star trek fan fic

Reviews, a Love/Hate Affair

Reviews

Reviews matter.

In the continuing saga of looking at Boldly Reading blog prompts, we have the second such prompt about Star Trek fan fiction (and, really, about any other kind of writing, for that matter) – what do you like to see in a review of your work? what do you comment upon yourself in a review? has a received view changed your opinion on a story you wrote or were writing? and finally, has a review sold or warned you off another author’s story?

The Good

Everybody loves good reviews. They make us feel warm, happy and special. They pull us up when we’re feeling low. Good vibes all around.

thumbs up! reviews

thumbs up!

But really short good reviews (e. g. I loved it!) are nice but they are dissatisfying. It’s like a half a sip of really good coffee. Hence, whether I read a review or I write one, I feel that a good review should have a little more depth than that. Why is the story so beloved?

Some ideas

  • Are the original characters believable and multidimensional? Do you, the reader, understand who they are, their motivations and back stories? The answer does not necessarily have to be yes to all of these questions, by the way, but what is it about the original characters that grabs you?
  • Are the canon characters well portrayed? If they step out of character, is that explained in a satisfying manner? Can you, the reader, hear the canon character’s voice in your head, saying these words? Can you see the canon character performing these actions?
  • What’s the driver of the events? Is it a new ship or person? A conflict? A discovery? A problem that needs solving? A mystery? Was the situation believably introduced, showcased and wrapped up?
  • Where is (are) the climax(es) in the story? What is it leading to? Is it the logical release of the build-up that has occurred throughout the story?
  • How have the characters or the situation changed by the end of the story? If the story was a reset, does the resetting to the beginning make sense?

The Bad

Sometimes, a story does not completely work, but there are redeemable elements of it. When that happens, I think it’s time for suggestions. And again, a short review is not too much help. Authors need to learn (and be nice about this!) how to improve their works. It is possible to help someone become better, and writers should take the suggestions in the spirit in which they should be given.

sideways reviews

sideways

  • I thought ___ was a bit of a hand wave. If you were rewriting the story today, how would you correct that and add more drama to that element?
  • ___ is incorrect, per (cite research). Are you looking to write an alternate reality?
  • I loved your characters but I thought the situation didn’t quite suit them. Do you have other stories with these characters?
  • I thought the situation was compelling, but I’m unsure about the placement of the characters in it. Do you have stories with similar situations, but different characters?

The Ugly

Sometimes, it’s just … oh God. You feel like sowing the ground around someone’s computer with salt. What to do?

thumbs down :( reviews

thumbs down 🙁

One option is to simply not review at all. After all, even in a review hunt challenge, you could forego the points and just bow out of reviewing. But that does not help the author get better. Can they get better? It’s a definite maybe. There are people who take suggestions to heart. And there are others who might accept the suggestions later. Then again, there are also people who think that everything they write is so wonderful that you must be the problem.

Some ideas

  • Try to find something positive to say, anything! Did they get a canon character’s voice right at all? Was the situation unique? Were there any memorable lines?
  • Once again, constructive criticism is the way to go. Be specific and detailed, but also be kind. E. g. a review that says, In canon, Scotty is not an Eskimo, and I’m just not so sure I’m buying him as one. I think that’s specific, and it does not trash the author or attack them personally. Hey, someone else might be convinced, but you, the reader, are not.
  • Are they new to writing? Maybe comment on the maturation process in writing. This is not to say that you insult people by suggesting that no one under the age of 40 can write, or that you need a decade’s worth of experience to be any good. Rather, you can suggest that continued writing, over time, often changes and hones one’s style.
  • Out and out plagiarism should not be rewarded, of course.

Personal Thoughts on Reviews

So as for me, I look at the number of reviews I get, and the number of reads. For short stories with no reviews and a high read count, that raises a red flag with me. But for longer stories with no reviews, it’s less of a flag, as there are plenty of longer stories that people just don’t stay with. It’s not necessarily due to the quality of the writing. Sometimes that’s just due to readers’ personal schedules.

And I can’t say that I love criticism, but I am a writer and I expect it and I understand it. People have told me that something looked like a hand wave, or that they couldn’t stick with something. I think that’s fine, and that tells me where to improve, and tighten things up. But I do have an ego and, like everyone else, it can sometimes be bruised.

