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This is the Orion Press letter-column. Readers are encourage to send in a letter of comment (LoC) on any Orion Press story or publication to the editor via email at  randy@orionpressfanzines.com or via USPS at 3211 Saddleleaf Avenue, Albany, GA 31721. Remember that the only reward any contributor receives is the satisfaction of seeing the readers' opinions of his/her work. The following missives are excerpts from letters of comments received or commentaries found on the web about our stories from various folks who have read some of our offerings in the Orion Archives or in our actual fanzines over the past twenty-five years.

From E. Brooks -- July 2012

Thank you! If it wasn't for you, Orion Press, and all those great fanzines, I wouldn't have enjoyed my fan fiction writing as much as I do - you gave me great advice and a wonderful place to publish! As a writer for Orion Press fanzines, I always felt like I was part of a very special group of people! :)

From Kelly Grosskreutz -- June 2011

I've been meaning to write for quite some time, but it took me this long to finally get around to it. I just wanted to let you know how impressed I am with this website and the quality of the fiction that is presented on here. I was so happy to find a site with fanfiction dedicated solely to the original series. Moreso, I enjoy that the stories keep to the spirit of the original series and the movies. It's nice to see there are other people who think this is the best Star Trek that was ever made, and want to write stories on that. I especially enjoy the extensive development that Sulu, Uhura, and especially Chekov have received. I've now read the majority of the stories that are on here, and am just starting the Sixth Fleet stories. I've enjoyed seeing the stories that fill in what happened after Generations, especially the ones set on Chekov's Enterprise. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that all your hard work is appreciated, and I visit the site frequently. [Thank you! -- Randy]

From Pat Whittaker -- July 2010

Bonnie Reitz's "The Nature of the Beast" was a nice story.  I was caught up in the action.  I did find all the italics distracting as it's up to the reader to supply the emphasis, not the author, in my opinion.

From David Simpkins -- March 2010

Great site! I can't believe I've missed it over the years! Keep up the good work!

From D.G. Ramos -- May 2009

I've read and enjoyed your recently published fanzine, Antares 18 and wanted to send some feedback on my favorite stories from there.

Jim Ausfahl continues to be one of your more imaginative writers. I was very much intrigued by his story "The Tholian Contact" with its mysterious Shuul allies. I loved the amusing ending (and solution), but was most frustrated that we did not learn more about the oddly fused, crystalline lifeform! {Author's Reply: Thanks for the kind comment on my writing... The Shuul are actually reasonably well worked out in my head, but like a lot of the whacko aliens I develop, the details of their physiology and function would have bogged the story down... However, to slake your thirst for information: The Shuul are actually an energy life form that requires matter (In the case of the Shuul, crystalline matter) to anchor the fields that make them up, and to aid in their interaction with the world of matter. The fusing of their crystalline portions, as with Chonahoa and the Badmash, allows "married" pairs to stay together. Their native environment is in the high-energy, intense magnetic fields in the gaseous envelope of a magnetar (which I recall as being a rapidly spinning neutron star with a major magnetic field, but as memories go, mine did...), living off the energy of the eddies in the matter and magnetic field, for the most part. I've got a few more exotic aliens up my sleeve, and am always trying to cook up more... -- Jim Ausfahl}

I also found Nomad's "Going Ashore" to be particularly charming and touching. Jim Kirk spending an afternoon fishing with his grandfather on the Shore-Leave planet was quite believable and full of terrific attention to detail. I appreciated his mention of Garth the barncat from "Adventures in Iowa"!

"Settlers" by David Eversole did a great job seeing the similarity of themes in the stories of "Way to Eden" and Star Trek: The Final Frontier and giving them an ironic twist. I loved the humor in the story of a former follower of Doctor Sevrin having to deal with her daughter joining up with Sybok! It had a number of clever lines ("Was that a bicycle wheel you were playing?"). My only wish about this story (and I express this only because I like it so much) was that Mister Eversole had given us a little more as to why the bohemian protagonist, Mavig, fell in love with Herb in the first place. There is one complimentary statement about how he is a caring father and grandfather, and then thereafter it comes across pretty much as Mother Knows Best. I would like to have seen Herbert valued for his dependability or trustworthiness, or other important qualities that perhaps brought stability and healing to Mavig's life. Even so, congratulations on a fun story idea!

From Christopher Dalton -- May 2009

Overall, I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed viewing your site over the past two years. I especially enjoyed the story "Homecoming" and the sequel to the second season episode "A Private Little War" ("The Last Survivor"). Including the one involving Xon and a female crewmember who sacrificed her life for him. Those were very well written and definately captured the essence of the original. Especially the one involving Gary Mitchell's Resurrection. I could almost see and hear Gary Lockwood returning to his second most famous role in the science fiction universe.
 
Keep up the good work. This is certainly better reading than some others that I have read over the years. To me, the original Star Trek will always be the one and only Star Trek. As far as I am concerned, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise are abominations that should be erased from the collective memories of fans for all eternity.

From Joyce Mackenzie -- December 2008

I have enjoyed so many of the stories, this site has been such a joy to me. THANK YOU for all the pleasure you have given me.

