Tag Archives: review

Review – Barely Tolerable

Review – Barely Tolerable

Barely Tolerable fills in a missing scene.

Background

After writing Intolerance (which is kind of an odd story within the original five-book In Between Days series), I wanted to add something considerably lighter that would showcase Captain Archer a bit.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | IBD Arrangement | Barely Tolerable
In Between Days, the Arrangement

Furthermore, he behaves like a perfect gentleman in that book, whereas some of the other men do not quite measure up as well. However, I wanted it to be a case where he would look at Blair and Pamela and bemoan the fact that he absolutely would not be allowed to touch.

Hence the idea humanizes him in a big way, I feel. After all, he is the captain, yes. But he is also a flesh and blood human being and, as such, he has desires.

Plot

The story barely has a plot and is really a lot more like a drabble. And essentially, Jonathan Archer, like all of the other single straight men on the NX-01 Enterprise, is a bit taken by both Pamela Hudson and Blair Claymore.  As a person who is unattached, there is nothing stopping him from looking. But he knows he will need to hold back, as they are both quite a bit younger than he is, and he is the captain of the ship. For him, it would probably be seen as improper.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

At the time that I wrote this story, I did not realize it, but it is truly a foreshadowing (actually, it is more of an afterword or afterthought) with respect to the E2 stories, where I have Captain Archer also looking and not touching, desiring but never actually going through with anything.

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Review – The Three of Us

Review – The Three of Us

The Three of Us is one of my best fan fiction efforts.

Background

As the third piece of the E2 series, I wanted to pursue a Star Trek fan fiction story that I had had in mind for quite a while.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Three of Us
The Three of Us

This was an idea about a love triangle/threesome among Lili, Jay, and Malcolm. Of all four stories set during that time period, this one was the most fully realized, and the easiest to write. I had tons of it in my head even before pen went to paper (and then I transcribed it to pixels). I wish all storytelling was like this!

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | The Sparrow and the Blue Jay
The Sparrow and the Blue Jay

The story begins with Malcolm providing a little news and ship’s gossip to the still-injured Ethan Shapiro.

Malcolm speaks a little about the remaining single women on board the Enterprise, but he mainly discusses an upcoming baseball game between the MACOs and Starfleet. The action shifts as Lili tries out for the Starfleet team and then Shelby and Andrew talk about why she won’t be playing. The first chapter ends with Judy Kelly Rostov going into labor, the mark of the second child to be born on the generational ship (Valleri Rostov, so-named because Davy Jones of the Monkees had recently died when I was writing that part of the story).

As the book continues, more and more of the single women are snapped up, until only two are left ….

Music

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated M.

Upshot

As stated above, I had a lot of this storyline in my head as I was writing and even beforehand. From the weddings to the aliens to the spirituality to the triumphs and tragedies, the love and the nastiness, this is one of my absolute favorites of my works.

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Review – The Tribe

Review – The Tribe

What is your tribe?

Background

I wanted to cover a moment where unlikely allies would work together.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Before Days | The Tribe
Before Days

The end of Mary Reed’s first day at work proved a great backdrop. I also had wanted to revisit her new job, and so this prompt  made for a great opportunity to do just that.

Mary would be needed – and that can sometimes be an issue for people with grown children. How do you find a new purpose so that you can feel needed again? For this little story, Mary was absolutely indispensable.

Plot

Review – The Tribe

As Mary takes the maglev train home to Kota Baru after a long day at work, the train suddenly stops. Briefly, the lights go out, which is a little scary but not a lot. This is her first day on the job, and she was asked to start on the day of her interview, so the whole thing has been even more unexpected. Nearly as importantly, her husband, Stuart, has not been fully supportive of her working outside the home, even as a part of the Earth-Romulan War effort. And now she is going to be late, and his supper will be delayed. It is hardly an auspicious beginning to her working career.

When the power comes back on, a heavily pregnant woman sitting across the aisle from her looks mighty uncomfortable.

Review – The Tribe

A young Tellarite male comments, and it becomes obvious very quickly that the pregnant woman’s water has broken. Except for the young Tellarite, all of the men in the train car leave.  Two Vulcans come over and begin timing the contractions. A few women donate sweaters or the like to create an impromptu pillow. Mary’s job is to talk to the woman, whose name is Penda (this is a reference to a possible canon name for Uhura).