So I ask, if you hate it, and you still choose to provide reviews, I do hope you won’t just trash me. And I vow to you that I will do the same.

Posted by jespah in Boldly Reading, Fan fiction, Meta, 4 comments

What Do I Like to Read?

What do I like to read?

As a part of The Twelve Trials of Triskelion, the program is coming to an end, but we on Ad Astra are looking to keep it up. As a result, we’re looking to expand blogging. And now there’s a new book club, called Boldly Reading, with its own blog!

So – the first prompt is – what do you like to read? what fanfic story type/era/character and heck even name an author here you gush over do you like to read?

And so I’m thinking.

Challenges

While I love the Star Trek Enterprise and The Original Series eras, that doesn’t necessarily define what I read. More often, I go looking for a good story, and then whether it fits into my own personal era preference doesn’t truly factor into it. Good stories are good stories.

I also have great respect for people who put themselves out there for the challenges, in particular, the monthly challenges. For newer authors in particular, it has got to be daunting. It presents the old what if they don’t like me? fear that I suspect all authors have inside us.

Once I’ve read a challenger (even if they don’t win, and even if I didn’t love their story), I try to look at more of their works. Sometimes people are just off, and one story didn’t hit its marks but that doesn’t mean that others won’t. But if I have disappointment enough times, I’m done. That is, unless it’s for a monthly challenge. And I can’t honestly say exactly when that moment occurs, but I know it when I see it. Then I’ll read all of the entries because I don’t think I can vote in good conscience without reading all of that month’s entries.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to love the author who has disappointed me. Unfairly or not, that person now has more of a hurdle to climb over in order to get my love. But it’s not an impossible hurdle.

Characterizations

For authors not involved in monthly challenges, I am looking for good characters. I love action sequences, but the truth is, they’re hard to write. Sometimes what you’re thinking of just does not translate well to pixels. But characters can. Someone who is not a Mary Sue. And someone who doesn’t just get a description in some huge data dump. It’s as if the author were picking the character out from a police lineup. Someone who I can hate or love or be repulsed by or laugh with or at or want to hug or kick. Someone who stays with me.

Give it up for Templar Sora!

One author whose works I have loved pretty much from the beginning has been Templar Sora.

Star Trek Online read

Star Trek Online (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two of his characters I have particularly enjoyed are Jessica St. Peter and Seymour Sonia. Jess is an unlikely leader. She’s a person thrust into the role when everyone around her falls down on the job. Or they are too scared or damaged or inexperienced to step in. And, as a young leader, she deals with something that a lot of young leaders in fan fiction never seem to have to deal with – insubordination by people who think she should not have her place.

Enter Seymour Sonia, the consummate jerk. Everything from hitting on Jess (before she gets a command) to openly being hostile to her, he’s a fun character to despise. The beauty of this character is his passive-aggressive nature. I have found that often jerk characters are written as utterly one-dimensional, as authors might feel they have to stack their decks. After all, who could possibly hate a Starfleeter?

Try me.

Upshot

I love a lot of what I’m reading. But to really hit the stratosphere, give me a character where all I want to do when I see him in a scene is yell, “Bite me!”

Posted by jespah in Boldly Reading, Fan fiction, Meta, 4 comments

Review – Fortune

Background

When I first wrote Fortune, the idea was to tie up the In Between Days series.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Fortune

Fortune

I was not tired of the characters or of their situations, but it seemed as if they needed an end point. Furthermore, I was thinking about the canon episode, These Are The Voyages, and trying to make some sense of it. I came to the conclusion that the professional writers wanted some end of series closure and they also wanted some ownership of the fate of what was possibly the most popular character.

Therefore, I decided to create some closure for my characters. These would be the main characters only (at the time, Pamela Hudson was still not considered to be a main character), e. g. Doug Beckett, Leonora Digiorno, Melissa Madden, Lili O’Day, and Malcolm Reed. Four of the characters had already had a story more or less assigned (albeit not completely devoted) to them. Lili’s story was in Reversal, Malcolm’s was in Intolerance, Melissa’s was in Together and Doug’s was in Temper. Therefore, this story would go to Leonora.