From Kylie Brown -- December 2008

I have been enjoying the fantastic job you have done with the Orion Press website. I am a particular fan of the writing of Cathy German. Do you know if she published any stories that do not appear on the website and if so is it possible to arrange to purchase those stories? {Editor's Note: Thanks for the kind words and the interest in our website. Without divulging her real name, "Cathy" is a freelance writer/journalist in the Pacific Northwest. Under her real name, she's a three-time winner of the Strange New Worlds contest. You can email her directly by visiting our BIBLIOGRAPHIES page and clicking on her name. You can also click on the authors' name in any given story, if they've given consent. This is true of many of our authors, and it's a great way to let your favorite author know what you think of their work. We encourage everyone to let the writers know how you feel about their work! -- Randy}

From Carol Grant -- December 2008

Just wanted to take a quick moment to say thank you for all that you do. I've been a fan of Orion Press for a long time and wait eagerly each month for updates. Looking forward to many more new stores and hopefully the opportunity to participate at some point down the line!

From David -- December 2008

We've had some downtime at work lately, and I've been reading some stories from The Beginnings area of the site. I especially enjoyed Jim Ausfahl's "By The Back Door." Also, I'm generally not a fan of the idea of Kirk and Spock meeting at the Academy, but I enjoy D.G. Littleford's work so I read "First Contact 101" with an open mind, and it was really, really good. Mary Rottler and Lynn Syck's "The Beginning" was fantastic as well. I loved the telling of the story from McCoy's point of view, and sticking to "Where No Man Has Gone Before" terminology and referring to the Transporter as a Materializer was a great touch.

From Maria -- October 2008

Just wanted to send you a quick note to tell you that I really enjoyed "A Walking Shadow." It was extremely well thought out and insightful.

From Selek -- September 2008

I love Julie's writing. It has a believability and flow to it that just sounds right. Yeah, I would enter "An Error" into the Orion Universe. She's a great author and a great writer.

From David Landon -- September 2008

Please congratulate Writer's Contest winner Ster Julie for me, I really enjoyed her story, "An Error"; it was fun and true to the spirit of the original series (something the Pocket Books novelists of the last few years seem to have real trouble with)....

David Lawrence's "The Hobby Barn Duty" was an interesting take on the off-duty lives of the crew and the belowdecks happenings on our favorite starship, but I thought Sulu acted rather out of character. The Sulu we saw on television from week to week was never a hothead; in fact, he usually served as a cool, unflappable counterbalance to folks like Bailey and DeSalle....

From Diane Doyle -- July 2008

I enjoyed the website updates. Yes, the story, "In the Mouth of Vaal" by Randy Landers, was pretty chilling -- on what happened afterwards. (And to think they were inspired by Chekov and Landon smooching away.) Did Captain Chekov feel a pang of guilt afterwards? {Author's Note: You know, I think I'll have to address that! -- Randy} I have always felt that the Children of Vaal reminded me of the Eloi in The Time Machine. {The story itself was sprung from HP Lovecraft's "In the Mountains of Madness," which was loosely the inspiration for Robert Bloch's "What Are Little Girls Made of?" but I definitely see your point there! -- Randy} The name Vaal makes me thing of Baal, the Chaldean god that people around the Hebrews would worship.

From Dave Landon -- June 2008

I haven't finished all of the new ANTARES, but "Fool Me Twice" is an excellent read. I always thought there was an interesting story to tell on "our" side of "Mirror, Mirror", and Rob Morris superbly realized it. Focusing on the Mirror Scott was a masterful touch. I loved D.G. Littleford's "An Error" also; she writes the best young Spock stories I've ever read. I eagerly anticipate reading the rest of the 'zine. I must say, I enjoyed Hyperion 3 a lot more than I thought I would. I'm not a big fan of starship crews composed of secondary main characters and created characters, but "Dreamscape" and "To Leap Tall Buildings" were excellent science fiction stories that any Star Trek fan could enjoy.

From Diane Doyle -- June 2008

ANTARES 17 was definitely the "Sequel to Original Series Episodes" issue (between myself with one to "Day of the Dove" and Rob Morris to "All Our Yesterdays" and "The Savage Curtain"). Then Rob also wrote about what happened on the "real" Enterprise while "Mirror Mirror" was going on, and I wrote by "below decks" view of the "The Menagerie."  In any case, I enjoyed reading the zine.

From Nora L. Jeffrey -- December 2007

...I am excited about the fact that you are keeping "our generation's" stories going as I go grey, yet keep a young heart through it all! {Indeed, I'm still an avid Star Trek fan, and I'm glad that so many--like you--are, too! -- Randy}

From John Stevens -- December 2007

I enjoy your work very much. I'm particularly enjoying Chekov's Enterprise, and look forward to reading more.

From Pat Whittaker -- October 2007

Blindside, by Caroline R. Kummer, was a great story!!! I really enjoyed it and it was true to all the characters. Very well done! And very readable!

Re: "Conquering the Cube" by Sandy Adams: That's a cute story. I laughed out loud, even.

"Intermezzo," by Ann Zewen, was a very fair treatment of Carol. I personally didn't like her, but the story treated her fairly.

"Liberty," by Amanda Cassity,  rocked for me. It was light and funny and the characters were true to form for me. It worked well.

[Enjoyed "Crossed Signals," by Jill Thomasson, even though the couple involved work] in the same department; that was the only thing that bothered me about it.

From Anna Perotti -- July 2007

So far I had time to read just "Where and When," which I really loved. Will you congratulate the author for me?

