Penname: Samuel Pengraff [Contact]
Real name: Ken Hancock
Member Since: 13 Mar 2009
Membership status: Member
Bio: Having made a narrow escape from the computer industry in 2006, I could finally afford the Trek DVDs I'd been ogling for years and, most of all, had the time to truly appreciate them. I quickly discovered that, as much as I'd previously considered Star Trek the most intelligent science fiction genre there was, I�d still been giving it short shrift. It is very simply the largest body of high quality creative work ever made. A larger and more deeply layered internal universe than Lord of the Rings; more inventive than even Mozart�s astounding body of work, Star Trek is our generation�s greatest bequest to the future.

I�ve always had a fascination with the written word, but never considered writing my own stories until I ran across some of Alara Rogers� Q stories back in 2007. Wow. Allowing their imaginations to freely explore the limitless landscape that is Star Trek, authors like Alara have soared where no one had gone before, and I was inspired to pick up my figurative pen and try my hand at something creative. �Naturally� � as Tuvok would say � I flopped, but not terribly so. Thanks to some kind souls bearing kind words, I was encouraged to keep trying.

So that�s my story, save for one small expression of gratitude.

I�m probably not ascribing credit properly, nor completely, but in my opinion the greatest single creative work on Ad Astra is the site itself. Designed by an excellent Trek fan fiction writer of her own accord, Steff Watson has created a very functional site that has attracted some of the finest Trek writers in fandom. We owe her plenty for providing us a place where like minds can congregate, cooperate and compete, where truly gifted writers can provide much needed advice to promising up and comers, and where artists can receive well intended and constructive criticisms of their work. Who knows which of these will be writing for Paramount someday, on some as yet unimagined new Star Trek series?

So, enjoy these pages of light. May they inspire you to far greater accomplishments.

Engage.

Beta-reader: Yes
Gender: male
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Reviews by Samuel Pengraff
Embers of the Fire by Gibraltar    Rated: M    Liked  Reviews (129
Summary: Past Featured Story

Part One of the Star Trek: Gibraltar series

Embers Cover Art

The aging starship Gibraltar is brought out of mothballs to assist in Federation humanitarian relief operations within Cardassian territory in the immediate aftermath of the Dominion War. The crew quickly discovers not everyone shares the Federation's vision for Cardassia's future.

 


Chapters: 14    Table of Contents
Categories: Expanded Universes
Characters: Ensemble Cast - USS Gibraltar
Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama, Mystery
Warnings: Violence
Series: Star Trek: Gibraltar
Completed: Yes    Word count: 46831    Read Count: 45082
[Report This] Published: 30 Jan 2009 Updated: 07 Apr 2009
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 27 Mar 2009 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Your knowledge and respect of military and naval traditions is obvious right from the start, and you put it to good use creating a believable, contextual framework for your story. I'm very impressed.

It takes a lot more time, research and committment to plan something on the scale of Embers of the Fire, and I have great respect and admiration for what you have started with this project.

The extensive damage to the Sojourner, from attackers unknown, works perfectly as a teaser, its tempo propelling me to the next chapter. I'm afraid I've been seduced lock, stock and barrel into the marvelous world you have created. Bravo.

Author's Response:

Thank you, Samuel.  I'm glad I successfully hooked you.  ;)  Embers was a long time coming and has had a number of re-writes over the years.  It was my hope to capture the bleak task of rebuilding after the Dominion War that faced the Federation as a whole and the new crew of Gibraltar in particular. 

Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 27 Mar 2009 Title: Chapter 2: Chapter 2

With the mystery of the destruction of the Sojourner still hanging in suspense, we are introduced to the Gibraltar and her crew through the eyes of Captain Sandhurst, who has no difficulty formally assuming command of the vessel - but Commander Ramirez is more of a problem. The friction between these two is almost tangible, but Sandhurst successfully applies his authority over the ‘thoroughbred’ and, as it should be, we have heightened respect for both of them. I come away with the impression that, if I were a Gibraltar crewmember in a firefight, I would want these two on each my flanks.

A very fine introduction to some of the new crew, and the detail on the Gibraltar approaches photo-realism. With every paragraph I’m appreciating the time you took in the design of this work ever more. Michael Garcia was right, a very dependable story.

Author's Response:

Thanks again, Samuel.  I'm glad the crew are being viewed in 3-D, as it were.  I had hoped to imbue them with some very 'real' character traits and foibles.

Still, O Comrade by infiniteviking    Rated: T    Liked  Reviews (8
Summary: Sometimes all one needs is a friend. Other times... only a brother will suffice. Oneshot, dark themes, AU kidfic; first published online in Ampersand II.
Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Original Series, Alternate Universes
Characters: None
Genre: Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Drama, Family, Tragedy
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 3789    Read Count: 1468
[Report This] Published: 02 Feb 2009 Updated: 02 Feb 2009
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 13 Apr 2009 Title: Chapter 1: Still, O Comrade

A good review is, at most, merely one person’s opinion. Despite re-reading a number of times, making notes as I go along, and concentrating on producing a well researched, polished, objective assessment, I still consider you the authority on this work.

I started this review by first reading Inherit the Stars. I was thoroughly entranced. ‘Beautiful’, ‘enchanting’, ‘uplifting’ all come to mind. Perhaps it set my expectations too high.

The story is one of a desperate search for identity by Jay/Len Kirk who was apparently schooled in a town where Kirk was the predominant surname. I’m not sure why Jay was so shamed by this surname, other than it was the name of the father he so disliked. His father seems like an utterly irredeemable character throughout the entire story with nothing whatsoever to commend him. If the father was truly that bad I doubt that Jay would have become as successful as he did. Such deep shame and guilt usually leaves children anxious and poorly adjusted for their entire adult lives.

The story succeeds in the first scene when it creates the world of what it is like to be a young beat-or-be-beaten boy in a rough and tumble neighborhood. So much of the daily scuffle, and who is really innocent and who is really guilty, flies under the teacher’s radar – but not a proctor’s. You really captured that; it started to make sense.

But in the second scene the same boy is dragging his blankets to a corner, making him sound five years old. This character transformation was brought about by Leo’s mere mention of ‘space’, and the whole scene was hard to swallow as a result. I was fully expecting some of Jay’s identity confusion to lift off the page to the reader, but not to the point where I doubted whether first-scene Jay was the same person a second-scene Jay.

