Reviews For Shadow Plays
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Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 06 May 2021 13:06 Title: 018 - "The Offer Stands."

And the gang is all together. Always fun to write for an ensemble - part of the fun of writing Trek stories. 

Interesting bit of bio-tech. 

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 05 May 2021 19:09 Title: 017 - "Showdown on Treasure Island."

Another classic jurisdiction wrangling scene and lots of great visuals. 

Looks like Mech got what Star Fleet wanted...

So is Whren dirty? I suppose we'll find out...

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 04 May 2021 12:35 Title: 016 - "Just Follow the Treasure Map."

Masamune definitely reminds me of Lt.C. Daisuke Aramaki. 

What could be better than Treasure Island for such a story?

Again, really strong sense of place in this story.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 30 Apr 2021 17:50 Title: 015 - "Buddha Says."

If you aren't a native to San Francisco, it certainly seems you did a lot of research to give this story such a tremendous sense of detail and place. Really nice word painting on the temple. And a little meta-Trek camera mugging with the musing on the nature of reality. Of a piece with the closing of the Moriarty thread in STNG.

The idea of a Buddhist master-hacker is quite amusing and somehow fitting.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 29 Apr 2021 12:22 Title: 014 - "Round and Round and Round We Go."

Fun chase sequence. I must have missed the earlier references tying Black to Grayson (an interesting monochromatic twist to their monikers.)

And they never caught a glimpse of him - which suggests Black is toying with Bobbie.

Also interesting reference to the Federation being so desparate as to hire mercenaries for a war. Lots of layers here. 

One of the big questions about transporter technology - why isn't everyone just beaming everywhere? I would guess city governments would install shielding to prevent it for public protection..

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 28 Apr 2021 11:16 Title: 013 - "There Are No White Rabbits On The Moon."

Captain Whren... intersting. 

Trigger is a fun character - evidently a bit of a horndog. Not certain why the Federation would outlaw sexbots unless they were actually AI. 

Interesting that Mech carries an actual firearm. Always a useful backup in case you're caught in an energy dampening field... 

Two concepts generally missing in ST (largely due, no doubt, to screen time issues) are layers of bureaucracy and orbital weapons platforms. You managed to provide both in a single line with UMDA-owned satellites.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 27 Apr 2021 11:51 Title: 012 - "Just Don't Call Her A Whiz-Kid."

Reminds me of Nancy's father in Stranger Things... "What did I do?" Really nice comic ending wrapped around a superb point in how we treat and classify people. As a musician, I often find myself resisting the temptation to remind people that what I have is a skill, not a gift.

I found myself imagining Bobbie pointing at the data chart with the jumja stick she had just taken out of her mouth...

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 26 Apr 2021 13:58 Title: 011 - "Coming Courtesy Gateway 668."

"Like a good neighbor..." Not someone I would want to live adjacent to...

The danger of writing any specificity into technobabble (such as the number of bits in a high level encryption code or the terraflops at which Data's processor works) is that technology reliably outstrips science fiction and projections of what we might accomplish 100 years in the future are met within 18-20 months.

Just hazarding a guess, but my strong suspicion is that the rate of change projected from ST Original Series to STNG is probably unbelievably anemic compared to the rate of techological innovation we will see within 10-15 years. I'm still waiting for my flying car, though.

A well-written action sequence within the cyber-realm - these are notioriously difficult to write because they are simply so far removed from our experience. Nice twist on the ending with a physical attack.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 23 Apr 2021 10:54 Title: 010 - "Who Runs This Town, Anyway?"

An andorian cyborg... It is an interesting series. I can see all of these cybornetic issues would have to be seriously impacted by humanity's experiences with the borg. 

It appears the fault-line is between cybornetic enhancement vs. cybornetic replacement. It's kind of like doping in sports - or in the STH analogy, genetically enhanced hybrids competing with the naturalborn. For the ethicist, the question seems to be make yourself part machine or get left behind.

Whren reminded me of the recruitment officer in Starship Troopers: "The military made me the man I am today..." I'm enjoying a SF admiral as a main character.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 22 Apr 2021 11:42 Title: 009 - "An Offer You Cannot Refuse?"