From Donna Ramos -- May 2007

Finished David Landon's "Romulus Ascendant."  It was quite good!  Seems like he took a good many lines right out of the movie.  :)   My only criticism is that it wasn't longer!  I would have liked to see D'Taj call Kirk a "Buckaroo," for example.  And I was looking forward to seeing Tacitus use his knowledge of his former student, to defeat him.  Don't know how Landon could have done that though...   In any case, I very much enjoyed the story.

From David Landon -- May 2007

[D.G. Littleford's] "Leaving Vulcan", in particular, stands out as one of the finest treatments of the Spock-Sarek-Amanda relationship that I've ever seen in any medium.

From Anthony Hall -- April 2007

I wish I could pick just one online Star Trek fanfic story to praise, but the truth is all of them are of top-notch quality in every respect! I love them all!

I was wondering, however, how many stories, other than what's already archived online, you may have coming up that deal with some of my favorite characters/situations, such as:

· The "Mirror, Mirror" characters/universe (any or all so long as Spock-with-a-beard's is prominent in it)?

· Anything involving the planet Neural (though it was never called that in the episode) and the characters in pre-"Private Little War" situations, possibly even when then-Lieutenant Kirk first visited the planet and people (and let's not forget about the Mugato)?

· More stories involving Yeoman Janice Rand (who doesn't love that perky, pretty blonde)?

· Super-being stories involving characters/situations from "Errand of Mercy," "Squire of Gothos" or "Charlie X"?

Bottom line, guys, keep up the fantastic work and give us more Star Trek!

Thanks a billion!

From The Great Link website -- found March 2007

Orion Press is one of the premiere sites on the internet for Star Trek fan fiction and zines...

From The Yahoo/Malaysia Answers website -- found March 2007

Question: What is the Evolution of the Planets in both creationist view and scientific view?

Best Answer (as chosen by voters): The creationist view is that God spoke, and things came into being. This is surprisingly interesting, considering some unpublished stuff I've seen concerning possible connections between the quantum foam and actual particles: on the Orion Press website--a TREK fanfiction site, best found by a Google search--there is a short story by someone that has obviously ALSO read this stuff: THE HITCHHIKER.

Conversely, the evolutionist view is that somehow, there was a major creative event that produced an unimaginably vast amount of matter/energy in what we call our universe. This stuff cooled and expanded, allowing the four forces we know to condense out, then allowing matter to condense out, then over unimaginably huge stretches of time, the matter condensed into stars, galaxies and whatnot. Heavier elements (beyond the lithium/boron level) were forged in the hearts of these early stars, and then spewed into space when these stars went nova; a second, and third, etc. generation of stars were born, lived and died, enriching the universe in stuff like carbon and iron and titanium and whatever, to the point that a world like ours could condense out of the mess...

Both views have their detractors and proponents. The evolution group call the creationists mindless barbarians; the creationists call the evolutionist group mechanistic determinists, and folks that extrapolate 'way out of the range that their observations will support...

From The Multilegged Creature Info website -- found March 2007

The Orion Press website hosts many quality stories about all of the TOS crew and more. You can buy more in the fanzines they produce. I wouldn't know what to recommend, it's all top quality... Follow the chronology, select by author or read the summaries.

From Smiley on the Roddenberry BBS website -- posted on November 2004 -- found March 2007

Re: Chekov's Enterprise -- Hey has anyone read the stories from Orion Press? Okay, so I know realistically it won't be happening, but I'd love to see it on film. They've got nearly everyone in Star Trek in it one way or another. It's the way I'd like to think things happened after Generations. Of course being a die hard fan of Chekov, I'm probably a bit biased. Either way go read them because they're awesome.

From the Czech Zakladna Antares website -- found September 2006
translation by Patricia Wright

The Orion Press website focuses on TOS and the Enterprise-B under command of Captain Chekov. The stories are being written in accordance with this line, with writers who are filling in the gaps between the episodes and movies in the style of the original Star Trek, so they are improving on it in what ought to become a comprehensive view of all the adventures. My first reaction, honestly, to reading these stories was delight and relish. They have greater plot entanglements than the traditional stories, Star Trek canon, and consequently deal with contact and problems with some alien races and the bureaucracy of Starfleet.

On this site, I 100% recommend the Keeper of the Katra by Chris Dickenson. It takes place shortly after the film Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and examines the relationship (I daresay not sexual) between the main characters Kirk and Spock.

From Dr. Maggie Hellstrom, GSI Darmstadt -- posted on alt.fan.surak -- April 1997 -- found July 2006

Trying to get back to more Vulcan-related subjects: McCoy's comment in [a story posted in this newsgroup] reminds me of the IMHO excellent Star Trek fan fiction work Keeper of the Katra by Chris Dickenson. An important part of this story, set just after the film Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, is the "relationship" between Spock and his half-brother Sybok. There is a delightful scene where Amanda reads "The hunting of the Snark" to the two young brothers... I very much recommend this story -- it makes for some very interesting reading, including glimpses of Spock's (very) private life and how this was affected by his "death" and "resurrection"...

The Orion Archive also contains a number of other fan-fic works of great interest to Vulcan fans, for instance "All That He Was...All That He Knew" and The Day They All Came Home, both by Linda McInnis, "Popcorn" by Chris Dickenson and "His Was the Most Human" by Nomad.