At the end of the second to last scene was Jay/Len Kirk heading to court to change his name to Leonard McCoy in honor of Leo, or to the famous James T. Kirk? We can only speculate, but to me the final scene connects slightly better if Kirk became McCoy as there are three McCoy’s in the final scene to deal with, two of which seem to pop in from nowhere.

By itself the final scene is confusing. On one hand a revisiting of the beautiful expressive writing you used to such great purpose in Inherit the Stars, but on the other an inundation of pronouns that left me hopelessly lost trying resolve who He was. Again, we must speculate, and in this case the compounding speculations lead us toward confusion and away from understanding.

In the final scene, Captain McCoy appears to jump in from nowhere (is that Leo?). Then Leo was gone, and at the end final resonance is somehow found with the name Dr. McCoy (is that Leo?). At that point my wee noggin had taken a floggin. ;-)

This story simply needs a little more work to be on par with Inherit the Stars and I can’t think of anyone better qualified to do that than you! I’d be happy to give you my feedback on your next draft. There is such promise in this story, and you’ve already got it more than half done!

Your Fan forever,
Samuel.

Author's Response: First, thank you so much for your thoughtful, detailed review, and also for the superlatives you apply to 'Inherit the Stars'. I am rather absurdly proud of that one, so that's much appreciated. That said, let me answer you point by point. 1) Jay's father, David Jay Kirk, is indeed a thoroughly irredeemable man in this story: abusive, controlling, and irrational. By the time Leo came into the picture, the junior Jay Kirk had been thoroughly brainwashed to believe that his father was the only one with the right to either name. On the other issue, while it's true that the emotional scars of shame and guilt are slow, if even possible, to heal, many people are able to lead outwardly successful and productive lives in spite of it: sometimes concealing their feelings, sometimes denying them, sometimes (if they're lucky) being granted the means and opportunity to repair their tattered spirits. People react to pain in so many ways: avoidance, stubbornness, short tempers, transference, locking themselves up, using it to propel themselves forward. In writing Jay, I tried to keep his reactions authentic; he doesn't bounce back at once, but stays in denial for a time, avoids the truth about what he meant to his father, faces it defiantly when it comes back to haunt him, and isn't done dealing with it yet. The story ends where it does because it's more concerned with Jay and Leo than with Jay and David. 2) I'm glad that part made sense. The root of the scuffle was Jay's attitude, which had up to then been completely shaped by his father; meeting another kid named Kirk, Jay treated him as he himself had been treated. Such children, and such neighborhoods, are so often more complicated than they seem. 3) While writing the story, I had no clear image of Jay's age. Nonetheless, children from broken or abusive homes frequently act above their age level in some areas and below it in others. Leo didn't just mention space; he waxed enthusiastic about it for days, and in a way though he meant well, his enthusiasm threatened Jay's budding self-image. Raised to blindly accept the treatment he was given, Jay had to find balance between his own wishes for himself and those imposed on him by others, and the conflict triggered the instinctive fear reaction of a younger child facing the violence with which his father had 'schooled' him. I don't think Jay realized that scrambling into a corner was an odd behavior for an eight-to-twelve-year-old. It was what he was used to. 4) Len Kirk had indeed gone to change his surname to McCoy, in honor of Leo. 5) On rereading, I'm afraid I can't see where the confusion lies. The story has been following Len (Jay) all along, and the paragraph is immediately preceded by his trip to the courthouse. By that time, Leo is dead, as implied by Len's reaction to the slaughter at the Neutral Zone (recall that the hospital scene took place shortly before Leo's shipping out on his assigned starship). 6) Accordingly, there is only one McCoy in the final scene: Len McCoy (previously Jay Kirk) is alone with his memories of Leo McCoy, the proctor who wanted to become a captain someday (he'd said as much in the first scene). Captain McCoy is a hypothetical, the ghost of the future possibilities that died with Leo. Len, after changing his name to honor Leo's memory, was smart enough to know that his talents lay elsewhere than command, so he decided to enter Starfleet's medical branch instead: hence 'Doctor McCoy'. Having left his father's name behind, he's free not to take Leo's specific path either; what he'll become from now on will be his own choice. 7) I worked on this story for almost a year before posting it, and can confidently say that no other piece of fanfiction had given me that much trouble before. Partly, that's because it was a confusing, AU-type concept from the beginning. It couldn't be taken any further without starting to clash with canon; I can't imagine, for example, what would happen when Len finds himself serving under a strong-minded, forceful captain named Kirk. To be true to itself, its outcome needed to remain obscure, but I was hoping the staging and action would remain clear. Though I must thank you again for your high opinion of its potential, the story -- as Kipling used to say they might -- finished itself 'with, almost, the water-hammer click of a tap turned off,' and I wish to leave it as it is. But I'm grateful that you took the time to lay out all of those points, and that you enjoyed my descriptive language in spite of the other issues. Thanks again, and take care. --infiniteviking

Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 13 Apr 2009 Title: Chapter 1: Still, O Comrade

Your response greatly illuminated the darker corners of your story, and thankyou for that. After your plot commentary, I have discovered a newfound appreciation of this astounding, ambituous work.

I will try my best to be more open to the presence of hypothetical characters in the future, who may have more to say than us non-ethereal beings. I may have also discovered that I am a 'place-bigot' and predisposed to feeling lost unless I know where the protagonist's feet are placed at every moment in the story. Of course, there are far more important ways of being lost than being merely 'lost in space', and far more meaningful ways of being found, too.

Perhaps the next generation of Star Trek entertainment, written or otherwise, will be more symbolic, even spiritual and, as a necessary result, with a higher 'opacity'. It would certainly follow from a fine Sci Fi tradition, Arthur C. Clarke's '2001: A Space Odyssey' and 'Childhoods End' coming to mind.

Your continued success,
Samuel.

