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[2005: NOV-DEC] Feedback


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Creative Impulse by Lieutenant Ben Walker

Cmdr Rhys: You know, that’s a really terrific story. I’ve just been reading Asimov’s

biography, and it’s something he or another major sci-fi writer could have

thought up in the halcyon days of Amazing! magazine. It reads well. It

maintains interest. It’s a great concept. Ok, so the phrase “The Fair is

in Minnesota, and that's not until summer” jarred a little bit, but that’s

mainly because the rest of the writing was so good. I honestly can’t think

of any criticism. Well done.

***

Capt Hurne: A nice little story. It showed that sentient life can and will overcome all adversities and win.It is driven by a primeval will to exist I think the writer showed some good ideas on what could happen if Warp capabilities came to an end.Old enemies working together to overcome a common goal.

***

Capt. Rocar: I really like this story, right from the first sentence which was a captivatingly intriguing opening line. “Two mem stood in the middle of the galaxy.” I loved what Walker did with this, indeed the entire opening was intriguing. The writing style was a nice in the way it mixed techniques but I felt each section could have been introduced a little better (eg. An explanation for swapping to say “Dear Diary” Captain Log style.)

That said, the writing style is very clever and the way the plot develops at first is well excecuted with a very nice use of different adjectives. The grammar and spellings are mostly accurate, with the very occasional odd mistakes that a proof read might have even missed, whats good is how the opening sets the background out well. As much as I liked the opening, however, I found the switch to logs a little unnecessary.Was this just to cover a great amount of time within the word limit? If this was the method the writer wished to use, fair enough, but there is no real sense of time scale and it seems the omission of the standard “Stardates” after “Captain’s Log” is the major oversight.

I also would have liked to see a deeper explanation of why people might commit suicide simply because warp power didn’t exist anymore. Also, I’m not sure “May you live in interesting times” is really a curse ;o).On the whole though, I found this an excellent piece with a story I loved. Particularly good twist to the “no warp” theme with a great end that left us to decide whether the ship succeed and whether the powers of the universe switched things back to go and watch a different bet.

***

The USS MARX by Ensign Kel Mage

Cmdr Rhys: This is a well-written entry with a few logical flaws. The ship, the USS

Marx, is a Galaxy-class. Although perhaps no longer entirely cutting-edge

technology, these ships are still very powerful vessels. The best of the

best are sent to them. Yet the characters in this story exhibit numerous

flaws. There is obviously deep mistrust between Captain T’vek and Commander

Javik, who at one stage, believes the captain may have him killed, a very

unvulcan action. Javik makes several mistakes unlikely to have been

committed by a buck ensign, let alone a commander: he disobeys a direct

order by his captain in a crisis situation. Just the other day, I watched

Pegasus, the Season 7 TNG episode. Picard is appalled that a mutiny could

have taken place on a Starfleet vessel. Warp drive or no warp drive, it

happens very rarely.

But more than this, I’ve got to admit that I didn’t like this story for

reasons other than mere logical ones. It had a major theme of them-and-us

xenophobia, something Rodenberry abhorred. If you look in every Star Trek

episode one of the constant themes is different cultures overcoming

diversity. The original enterprise had a Japanese member (not so long after

WW2), a Russian member (at the height of the cold war), an African-American

woman (at the time of civil rights disturbances) and a farm boy from Iowa.

Yet they all got on. That, to me, was and remains one of the most

attractive aspects of Star Trek. Particularly with the world in the state

it is now. Sorry, Kel, but I’m going to be honest in my appraisals.

***

Captain Hurne: This tells the story of a ship caught to near an anomaly as warp capabilities are lost. The ship is almost destroyed. Again I felt this was a little OOC for the Vulcan's. A race whose daily life is run by logic. Would they put racial preference for their own race over that of others. I found that

hard to digest.That aside this was a well written story with a lot of depth.

***

Capt.Rocar: This story has an excellent opening that grips the reader, however, beyond that I have to agree entirely with Cmdr Rhys. (See above.) The narrative worked well enough (despite the odd spelling errors) but as a Star Trek story would have worked better with an explanation as to why the Vulcans were acting like this. One possible thought was that this could have taken place in early TOS era when there was a hint vulcans found terrans hard to get on with (eg. Manning separate ships,) and with that pinch of salt in mind I thought the story had merit, however, if this was the writer’s intention it needed to be made clearer in the story itself.

***

And So it Ended by Lcmd Solon

Cmdr Rhys: What a sad story. I almost need to read Walker’s again. LOL. First person stories are, by their nature, more intimate than third-person, and this one’

s no exception: a tragic story of a broken star-fleet captain, who makes a

tragic mistake. I think with a little work on the plotting, this could have

been an almost Shakespearean tragedy, where every character is a cipher and

the central character’s downfall inevitable. As it is, it reads well, is

paced well and tells a story well. But I’d have liked a little more depth.