I really like that Masamune is willing to take no for an answer. Although I'm certain he strongly suspects Mech will change her mind. Indicative of a strong and resourceful character and a nice break from the way scenes like this are far too often written.

Of course the polar opposite is the Flash recruitment scene in Justice League. Nice character development on Mech.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 21 Apr 2021 13:31 Title: 008 - "First Day On The Job And Ready to Roll."

Quite interesting scenario. Especially the tangle of rights involved. The passengers not wanting to give permission might have been programmed to deny permission, which would suggest lingering suggestive effects post-hack. 

Which raises a ton of ethical issues that really need to be thoroughly explored before we just start jacking our brains into our computers. Technology always outstrips ethics. Probably the most interesting point of sci-fi.

Nice callback to those addictive jumja sticks.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 20 Apr 2021 13:27 Title: 007 - "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow."

I'm starting to hear the voices from the American dub for Ghost in the Shell. There is some similarity to the characters presented here. Clearly LT is largely cybernetic. 

Quite enjoying the landscape and the leisurely story roll out.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 16 Apr 2021 15:50 Title: 006 - "Another Way of Life Awaits."

Anti-Federation propeganda... It's a pretty hard thing to argue with from our 21st Century perspective, but the idea of a post scarcity, egalitarian society is clearly anathma to a significant portion of our population. And for those audience members who are swayed, it appears the grass is always greener...

Interesting take - and Grayson is clearly a rather nasty piece of work...

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: I think you're right. There's always going to be people unhappy with the way things are, even in an utopia, which of course, we know doesn't exist. That's not a bad thing of course, as long as their means of trying to change those things remain civil. Not much fun in being civil, of course.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 15 Apr 2021 11:15 Title: 005 - "Who's Gonna Clean Up This Mess?"

Classic turf battle over a crime scene - straight out of Law and Order and any number of other cop dramas. With a cyber-twist. Of course it will be perfect if there is an uncomfortable press conference at some point with all these characters and their Star Fleet counterparts looking very uncomfortable as some official praises them in front of the media for working together... (Just one of my favorite L&O moments ever)

Hacking the minds - very much the danger of cyber enhancements. I've seen quite a few good treatments of this, but not that I can recall within Trek world.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: I like the press briefing idea. I can honestly not recall if this story had one or not. If so, probably not quite in that shape. And yes, hacking and hacking people is definitely playing a prominent part here.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 14 Apr 2021 13:07 Title: 004 - "Mr. President, Have Pity On The Working Man."

Very interesting combination of scenarios - an independent human confederation with key resources and a borg origin story within humanity. Both quite plausible.

Wish I had thought of that...

Interesting characturizations, particularly of the admiral.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Thanks. There's a but of a political thriller subplot in this story. Not nearly to the extend as in ST: Horizon but probably more prominent to most of my Star Eagle work.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 13 Apr 2021 12:36 Title: 003 - "Welcome To Bay City, Kid."

Evidently the hover doesn't hover very high as it seems dependent on the roads... Always interesting to look at various visions of future Earth. I'm assuming Paris being the capital of the Federation (instead of Nairobi and Caracas) is probably canon somewhere? I do like the idea of the Federation and Star Fleet having headquarters in different parts of the globe. Makes sense to not locate all the sensitive targets handilly in a tight configuration right over a fault-line...

Nice word-portrait of Jackson.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Paris was established as the location of the office of the UFP president in Deep Space Nine. The one where they go back to Earth because of a shapeshifter infiltration threat. This was extended upon in the novel Articles of the Federation. Obviously not canon, but I'd highly recommend it, if you like your political intrigue with a Trek twist.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 09 Apr 2021 12:12 Title: 002 - "That's Why I Hate Taking The Train."

Nothing like an old west train scene - very fun action sequence. 

I also enjoyed the detail of naming a particular brand of phaser - reminiscent of the Peacemaker.

I'm almost tempted to recommend swapping this and the first chapter as this is definitely one of those sought after James Bond 007 opening sequences.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: I can see this as an opening scene. And if this were a movie, you probably would want to start it off with a flashy action scene. There's something about fights on trains which are inherently cinematic.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 08 Apr 2021 10:44 Title: 001 - "It's A Whole New World Out There."

Very interesting change of pace from your usual fare - although I can recognize some of the tropes in the QD material you are creating now. 

