In response to a prompt about letters from home, I decided to go full throttle in the direction of mail that, most decidedly, is unwelcome.
The idea was to create a small comedy piece that would, as I often do, zig rather than zag.
There is not too much of a plot; this is mainly a collection of obvious spammy messages sent to our intrepid future heroes. Because no one is mentioned by name, the messages could have been sent at any time, to anyone. Hence the story doesn’t really fit into any time period or series, and could cover any or all of them. I am not even certain as to which captain it is referring. It could be any or all of them, I suppose.
When I have absolutely needed to categorize it (a necessity at some fan fiction posting sites), I tend to come down on the side of it being a part of the In Between Days universe, which takes place during Star Trek: Enterprise. This makes some sense, as those people are the closest to use chronologically. They can maybe still be using email, and I write them as doing just that. Hence it all fits together rather nicely.
In Hold Your Dominion, a somewhat earlier Star Trek fanfiction piece, Gina and Gabrielle Nolan experience immeasurable loss when Gina’s husband, Michael, loses his life in a senseless Breen attack before Gabrielle is even born.
But life goes on, and eventually it’s five years since the attack. Gabby and Gina go to Gabby’s school, where there is a presentation of artwork commemorating the attack. Gabrielle’s artwork is a little disturbing, but there is a much better piece done by a little Klingon girl, Freela, who has lost her mother. When Gina finds a Klingon man who seems to be looking for something or someone, he turns out to be Kittris, Freela’s father. Gina immediately starts calling him Kit.
The actor is affable and intelligent and seems a better mate for Gina than a lot of the more standard Klingons would be. He seems to be a guy with a sense of humor and timing and grace, and not just a grappler with brawn.
Kit is a butcher by trade, but he does his best to assure that the animals he has to slaughter don’t suffer. When he and Gina first talk, he’s tentative (he doesn’t speak English very well yet). They make conversation as well as they can, and Gina can see how Kit interacts with Freela. He doesn’t belittle her when she’s afraid, with some notion of insisting that a little girl somehow behave like a Klingon warrior. Instead, he’s kind and patient.
After they have married, he takes in Gabrielle and treats her as if she were his second daughter. He insists that the two Nolans be a part of any family events or activities (including the wedding of Lannis’s younger sister, Lukara), and Freela and Gabrielle even share a bedroom. When the girls are older, and Gabby has to act opposite a Breen, Kit is supportive, and checks to make sure that Gabby is being treated all right, even by a former enemy.
Just like Michael Nolan, Lannis is killed in the Breen attack. However, Lannis was no civilian. Instead, she was a bombardier on a two-person Daranaean ship, and was shot down during a fire fight over San Francisco. When Kittris and Gina first meet, he intimates to her that he did not always get along with his first wife’s family, but he was dependent upon them to help with Freela, who was an infant at the time of her mother’s death.
With Gina, Kit finds a willing and equal partner in life. They blend their families in such a way that I often refer to them as the Klingon Brady Bunch. The union is respectful and as equal as it can be.
In Smash Your Dominion, the meeting in the Mirror Universe between the Mirror versions of Kit and Gina goes far differently as Gina, a Captain’s Woman, has to get her rambunctious daughter out of trouble before the Captain Keller (who is not Gabby’s father) finds out.
In exchange for a little something fun, Kit keeps quiet about Gabrielle getting into a small scrape. But Kit knows that it’s a bad idea to get involved with a Captain’s Woman. Unless one is a captain, of course.
“We realize that you must rehearse. But, well, everything about that boy disturbs me.”
I haven’t really thought about what else to do with this family, at least, not for a while. The situation may present itself, but right now Kit is on hold with the remainder of his blended clan.
This image was taken last year and it’s more or less an accurate representation of the real-life jes.
I turned fifty last September (2012).