Plot

When Temper ends, Lili has some surprising and wonderfully good news for Malcolm. When Fortune starts, Malcolm is processing it. Jonathan Archer asks him what’s wrong. But nothing is wrong – everything is very, very right, but it’s also rather private. A joyful celebration is held, and the family is then reunited for Declan‘s birth. The family sweetly dreams together, and the relationships are reinforced. These are between Melissa and Leonora, Doug and Melissa, Lili and Doug, and Malcolm and Lili.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Billie Holliday singing God Bless the Child

Billie Holliday singing God Bless the Child

Leonora in particular has a wonderfully vivid dream of Billie Holliday singing “God Bless the Child“.

It seems like everything is right.

But there are storm clouds on the horizon. There is unfinished business, and it needs to come to a resolution before the family can truly move forward.

Music

Story Postings

You can find Fortune here:

Rating

The story is rated M.

Upshot or, What’s Your Fortune?

Too many specifics will mean revealing too many spoilers. Suffice it to say, the story does not end the series. I am happy to continue these stories. Because I want to give these characters and their overall family their measures of forever. So that is either in this life or in whatever may or may not come beyond.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Fortune Cookie

Fortune Cookie

I am proud of this story and hope it does the characters justice.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Review, 108 comments

Review – The Adventures of Porthos

Review – The Adventures of Porthos

Porthos has such fun adventures!

Background

When I was first starting to write Star Trek fanfiction,

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Adventures of Porthos

The Adventures of Porthos

I seized upon an idea to write about the five senses. More, More, More is about hearing; There’s Something About Hoshi is about touch; If You Can’t Stand the Heat is about taste; The Puzzle is about vision; and The Adventures of Porthos, as would befit a story where a dog is the star, is all about smell.

Plot

The story starts off with Porthos narrating the action. Because he is a dog, he’s not too communicative in terms of language. Instead, the world divides into good smells and bad ones.

Review – The Adventures of Porthos

Most of the Enterprise is on the side of what Porthos refers to as good smells, everything from Sick Bay to the remnants of a cheeseburger that Hoshi ate for dinner. He listens to Captain Archer (Alpha) make plans about meeting a species called Azezans. Being Porthos, he doesn’t pay attention to every single syllable. He has acute hearing but, let’s face it, like many dogs, he sometimes only listens to what he really wants to hear.

The same scene is then repeatedly normally, and the story goes on that way throughout.

Porthos sees action when Archer learns that the Azezans are the victims of oppression. Captain Archer finds their predicament uncomfortably familiar, but he is initially unsure as to exactly why that is so. This ends up as one of my first links to Jewish characters and the Holocaust, as the reference is painfully close to the Judenrat.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I love dogs and I believe that they truly think quite a bit like this, paying somewhat selective attention and continually being distracted by the various aromas around them. They apparently understand some 200 – 350 or so words, so it would follow that a lot of what Porthos hears is just so much semi-random noise to him.

Furthermore, the emphasis on scents prefigures the Daranaeans, and the switching between the scenes was altered to great effect in Reversal. I like the story but don’t love it; the Alien of the Week plot could have been stronger, I feel. But the story had an unexpected, award-winning sequel, The Further Adventures of Porthos – The Stilton Fulfillment. And, as I have explained, it showcases some concepts and techniques that I have improved over time. I think it’s a decent older story.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Review, 8 comments

Review – Temper

Review – Temper

Background

I originally wrote Temper for two reasons.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Temper

Temper

One, I wanted to introduce a way into a vague idea I had for a Star Trek fan fiction time travel series. And two, I wanted to not only continue the story of Doug, Lili, Malcolm, Melissa and Leonora, but I wanted the kids to be older without aging Lili and Doug quite so much. After all, Doug is fifty-five when he meets Lili. Therefore, he would be in his sixties for any stories where the children could really interact and be an integral part of the plot. But a time travel story could rather neatly fix all of that.

Beyond that, I also wanted a way to continue the saga of the Empress Hoshi Sato and her son, Jun, the son of time traveler Richard Daniels. Furthermore, I wanted more kids in the royal family. For the Empress, it would be a Machiavellian move – she would have several children of different fathers, thereby diversifying genetically and, perhaps, given the tenderhearted paternal feelings that go along with the Y Chromosome Skew, she would get the male members of her senior staff to keep her alive, at least until her children reached the age of majority. And in Temper, they are just about all there.