Author's Response: (First of all, sorry about that wall-of-text effect; I tried line breaks but apparently they didn't operate.) You're welcome, and I'm glad if I've helped you think in a new direction; these processes of discovery are always good to start, especially when it comes to writing. I find speculative -- hypothetical, if you will -- alternate-universe type writing fascinating because of the light it can shine on the canon characters or, through their shadows, on ideas or situations that weren't touched upon in canon, but I see what you mean about keeping characters 'grounded' in various ways. Staging is certainly an important tool to keep the waters from being muddied. Your comments about Star Trek's future are intriguing, and I'll enjoy mulling them over as the franchise moves forward. Thanks, and be well. --infiniteviking

The Logical Thing To Do by Alara Rogers    Rated: K+    Liked  Reviews (5
Summary: T'Pol's intended bondmate has a proposal for her. AU, with references to TOS.
Winner: "It Must Be Love!" Challenge
Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Enterprise
Characters: T'Pol
Genre: Het, Romance
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 2518    Read Count: 2016
[Report This] Published: 11 Feb 2009 Updated: 11 Feb 2009
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 23 Mar 2009 Title: Chapter 1: Entire Story

I'm a little hesitant to jump in with a review of your work, not having read more. I want to be fair as well as accurate. But your prodiguous creative output makes that a challenge. I've decided to simply choose what looks like a good place to start, and offer more reviews as I make my way up the mountain. I hope my occasional 'dispatches from the front' are of some help to you, even if I change my mind from time to time. From what I've read so far, it will be an enjoyable climb.

I've read some of your Q stories before, and this story, like all the others I've read, exhibit a seemingly effortless narrative style. Likewise for dialog. Smooth, free-flowing and natural, the words seem to behave as if they have always been tethered that way; meant for each other. I'm not sure if you have heard this a hundred times or not, but you have a very special gift.

Now for a teeny concrit. I was interrupted frequently here at home today, and I sometimes had difficulty re-establishing whether it was T'Pol or Skon talking when returning to the story. I think a healthy assortment of "he asked" and "she replied" to the dialog would have helped. You might also find them helpful in hinting at the speaker's state of mind. I use a website, "synonyms for said": http://careo.elearning.ubc.ca/wiki?SynonymsForSaid It is now part of my standard browser tabset.

Your mastery of Q's voice and mannerisms is so good it sometimes masks your other accomplishments, such as establishing T'Pol's voice in this story. Take this paragraph, for example:

"Trip would have told her to do what she wanted. Archer would have told her to follow her heart. She would have pointed out that Vulcans, lacking emotions, have no heart in the sense he meant. She would, of course, have been lying."

Only an careful observer of ENT would have realized that T'Pol was having difficulty suppressing her emotions throughout nearly the entire series, at least since the first season episode Fusion. (When she heard the saxaphonist playing jazz music) Dropping the hint as you did was perfect - a gem that only some may pick up - but something that captures T'Pol better than any photo could. It was dope!

The final line of that paragraph is so intriguing I would have positioned it closer to the end. Perhaps the only sentence that should follow it is:

"Sundown is in seven hours. If we wish to marry today we will need to move quickly."

You may have had higher objectives in mind, but this approach would have sustained the suspense right through to the end. It would left the reader facing a cliff, but I get the feeling you're not afraid of cliffs either :-)

Until my next dispatch...

China by SLWalker    Rated: K+    Liked  Reviews (6
Summary: (2245) - Eighteen-year-old Leonard McCoy, packing up his mother's china, just about ready to leave for pre-med. Short, very stream-of-consciousness. Written for Cuppy.
Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Original Series
Characters: McCoy, Leonard (Bones)
Genre: Family, General
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 1261    Read Count: 1071
[Report This] Published: 06 Mar 2009 Updated: 06 Mar 2009
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 21 Mar 2009 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

A perfectly adorable little narrative that provides us a very believable backstory to McCoy's choice of career. I might have found it tempting to compose something where the dog was saved by Len instead, perhaps through some astute observation. But, you're right, loss is the better teacher in this case and strong enough to motivate a career choice. A very rich story.

Author's Response: ::bows:: Thank you very much! It's not my favorite piece for McCoy, but I'm glad it came across all right.

Challenge Response: Legacy by Funngunner    Rated: T    Liked  Reviews (7
Summary: An exploration into the reasons behind Cadet Kelly Mahan chose to enroll in the Academy, after her mother's death.
Winner: "Motivational Motivations" Challenge
Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Expanded Universes
Characters: Ensemble Cast - Multiple
Genre: Drama, Family
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: No    Word count: 1154    Read Count: 1200
[Report This] Published: 19 Mar 2009 Updated: 19 Mar 2009
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 13 Apr 2009 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Funngunner,

I noticed today that my earlier comments about your story were not posted as a review. I now undo that wrong, good Sir:

Legacy, in my view, portrayed a more convincing set of motivations for joining Starfleet. Air shows have a long tradition of inspiring the next generation of pilots, but when this motivation is added to the memory of her dead mother, Legacy succeeds in catching Mahan's motivations in an interwoven web. Mahan's choice of career was, for her, the undoing of wrongs and the turning of losses into pearls.

Samuel.

Fix it by Gumnut    Rated: K+    Liked  Reviews (8
Summary: He would fix it. He had to.
Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Original Series
Characters: Scott, Montgomery (Scotty), Spock
Genre: Drama, Friendship
Warnings: Adult Language
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 1277    Read Count: 1261
[Report This] Published: 28 Mar 2009 Updated: 28 Mar 2009
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 28 Mar 2009 Title: Chapter 1: Fix it

You illuminated the underlying 'damn the torpedoes' theme brilliantly, and along with some very creative writing produced a a highly original, interesting story. I love your very inventive expressions!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for your encouraging words :D I haven't written much Scotty before and I'm find that I'm writing a very snarky engineer. That and he was royally angry in this fic, mostly at himself. Thank you for reading and commenting, you feed my pen. Nutty (I wrote fic!)

Ferengi, Vulcan, Borg by Mistral    Rated: K+    Liked  Reviews (5
Summary: Just a couple of the boys out for a little fun! A TrekBBS challenge story.
Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Deep Space Nine
Characters: Ensemble Cast - Multiple
Genre: Humor
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 1689    Read Count: 1396
[Report This] Published: 30 Mar 2009 Updated: 30 Mar 2009
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 07 Apr 2009 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

I greatly admire anyone who is unafraid of placing standard Star Trek characters in a new setting, being faithful to each of their various chemistries, and letting the resulting alchemy unfold naturally. Trying to produce a comic result is even more of a challenge and I would say you produced a very satisfying ending, thanks to some well-narrated slapstick action.

I’ll pause for a moment while you fetch your blunderbuss as – you guessed it – I am going to attempt some of that dreaded constructive criticism stuff (sort of sounds like open-brain surgery doesn’t it?) I suggest you don’t watch.

First of all, why is both Vorik and Taurik in the same story? Both are played by Alexander Enberg (Jeri Taylor’s son!) and are probably the two most easily confused characters in the entire Star Trek Pantheon (next to Q and Q and Q), but Taurik was the Vulcan that served on the Enterprise-D. Since we are introduced only to Vorik, the Vulcan that served aboard Voyager, then I suspect the three references to Taurik should all be Voric. If I’m wrong I’ll help you load the blunderbuss.

Secondly, just a question. Do you really think Bashir is usually condescending? Arrogant? Most definitely. Snooty? Sometimes. Patrician? Well, he’s been genetically enhanced so, yes, to that one too, but why condescending? (just curious…)

Please continue to write the kind of stories you do now, taking on those in-canon or strongly-canon-assisted challenges and slay them in your own unique way. I love stories where things happen. Thank you for resisting the temptation to produce nothing but stylized character meditations. We need more writers just like you.

You may now fire the blunderbuss.

Samuel G. Pengraff

(Floppy disc salesman)



Author's Response: I never knew the 2 Vulcans weren't one and the same until I wrote this. I tried to edit it-but this was the best version I could find. While fun to write, I am far prouder of Remnants, The Revenant and The Interrogation. I thought the Interrogation was a lot funnier.

Kang/Mara Drabbles by Merfilly    Rated: T    Liked  Reviews (4
Summary:

2 short bits about my Klingon OTP


Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Original Series, Expanded Universes
Characters: Ensemble Cast - TOS
Genre: Romance
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 249    Read Count: 1141
[Report This] Published: 09 Apr 2009 Updated: 09 Apr 2009
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 16 Apr 2009 Title: Chapter 1: Drabbles

I've seen 'Day of the Dove' but have not read "Pawns and Symbols', so here's a short review from that point of view:

The final line is powerful, and you arrive at it very economically. Kang's dilemma is made perfectly clear, but what is ever-loyal Mara facing, and has Kang told her how he feels?

A nice story as it stands or a nice intro into something longer.

Sam.

Scientific apparatus by Gumnut    Rated: K+    Liked  Reviews (8
Summary: Sometimes you understand more than you know.
Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Original Series
Characters: Spock
Genre: Friendship
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 1912    Read Count: 1396
[Report This] Published: 20 Apr 2009 Updated: 20 Apr 2009
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed
Date: 20 Apr 2009 Title: Chapter 1: Scientific apparatus

May contain spoilers, despite my best attempts to prevent them...

It's a lovely story, but there's a parallel drama going on here, and a bittersweet one at that. Spock had no further need of the comb only because the events of Amok Time were in the past, and probably his recent past. Spock's gift to his friend - as thoughtful as it was - has come at a high price, even for this 'emotionless' Vulcan. That price is not the loss of T'Pring herself, as leaving Spock was her decision, but was instead Spock's acceptance of T'Pring's loss. After all, Spock's comb was probably not the only thing of value that he owned.

The story lands with both feet perfectly upon the reveal, but there are two layers to this reveal; a gift to a dear friend and the cost of that gift.

Sam
(Vulcans may be emotionless but who said their actions cannot have deep meaning?)

Six Degrees of Separation by Lil black dog    Rated: T    Liked  Reviews (12
Summary:

Every K&S&M fan has their own reasoning behind the split of the big three at the end of the 5-year mission, something which bothered me for years.  This is my humble attempt at explaining the inexplicable.  I suppose this could be read as slash, but it certainly wasn’t written that way.


Chapters: 6    Table of Contents
Categories: Original Series
Characters: Ensemble Cast - TOS, Kirk, James T., McCoy, Leonard (Bones), Spock
Genre: Action/Adventure, Angst, Friendship
Warnings: Adult Language
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 21261    Read Count: 9833
[Report This] Published: 26 Mar 2010 Updated: 01 Apr 2010
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 23 Dec 2010 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Gentle readers,

Please note that this review contains spoilers.

A fascinating and plausible interpolation into some of the events that occurred between the end of Kirk’s first five year mission and Spock’s self-induction into the Kolinahr ritual. I look forward to more.

Nearing the end of their mission, Kirk, McCoy and Spock have become more volatile versions of themselves. The mission has clearly taken its toll. Some of the dialog is extreme and Spock is having more difficulty than ever repressing his emotions. There’s a great deal of truth on these pages, but irrationality is never far away, especially from Kirk.

The story is well researched in classicverse canon and this foundation helps provide a believable setting for the storyline to unfold as does the convincing command of navy rank & parlance and the fluency with medical terminology. I felt there.

I stumbled a bit on the reference to “Feinberger” in chapter three. For me, it refers to the props created by property master Irving Feinberg for TOS, so is a production universe reference inside a Trek universe story. Is that a nod to him, or has the term also been adopted by Navy medical personnel?

I had some difficulty with the telepathic link that connected Kirk and Spock. Even if the link was introduced in a previous story, I believe it would be helpful to add a short paragraph to chapter one that clarified the nature of this link. With such a link available would they not have wanted to use it in their discussions to try and close the gap that was growing between them? Should they not have wanted to use this for all their discussions if only because it was more convenient than speech? Your use of thought dialogue elsewhere in the story was very effective, very personal, and perhaps the link could have provided more such intimacy.

I love a story that leaves me wanting for more, or better, wishing I could see it acted out as an actual episode on screen. This story does that, in spades.

Cheers, Samuel.



Author's Response:

Thank you, Sam.  If you couldn't tell, this story was near and dear to my heart.  I can still remember waiting breathlessly for TMP to come out in 1979, and went to see it, full of expectation.  I left the theater feeling sad, and angry, and confused!  This wasn't the
Trek I knew, and loved, and remembered.  What on Earth could have happened to have split these three so profoundly, so completely, so irrevocably from one another?  For many years, it remained an unanswered question for me, but a year and a half ago, Anna and Steff dared me to try my hand at writing fan fiction.  So I did, and stumbled and stuttered and muddled my way through, learning as I went.

And that learning curve led me finally to this.  I understand your confusion about the link, but I began that arc in 'His Last Breath,' continued it in 'Learning Curve,' and finally finish it with 'Shadows and Dust,' the sequel to this story.  My fault - I should probably group these stories together as a series, so as not to unnecessarily confuse the readers.

*laughs*  Ah, yes, Feinberger.  A recollection of something I had read many years ago.  I knew the props were created by a man named Feinberg, and that members of the crew referred to the medical 'props' as such.  A little poetic license on my part, as I got tired of referring to the instrument in question as simply a medical scanner.  Sorry if it was confusing. ;-)

Thank you again Sam for taking the time to leave such detailed, well-thought-out reviews.  As a complete novice to this whole writing thing, these are the kinds of critiques I need to continue to grow, and learn.  My hat's off to you, sir. :D

LBD

All in a Day's Work by Lil black dog    Rated: K+    Liked  Reviews (5
Summary:

Plenty of stories have been written about Kirk's actions at the end of 'The Galileo Seven,' but what were Scotty's thoughts? And just what did he do? After all, he was the only one who supported their XO…


Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Original Series
Characters: McCoy, Leonard (Bones), Scott, Montgomery (Scotty)
Genre: Friendship, General
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 2989    Read Count: 1387
[Report This] Published: 08 Sep 2010 Updated: 08 Sep 2010
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 20 Dec 2010 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

The setting of rec room 3, in my view, is a problem that runs through the heart of the entire story. Two officers would never discuss the performance or question the decisions of a senior officer in any place where junior officers or enlisted men are present. There are other private areas aboard ship where such a discussion would more responsibly take place.

I know that Scotty was counting on the noise of the crowd to obscure his conversation with McCoy, but I believe Scotty would have known better. Add to this that Scotty appears to be springing the discussion on McCoy (Scotty’s ‘the less likely he is to be suspicious’ remark), and we have a situation that is unbelievable for these two honorable officers. I think changing the location of this story to something more private such as a conference room would improve the story on many levels.

For the paragraph that begins, “To his mind, McCoy was much more prone…” Scotty believed that if he told his version of events then McCoy would have no choice but to respond with a different version of events. (I’m paraphrasing) This implies that McCoy would knowingly alter the facts to avoid punishment. In my opinion, this situation describes a duplicitous and selfish individual that, for me, bears little resemblance to the McCoy I know; a man that often put the lives of his crewmates before his own. (e.g. TOS, “Miri”, “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”)

Despite these flaws I greatly enjoyed reading your story. Your prose flows. You positively gush instantly comprehensible text that just seems to melt before my eyes. It reminds of being in the theater for a good movie. The time flies by and I’m not even aware of the uncomfortable seat and the gum under my shoe. All stories should read this way, but sadly too few of them do.

I could be wrong, but I get the feeling that good narrative and dialog literally spill out of you, a real contrast to my writing where no word agrees to appear without giving me an argument first! If it weren’t for the fact that I live in the post-pencil age of word processing I probably would not have the patience. Nor enough erasers.

I dearly hope my review has not offended you. I seem to have developed a knack for putting my opinion where it’s not welcome in my waning (or perhaps whining) years, an offshoot of my talent for stepping on my wife’s feet while dancing. You are a truly gifted writer with truly God-given talent and it would be shame that a few minor issues of plot mechanics were to trouble you. Maybe now they never will.

Cheers, Samuel Pengraff.



Author's Response:

Hi Sam!

As you and I have already discussed this, I won't go into a lengthy diatribe here, except to say thank you for the heartfelt concrit, and the exceptional (albeit undeserved) praise you've heaped on my abilities as an author.

I stand by my previous assessment - you are truly a gentleman. :D

LBD

Summary:

In the spirit of fun and adventure I humbly extend a challenge to the many fine writers of Ad Astra: Write a story that is within the universe of Unsung Heroes. It’s a round robin event organized as an open series meaning that you can post your own stories to the series, the various stories adding together like the chapters of a book. Prequel, sequel, TNG mirror universe – the galaxy’s the limit!

The instructions are simple. Read Star Trek HQ first and then come up with your own story that plays within the same ‘virtual sandbox’. Some good ideas for additional stories might be: ‘What did Amy do next?’, or, ‘What happened to Doctor Dunmore when he returned to Starfleet Command?’

And what of our new enemy? Although little is known about him, his powers of creation and destruction are very real. Originating from an entirely new faction of the Borg, it appears that the collective has changed its views on the importance and role of the individual. Can this Borg Homunculus – this drone that is not a drone – spawn entire new cubes faster than Starfleet can scream retreat?

If you send an email to pengraff@telus.net and request The Unsung Heroes Technical Guide I’ll send you some important information on how the technology that tried to save Commander Worf worked. Your story does not need to use any of this technology – it’s available merely as technical backstory that you might find useful.

I hope it’s as much fun for you as it has been for me!


Chapters: 3    Table of Contents
Categories: Next Generation
Characters: Ensemble Cast - TNG
Genre: Action/Adventure
Warnings: Character Death
Series: Star Trek HQ : Episode 6 : Unsung Heroes
Completed: Yes    Word count: 19801    Read Count: 4922
[Report This] Published: 28 Oct 2010 Updated: 05 Nov 2010
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed
Date: 05 Nov 2010 Title: Chapter 1: Act 1, Unsung Heroes

It was, and continues to be, entirely my pleasure. Sam.

Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 05 Nov 2010 Title: Chapter 2: Act 2, part 1

Kaycee, this is simply one of the finest and most inspired pieces of fiction I have ever read. Congratulations!

Your Resurrection theme takes Unsung Heroes in entirely appropriate, believable but constantly surprising directions. You succeed in connecting the reader to Worf’s plight using some interwoven symbolism that operates on a profound but still personal level.

Your handling of the fairly complex technology you inherited from Unsung Heroes was performed extremely well including some technical extensions you came up with on your own. You’re installing adaptive quantum phase discriminators and calibrating phase tunneling beams with the best of us now!

I'm astounded at how well you managed the many threads to your story, how they came together to produce such as a satisfying ending, and yet how well you provided some excellent jumping off points for the next chapter. I would have liked to have known more about Francisco's tattoo, and his alleged branding as a traitor, but I guess I'll have to wait!

Congratulations again on a truly welcome addition to the Star Trek HQ universe!

Samuel.

The Visitor by KayCee    Rated: K    Liked  Reviews (5
Summary: It is said that virtue is its own reward. Sometimes there is more awaiting those with courage, integrity, patience.
Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Original Series
Characters: None
Genre: None
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 936    Read Count: 833
[Report This] Published: 20 Dec 2010 Updated: 20 Dec 2010
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 26 Dec 2010 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

I enjoyed this story on the Starfleet site and am very pleased to welcome it here for others to enjoy. It’s a lovely story.

It can easily be twice as hard completing a work like the “The Visitor”. Not only do you have to tell a great story, as you have so aptly done, but at the same time must also very carefully manage the release of details of every kind, balanced to keep the interest building. Readers that read carefully will be amply rewarded.

You are indeed the Mystress of Mystery. Benedict Cumberbatch would be proud.

The Winds of Change by Lil black dog    Rated: K+    Liked  Reviews (5
Summary:

Companion piece to 'Into the Maelstrom.' Told from Kirk's POV. Can easily be understood without reading that story first. A brief glimpse into Kirk's mind shortly after the end of the 5-yr mission.


Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Original Series
Characters: Kirk, James T.
Genre: Angst
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 1783    Read Count: 894
[Report This] Published: 21 Dec 2010 Updated: 21 Dec 2010
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 23 Dec 2010 Title: Chapter 1: The Winds of Change

A truly excellent piece, with more of that ‘melts before your eyes’ narrative that is rapidly becoming your hallmark.

I have it on good authority from Kirk that he is feeling much better now that he managed to get that story off his chest. He made it back safe and sound, by the way, walking all the way to his hotel in the mission district. He is beginning to accept the situation and knows that although he isn’t a captain himself, his experience can increase the chances of others crews not just surviving, not just succeeding, but growing as human beings.

He also said that you shouldn’t wear that life vest any more. You don’t need it.

Seriously lbd, this story rocks.

Sam.



Author's Response:

Wow! Please give me a second to scrape my jaw off the floor, where it definitely landed after reading that! 

*chuckles* Good to know Jim Kirk speaks to someone besides myself - I was starting to worry. ;-)

I'm truly humbled by your praise for this piece, Sam, and I find myself at a loss for words to thank you properly for the boost in confidence this has given me. :D

LBD

Touched by KayCee    Rated: K    Liked  Reviews (2
Summary: Life, whether we like it or not, is defined by the choices we make.

Written for the "It's a Wonderful Life" challenge.
Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Original Series, Alternate Universes
Characters: Ensemble Cast - TOS
Genre: Mystery
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 1875    Read Count: 1464
[Report This] Published: 23 Jan 2011 Updated: 23 Jan 2011
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 25 Jan 2011 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Your aptly-titled story is a fascinating intellectual dance on shifting sands. It takes a format you have used before to new heights, using the mystery of your narrator to full effect, while adding a Bailey-esque resolution.

Like Lazarus in The Alternative Factor, and Natalie’s Portman’s amazing portrayal in The Black Swan, our protagonist is bouncing from one reality to another, confused, distraught and with no idea if it will ever end. There is a ‘decision’ referred to, but also a scientific experiment (presumably gone wrong), so the story has some built-in uncertainty that the reader has no choice but to experience first hand.

I believe that self-actualization stories like Touched and It’s a Wonderful Life revolve around the growth of a central character, and require that character to return home again for the lesson they’ve learned to be fully incorporated into their being. That lesson, that the enjoyment and satisfaction of our lives is ultimately in our own hands and no further away than the absolution we so often deny ourselves, is courageously taken head on by your protagonist in a triumph of human spirit.

Also important, Touched occasionally refers to in-universe facts taken from some of your other stories, but you handle them well never requiring or insisting on familiarity with them. Touched stands on its own.

I enjoyed your very descriptive writing especially the many poignant and thought-provoking observations including, “How phenomenally conceited we can be – a revelation which we should all have the opportunity to confront.” Your protagonist might be on a Bailey-esque story arc, but is smarter than George Bailey was, and more willing to recognize and contribute to a solution. Your central character does not need a Clarence, as George did, to explain and rationalize what was happening to him.

Loved it, KC.

Sam.



Author's Response: I took awhile to respond hoping I could come up with something that didn't resemble the written equivalent of a deer in the headlights. Perhaps Lil black Dog said it best (she is obviously more quick witted than I) "Wow! Please give me a second to scrape my jaw off the floor." I am, however, pleased you liked the story, and more pleased you were able to discern as much of my purpose as you have. This story is only the synopsis of the full version I did not have time to complete before the challenge deadline ended. I hope that story lives up to this review. A great goal to keep the fire lit under me. Thanks, Sam, for the continued encouragement as I am really just happy you all let me play in your sandbox. KayCee

Inhuman by Nerys Ghemor    Rated: T    Liked  Reviews (9
Summary:

Cadet Spirodopoulos stands accused.  Will his short Academy career survive the ravages of prejudice?


Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Expanded Universes
Characters: None
Genre: None
Warnings: Adult Language
Series: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions
Completed: Yes    Word count: 2710    Read Count: 1408
[Report This] Published: 26 Feb 2011 Updated: 26 Feb 2011
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed
Date: 28 Feb 2011 Title: Chapter 1: Inhuman

A superb story, Nerys.

Rotmensen made a brazen and unjustified assumption when he implied that Spirodopoulos would abuse the power at his disposal and interfere with the culture on planet 892-IV. He assumed that Spirodopolous could not stop himself from taking up sides with the Children of the Son/Sun because of his affiliation to Christianity. Even if Rotmensen were teaching “Prime Directive 101” he’s way overstepping his bounds. His ridiculous assertion would make him instant enemies on both sides of the secular divide and for a while I thought the story was headed in the direction of a ‘professorial breakdown.’

That’s what struck me about your story. There was evidence aplenty of well-researched depth that included references to what I would consider logical & respectful additions to canon (e.g. Federation Standard) – it all felt so Starfleet Academy – and then you pull a nutjob like Rotmensen out of the bag. He’s a brilliant creation. I’m not sure if he is new to your stories or not, but I think we could give this character a fair bit of employment. He’s ridiculous and yet strangely believable; a veritable poster boy of Aristotelian vices.

Educational institutes are not democracies. Professors stand atop their podiums and deliver sermons and, if you want to pass, you’d better agree with all of it. I once had a prof fail a friend of mine because she submitted her lab assignment early – one that counted for 60% of the course mark. The trouble was the TA accidentally posted the wrong lab, but she didn’t know that because she had to attend a religious sabbatical so never found out that the assignment had changed. I went in with her to see the prof but he turned us down. He admitted it was 100% the fault of the TA but she still got an F for a semesters’ work. (The prof’s last name even rhymed with Rot.)

With a character like Rotmensen your illustration of prejudice was vivid and very, very real. I hope Spirodopolous, at the end of the story, was steaming directly to the Academy President’s office to formally file a complaint! ~ Sam



Author's Response:

Thank you so much for reading...always glad to see new readers. :-)

Rotmensen thought that the imperative to share Christianity is akin to putting an Omega Particle in front of a Borg cube--assimilate at all costs.  What he didn't understand is that there are certain things that are unacceptable to Spirodopoulos, that he considers wrong ways to share.

Rotmensen was based on some of the outrageous figures that have appeared in real life universities like Ward Churchill.  The whack-job you hope you never get for your classes, but doesn't get fired (and in Rotmensen's case, since he probably doesn't have tenure the way a private university instructor would, has been too smart in the past to get caught in something).  Thankfully I have never encountered someone like him in school...rather the opposite: a professor who stopped a political discussion despite agreeing with the left-wing content because he felt it was detrimental to the learning environment, and a labor-relations professor who gave me a good grade in part because I had the courage to disagree openly with him.

But I did have a professor that promised one thing and then did another, kind of like what your professor did.

Rotmensen is also Jean-Luc Picard pushed to the extreme that could come from being in an academic "ivory tower" rather than being out and about.  That's the other precedent I used to create him.

I'm not 100% sure what Spirodopoulos did at the end.  I know his mind was whirling by the end, that's for sure!

Summary:

Gil Tavor Karama, a Cardassian officer who just recently married a former Starfleet lieutenant, tries to find an apartment for his wife and himself.


Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Expanded Universes
Characters: None
Genre: Family, Humor
Warnings: None
Series: Shaping a Cardassian
Completed: Yes    Word count: 3149    Read Count: 1232
[Report This] Published: 13 Mar 2011 Updated: 13 Mar 2011
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed
Date: 17 Mar 2011 Title: Chapter 1: Of Wives, Apartments and Monsters...

You candidly go about the telling of a warm, inviting, day-in-the-life story that depicts an experience every new couple will have, and something every couple will always remember – the finding of their first shared home. What they eventually will decide upon, and how they go about that process, will say much about their future lives together. “Charming” has already been used to describe it, and I’m sure I can’t do better than that.

Probably the most outstanding feature of your story for me is how you casually draw upon a surprisingly rich and deep Cardassian cultural backstory that includes hints of extensive fleshing out of native language, anatomy, botany and more. Amazingly thought out detail seems to jump out at nearly every turn, and it was that detail that helped you nail the challenge theme so handily.

You mentioned Federation Standard in your story, which is a term I recognize from a recent story by Nerys Ghemor. Could it be that many of your stories, and hers, are built upon a common fanon-verse? If so, have your considered preparing a reader’s guide, a guide to your Cardassian culture, or something similar? It might make an excellent publication for Ad Astra, and other sites where you publish.



Author's Response:

I started creating Cardassian culture for my universe a few months ago, with my first story, so there is a lot of details that I had ready for use in this story. I can't take all the credit, though, because I needed my beta-reader to point to some places that were "too Earth-y" to do it right.

"Federation Standard" is a term used in Treklit; I'm not sure if English was ever called that in the show, but it is in the literature. Nerys Ghemor and I work in completely different fanfic uniserves, so our Cardassias are different. You can find some of her essays here on AdAstra. I wrote some articles too, but they contain basic knowledge of my Cardassia, not that much cultural background (they are available on my website--the link in my profile).

Nerys Ghemor and I co-wrote a story, so you can see our different universes meeting. The story is available here, on AdAstra, if you'd like to read it.

Thank you for reading :)

Summary: After an attack on the shuttlepod during the Romulan War, Malcolm Reed is confronted with a lifelong phobia as he is faced with rescuing Captain Archer alone.
Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Enterprise
Characters: Reed, Malcolm
Genre: Drama
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 1919    Read Count: 1381
[Report This] Published: 15 Mar 2011 Updated: 15 Mar 2011
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed
Date: 18 Mar 2011 Title: Chapter 1: One

I enjoyed this well constructed story, and applaud your every creative choice. What you have added to Malcolm’s past dovetails seamlessly to the character I know, and extends our appreciation and understanding of the man and his family.

When it comes to relations with his parents, the Malcolm we see in ENT is strangely distant, a behavior he appears to have inherited from them. Whether they are merely typical of the duty-first navy-Brit subculture of the day, or whether they are hiding the shame of Malcolm’s aquaphobia, I don’t think we ever really know, not yet.

But, as Leonard Cohen said, “there’s a crack in everything and that’s how the light gets in”, and perhaps a crack even in a father’s stiff upper lip.

With the ending of your story, “If only his father had been there…” you shine a little light on the real human feelings that exist between Malcolm and his dad, waiting to be explored.

Fathers throw their sons into the deep end of the pool with a “Now swim!”, and they do it in many different ways. It’s what their fathers did to them, and they honestly believe it builds character. If a father is lucky, he will live to be old enough to regret that mistake and others like it. And if a son’s lucky he will forgive his father before the grandsons come along, soon enough to end the cycle forever.

Your story moved me, Mack. One question: So does Malcolm wed Carrie?



Author's Response: Firstly my profuse thanks for reading and commenting Samuel. I'll say your comment moved me for as always folk see something in my stories I don't always do myself...I have the same fear of water, well it used to be near paralysing (the carrying over the bridge thing happened to me) though I never was thrown in a pool. As for marrying, well...in a prompt it sort of happens --http://forums.adastrafanfic.com/index.php?topic=895.0

Brother of the Heart by Lil black dog    Rated: K+    Liked  Reviews (9
Summary:

Why is Jim Kirk convinced he’ll die alone?� Maybe because he almost did once… A Jimmy and Sam Kirk childhood story which sheds some light on Kirk’s fear of dying alone.

Written for the 'Phobia' challenge.

