Date: 11 Dec 2013 17:00 Title: I'll Never Look Into Your Eyes Again
Dark. I will say you are really, really good at short story format. This kept the plot moving along with excellent pacing, nothing belabored but more than enough description and dialogue to keep things lively. A whole mystery story in 5000sh words. I'm a bit jealous, to be honest. Good stuff.
Author's Response: Ah, thanks, but don't be. You might be interested to know that it was much longer initially but had to be trimmed down quite a bit because of the word limit to the challenge this was designed for. I don't like trimming down my stories and it wasn't easy to do. I guess I still made it work somehow.
Date: 06 Aug 2013 18:29 Title: I'll Never Look Into Your Eyes Again
Oh man, oh man.
What I love about this story - apart from the deft and easy characterizations that you get across in very few words - is the completely plausible movement from guilt to denial to, eventually (well, I don't want to give the ending away). But suffice it to say that the upshot makes perfect sense in light of what occurs beforehand.
Furthermore, I love that things are not so perfect and wonderful in the Roddenberry-verse. And that is, I feel, the way it should be. Perfection is far from dramatic, and it's not realistic. Flaws, and even very big ones, are what we find out here in the real (and far more interesting) world.
Author's Response: Thanks. Even though I am a bit of an Utopian when it comes to Trek, I agree wholeheartedly that that does not always lend itself to dramatic storytelling. I still think that people, in the future, are inherently good and decent but sometimes even the most enlightened person can give in to his or her baser instincts as was the case here. Thanks for commenting.
Date: 29 Jul 2013 11:42 Title: I'll Never Look Into Your Eyes Again
Damn. Actually, I recall reading this on TrekBBS. It was a well written and hard hitting piece of work back then and it hits as hard now. There's a big theme here that you address but before that theme could be handled successfuly you had to win us over with your characters.
Bernhardt and Colburn were a terrific foil for this tale. They had that odd buddy cop feel about them in their differences in age, career and approaches. This tells out by story's end too with Bernhardt remaining within Starfleet and Colburn finding out the truth and the run around has sickened him of Starfleet and so opts to leave. For as much as they are different, they share a common cause in seeking the truth and despite the odd buddy cop feel there is no recourse to the gimicky here. Just nice concise characterisation that immediately had the spark between the two them. You sensed more to them than was allowed to be shown in the tale itself. All seemingly without much effort. Getting that balance or achieving that feel is actually not that easily done. And the danger of course is to overwork something and yet you don't CeJay. You keep it simple, pared down and it adds to the tone.
The theme itself, the horrors of war, is told in a very fitting way. The opener to the story is off for a Trek story making it immediately grab the reader's attention. A terrific hook. It leads into another strange convention, a largely Earth bound tale and told from the perspective of some deck jockey officers.
It's a post war theme but rather than touching on any politics it hits on the trauma of war and points to the differences we'd see coming up through the ranks of those officers who never served in the war and so are marked out different to the veterans at this stage. Again, this all lends itself to the feel of a larger universe and is something that draws me deeper into it by making me think about such a status quo.
This, all apart from the hard hitting truth of the story. Very well realised. Very well told. Big thumbs up from me.
Author's Response: Thank you very much for you insightful review on this little story. As you can tell from some of my other work, I do like combining mis-matched pairs to tell a story. Hardly a novel concept, of course, but it always adds a little internal friction and/or humor which can help, especially when telling such an inherently sad tale as I did here. I also enjoy taking Trek stories into other directions from time to time. Just because it's called Star Trek doesn't mean there isn't plenty of stuff happening on solid ground as well.
Date: 07 Jul 2013 21:44 Title: I'll Never Look Into Your Eyes Again
A very interesting read, CeJay, heavy with the themes that consume me - morality in the face of war. What is considered going too far? Truman killed Japanese civilians to end WWII - the right move - sacrifice a couple hundred thousand in order to save millions, or morally wrong to use civilians as leverage in military matters?
For me, this is exactly the type of story I love to read, and even though it was rather straightforward without any huge plot twists it definitely resonated. The touches of levity - especially between Stan and Max were a nice touch - made what could have been a very heavy piece emotionally a little easier to read.
Very nice work, and I hope to read more of this genre from you.
Author's Response: Thanks a lot. And yeah, it was pretty straight-laced, wasn't it? My appeal here was that we hadn't quite seen such a procedural in the Trek universe to my knowledge. That and I'm a sucker for Vietnam War analogies.
Date: 07 Jul 2013 13:45 Title: I'll Never Look Into Your Eyes Again
Wow. Very well-played, CeJay. It's a classical NCIS type tale, with all of the inherent weaving and unwinding of the story. A straight-forward investigation, but well-written, and very engaging, and excellently done. Nice work! I'm so glad to see more from you.
Author's Response: Thanks for reading and the kind words. I always like the idea of transplanting familiar subject matter into the Trek universe to give it a new spin. Granted, I won't win any awards for originality that way but sometimes a good story may come out of it. Glad you liked it.