Still, an excellent entry.

***

Capt. Hurne: Although a well written story. I found it a little long. The fact that at the end he sits awaiting his death from the torpedoes from a Intrepid class ship. I found a little off Canon. Surely he would have been arrested for his crimes and stand trial.If indeed he had committed any. Not killed out of hand without chance of defence. His death was not Star Fleet or the Federation way.But like I said a well written story. Well done.

***

Capt. Rocar: This was definitely one of my favourite pieces. I thought the writer pulled off the first person narrative well (which is often hard to do [well!]) That said, after the second paragraph, I felt perhaps more of an explanation could have been offered as to why Farchess was telling us this/talking to the reader. The captains melancholy is certainly enticing. When we meet Bryce the CEO, he could be better introduced –we are almost left expected to know who he is. I also have to question how why a CO with a background in Security wouldn’t have aquired some basic knowledge of Engineering. The scenario in which Bryce looses weight was very amusing and made good entertainment out of the situation that was believable. The story developed an interesting twist which was altogether well written.

***

This little warp of mine by Cadet Ramirez

Cmdr Rhys: Gargh! Apostrophe man strikes again! It’s=it is! Its=possessive of it!

Animated suspension? Surely you mean Suspended Animation? These minor

points (which would be fixed by any editor worth his salt) aside, a

competent story outlining the failure of warp drive and the personal

consequences of it. We think of what would happen to Starfleet or the

balance of power in the alpha quadrant if warp drive collapsed, but this

story is a more personal one. How many people would really be willing to

ensure years of space travel far from home? In real life, I work a long way

from my home and family, but only for five months at a time, and let me tell

you, it can get very difficult sometimes. I wonder how many people would

join Starfleet if a voyage meant years rather than months of travel. I’m

giving you extra brownie points for making me think.

***

Capt. Rocar: Really great to see a cadet (at the time) participating in a writing challenge and I look forward to seeing more entries from Ramirez in the future. Admittedly this story suffered from a handful of grammatical faults, however, I liked the setting. The concept of an old man writing home was nice, as was his determination to continue with his routine space run despite warp speed having been banned. The protagonist was certainly well written as he embodied all the characteristics of an old man (I particularly enjoyed his paranoia that SPA had been finding excuses to ban warp speed.) It was nice to see an entry that suggested cryogenic freezing was the way of space travel in a galaxy without warp speed, and I felt this story made a good exploration of the emotions around using suspended animation.

Star Trek without warp doesn’t seem to be Star Trek, yet it has been said that the Sci-Fi setting of Star Trek is merely the back drop for stories that explore human emotion. This story does exactly that and I feel captures the very human reality of missing a lover across time and space; of not doing something for someone but still cutting yourself off from them; and, particularly the sense of being alone. All these aspects are extremely well explored and tie in nicely with this month’s theme.

***

One Percent by Lieutenant Anthony Creed

Cmdr Rhys: Hmmmm… characterisation was a little hazy here. At some stages, the

Commander was behaving as a commander, and sometimes like a buck ensign, but

the ensign always behaved like a commander. Ok, so the phrase “Cute as a

button, and about as smart” made me chuckle, but it still belies

uncommanderlike thinking. Think of Riker, of Kira, of Chekotay. Hell,

think of Trip. I don’t think their professionalism would have them thinking

such things about a young ensign. Characterisation is such an important

part of writing. It means that people react in a way that is consistent and

are believable. I had trouble believing your characters, Creed.

***

Capt Rocar: Oh I dunno Rhys …I’m sure Riker’s had his eye on a few “cute young buttons” in his time. ;o) I do agree with Rhys though, characterisation is paramount and I don’t think this was your best attempt in that area (I’m thinking of characters in sims but also back to characters in previous competitions where we are some extremely well written protagonists of all ranks.) The opening was interesting in its reference to people as “The Comander” and “The Ensign” and I thought probably captured the way officers would think quickly in a crunch situation. This actually continues throughout even once we get the Commander’s name. Whilst it does add to the intensity of the situation and give an action film feel to the piece, it also places a barrier that blocks character building. This in turn blocks the reader from having any deep sense of empathy for, the characters That’s said, there were moments in the characters’ interaction that were very well written and highly amusing.

This was an interesting piece in the competition. To me it was kind of like a scene at the start of a film that ends badly but sets up the plot for our heros to go and investigate… .you could easily imagine this on screen at the start of a Trek film…they all die then it cuts to Kirk enjoying a holiday on Earth before the Enterprise is called in to go find out what happened.

***

Among the Stars by Counselor Turner

Cmdr Rhys: An odd little piece. I like the style very much. And certainly it’s a

thought provoking work. One of the things I love is the thoughtful and

intelligent use of words (eg. the works of Annie Proulx). Words that ache

to be read out loud so one can savour, taste them as they roll off the

tongue. Counselor Turner has certainly achieved a measure of this in this

work. And she’s addressed the passion that keeps all of us writing. We can’t warp to Risa, or battle Klingons, so we write about it. That’s really what all Science Fiction’s about, really. She’s also achieved something a lot of writers could learn from: concision. Not one word is wasted.

I decided I liked this work after all. Well, done Counselor. I look

forward to reading more of your work.

***

Capt. Hurne: This was my favourite out of all the entries.Although short in gave insight into someone who dreams of visiting the stars. I took its slant not from the present Federation as we no it. But from the point of view of a civilisation who has yet to achive Warp capabilityies and can only dream of visiting other worlds. A culture on the start line of Warp technology.

***

Capt. Rocar: This is one of those pieces where you’re truly left not sure what to say. The writer captures something in this months theme, which most of us (including myself,) completely missed –we are in a world with no warp drive and so each of us in the UFoP solve that by writing about those distant galaxies and races. Nicely done, short and concise. Riser’s lines are themselves poetical; in fact this piece contains a poem within in the story (take out all the lines of story and arrange what Riser wrote into verses… I tried, it works!) Very cleverly done and an excellent exploration of the month’s theme.

Regression, A story of rememberance and forgetting by Idril Mar

Cmdr Rhys: I’ve come to expect interesting things from Idril. She’s won this

competition twice this year. And this story is also a good one. I’m not

quite certain if it’s a what-if scenario (What if the Federation hadn’t

existed, and the Trill had their own fleet of ships) or if it’s set before

the Federation. Still, it’s an interesting read. Not entirely sure about

the symbiont having a skeleton. Every time I’ve seen one, it looks like a

slug, which don’t have skeletons. Still. A fine story, good

characterization, and plotting, as expected.

***

Capt. Hurne: This story had a lot of depth in it's content. Again it showed a point of view of a culture . How it deals with its isolation due to the loss of Warp capabilities. It final solution to it. It making itself inward looking. Something I think a culture that was advance enough to have had Warp capabilities would not had done. It would have strived to regain its place amongst the stars by other means. However I liked the twist at the end.

***

Capt. Rocar: I think one day we will be able to take all of Cmdr Mar’s Trill stories and publish them in a collection of Short stories from Trill. This was another fine example of her work and very well written. I particularly liked the narrative jumps and the way the story was divided. It was also interesting to see a continuation of the “parasites” influence on trill life, something I remember from an entry earlier this year. An interesting slant, in that some of these characters voluntarily cut themselves off from space and warp speed. This was an interesting delve into Trill’s forgotten past and works well. An excellent piece that everyone reads and interprets in their own way.

Element by Counselor Phoenix.

Cmd Rhys: An interesting story told from a future where the Federation has been

assimilated. (I was pleased to note that the Kodiak gave her all at a key

battle,). Good characterization and plotting. Believable. I wonder what the lack of warp flight would have on a marauding species like the Borg.

***

Capt Hurne: I liked the angle that this narrative took. Not losing the Warp technology through unknown scientific reasons, but through conquest from a more powerful foe. By using ship names it used a time scale that is current, thus, making it personal to the group of SB 118. The time scale was set far in the future and looking back at a Universe that was long dead. - A nice twist.

***

Capt Rocar: This story has a very nice battlestar galactica feel to it, and gained credence from that similarity. Unfortunately, this story suffers from a few grammatical errors, especially past participles of irregular verbs (eg. speeded instead of sped). That said, the range of vocabulary used was extremely varied and extensive with only a few spelling errors. Though I liked the story, I was left wondering certain things. Why does this reducing of Starfleet to a battlestar galactica existence prevent them from using Warp technology? Do the Borg also have no warp? –These things really ought to have been explained in terms of this month’s themes. I’m also left wondering why the Borg could not pursue the shuttle after it left the asteroid field or indeed Why is the Eden II project a safe haven? -If the borg have assimilated 80% of four quadrants what is preventing them from coming over and assimilating the last terran outpost until much later?

Ultimately, I’d have liked to see this piece clarify how it fits in with the end of Voyager and their D-Tonic? And also why pyramid shaped vessels? Little details too like “terran species” in the last line would have been all the more poignant and faithful to Star Trek canon had it be written as: Species 5618: [VOY: "Dark Frontier"] The stardate technique towards the end of the story was interesting and a nice link back to the UFoP way of doing things. But the reader could have perhaps used an insight into who was recording these logs and why? It ended up seeming like a method to cover a larger period of time very quickly to fit a word limit, and as such I’d have preferred to see jumps in time and chunks of emotion filled memories focusing on the catastrophe rather than a history book recording. This story certainly inspires a great deal of thought and emotion from the reader. For that it stands as a strong piece, as it asks the reader to explore how they feel about this death of the Federation people.

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