From Godawful Fan Fiction Website -- found July 2006

"The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective" by Terry Endres -- Spock, while on shore leave, is dragged out of a bar by the local Police. Apparently they figure he'd be a really good detective and so they draft him (huh?). Just shoot me now. This looks like a case of An Author Who Has Been Reading Too Many "Hardy Boys" Mysteries, Watson. {Editor's Note: It actually looks like a review from someone who never bothered to read the story. - Randy}

From Donna Ramos -- May 2006

Randy, I received my copy of Antares 14 the other day, and just love it! A terrific issue. Of course, I get a thrill to see that the cover features an illustration pertaining to my own Adventures in Iowa story. :-) But I love the other stories too! Read the two short ones right after mine in the first few minutes after removing it from the envelope...

Then I was drawn to the back to read the story about McCoy's first few days and weeks on the Enterprise (Mary Rottler and Lynn Syck's "The Beginnings"). I found that scenario very plausible after the events of "Where No Man Has Gone Before." And a great idea for spotlighting McCoy's important role in the command structure.

An interesting follow-up to the Gem episode. And I got a pleasant surprise from the story of Scotty as an assistant instructor at the Academy. Not just a Scotty story, but about a young Robert Wesley also! I'm still working my way through it. And I still have the Finnegan story to read. I know I'll enjoy that. I just didn't want to wait to finish it all to tell you.

From Karen Halliday's Website -- January 2006

I highly recommend the Star Trek fan-fiction published by Orion Press - they are well-edited and feature many excellent stories for the Trek-o-phile. My particular favorites are anything by Jim Ausfahl, Pat Detmer, or Anne Zewen. Printed zines frequently feature superb cover art from Christine Myers.

Carol Davis' The Dianasian Gift -- Gretchen Jaeger, Kirk's handball nemesis and Chekov's lover, has an e-suit accident in a Klingon ambush, and inhales atmosphere with deadly results. Kirk is mooning over his lost true love (Edith) and the recent loss of a crewman, and won't talk to Spock & McCoy. Meanwhile, Peter Kirk has grown up into a jerk and takes up with bad company in the form of a crewman who has a plan to steal the crystals the Klingons were after in the first place and sell them to them. Koloth, on the same planet, encourages the thief by letting him use a beam that messes everything up on the Enterprise every time the ship passes by. Typical, but nicely done tv ending with a bomb about to go off, last-second rescue by Sulu's arrival, Jaeger saved by Spock's research, Peter redeeming himself by rescuing the only colleague who could tolerate him, and Gretchen & Chekov married.

Nomad's The Daystrom Project -- In a plot to take over the galaxy, Kh'myr Klingons abduct Dr. Daystrom and his daughter in order to force him to build a multitronic computer weapon with Klingon engrams. An okay read and a few quite-good scenes, but by and large Nomad's usual vicious super-Klingons raping and torturing cute little things whose only character trait seems to be helpless beauty. I liked a bit at the end when McCoy is the only one on the bridge still mobile and Spock orders him to take the weapons console. Nomad lets him off, but I think it's a very nice dilemma for the doc.

Jim Ausfahl's The Plumber's Helper -- While escorting a mother-daughter pair of engineers to assist with a sanitation breakdown on a colony on Gamma Virginis, Enterprise diverts to rescue a hibernating survivor (Giacomo Eletto) from a derelict NASA Jovian Platform. The platform turns out to have been sabotaged at the start of WWIII. Since the colony turns out to have an odd medical problem - a parasite that gets by the filtration, and whose victims die if treated - McCoy is called into action. McCoy quickly recruits Giacomo, who was an M.D., into Sickbay service. Giacomo turns out to be an ancestor of McCoy's. He is also an expert tracker due to his Cherokee heritage, and routs the colony's saboteur by sneaking into the compound on a handy-dandy buffalo. The saboteur turns out to have been well-meaning; the parasites are genetically engineered and can repair damaged tissue. A pleasant read, but far too many coincidences, and not up to Ausfahl's better short stories. Best bit was the medical tutorial - "Beat the Reaper" - in which the program has access to the trainee when the trainee has access to the program, and pops up at all hours with a victim's life counting down.

Jim Ausfahl's "Planet of the Killer Chickens" -- Security Chief Skorr (the avian) has to show Captain Chekov how to establish proper pecking order during Federation membership negotiations -- literally. Jim's usual good fun.

Nicole Comtet's Encounters and Countermoves -- Captain Spock is taking a bunch of cadets off on 3-week training cruise and has gathered up the old crew except for Kirk, who appears only in a cameo at the end. Things go awry beginning with two stowaways -- a lunatic who takes hostages to force the ship to take him to Serenidad, and a cadet's pet cat who gets loose and wreaks havoc with the ship's wiring. Spock resolves both. Then a cadet practicing firing torpedos just happens to hit the Romulan Commander's new renegade ship which was hanging about in the firing range and just about to be boarded by Orions. After a short reunion they repair her ship and send her on her way. This makes Spock melancholy and the crew gather round with metaphorical hugs -- projects to keep his mind off his lost love. Then a party for Scotty and return home where Kirk comes aboard for inspection. An entertaining novel, though the plot could have used some tightening-up, and the characterization is sometimes trite. McCoy appears only in his irrational-foil-for-Spock persona, Spock is rather uninteresting in his omnipotent perfection, and Uhura's main function seems to be social director. There are also a surprising number of typos for Randy's editing, and there are far too many saccharine uses of the word "special". But there are also some very fine touches -- notably the cat. {Editor's Note: The typos were fixed on subsequent printings and on this website. -- Randy}

Nicole Comtet's "Home Sweet Home" -- The Enterprise has recovered an old Vulcan probe; Vulcan demands its return, and Spock has an unsatisfactory return to Vulcan and equally unsatisfactory encounter with Dad. This premise of a racist elite in control on Vulcan, which turns up quite often, doesn’t seem to fit to me... but then, I’ve never been able to reconcile Vulcan logic with Vulcan hoo-ha. Nicole's In the Line of Duty is a somewhat predictable but entertaining little romp. Enterprise is escorting a snooty delegation of Cygnetians -- essentially Amazon warrior-women, in whose society males are assumed to be and kept inferior. So the crew has to work against an anti-male prejudice along with other oddities such as their fascination with Spock, invasive use of telepathy, and bratty telekinetic behavior. Lots of nice innuendo.