When the train finally starts moving again, the people are not friends. But  they have shared something all the same. And Mary, like the pair of Vulcans and the young Tellarite and others, returns to her life.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I liked this little slice of her life, and how even in the future something like a birth could have the potential to truly go wrong, or at the very least get messy.

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Review – Gainful

Review – Gainful

Gainful comes from a prompt about first jobs.

Background

I wanted to show someone who wasn’t so young entering the workforce for the same time.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Before Days | Gainful
Before Days

I particularly wanted to pay tribute to my maternal grandmother. She had only worked outside of the home for a few years, and that was all during the Second World War, as a part of the war effort.

Yes, my grandmother was a kind of Rosie the Riveter type (she worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard).

Enter Mary Reed.

Plot

Review – Gainful
We Can Do It poster for Westinghouse, closely associated with Rosie the Riveter, although not a depiction of the cultural icon itself. Pictured Geraldine Doyle (1924-2010), at age 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I figured Mary would be as driven to help out during the Earth-Romulan War as my own grandmother had been during World War II.

But Mary seemed to not be as strong as my part-Polish grandmother, so it would be more of an intellectual pursuit. Furthermore, this is the future of Star Trek, and so brute force or assembly lines would not be in the cards.

I recalled a character I had created while writing two pieces for Dispatches from the Romulan War – pop singer Kurt Fong. I hit upon the idea of Fong needing a new person to help open his mail and respond to it, and so I was able to attach Mary and her diplomatic skills to this project. It would be a fun job for her, but also a challenge. She would be reminded, as others wrote to Fong, that Malcolm could be injured or killed at any time, too. Her boss, Ehigha Ejiogu, would be a Nigerian man young enough to be her son. Her coworker, the Tellarite Cympia Triff, would have an impressive beard.

Sharp-eyed readers will recall that Ejiogu and Fong are, in the Mirror Universe, two of Doug‘s kills.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I really like how this one turned out, and was  pleased to write a sequel, The Tribe. As for whether I’ll revisit Mary at work, the question remains up in the air.

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Review – Spring Thaw

Spring Thaw

A Spring Thaw is unpredictable and can often feel like one step forward, two steps back.

Background

Here is where, in Star Trek fanfiction, I wanted canon character Richard Daniels to tragically fall in love with a woman he could never have.

Review – Spring Thaw

The story, however, was originally a part of a wholly original time travel series. In both versions, a time traveler is tasked with ending Prague Spring, because true historical figure Drahomír Kolder is being blackmailed. But in the original story, Milena Chelenska was the time traveler, and she married Elijah Kohak before departing, an act that breaks both of their hearts. But the altered story diverged quite a bit.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Prague Spring
Prague Spring
Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Spring Thaw
Spring Thaw

In the story as it was adapted for the Times of the HG Wells series, Rick and Sheilagh are winding down. They agree to not see each other anymore; it’s just too strange.

 

A free man again, Rick must end Prague Spring, as the Temporal Integrity Commission‘s enemies have altered history too much, and communism falls a lot earlier than it should have. The negative consequences of this include no Ronald Reagan-inspired SDI, and so there is no global satellite system in place in the 1980s.

This delays the development of the Internet, which in turn delays the development of all manner of innovations, including Warp Drive.

As Rick flies to 1968, he does not realize that someone has cut his time ship’s fuel line; he’ll need to obtain materials in order to fix it. After beaming down to Prague, his luck seems disastrous, as he is hit by a car and dragged, left for dead by a hit and run driver. Milena is outside walking with her sister, Noemy, as they are going to the farmers’ market.

Rick is at least a little big luckier, as Milena is a doctor. Except she’s a gynecologist. Never mind that – at least she and Noemy get him out of the street. But once he’s on her examining table and she’s ready to start x-raying him,  she sees his wounds starting to close up, and this astounds her. She immediately realizes, due to the presence of his stem cell growth accelerator, that something very strange is going on. She suspects he’s not human. She’s partly right.

Rick’s luck continues improving, until he realizes just how special she really is. And that he can never have her.