Stories in the cyber-realm are exceptionally difficult to write and even harder to screen. Everyone's still kind of stuck with Tron all these decades later. The descriptive writing reminds me of anime from the last decade.

After the Justice League movies (the Joss and Zac versions), it's impossible to read a character saying or thinking about "mother" without hearing Ciaran Hinds' voice.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Ah, you've discovered my foray into cyber-punk. This story was planned as a first book in a series which never quite materialized. Although perhaps I might return to it some day. I freely admit that quite a bit has inspired this story and anime is definitely among those things. Thanks for checking this one out.

Reviewer: UncleRice Signed [Report This]
Date: 16 Jun 2012 17:20 Title: 049 - "What's It All About, Mech?"

You spelled Halcon as Helcon once in this update, otherwise excellent as usual.

Author's Response: Thanks, good catch. In fact, it turns out that I used Halcon in a number of places in the story. I hope you enjoyed Shadow Plays. While there are no immediate plans for a second Barely Human story, Mech and the CCiD team just may return at some point in the future. In the meantime you can download the Shadow Plays ebook at if you like.

Reviewer: RobertScorpio Signed [Report This]
Date: 31 Dec 2011 17:51 Title: 027 - "Overload"

I hate your damn cliffhangers CeJay. I like your ability to easily talk "tech" yet make it easy for us the readers to follow along. It is a skill Braga and company never seemed to master!!!

Now...release the next segment!!!

Author's Response: Thanks for the comment, Rob. I'm glad you find it easy to follow the technobabble here, as much of it is quite different to what we usually expect in a traditional Trek story. I think Shadow Plays wouldn't work if people couldn't understand what's happening. And not to worry. The next segment will come up soon.

Reviewer: UncleRice Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 17 Oct 2011 15:52 Title: 001 - "It's A Whole New World Out There."

Finally, someone understands that cybernetics don't require you to be a Borg or a Bynar. I just wish the rest of the story was here.

Author's Response: Thanks for the comments. And yeah, cybernetics in Trek tended to mostly revolve around the Borg or the Bynar. But of course there is a whole wealth of stories that could be told in-between. There is more to Shadow Plays than what has been posted here and I do have plans to continue this.

Reviewer: CaptainSarine Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 22 Dec 2009 15:39 Title: 001 - "It's A Whole New World Out There."

An excellent beginning, though a little reminiscent of the Matrix...
I like the fact that this is a very different story to what we're used to with Star Trek fic, but so far I haven't seen anything really Star Trek about it, beyond the term FedNet. I'm looking forward to seeing how you play into that more (if you do) in the following chapters.
All in all, this was an exciting chapter, with some interesting, endearing characters I'm looking forward to learning more about.

Author's Response: It's not you traditional Star Trek story, true. In fact people have pointed out that this thing could be easily written as a non-Trek story all together. But I wanted to play in the Trek universe here and one of the reasons it doesn't feel too 'Trekish' is probably because it's set on Earth, which we didn't get to see much in the shows and movies. Thanks for commenting.

Reviewer: RobertScorpio Signed [Report This]
Date: 14 May 2009 19:07 Title: 010 - "Who Runs This Town, Anyway?"

Good sequence here. Its fun to watch these people, far in the future, deal with nusances of relationships...good writing..


Author's Response: Thanks. I tried to go for a balance of character and action pieces.

Reviewer: RobertScorpio Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 07 May 2009 19:18 Title: 006 - "Another Way of Life Awaits."

Oooooh..I like the way you are writing Grayson. Very well thought out speech of his. I even found myself agreeing with him a great deal.

Two thumbs up!!!

Robert Scorpio

Author's Response: Good to hear. I like it when the reader can sympathize with characters, especially when they aren't the 'good guys', it probably shows depth.

Reviewer: RobertScorpio Signed [Report This]
Date: 06 May 2009 04:08 Title: 001 - "It's A Whole New World Out There."

You may have something here...I have thought for YEARS that a star-trek story like this could rock. I just dont have the writing ability to do something like this...cant wait to read the other parts..good start...I know you can pull it off


Author's Response: Thanks, Robert. I wasn't sure if I could pull it off myself, hence why it stalled at some point. Hopefully there'll be more of Shadow Plays soon.

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