Plot

The story begins with a snapshot into how the arrangement among Malcolm, Lili, Doug, Melissa and Leonora really works. Doug and Melissa are out hunting linfep, and then perrazin, with phase bows. Malcolm and Lili are going on vacation to Fep City. And the children are either with Leonora or are being cared for by Yimar. The occasion is that Melissa wants to have another baby.

But then Malcolm must return to the Enterprise, and Lili comes home early. Time Traveler Richard Daniels arrives and tells her that he needs Doug for something. She’s not so sure she believes him, and is a bit peeved that he’s landed his ship, the brand-new HG Wells, right on top of her day lilies. In order to fix this, he adds a drop of his blood to the soil but does not tell her that it’s spiked with stem cell growth accelerator.

Rick Steps In

When Doug and Melissa get in, and Malcolm is reached via communicator and Leonora arrives separately, Rick tells them why he needs Doug – the Empress is experimenting with what’s called a pulse shot. She’s looking to get over to our side of the pond, because she thinks that she can get more ships like the ISS Defiant.

But her few attempts are clumsy, and they wreak havoc with time itself, causing breaks in 2166 and 2161, including people from our universe crossing over to the Mirror and being trapped there (this includes the three eldest children, Joss, Marie Patrice and Tommy). Rick’s best information is on 2166, so he needs that part repaired first. Doug is the logical choice because, being from the Mirror originally, he sports a radiation band that matches that universe. Lili is chosen to accompany him because she’s considered non-threatening and, with false calloo tattoos on her arms and legs, she can pass for a Calafan. Rick explains that he cannot go as the Mirror government of his time period forbids it. This is due to the debacle about the siring of his son, Jun, which is explained in First Born.

Once Doug and Lili cross over, they find a totalitarian regime and just what’s going on with their children.

Music

Temper is less musically-driven than Together, but that makes sense as it is more of an adventure tale than a love story. However, there are still individual themes.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated M.

Upshot

I like, for the most part, how the story turned out, but it is deeper into my universe. Therefore, it can be a confusing read for someone who is not fully familiar with works that cover the earlier time periods. I do make an effort to create stand-alone stories, but I believe that the effect was somewhat mixed here. Temper is usually on the lower end of read counts for the first five big books (Reversal, Intolerance, Together, and Fortune are the other four), along with Intolerance, but in the case of Intolerance, it’s because it’s a shorter book. I suspect that Temper is a bit harder to get into. A pity, as it’s the lead-in for the HG Wells stories.

Posted by jespah in Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Review, Times of the HG Wells series, 100 comments

Review – Together

The Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Together

Together

Together begins with Doug and Lili happy. It’s a direct sequel to Reversal, and they are living their dream. The first chapter makes it abundantly clear that they are where they need to be. There are little bumps in the road, but that’s life. So far, so good.

By the time we get to the second chapter, we learn that Jenny‘s wedding will be soon. Malcolm can bring a date, so he sends a note to Pamela, inviting her. Therefore, the astute reader should also understand that this is also a direct sequel to Intolerance.

Since there are no stories without conflict, and since a relationship such as Lili and Doug’s should undergo testing, the events are set into motion. And the main event is a massive kidnapping of humans.

Coupling

The kidnapping is a chance to introduce two new original species, the Imvari and the Witannen. Furthermore, a third original species, the Zetal, get a mention but they are not seen.

Melissa & Doug

Melissa & Doug (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ten humans are removed from the NX-01 (Lili and Doug are aboard as they are hitching a ride to Jenny and Frank‘s wedding). Because the Witannen want them to interbreed, the group consists of five men and five women, and there is a separation into couples, namely –

  • Lili and Malcolm – the idea is to play off Malcolm’s earlier attraction to Lili and also counterpoint her issues with Doug.
  • Doug and Melissa – here, Doug’s frustrations with Lili are balanced with Melissa’s bisexuality, e. g. this is an area where Leonora cannot fulfill what her partner needs.
  • Jonathan and Deborah – for him, it’s a chance to have someone to protect. For her, it’s the fulfillment of a long-term crush.
  • Tripp and Hoshi – this combination plays off their friendship and also is an answer to endless Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction about Tucker and T’Pol.
  • Jennifer and Travis – for her, it’s appalling as she is about to be married. For him, he’s with the hottest woman on the ship. But she is so horribly damaged that it’s no fun for them at all.