Music

The music is of course from 1968, except for Rick and Milena’s theme, which is Jim Croce‘s Time in a Bottle. Further, this is the only one of the HG Wells stories that does not have a title taken from a lyric. Instead, the references are to Prague Spring and to Richard and Milena’s own thaws.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

I had originally really loved the Milena character, but had no good place to put her. Once the story got started, though, it flowed smoothly. The HG Wells stories had started off as a bit of a hard slog, as I knew I wanted this story to serve as the centerpiece. So I was itching to get here. By the time I got here, it was all I had hoped for and more, and the transcription of the story became close to taking dictation, which is my favorite way to write.


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Review – Saturn Rise

Review – Saturn Rise

Saturn Rise – this was, I feel, a necessary story to write.

Saturn Rise Background

"Barking

For my own Star Trek fanfiction prompt about forgiveness, I went with a story about Malcolm, Lili, Joss, Marie Patrice, Declan, and Malcolm’s parents. This one dovetailed with a far more serious story about Pamela, Treve, and her family. It is all about offenses, hurts, slights, and pain. Some is fairly small. Some of it is devastating.

Plot

Two stories run through the piece.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Saturn System
Saturn System

In the first, Pamela and Treve are getting serious, and she agrees to see her sister, Lisa, who she hasn’t seen in years. She takes Treve along, in order to introduce him. It’s a major commitment for her. She wants it to be right.

In the second, Lili and Malcolm are going to see his parents. She will meet them for the first time, and they will see Declan, too, for the first time.

Undercurrents

Both scenarios sound promising. But there’s more going on there. Lisa, thinking it will be a pleasant surprise, brings her family along, and her and Pamela’s mother. Lisa is innocent and thinks it’ll be fun. What she learns is that their family was rather different from what she believed. And that Pamela, as a child, suffered abuse by their father. With a mother who seemingly didn’t do anything about it, Pamela unleashes her fury on their mother, as their father is long dead.

Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded (1742). Mr B reads...
Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded (1742). Mr B reads…

On Malcolm and Lili’s side of things, Stuart and Mary Reed express their concerns that the commitment between Lili and Malcolm is an illusory one, as Lili is married and her relationship with Malcolm is a part of her open marriage with Doug.

In addition, while they love Declan immediately, it takes them longer to warm up to the other two children, who they single out. Even though Mary had already given Marie Patrice a gift of handmade yellow knitted gloves (as was seen in Fortune), the two elder Reeds still hold back. An important part of the piece is Malcolm standing up to his parents, informing them that Joss and Marie Patrice are “our children”, meaning his, Lili’s, Doug’s and, by extension, also Melissa and Norri‘s.

As I often do, I twisted the conclusion a bit. Not everyone is forgiven, and maybe not everyone should be.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

I was happy to showcase more of Pamela and Treve’s relationship, and not in the context of their first sexual encounter. These characters love each other, and I hadn’t really shown that before. As for Lili and Malcolm, their love was already in several stories. However, to be able to extend that to his love for her other children, the chance to do that in story form was irresistible. I think the story turned out well, and particularly like how Malcolm stood up to his parents and Pamela stood up to her mother.

Review – Finnan Haddie

Review – Finnan Haddie

Background

Finnan Haddie
Finnan Haddie

The Star Trek fanfiction prompt was about family. This led me straight to the below song, which I had wanted at my own wedding, but the DJ forgot to bring it (true story)!

Plot

It’s a wedding, on Lafa II. Joss is marrying his longtime sweetheart, Jia Sulu. The family is there, but a few people are missing. It’s time for finals at Oxford, so Declan can’t make it. Doug has died, and Lili has married Malcolm. Marie Patrice has finagled a business trip, and is present with Ken Masterson, the child of Chip and Deb. Tommy has leave. Neil is there with his two women, Yinora (Yimar‘s daughter) and Ines Ramirez, daughter of Jenny and Frank. Melissa and Leonora are also there, as is Jia’s sole family on the planet, her mother, Mai.

It’s a slightly bittersweet day, as Lili misses Doug, and Declan is absent.

Jia (Faye Wong)
Jia (Faye Wong)

Plus, sadly, Kevin Madden-Beckett’s grave, next to Doug’s, is an all-too painful reminder of a child who never had a chance. For Jia, it’s harder for her to be there without her father, Geming, who is also gone.

Lili and Joss are going to engage in a ritual mother-son dance, even though the dance floor is the outside area under the carport. Lili offers to not bother, if it will upset Jia. But it’s Jia who insists on it.

Jia approaches Malcolm and asks if she can call him father. Bowled over, he looks to Lili and Mai for their approval. When their blessings are given, he consents, and he and Jia dance to the below tune.

Music

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I wanted a quick, sweet love story where what could have been a dark and difficult day turns into a triumph. At the same time, I wanted to address Malcolm who, in the canon E2 episode, dies without a family. Here, he gets one.

Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat

Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat

Background

Tarisian Dreams suggested that I somehow find a way for Spot and Porthos to meet. The only methods were, I felt, either time travel or a holodeck simulation. I chose the former.

Plot

It’s during the Xindi War, and Lili has only recently been hired. While starting dinner, she brings Porthos to the galley. He sits, hoping that’s she’ll drop something tasty. Will comes in and scolds Lili, as this is a Health Code violation.

Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat
English: This is an orange/yellow tabby cat.

He insists that she return the beagle to Captain Archer‘s quarters. Lili does so, and departs as the ship is hit by a spatial anomaly. This creates a hull breach on B Deck. But this anomaly is temporal as well as spatial, and so it also results in Porthos being whisked away, over a century into the future, to the Enterprise-D, where Data, Spot, Geordi, Wesley Crusher, and Captain Picard all are.

Review – The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat

On the NX-01, they fear Porthos has died. On the Enterprise-D, they try to get him home.

Plus the whole thing is told from the perspective of Porthos, including his conversations with Spot.

Does Porthos get back to the right time period? Who helps him? And what happens to him and Spot, before he departs?

I guess you’ll have to read in order to find out.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I love writing animals’ points of view, and Porthos is always great fun. Spot was much more of a challenge, but readers have told me that I got cat POV correct. That was rather satisfying to read. Will they return? Absolutely, although I’m hard-pressed as to how to (if ever) get them back together again.

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

The Best Things Come in Pairs Background

Pairs. They can refer to playing cards and couples, and this little story touches on both as a play on words and for a little bit of humor. In response to a Star Trek fanfiction prompt about losing, I wanted to write a story about a losing poker hand that, instead, ends up being a winner.

Plot

Review – The Best Things Come in Pairs

It’s maybe a year after the end of Fortune, and Treve has taken Pamela home after a date. They have been going out for a good year. She’s been a bit pushy about getting physical, but he’s been pulling back. As of the time of Saturn Rise, they have exchanged ‘I love yous’.

This is the first time that Treve has actually gone into Pamela’s new apartment on Lafa II. She’s immigrated there, partly to be near her elderly uncle, Doctor Cyril Morgan, and partly to be near Treve.

They’re a little drunk, and there are playing cards on the table. Pamela suggests a game of strip poker. Since Treve has no real idea of how to play, she feigns losing and, as a result, gets her man. Treve certainly does not object to this!

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

The story is meant to be a little silly, maybe, and a little amusing, and it segues rather neatly into Complications. A touch of happy ending mixed with some humor? Sign me up.

Review – Complications

Review – Complications

Complications Background

Complications – As a follow up to The Best Things Come in Pairs, Treve and Pamela make love for the first time. But things are a little … odd.

Plot

Review – Complications

There is no reason whatsoever to assume that human-alien sexual relations will go smoothly, particularly not the first time. Couple this with the fact that Treve is a virgin, and Calafan men can swell up after climax, and the scene naturally turned to the parties becoming a bit stuck.

Already, things are weird.

At the same time, Treve is the first boyfriend Pamela has ever had where she’s waited. He’s also the first man she has ever loved (she did not love Malcolm when they dated in Intolerance and met again in Together. She was mature enough to never say it back to Malcolm), and he ends up being the only man she ever loves. He is everything to her, and the feeling is mutual.

Her earlier experiences have been different. They’ve been brief and unfeeling, and often laced with some S & M and B & D. She’s got a wild side. And now things are changing, and wholly for the better.

But they’re still stuck.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

This short story was written in response to a sex scene prompt, and it was great fun to imagine it and put it on paper. This is one piece of Pamela’s happy ending, and I was glad to write it. For this character with a difficult early life, alien-human sex and its aftermath are the least of her many complications.