Nicole Comtet's Until the End of Time -- McCoy Get-'Em. Beautifully developed death scene for the aged McCoy with Spock providing the comfort, the two having long since come to terms with one another. Spock makes the passing relatively comfortable for the doctor, who retains his spark and feistiness to the end -- which comes from a previously unknown virus. Moving and fun -- and the emphasis on an afterlife does not spoil it for those of us who find that illogical. Nice touch is the revelation that there really is a "second star to the right and straight on till morning" -- at least on Vulcan.

Mary R. Schuttler's "Banshee!" -- Nicely written but silly premise - a banshee haunting sickbay, almost killing Kirk until his link to Spock calls him in to the rescue - leaving Kirk knowing that he will die when he is alone. Mary's "The Unexplained" is a Halloween story; Kirk recounts a nasty episode from his childhood in which he, Sam, Gary Mitchell, and the unfortunate Petey play with a Ouija board in a haunted house and Petey ends up bludgeoned by an psychopath’s spirit.  

Mary Schuttler's "The Haunting" -- During an engineering fire, Kirk has the area flooded with fire suppressant, only to find that ensign Karen Jenkins was left behind to smother, and that Cody denies having given the all-clear signal that Kirk is sure he heard. Kirk suffurs sundry visitations by Jenkins' ghost, but it is only toying with him - which it reveals by frightening Cody into confessing to panic.

Cathy German's "Last Picked" -- Nice romp for McCoy, getting to be the hero when the trio try to rescue a protestor and Kirk and Spock wind up wrapped in glass silk by a big icky predator, and put into storage as dinner for the kids. Favorite line is Spock's: “Thank you for saving my sorry skinny green Vulcan butt.” In Cathy German's "The Wreck of the Aurora Borealis," Enterprise is assigned to guard a wreck full of gold dust, and ends up facing an angry cat, Orion raiders, and a large, amorphous, hungry space entity with a taste for gold. Creative, fun, and well-executed. Cathy's "The Lesson" -- Starfleet sends desk-jockey Jude Gordon to figure out what makes Kirk’s command crew tick so well; she finds out with a vengeance, on the bridge in the middle of a battle. Superbly written. Starts in battle, backtracks around in time to show vignettes of an unfortunate incident with a Vulcan roommate, shows the crew in normal mode and then in crisis. Nice touch is everyone’s immediate reaction “Intruder! Who? Ah... Jude”

Cathy German's "Comeuppance" -- Humor columnist Rose Osborne, who has been having fun with the E-crew for some time, comes aboard. She loses her sense of humor after she accidentally encounters what’s left of Yeoman Leslie Thompson after the Kelvans crystallized and crunched her, and becomes obsessed with understanding the girl and why she was on that mission. Charming. A bit trite having her finally understand by throwing herself in harm’s way for Kirk, but all in all excellent. Cathy's "Conversion" relates the events of "The Naked Time" from the point of view of Cathy's gruff Italian redshirt Sotello, in which he is nearly skewered by Sulu, and comes to terms with his nerd roommate. Delightful writing. Cathy's "Dear Mom" -- Leslie Thompson's excited letter home, prior to the Kelvans turning her into a dodecahedron. Another of Pat's great, poignant shorts on the lives of crewfolk we saw briefly if at all. "My Gift" -- In his final seconds, heading for the engine room, Spock contemplates the reactions of those he will save because he is the only one who can.

Cathy German's "Only So Much" -- Kirk goes ballistic when a crewman commits inexplicable suicide. McCoy takes the brunt, trying to force Kirk to accept that he can't control everything, can't keep everyone safe. The lesson is almost driven home when McCoy himself is drowning, trapped under a tree... but Kirk manages to pull off another miracle rescue and is back to himself, secure in his omnipotence. As always, excellent characterization, dialogue and relationship insights. In Cathy's "Da Woid," it's not McCoy's communicator that makes for new trouble on Iotia, it's an e-book containing a self-help book and the Bible. Kirk barely manages to rescue Spock by playing God and changing the illustration of Satan (to Harry Mudd).

Cathy German's "There Would Be Others" -- Post-"Empath." McCoy and Spock have had a falling-out and Kirk has sent them -- just the two of them -- on a planetary survey to work it out. Spock is hit by a spear-trap and falls into a lake; McCoy gets him out but loses all their equipment and is left trying to care for a very ill Vulcan with no modern miracles. A small hunter alien who actually aspires to be a storyteller manages to overcome fear and poor communication to bring the pick-up shuttle to the pair. Cathy's typical excellent dialog and aliens. Cathy's "The Tale the Cap Told" is an unnerving take on the irresistable "put McCoy in the Civil War" theme. Kirk and Spock accompany McCoy to a Velsian antiques dealer to authenticate a Confederate cap that's been in his family for generations. McCoy makes the mistake of asking how the verification is done -- they look into the dealer's heart and McCoy and Spock find themselves in the war surgery. They are seeking McCoy's ancestor (who turns out to be a woman -- I'm skeptical, were there *any* female doctors in the Civil War?) when Spock is brought in, spilling green blood all over his Confederate uniform from a stomach wound, and they can't find their way back.

d. William Roberts's Liberation from Hell -- This novel fits into the universe of Nomad's Serenidad series, involving the Klingon race wars and culture postulated there. Following Nomad's pattern, a great many of these pages are devoted to Klingon sex, consensual and rape, and lots of malicious Kh'myr torture. Our favorite Klingons - Kang, Kor, Koloth and even Worf's grand-daddy - all get together to destroy a smuggler/conspirator in a tale full of political maneuvering and lots of phaser and dagger fights. Meanwhile, among the Feds, McCoy storms out of Starfleet General Hospital and onto the Reliant, where he finds himself a fish out of water under Terrell's command - he's used to being the Captain's closest confidant. He finally proves his worth to Terrell by wandering around openly on the battlefield (Klingons in this universe won't kill doctors - except in revenge if they fail to save a patient) and saving the Klingon emperor's sister. But in the end, McCoy begs Kirk for any assignment with the Admiral - the only thing Kirk has open is simulation observer. Chekov has a nice role here as Terrel's exec, and we see Kelowitz and other old Big-E crew. Events are nicely set up to lead into the movie trilogy as Reliant heads off, sans McCoy, to work with Dr. Carol Marcus.

In Randall Landers' "Honesty," Chekov and Saavik accuse one another of improvising their reactions and statistics. Cute.

D.G. Littleford's "Light Speed in an 85 mph Zone" is a nice little vignette - young Kirk is celebrating his admission to SF Academy by getting another traffic ticket, forcing the long-suffering cop to admit he’ll miss him.

Selek's "Reminiscing" -- As the aging Amanda recovers from a dangerous insect bite, Sarek reminisces over their courtship - a nicely written set of incidents in which Sarek winds up nearly drowning during a "walk on the beach" and then nearly dying from the resulting cold. Excellent characterization.

In Rob Morris' "Sometimes a Cigar," one unintended Freudian phrase leads to another in this little romp, centered around Saavik's review of Peter Kirk's work. Rob's "Phantoms" is a bittersweet vignette of Spock observing the new crew and seeing the old -- and seeking his own Kirk on Deck 15. "The Unforgiving Minute" is set after Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Peter Kirk has saved McCoy's wife Teresa by taking on four Klingons, and is comatose. Told first-person by McCoy as he discovers that Peter has also saved her before the attack, by taking her on sexually when her medication ran out. [I must have missed a dumb plot point here somewhere in the Teresa storyline... apparently she goes into a pon farr-like rut periodically without medication. Ah, yes, Teresa the sex object and nothing but a sex object. Bleah.] {Editor's Note: Teresa was addicted to Klingon aphrodisiacs in a previous story. These drugs are illegal in Federation space, and once the assassination occurred, they were impossible to find, hence her condition. -- Randy} Rob's "Growing Up Together" is several short clips out of the lives of Chekov and Peter Kirk, all beginning with Chekov's query, "Are you all right?" and Peter's response, "No." Nicely done.

Anna Perotti's "Paragraph 17" -- In a first contact encounter, things go nicely with Kirk wining and dining the Beta Reticulan head of state until he discovers that though the people are startlingly human-like, their secondary sexual characteristics are reversed on that planet. Cute.

In Joanne K. Seward'S "A Bird in the Hand, A Bird in the Bush," Starfleet asks Kirk to teach a seminar on the Prime Directive to the dismay of McCoy & Spock - and finds a fitting metaphor in fledgling cardinals.

Holly Trueblood's The Dorian Solution -- Very nicely written novel with a premise that is more fantasy than scifi and has been done many times since (and perhaps before) Wilde, but makes a fine story with an absolutely delicious dilemma for Captain Kirk. In a first-contact situation with the Dorian world, they find that it has avoided many of the expected social problems of its stage in technological development, but is oddly behind in medicine. Kirk and McCoy discover the cause, too late, when they participate in a local ceremony and become linked so that McCoy suffers whatever befalls Kirk. Kirk is horrified when he finds himself in a situation where his only logical course of action is to take a life-threatening leap. Keywords: Dorian Gray. Honored Ones, meteorite, flying machines, communicator interference, leap, affirmation of the Way. McCoy: "This'll hurt me more than it does you..."