This is not to mention the other couples in the story, from before, during and after the captivity. Plus, what happens with Pamela? Stay tuned.

Music Together

Music drives the story as characters come together and break apart throughout. Every major character has his or her own song, and couples share songs, too.

The story isn’t a musical, per se, but there is so much pertinent music that it practically could be.

Themes

Hence the story, in some ways, ended up an exploration of not only relationships but also of our mores as a society. What do we accept from people? Also, what do we expect them to do when the chips are down? People in the story make good decisions, and they make some terrible ones as well. Fallout does not stop just because you wish it all away, and the fights are harsh because it’s the people who love you – and know you better than anyone – who can truly hurt you if they really want to.

Story Postings

Rating

I put the rating at T, with the racier version on Ad Astra at M.

Upshot

The story goes in a bunch of different directions, and it was to tie up loose ends up and then create any number of others in order to generate more plot ideas, including the idea for Temper, a story that really doesn’t work without Together as its foundation. Furthermore, any number of other overall plot elements don’t work, or can’t work as well without it.

In many ways, it is a centerpiece story, and many other tales hang off it, either as sequels or as prequels or in conjunction with it. Aside from Reversal, people read this story more than the others, and for good reason. This is because it helps the reader to understand so much more of my overall story line. Plus, I think it’s just a good, complex tale.

I’m very proud of this one.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Review, 98 comments

Review – There’s Something About Hoshi

Review – There’s Something About Hoshi

What about Hoshi?

Background

So back in 2005, I wrote an initial five Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction stories. I centered them all around the five senses. More, More, More was about hearing. The Puzzle (which was a more complex and ambitious tale) was about sight. The Adventures of Porthos took on smell. And If You Can’t Stand the Heat was about taste.

Hence There’s Something About Hoshi was about touch and, by extension, feelings.

Plot

The story begins with Hoshi Sato being courted by Ted Stone. But he’s a somewhat inept suitor, and keeps missing his marks. He tries to be romantic but can’t quite get it right. Hoshi fears she is settling, and references the canon E2 episode where she settled for “old what’s his name” (Sekar Khan, the Quartermaster).

The Enterprise is contacted by an unknown species, the Arisians. They notice her on the Bridge and their communications are inept enough that everyone can hear one of them mentioning his astonishment that there is a woman. They create a pretext for Hoshi to come to the surface. She agrees even though everyone that the Enterprise sees on Aris seems to be male.

MACOs

About hoshi

Hoshi (Linda Park) dressed for the evening

A pair of MACOs accompany Hoshi, and it becomes clear that they are a gay couple. Friends of hers, they compliment her on her choice of attire for the evening. It’s confirmed that Frank Todd will be one of the MACOs going to the surface (Frank also shows up in Shell Shock and in the E2 stories), as will his boss, Major Dawson (Dawson is also a part of Shell Shock and is the replacement for Jay Hayes).

A visit to the planet confirms that everyone is male. Milit, an Arisian, tells the landing party (in addition to Hoshi, Corporal Todd and Major Dawson, Travis Mayweather, Jonathan Archer and Malcolm Reed are present) that, long ago, the men of his species researched how to decrease gestation until eventually they could accomplish all of it without women. Once accomplished, they allowed all of the women to die out and only cloned males. Hoshi realizes, uncomfortably, that she is the only woman on the entire planet.

Pretext

Review – There’s Something About Hoshi

Hieroglyphics at mesa pintada

Then she asks to see hieroglyphics, which were the pretext for getting her to the surface. So Todd and an Arisian, Lio, accompany her to where the hieroglyphics supposedly are. Todd and Hoshi are overcome and her hormones are extracted via syringe. However, Lio and his cohorts also inject her and Corporal Todd with something else.

By the time Hoshi returns to the ship, she is suddenly irresistible to all of the men on board (and a few women as well), but not Corporal Todd as his preference doesn’t go that way. Harassed and scared, even the captain gets in on bothering her, leering at her on the Bridge as various other male crew members make all sorts of passes at her until the Arisians can make things right again.

Story Postings

Rating

The story has a K rating.

Upshot

I played the story for humor. While it’s still funny, seven years of hindsight give me another perspective. In a lot of ways, it’s kind of creepy, the way that everyone is throwing themselves at her. The character was in very real danger of sexual assault. If I were writing the story today, I would probably amp up the fear more, and downplay more of the humor.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Review, 21 comments

Portrait of a Character – Leah Benson

Portrait of a Character – Leah Benson

Leah Benson is bigger than I originally planned.

Origins

In The Light, I needed a Rabbi character. Women have fairly recently become Rabbis in all Jewish sects except for Orthodox. And it is highly doubtful that even the most competent Orthodox Jew would go into space during the Star Trek: Enterprise era. So I decided on a female Rabbi.

Portrayal

I decided I wanted a Jewish actress and so I selected Mayim Bialik. This actress is of course famous not only for her child star work, but also for her more recent work on The Big Bang Theory.

Portrait of a Character – Leah Benson

Rabbi Leah Benson

I also felt that Starfleet would select someone relatively young to fulfill this role. They would be hoping for someone to stick around for a while. That person would also need to be someone not easy to shock. This would be by things like asking to pray over a dying alien. Or even by something as incredible as a Xindi Reptilian asking to convert to Judaism.

Personality

Friendly, approachable and consoling, Rabbi Benson is not only an expert on Judaism. She’s also something of a counselor. For Ethan Shapiro, Andrew Miller, Josh Rosen and Karin Bernstein, the Rabbi may stand in as a parent when they face difficult decisions. She is someone they can turn to if they are grieving, or unsure of things. This allows Captain Archer and Doctor Phlox more breathing room.

Relationships

Diana Jones

In Bread, I show they wed. This predicts gay marriage will be legal in the United Federation of Planets. Their long-term, loving relationship is sorely tested when Diana becomes gravely ill.

Mirror Universe

Leah’s only known relationship in the Mirror Universe is with Leonora Digiorno. As ruthless as anyone else in the mirror, Leah is not a woman of God. Instead, she is a pilot, and is meant to be somewhat similar to Melissa Madden, who the Mirror Norri never meets.

Portrait of a Character – Leah Benson

Mirror Leah

The image is brief but indelible, in Fortune, when Leah murders Norri for the most selfish and trivial of reasons. Nasty, brutal and efficient, Leah steals the meager possessions she can carry and leaves Norri’s broken body without looking back.

Quote

“When Starfleet was established, this question was decided, as Talmudic scholars determined that there could be occasions when Kaddish would have to be said but a Jew would be, perhaps alone, or with no means of communicating with other Jews. So, you can pray with a quorum, a minyan partly composed of Jews who are linked via communications – such as we are linked right now. Or you can enlist the help of non-Jewish friends for this specific purpose. Either way will work.”

Upshot

Leah Benson is about as different as anyone can be when you compare her Prime and Mirror Universe counterparts. I wanted her to be that way, whereas Doug and Jay are, for example, a lot closer. Leah represents just how different the two sides of the coin truly can be, and how a few changes in someone’s life can turn them from a gentle, caring person to a ruthless, cold-blooded monster.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Hall of Mirrors, In Between Days series, Portrait, 14 comments
Review – Intolerance

Review – Intolerance

Story Origins

Intolerance comes from dark places.

A friend suggested to me as I was first starting to write Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction – get Malcolm Reed to loosen up. I bet, down deep, he’s kinky. And so the gauntlet was thrown down. Challenge accepted.

Intolerance Plot

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Intolerance

Intolerance

It began with a fairly simple premise, to get an intriguing woman on the ship. Then I decided to add interest by adding a few women. And then the idea progressed to one of a kind of a competition.

Hence I decided that it would be a small medical residential rotation. The specialty would be Immunology. In order to minimize complexity, I decided on five students. In order to add a little Shakespearean-style chaos, one (and their instructor) would have an ambiguous enough name that gender could not be readily and immediately known.

Then the fun begins. Travis hears that there are five students coming. Three, he figures, are female. He tells Malcolm and Tripplet’s compete for them. They draw straws in order to determine who they’ll go after. Tripp wins the first draw and selects Pamela Hudson. Travis gets the second draw and decides on Blair Claymore. Malcolm is forced to settle for who he thinks will be An Nguyen. But this is the ambiguity, for An is a guy (this was also intended as a play on Reed often being depicted as gay in fan fiction). The instructor, Bernie Keating-Fong, is really Bernardine. But she’s older, and is wearing a wedding ring. It seems that Malcolm is the odd man out.

But Malcolm has a major trick up his sleeve, and writes Pamela poetry.

However, all is not right, not with Pamela, and not with the ship. Without giving away any more of the plot, suffice it to say that it is a rather odd story. It’s difficult to summarize without giving up all manner of spoilers.

Music

Amy Winehouse

Cover of Amy Winehouse

Chip and Aidan show the film Dirty Dancing and the discussion that ensues is a small plot point. It also introduces some of the music, such as Mickey and Sylvia‘s Love is Strange and The Ronettes Be My Baby. But Pamela herself has her own music – Amy Winehouse‘s You Know I’m No Good.

Story Postings

Rating

There are two versions of this story. The version of Intolerance on Ad Astra is rated M. The version of Intolerance on Fanfiction.net is rated T. The difference is the explicitness of the more intimate scenes.

Upshot

British actor Dominic Keating, DragonCon 2008

British actor Dominic Keating, DragonCon 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This story is a bit of a detour. Of the main books in the In Between Days series, it’s more of a left turn than anything else. It is ostensibly Malcolm’s story in the same way that Reversal is Lili‘s story, Together is Melissa‘s, Temper is Doug‘s and Fortune is Leonora‘s, but it’s also very much Pamela‘s story (as is Saturn Rise). Plus Malcolm is revealed in many other tales that I’ve written since then.

Frankly, Intolerance doesn’t get a lot of love, too, and its read counts are sometimes lower than those of the others. Some of that may be due to the fact that it’s the shortest of the major books, with the fewest number of chapters. But I have reread it (I reread everything) and don’t think anything could truly be added. I like its tight editing. It does very little meandering, whereas Reversal and Fortune in particular sometimes wander off and away from their main plot lines.

Kaley Cuoco

Kaley Cuoco

A lot of the elements turn out well, I feel, but maybe it was too much of a departure. I don’t know. I have been happy to use it as a jumping-off point for other works, such as Together and The Cure is Worse Than the Disease. Truth be told, it may hold up better than most of what I’ve written.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Review, 56 comments

Review – And the Livin’ is Easy

Review – And the Livin’ is Easy

And the livin’ is easy? That can only mean one thing: summertime.

Background

So I originally wrote this story as a response to a prompt about the seasons. I had already written a story about winter, called A Hazy Shade. That one was somewhat depressing. I wanted something cheerier, so I thought of the summertime, and so And the Livin’ is Easy was born.

Plot Elements

As a missing scene from the canon Star Trek: Enterprise episode Two Days and Two Nights, I wanted to obliquely introduce the Calafans without beating the reader over the head with that. Hence, in this little ficlet, Jonathan Archer is engaging in a little girl watching.

There are two women in his sights. They are chatting together, but are not on Risa together on vacation. Rather, it’s more like they met there and got along so they are doing a little quick touring together.

Canon-ish

Review – And the Livin' is Easy

Archer IV fish

In the canon Star Trek: Enterprise episode, Archer refers to a boat ride where fish are caught and cooked for you right there. Since that boat ride is never seen, I seized the opportunity to show it. So he is on a bench and the two women are nearby, chatting. One is a Trill, but not named. I never meant it to be a first contact or canon-busting story at all. The other is a Calafan, recognizable from my Star Trek fanfiction as she has silvery scrollwork on her arms and speaks with an Irish brogue.

Jonathan speaks with them and asks them to show him around, but unfortunately they tell him they are leaving the following day.

Story Postings

Rating

The story has a K rating.

Upshot

I just wrote the story as a gentle summery kind of scene. I think it makes a sweet little prequel tale.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, In Between Days series, Review, 4 comments