My Own Personal Fandom
Given my age, you’d think I’d be a big TOS fan. And, while I am a fan (and I recall seeing at least some of it in what was likely first run), my heart really belongs more to ENT. I love it for its closeness to us, its passion, its flawed characters who change and grow, and the fact that the tech is far from perfect.
I know the many, many flaws in ENT. I have had them pointed out to me numerous times (so many people seem to love doing that). Still and all, I enjoy it immensely.
TOS and TAS (I really put them together) are second for me. I like the drama and the writing, much of which was really terrific. The effects and animation are abysmal, and the costumes and makeup aren’t too good, either, so a lot of the tension comes about from the acting and the writing. I also enjoy the social commentary in a lot of the stories. And, much like in ENT, there are real senses of danger there. You do sometimes wonder if/how they’re going to make it.
I suppose TNG comes in at third for me, and more because of the trio of Wesley, Geordi and Data. I also like Beverly, and I like Miles and Keiko. Picard is … okay. I am not a rabid, screaming fan girl about Patrick Stewart although I certainly appreciate his talent. But I do feel that the ship was too huge and luxurious, and a lot of hazards were bred out of the experience. As Q says (and I like him, too), space is dangerous. And they (and we) should not forget that. As for Riker, the less said, the better.
If I had to select a fourth, it would probably be, really, VOY. I like the generalized idea of it. Travel stories have been around since the Odyssey andThe Canterbury Tales, and probably before then, too. But I tend to like only isolated bits, and they are usually the parts that other people don’t care for at all.
Then, it’s a tie between the films and DS9. The films are okay and I have not seen all of them – I haven’t even seen more than bits of The Wrath of Khan. Some moments in various films stand out – the trial on Kronos and imprisonment on Rura Penthe, T’Saavik emotionlessly reporting David Marcus’s death, saving the whales, Zefram Cochrane doing his thing, and even Kirk’s death (I love how it was small and non-heroic, because the end of life is far more likely to be like that). But then there’s tons that’s just meh to me, from the overly-loving closeups of the Enterprise in the first film, to the Sybok wackiness of the fifth film. I don’t hate the 2009 film and I do believe it’s Trek (and I find it weird sour grapes for people to declare that it isn’t Star Trek because they don’t like it. Tough, it’s Trek, get over it). But it’s not a fave. It’s … okay. I am not a fan of pure action flicks and it was pretty close to that. I have not yet seen Into Darkness.
As for Deep Space Nine, I’ve always had trouble getting into it. I like Louise Fletcher as Kai Winn, and I like Dr. Bashir. Plus I like the idea of the Trill. After that, I get a meh vibe. Sorry to those who love it.
I got into writing Star Trek fanfiction in 2005 and then promptly gave it up for five years. During that time period, my attitude changed considerably, and then suddenly it was October of 2010 and I was spinning Reversal out of whole cloth. And it became a monster that launched two big series and tons of stories, and, no lie, hundreds of thousands of words.
Including, of course, this blog and its accompanying website.
I am writing, or I am thinking about writing nearly every single day.
I generally enjoy reading others’ works although time doesn’t always permit that I really look super-closely. I try to give a story a chance, at least for a while. For a 60+ chapter story, that might be five to eight chapters. For a 20,000 word story, it might be only one or two chapters. For a less than 10,000 word story, it will probably be the entire thing.
I make an effort to go out of my comfort zone and read stories that take place in eras or on ships that I do not know. That often means Deep Space Nine although it can also mean various expanded universes. There are so many missing pieces in canon that it is very possible to set an entire universe within the missing bits, and that’s even how In Between Days was originally going to be.
I also make an effort to constructively critique so, yeah, that can sometimes mean that my reviews are less than perfectly positive. If I feel a canon character isn’t being accurately portrayed, I try to alert the writer. I have had that pointed out to me before, and I usually use it as a means of reverse-engineering some sort of an explanation. After all, there are times when people behave out of character, and it’s not always mold spores or radiation or the like. Sometimes it’s grief, or loneliness, or drugs or just a desire to shake things up. For More, More, More! I was told that Malcolm likely would not be helping to arrange the party. But I decided, no, he would be, as he would prefer an organized means of fraternizing with his shipmates and the NX-02, as opposed to the chance element inherent in more casual contact. I reverse-engineered in the explanation in the sequel story, On the Radio. This not only fixed what wasn’t necessarily that big a problem, it also added a little more depth to the subsequent tale.