Winner: Phobia Challenge
Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Original Series
Characters: Kirk, James T.
Genre: Angst, Drama
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 6675    Read Count: 1301
[Report This] Published: 18 Mar 2011 Updated: 18 Mar 2011
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed
Date: 18 Mar 2011 Title: Chapter 1: Brother of the Heart

A lovely story, LBD. The earlier scenes with the two boys perfectly capture their comportment and youthful dialogue, as well as Jimmy’s innate sense of adventure, a foreshadowing of things to come. Like all your stories you provide the reader with consistently sparkling, brilliant narrative. When Winona is making breakfast for her boys I can smell the eggs and bacon, and when Sam has to leave Jimmy to go for help I’m crying with both of them.

Book-ending the story with James facing Klaa’s Bird of Prey from TFF provides the perfect showcase for the entire story, adding a thick vein of relevancy to Jimmy’s experiences and to the lessons he has learned, both in his past and his future.

Your emotional fluency is stunning. Your characters must love you because you so easily command them to emote for you, and they seem to enjoy being brought to life again and again at the end of your virtual pen!

I particularly enjoyed the way your ending deftly tied up all the story’s threads. Sometimes with your stories, and especially with this one, I’m so happy with how things turned out I honestly feel like throwing open the window and shouting ‘Hooray!’

Like all good stories I’m left with the feeling that I understand James T. Kirk a little better now, and whenever I think of him some part of me will always return to his experience at the coal mine.

…and I wish you’d loan me some of that secret spice you’ve been peppering on your dialogue.



Author's Response:

Sam, Sam, Sam - you are such a boost for my confidence. ;-)  But again, I have to attribute that to stellar feedback and beta skills. :D

I'm so glad this story, and young Jimmy's experience, will stick with you in the future.  We know so little about Jim Kirk's past.  I like finding these things that shaped him into the man he became, and I hope others will have this scene from Jimmy's childhood in the back of their minds whenever they think of him.  If I managed that, then this story has succeeded.

Summary:

Season 1, Episode 4

The Coridan Massacre was one of the numerous humiliating defeats for the Federation during the Dominion War. One officer recounts his failed attempt to save the fifteen hundred trapped miners.

Initially submitted as part of March 2011 Phobias Challenge on Ad Astra.


Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Deep Space Nine, Expanded Universes
Characters: Morrison, Mandel, Vircona, Limis
Genre: Drama, Horror, Tragedy
Warnings: Violence
Series: Star Trek: Lambda Paz
Completed: Yes    Word count: 2201    Read Count: 2000

[Report This] Published: 22 Mar 2011 Updated: 22 Mar 2011
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed
Date: 23 Mar 2011 Title: Chapter 1: Heavy is the Burden of Command

I like how you build the story one statement at a time, leaving much of it to the reader’s imagination to complete. The narrative and dialogue are told from the perspective of an experienced soldier who puts his life on the line every time he laces his boots, only to have his efforts and perhaps eventually his entire life scuttled by political maneuvering.

There’s no romance, nor any other ‘B’ story here – just a soldier, his honor and his investment in his mission.



Author's Response: Thanks. It took me awhile to get this laid out on the computer screen even though it's a character arc that has been addressed before. Since this particular series is a spin-off of Deep Space 9, it leaves a lot of ambiguity. Morrison wasn't absolutely right to abandon the mission and the politicians weren't absolutely to want a scapegoat. Yes, we did see outside observers seemingly determined to prove our heroes completely screwed up rehashing stories of previous episodes. But we never really saw in the Trek universe, even during the Dominion War, politicians were looking to penalize someone for a failure even when no one person or group of people was to blame.

Summary: Chef's illness prompts desperate measures
Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Enterprise
Characters: Ensemble Cast - ENT
Genre: Humor
Warnings: None
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 1023    Read Count: 1075
[Report This] Published: 30 Apr 2011 Updated: 02 May 2011
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 03 May 2011 Title: Chapter 1: One

An enjoyable story, Mack, that creates a wonderfully hilarious scene full of humorous banter and innuendo. T’Pol in a chef’s hat – it kills! Peter Sellers would be proud.

Author's Response: Ha, thanks Sam. More's the pity this could not have been on screen for the chef's hat works better in that regard :) At least it sounds funny, doesn't always translate my humour. My thanks.

A Mother's Love by Lil black dog    Rated: K+    Liked  Reviews (8
Summary:

A mother’s parting gift to her only son.  Inspired by the free write prompt entitled ‘Last Words,’ this grew of its own volition into something I hadn’t planned, or even expected.


Chapters: 1    Table of Contents
Categories: Original Series
Characters: Grayson, Amanda, Spock
Genre: Angst, Drama, Family
Warnings: Character Death
Series: None
Completed: Yes    Word count: 2079    Read Count: 1213
[Report This] Published: 07 Jun 2011 Updated: 07 Jun 2011
Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked
Date: 10 Jun 2011 Title: Chapter 1: A Mother's Love

Dear Gentle Reader,

Like many reviews, this one contains spoilers! Please read the story first.

Dear LBD,

There are few stories that have used the embedded personal letter to such great effect as “A Mother’s Love.” At the very least a wonderful storytelling device, in your able hands it is elevated to a powerful concentrator of emotion and even Spock himself is not immune, nor should he be.

We often speak of a story’s emotional relevancy, emotional fluency, etc. but less often do we discuss the underlying psychology of a story against which all emotions are projected. Part of the reason this story works so well is that we all deeply wish we could receive, or could have received, a letter like Amanda’s. Such a compelling backdrop creates a canvas against which every event is magnified, not as isolated phenomena, but as elements of an interwoven psychological web.

Because Spock is ostensibly logical in every respect, few of us realize how well adjusted he is most of the time. While I haven’t yet completed the Kohlinahr, I believe it logical that the purging of emotions will succeed more easily if those emotions exist as part of a psychologically healthy individual.

Spock’s reaction to the letter, although suppressed, tells us how well adjusted he truly is, and the content of the letter tells us why: A Mother’s Love.

Sincerely, Sam.



Author's Response:

Sam - I am always amazed by your reviews; by your knack for being able to cut through the layers and expose the kernel of the piece in a way even I find myself unable to articulate.  I tend to write with my heart, and you always manage to translate that perfectly into words and ideas that are easily understood.  At times I'm unsure whether to commend you or pity you for that uncanny ability to get inside my head - a place many fear to go. ;-)

As always, thanks for the review, and the thoughtful, helpful comments that made this piece what it is. :-D