Ann Zewen's No Cold Wind -- Enjoyable novel with some nice aliens, excellent characterizations, and nice job of tying up some loose ends. The plot is slowly revealed in the reading, but here's the summary... The Kelvans are baaaack - this time in their own large, many-tentacled bodies. They gain knowledge by eating others and absorbing their RNA - which they have now done to Rojan and the other Kelvan colonists, as well as to the starship Thalis. They are running around eating people they find interesting and wiping out everybody else. When they encounter the Rycherians, they learn that the younglings of the species, at first maturity, are spectacularly powerful telepaths. So they kidnap them, to eat them later when they get suddenly smart, but since they can't communicate with the kids (who are earless) the Kelvans go off in search of Spock (whom they know about through Rojan) to be their control and go-between. Meanwhile... the Rycherians, whom the Federation is anxiously courting to keep them away from the Romulans, have appealed to the Federation to find their children. Keeping it all very hush-hush, Kirk is sent with secret orders to have Spock recruit the Sedolan Vulcans, a colony who practice completely open telepathy - no secrets at all - to help negotiate with the Rycherians. That's where the Kelvans find him, take him, and then destroy the planet while Kirk & crew watch, not knowing Spock has been kidnapped. Kirk is blamed for Spock's death, unable to explain to his crew that he was under orders not to touch the Kelvan ship. Back on Earth, Kirk is "allowed" to resign, under clouds of suspicion of cowardice. He joins the Zephyr, a privateer ship under contract to patrol Gorn space, do battle with Orion pirates, and slurp up any available booty. There he falls in love with the mysterious Talya (T'Alya), who turns out to be half-Vulcan and half-Elasian, with a wild temper and no training in controlling her touch telepathy, hence with an aversion to touch that is quite an obstacle. Kirk, of course, is really on a secret mission to find the Kelvan ship and rescue the children. Talya becomes pregnant, then very ill with complications and absolutely refuses to go to Vulcan because she had promised her mother not to. So, Kirk takes her to McCoy, then goes off again hunting for the Kelvans. McCoy is unable to save Talya. Spock and mr'Antor, the eldest youngling, undertake to destroy the Kelvan ship and get out with the other kids in a pod. Spock gets a mental message from Kirk as they get closer, so he speeds up the timing. They escape, the Zephyr picks them up, the Kelvan ship explodes, and Kirk collapses when Talya dies. Spock takes the Zephyr back to Enterprise and barely saves Kirk from dying of broken-bond shock by mind-meld, only made possible by using mr'Antor as an anchor. The experience of the broken bond is so powerful that he resolves not to bond at all, since any bond with him, by either a human or a Vulcan, would almost certainly leave one of them to suffer that fate. Instead he will seek out kohlinar, and he deliberately avoids Kirk to keep from being swayed in his resolve.

Ann's novel, Boy Scout, does a nice job on the background of Kirk and Carol Marcus. After a disastrous tour on the Shenandoah, in which Commander Kirk became a hero by getting everyone home after the entire bridge was destroyed and his senior officers killed, Kirk is being pushed into early promotion and captaincy of the Enterprise. He wavers, wanting to take a ground assignment to have Carol and David back in his life, and slowly wins over David. Things go awry when Kirk accompanies David on an introductory boy-scout camping trip that goes all wrong. Though he's the hero again, and discovers that command comes naturally to him, Carol is unwilling to ever face that kind of worry again. Very nice set-up for the movies.

From Carolyn Kaberline -- November 2005

I just found this website a short time ago, and I wanted to say how much I've enjoyed reading the stories on it. The Original Series has always been my favorite, and it's nice to find a website devoted totally to it. Keep up the good work.

From Nomady Thompson -- September 2005

I wanted to send you a note and tell you that I finished reading Keeper of the Katra. You gave me a copy a couple weeks ago in the store. It was hard to put down. You were right, it was excellent-excellent. It was a great bridge to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The writer captured all of the characters perfectly. I thought Kirk was written a little strange, but I guess that was the point given his relationship with Spock.

I would love to read any others that you suggest. Has Dickenson published a book...other than fanzine? {Editor's Note: Not to my knowledge. You can find her Orion Press works easily by going to the Bibliographies page, and scrolling down to her name. I'd also recommend "You Are Not Alone" in particular. -- Randy}

From Jim Ausfahl -- December 2004

Randy Landers' Insanity's Child was fun. It does not at all hold me back from an idea I had--I won't be stealing any thunder, is what that means--and that I will develop, but I'm not sure if it'll be with UHURA or KIRK. Will see.

ANTARES 13 was nice; no superstition there, man! Diane Doyle (author of "Gorgon's Lair")  is going to develop into a major asset, I think, to the ORION PRESS stable of authors.

From Joseph Manno -- May 2004

Re: Rob Morris' "The Old Once Over":

Chekov shook his head. 'Obviously, I disagree. Demotion is a standard practice in these cases. We cannot know what was Demora's own failings and what was the illness. Neither thing would erase her potentially catastrophic mistakes. Nor does it alter the love felt for her by so very many.'"

And when one cannot know, clearly the benefit of the doubt is to the benefit of the service. To do otherwise is to besmirch Demora's memory. One would,  in this case, make the presumption that her failings were caused by the illness. The fact that Chekov refuses to do so is indicative of his obduracy and the fact that he's far more concerned with his image than he is Demora's record.

I find this turn of events both disturbing and highly unlikely.

Thanks for listening.

From Pinetrees -- April 2004

"Honesty" by Randy Landers -- Ha! Chekov is right on. Haven't you always suspected as much?? Good observation, Randy.

From Jemima -- March 2004

"To Explore" by Rob Morris -- Where's the pun? But seriously, this inspirational vignette was surprisingly expressive.

"Honesty" by Randy Landers -- I liked this humorous explanation of Vulcan hyper-accuracy.

From Rob Morris -- March 2004

"Ashes" by Randy Landers --  I was one of several betas on this, but I added or changed nothing, it was that good. Randy showed Sulu in a very bad place getting help from an unexpected but not impossible quarter, as always within screen canon.