As for original characters, a lot of people, when they are inexperienced, tend to either stick just with a kind of canon alternative (which is what Doug Beckett was originally) or they are golden children of canon (more or less a type of canon alternate – Jia Sulu was a little like that) or they are out and out Mary Sues (Lili can be borderline at times, but her overall arc isn’t, and I work hard to keep her out of that zone). A few thoughts on that, if I may.
Consider the following characteristics – beauty, intelligence, social ease, heroism and physical prowess of any sort.How many of these characteristics does your character have? Lili, for example, has intelligence and social ease. Pamela has beauty and intelligence. Doug has intelligence and physical prowess, and eventually has heroism. Malcolm and Jay both have intelligence and physical prowess, usually mixed with heroism. Blair has beauty, intelligence and social ease. But nobody’s got all of these characteristics.
And that’s the idea. Characters, like people, should not be perfect in every way. This goes for villains as well as heroes (so substitute the term villainy for heroism, above). For those five main traits, one or two are fine, and three are okay but may be pushing it. Four is really starting to push it. All five strains credulity to the breaking point. I see far too many original characters who can do no wrong and are in the five zone.
I also try to get a sense from an author (and if I can ask him or her, all the better) about an elevator pitch-style story. I pay attention not only to what they suggest, but also to elements like the story’s length. After all, if you feel that I won’t understand your universe without reading 100,000 words, you aren’t necessarily showing a lot of respect for my time and interest level. I have time to read fan fiction, yes. I concede the point. And it doesn’t have to be a drabble and we’re done. I do have a longer attention span than that. But my time is not infinite. I wish it was but, alas, it is not. If I read your 100,000 words, sight unseen, that will take up a pretty significant chunk of my time. You are telling me that we cannot date, and the only way I will know you is to get married. For a decade.
Hence I try to keep the idea of an elevator pitch in mind, and can easily single out three stories of mine that fit that bill – The Light, The Cure is Worse than the Disease, and Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions. All three are fairly short and are completely self-contained. The reader does not need to know the remainder of my mythos in order to understand them but, if the reader does go back and read that, he or she will get another dimension on each of these stories. I don’t present this idea as a perfect one, but I do hope that other authors will at least consider something like that. It’s just easier for the reader.
Fandom has allowed me to step into a number of fascinating and beautiful worlds. I can only hope that what I have created is one-tenth as entertaining for my own readers. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations – words to live by.
Trek United Adult Trek Anthology – From Quadrant to Quadrant and Person to Person
It’s been a labor of love as well as a bit of lust. The Trek United Adult Trek Anthology is finally out! Travel with us, From Quadrant to Quadrant and Person to Person, and prepare to be seduced by Star Trek.
With 315 pages of content, punctuated with beautiful sketches and gorgeous screen captures, not to mention a breathtaking photo manipulated cover, the Anthology is a feast for the eyes and can put you, the reader, right into the action. Let’s look at the individual contributions.
When a hybrid child is pushed to the limit, a careless mistake, made in a fit of rage, changes his and his tormentor’s lives forever. jespah brings the ugliness of bullying to the Trek universe.
A Drone’s New Life
When 7 of 9 and the rest of the crew of Voyager make it to Earth, life changes. And, for her, as writer Laura McBride shows, those changes are for the better.
What if the events of Amok Time didn’t go the way we all know they did? Lil Black Dog returns with an exploration of how things would unfold if Dr. McCoy had not been there.
Scotty’s got a date. And, according to jespah, it’s going really, really well.
