Review – Paradox

Review – Paradox

Paradox – boy, are we ever in trouble!

Paradox Background

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Deep Future | Paradox

Deep Future

As a part of a Star Trek fanfiction competition, fellow writer kes7 and I decided to collaborate on this time travel mayhem-style crossover novel. Levi, the most squirrelly and ADHD-addled person in history, nervous and quirky to a fault, would be tasked with saving humanity.

By having to be socially acceptable or at least in the realm of socially competent.

Yeah, I agree.

We’re doomed.


In which humanity’s survival depends on Levi Cavendish’s social skills. Takes place in 3110.

kes7’s original character, Maren O’Connor (who we decided would be related to Kevin), and canon character Icheb, are an item in her universe. At this stage in their development, they are building their own time traveling device. But this is rather early in the engineering process, and the device is imperfect. It threatens the multiverse and humanity (because why not make the stakes super-high?) and the Temporal Integrity Commission has got to stop them.

Reluctantly, Carmen sends Levi and Otra. However, Otra does not have permission to go to the surface although she can communicate directly through Levi’s implanted communicator. As she feeds him information, he becomes even more confused. It does not help that a girl named Marci is flirting with him, big time. Which is Levi’s mother’s name.

It helps even less that Otra has finally realized that she is in love with him.


Story Postings


The story is Rated K.


We had a lot of fun writing this one, but we will both admit our resolve sometimes wanes. The story remains unfinished after a few years. We need to finish this one. I want to know what happened. Don’t you?

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Review, Times of the HG Wells series, 0 comments

Review – Siberians

Review – Siberians

Siberians? What?


Yes, I went there. A lot of people feel this is the worst ever episode of any of the Star Trek series. Or at least it comes awfully close to that. Why? Is it because of the squicky sex between the captain and the pilot? Or because of the wacky way Warp 10 somehow messes with Paris’s DNA? Could it be because the writing feels utterly bankrupt of imagination, so much so that the writers could not figure out what comes after humans? And, instead, they cop out and decide to regress and have us go back to, of all things, salamanders?

There are a lot of things wrong with Threshold. It would be a mistake to deny that. And my list barely scratches the surface.


Barking up the muse tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Siberians


It was a kind of irresistible premise: what the hell would Tom Paris and Kathryn Janeway do after Threshold?

Because of course it would have to be awkward. Of course.

I decided I wanted a piece of their time on the planet to be related to something rather biologically primal. It wouldn’t just be the sex drive. Instead, a part of the issue would be something which happens to non-human animals on Earth: they would go into season.

So in order to be able to deal with this, I didn’t have them recreate what had happened. Then they decide to commemorate the occasion and remember their children.

Story Postings


The story has a K+ rating.


While Threshold is roundly (and justifiably, in my opinion) criticized as one of the worst episodes the entire franchise has to offer, it does raise this very question. How do you work together after that?

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Review, 2 comments

Review – Coffee

Review – Coffee

I love coffee! But maybe not so much the story. However, I certainly enjoy the brew, as do a lot of people. One good thing about it is how it humanizes Captain Kathryn Janeway. For all of the issues which the writers may have had with her, at least this quirk gives her humanity. After all, even if you prefer tea, you always know someone who would prefer the French Roast or the Sumatran blend.


Barking up the muse tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Coffee

Anyone for coffee?

For an inspiration of the same name, I wrote a quickie drabble. The truth is, the story could be about anyone. In fact, I may have originally crafted it that way. The truth is, I can no longer recall. No matter.

It does not have to relate to Star Trek at all – and this little drabble just about barely does.


So anyone who knows Star Trek: Voyager is abundantly aware that Captain Kathryn Janeway enjoys her morning brew. One thing I liked about the show was that, despite replicator technology (and its seemingly magical properties), she’s still got to have real coffee. She notices if she’s getting something ersatz, a pale imitation. Hence this humanizing, relatable detail works on a lot of levels. I wanted to capture that, where she would muse over something so simple yet so personally potent. Furthermore, for Janeway, it serves as a quiet(er) moment in a life filled with everyone wanting something yesterday. As a result, this tiny moment starts her day off right.

Story Postings


The story is Rated K.


I wanted to capture that moment, right before everything goes to hell and you’re being called on for a million different things. Did I make it? You tell me.

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Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Review, 1 comment

Review – Dear Captain

Review – Dear Captain

Dear Captain, I …


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.

Review – Dear Captain

Namely, spam.

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 which go 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.

And 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. So 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 addition, this gives us a deeper connection to that era than usual. I like the idea of them battling similar issues. It’s a lot like Tripp Tucker dealing with the financing company, in Letters From Home.

Story Postings


The story is Rated K.


As a bit of comedy, I think the piece works. And it’s no more than a bit of fluff, and fluff it is.

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Posted by jespah in In Between Days series, Review, 5 comments

Trek United Adult Trek Anthology – From Quadrant to Quadrant and Person to Person

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.

Barking Up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Trek United Adult Anthology - From Quadrant to Quadrant and Person to Person

Trek United Adult Anthology – From Quadrant to Quadrant and Person to Person

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.

The Alabax 9 Affair

Madison Bruffy‘s newest contribution asks a question about the Prime Directive. Does it cover a, shall we say, delicate diplomatic situation? Or has Captain James T. Kirk really overstepped his bounds this time?

Last Full Measure

For Lil Black Dog, when does duty end? In the face of impossible adversity, what more can a First Officer do, but show the last full measure of his devotion to his captain?

You Make Me Want to Scream

Who’s got a secret powerhouse lover at home? jespah reminds us that sometimes our expectations are unfounded.

One Night on Terok Nor

Rush Limborg follows Garak as he and Ezri Dax work through some difficult memories and, along the way, a state of grace is achieved.

What Lies Within Lies Between

For Jonathan Archer and Trip Tucker, lost memory means that something else bubbles to the surface. How can T’Pol make sense of it all? Pauline Mac explores this fascinating dynamic.


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.

Sorrow, Shared

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 the Trek United Adult Anthology 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!

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Meta, Mixing It Up Collection, 1 comment

Welcome, or, In Praise of Fan Fiction

Welcome, or, In Praise of Fan Fiction

Welcome! Come on in, and sit down.

Welcome to My Worlds

I’ve got a lot to say.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Jespah 2012 Welcome

Jespah 2012

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?

Welcome, or, In Praise of Fan Fiction

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.

Or what about Ten Things I Hate About You? Oh, there’s another one with no credit for poor ole Will. Instead, Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith get the nod. Check ‘em out here.

Welcome, or, In Praise of Fan Fiction

Willie the Shake isn’t the only writer who gets short shrift with adaptations. What about Clueless? Amy Heckerling is the only writer with a credit. If I were Jane Austen, I’d be a little upset, seeing as its basis is 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.

Adaptations Outside of English

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.

The Point?

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 made, and where I am taking things and, frankly, where characters and planets and storylines and events are taking me.

I welcome and open my door to you, and am turning on the light, for you to see into my worlds.

Posted by jespah in Fan fiction, Meta, 14 comments