"Honesty" by Randy Landers -- This type of story is why I asked for the privelege of writing in the Chekov's Enterprise series. Captain Chekov, now the seasoned officer, refuses to tolerate nonsense from his subordinates, even to questioning a semi-sacred Vulcan precept. Randy, you keep it true.

From Whoa Nellie  -- March 2004

"Ashes" by Randy Landers --  Nice to see Guinan doing her usual thing in pre-TNG days.

From Rocky -- March 2004

"Gillian Weep Not," by Linda McInnis -- I really love this story and how it evokes the rhythms of the sea and air and the life bound up in them. A wonderful follow-up to one of the best Trek movies, Gillian's emotions at the recent upheaval in her life and her continuing connection to the whales rings very true.

From Jim Ausfahl -- February 2004

I liked "First Contact 101," although I have to admit that I didn't have anything cognate in my college experiences; I was more the Spockish type.  Hey, medical school takes grades, eh?  However, I have to admit that the insight--the best way to understand how to interact with unfamiliar sentient species is to be forced to--is right on, and is mirrored in James White's "Sector General" series.  Which I have devoured voraciously.

Personally, I detest ghost stories--and yet I remained riveted to Mary Schuttler's "Something Evil" anyhow.  That says a lot, and good. [Not to dispute Donna Ramos' letter], but based on my limited knowledge in this area, those who have experienced such events--with the exception of folk who are heavily into the occult and used to such events--are in a major hurry to get as far away as possible, as quickly as possible, and that, permanently.  That tends to be especially true of folks who are very heavily grounded in the reality we know (Which would include Kirk, in my opinion, and would include the likes of me, for other reasons). So, I found the ending more rational, even if equally dissatisfying: I agree--a sequel is in order, maybe with Spock taking the lead.

I enjoyed [Rob Morris' "Lawful Warrant"] myself.

From Donna Ramos -- February 2004

"Something Evil" was one of Mary Schuttler's creepier ghost stories. The writing was quite detailed and visceral. The peril was intense and painful and unrelenting. I loved it. I have to admit to being a bit disappointed at the way it ended, however. I realize that Mary's previous stories have tended to be open-ended or left unexplained, and I realize that Kirk was seriously injured at that moment, but I just found it a bit out of character for him to not want to get to the bottom of what just happened. I couldn't help but wonder how the story would have been different had Spock been in the story, having come back with McCoy, for example. He would have been very curious to go back into the house, I think. I also wondered about McCoy's aunt. It sounded as though she had lived in the house. What was her experience there? There are a number of questions one could explore. Do you know whether Mary is planning a sequel?

 

Rob Morris' "Lawful Warrant" was a fun run-in with Harcourt Fenton Mudd to tell us what he's been up to as of late.  I enjoyed that story quite a bit.

  

Jim Ausfahl's "The Choice" had a lot of interesting ideas in it: a futuristic monarchy, the musician's medical condition, and Spock being framed for murder. I thought the story suffered, however, by trying to do too many things, and perhaps for not being the intense murder mystery I thought it would be. Once the authorities concluded Spock wasn't a suspect, and that the "abducted" musician wasn't in any immediate danger, all the intensity and urgency went out of the story. The idea of Sarek and Spock being able to win a music competition seemed contrived to me, but I know the idea exists elsewhere in fandom, so that's just me, I guess. I thought the engineering competition was an interesting idea, but could have involved more intrigue and peril. And the Klingon villain sort of came out of nowhere. There are lots of interesting elements to the story, but it could use more focus.

 

I've been meaning to give you some feedback on Jim's previous stories as well. I'm not sure which, if any, I've commented on before, so I'll give a quick rundown of the most recent.

 

Going back to "Planet of the Killer Chickens," I thought this one was rather imaginative and different. I recall it being a little difficult to understand quite what was going on the first time I read it, because I was still getting familiar with the characters from Chekov's crew. I don't think I'd seen this done before, where you extrapolate an alien race and appropriate customs based on an intelligent avian evolution.

 

"Contact" was the story that I had meant to send feedback about.  Along the lines of the "Killer Chickens," this story about intelligent insectoids was terrific scifi and Star Trek at the same time. It was truly gutsy of Jim to depict these beings as having reverted to their primal instincts of eating each other, ambassadors, Orions, and any one else they could get their appendages on, as a result of the famine. I also liked the character Elul and his subterfuge for buying the landing party some time. I'm not sure whether I would have wanted this planet in the Federation after all that, however. ;-) Nevertheless, this story is not only my favorite of Jim's fanzine stories, but for me it's among the most memorable of Orion Press' offerings.

 

His other story, "The Trainer," however, I couldn't get into as much.  Imaginative elements again, but I'm not into video games or holodeck stories, and so this one just didn't appeal to me personally.

 

I sort of have mixed feelings about "The Hitchhiker." The character Gandalf was a little too hippy for me. (Anything that reminds me of "The Way To Eden" is just not a good thing!) And I found his slang and cultural references too anachronistic. I can see what Jim was going for, I think, but I'm not quite sure what would be the best way to get there. On the other hand, I found the confrontation between Gandalf and his "twin", all quite interesting. A take on powerful beings much more to my liking than the NextGen "Q" idea.

 

From Sandy Sandys -- October 2003

My parcel arrived today, and I feel I must register a complaint! Do you have any idea of how long I was obliged to spend in the bath reading Donna S. