, the story suffers from too much author insertion and not enough plot line. Hence I believe it could have been improved by using an original character in the place of myself. And it may have even become a great time to resurrect Leland Loomis. However, that would have veered the story off and into a rather different direction. Yet that might even have saved it. Hard to say now. I have no plans to revisit the story or the concept at this particular time.

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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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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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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 Hermits’ I’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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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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Review – Hearts in Time

Review – Hearts in Time

Hearts in Time was born from a collaboration between me and trekfan.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Take Back the Night | Hearts in Time
Take Back the Night

Background

trekfan and I decided his character, Hank Harrison, would go on a blind date with one of my characters. Being the silly gal that I am, I paired him up with a Daranaean, Inta II.

Plot

Hank is looking for love and to start a family. Inta is looking mainly for someone ‘to be kind’. She is a secondary Daranaean female, so she has some privileges, but they are just not enough. Since this story ends up taking place before her admission to Oxford, her art is a kind of unrequited love in her life.

Hank is taken aback at the look of his blind date. At least she is humanoid, but otherwise he just plain cannot wrap his head around dating her. But they have a good chat and manage to enjoy each other’s brief company. They even give each other a little advice before they part.

Along with determining that Inta is an artist, I also learned, for the first time, what a Daranaean kiss is like. It’s the tiniest of licks, much like we would get from a real live puppy.

Story Postings

Hearts in Time on Ad Astra

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

This was the first time I had ever written Inta II as an adult. And it was also the first time she became an artist. It was a great find, and that led directly to her attending Oxford with Declan Reed.

We wrote the story in a chat, and it all went down rather quickly. If I were writing it again, I would probably spend some time outside of chat. Furthermore, I think we would have done better to have allowed for some time to elapse and for some editing. But it is a decent story, and it is certainly, on balance, a rather sweet one.

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