Anvil of the Gods
Jean-Luc Picard makes the Dominion War come alive as a Vorta learns what some true believers do – that sometimes heroes have feet of clay.
In the E2 universe, a widowed T’Pol finds herself with a visitor who shares her grief. Honeybee gives readers something to think about.
Fantastic artwork graces the Anthology. Bluetiger has captured the true essence of characters, from T’Pol to Scotty. Madison has added a number of promotional materials which have helped to round out this issue and create even more visual appeal. And then there’s the cover. ENTAllat‘s lovely photo manipulated cover brings together disparate elements and conveys the overall theme of the Anthology.
We are writers and we are artists and we do it all for your feedback. Did we succeed in our mission? Is there something we missed? We would love to hear from you! Feel free to comment here, or on Issuu itself.
Looking to the Future
Will we do it again? I don’t know. A lot of that will depend upon the reception that this, the first edition, garners. But if we do, would you like to write for us? Take a look at our selection criteria. If you’d like to try for a spot – and inclusion is not guaranteed – follow our submission guide. Plus I can be reached here if you have any questions. Onward, to the stars, and the stars in your eyes, from quadrant to quadrant, and person to person!
Chip, in my fanfiction, is sometimes level-headed, but also willingly joins in with the silliness, often as a partner in crime with Aidan MacKenzie. Chip definitely has a silly side and, in Together, he even dreams of doing stand-up in a little club on Risa.
On the NX-01
Chip starts off in Tactical, which is where he gets to know Aidan. However, by the time of Together, he has transferred over to Communications, acknowledging that he is a natural gabber and better suited at connecting people as opposed to blowing stuff up. Like Aidan, he’s an Ensign.
As the person with probably the best appreciation of the arts on the Enterprise, Chip picks the movies. He has eclectic taste, serving up everything from Stalag 17toDirty Dancing. In Broken Seal, he and Aidan, who acts as the projectionist, are even blamed for the problems with The Seventh Seal.
He also conducts a little discussion afterwards. Attendance is spotty at best. In Intolerance, for Dirty Dancing, he talks about the soundtrack, which is a mix of 1960s and 1980s music, and has the attendees try to guess which decade a particular song came from.
Chip and Aidan are not only friends, they are also roommates. Chip also appreciates Hoshi Sato as his boss. In the E2 stories I am currently writing, he also helps to train and accommodate the newest member of the Communications team, Crewman Maryam Haroun. Because Maryam is a Muslim and needs to pray several times per day, Chip’s night shift sometimes starts early or can end late, so that he can cover when Maryam is praying.
In Together, he helps Deborah Haddon pick up the pieces and they begin dating. By the time of Temper, she’s proposed to him, and they are married by the time of Fortune. During the initial celebration of the first child born to a crew member becoming a parent, he begins to thank the captain who corrects him and instead tells him that the celebration is for Malcolm.
“So this Klingon, an Andorian and a Vulcan walk into a bar. And the Klingon’s a male, super-tall. And he’s completely buck naked, except for a strategically placed piece of string to which there’s attached this note. So the bartender gets curiousand he reads the note, which says …”
I’ve never finished the joke. Have at it in the Comments section if you’d like to write a punch line for Chip’s joke.
Chip in the MU has a lot more on his mind, and has no time for antics. He never switches over to Communications, and instead is promoted to run Tactical at the end of Reversal (his start in Tactical is shown in Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions). He also runs Game Night, intended to be the counterpart to Movie Night. He takes bets like a bookie (betting in the MU is canon) and collects like a loan shark.
Because Deborah is taken away from him, he ends up, eventually, as one of the Empress’s conquests, fathering her twins, Takara (the only girl) and Takeo. All of the Empress’s children have meaningful names. Takara means treasure while Takeo means warrior. These are her fourth and fifth eldest of the six total children, and are being raised to be as bratty as the others, as is shown in Coveted Commodity. In Temper, with its three separate alternative timelines, Chip’s fate differs. The only constants are Science Officer Lucy Stone, and his two children with the Empress. Fortune follows Chip to his later life, and He Stays a Stranger to a much later time in his life. As one of the only halfway decent people in the Mirror Universe, Chip represents a bit of hope in that wasted landscape.
Traveling the stars is serious business, and the Xindi and Romulan Wars were no laughing matter, but the crew always needed a release from unrelenting problems. Without someone like Chip, life on the NX-01 would be so much tougher. Even the crew of the Enterprise needs a little whimsy in their lives, and for that, Chip’s your man.
This blog is going to be about fan fiction, of the Star Trek kind, mostly Enterprise although I do branch out into the other series’ and the films’ universes on occasion. But my main focus is ENT.
If you don’t like fanfiction, you might want to turn back now. But if you aren’t sure, or if you think it’s just for those who can’t be creative, I urge you to consider a few things.
Fan fiction, in essence, is like an “adapted by” or “based on” credit in the movies or on television. Sure, it’s not 100%, absolutely, completely, utterly, blisteringly, breathtakingly original. But that “adapted by” credit? Let’s see where else it is, or where it should be, shall we?
How about West Side Story, for starters? And they didn’t even credit the original author! Instead, playwright Jerome Robbins and writers Ernest Lehman and Arthur Laurents are shown. Funny how William Shakespeare isn’t listed, eh? Well, I guess the Bard didn’t have a very good agent. Take a look here if you don’t believe me.
Willie the Shake isn’t the only writer who gets short shrift with adaptations. What about Clueless? Amy Heckerling is the only credited writer. If I were Jane Austen, I’d be a little peeved, seeing as it’s based on Emma. Don’t believe me? Take a gander here.
There are countless vampire film and television adaptations, copies and suggestions – they don’t all mention Bram Stoker. Twilight certainly doesn’t mention the father of the vampire genre, although it does give credit to Melissa Rosenberg and Stephenie Meyer. Check it out.
At least Charles Dickens gets a “suggestion” credit for Scrooged, but the real billing is left for Mitch Glazer and Michael O’Donoghue. See the list of Scrooged writers.
Of course English writers are not the only ones out there who are hit up for adaptations, suggestions and the like, and English language films aren’t the only adapters, but at least Shakespeare gets a mention in Ran, along with Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni and Masato Ide. Perhaps it’s the Eastern cultural imperative to respect one’s ancestors at work here.
Here’s a film based on a Spanish poem – El Cid. And, you may have guessed it, no credit for the original author, believed to be Per Abbad, but plenty of credit for Fredric M. Frank, Philip Yordan and Ben Barzman. Take a look at the list of El Cid writers.
And then there’s The Wind Done Gone and other parallel novels, which use other books’ scenarios as their own. See Wikipedia for a list.
What’s the point of all of this research?
The bottom line is that fan fiction isn’t significantly different. It’s a cousin, if you will, to adapted screenplays, suggested stories and parallel novelizations. Plenty of perfectly wonderful and respected works of art, from the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead to the book Grendel are all, truly, based on someone else’s universe.
Do you accept those other works? Do you eagerly stand in line for tickets to Wicked, or watch the Clueless TV program in reruns, or read Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea? Then, my friend, you are a consumer of art that is quite similar to fan fiction. Why embrace one and find fault with the other?
Come with me, and explore, what it means to be human – or Vulcan, or Denobulan or even an original species like Daranaean, or Calafan or Witannen or others – in a vast, unfamiliar place, where death can haunt every light-year or love and friendship might just be around the next bend in the corridor or a lift or transport ride away. Come and explore the outer, the other and the new and strange, but also the familiar and homelike part we all have in us.
Writing is not an activity solely the province of those who are paid any more than imagination solely belongs to those who create for a living. Come and see what I have wrought, and where I am taking things and, frankly, where characters and planets and storylines and events are taking me.
I open my door to you, and am turning on the light, for you to see into my worlds.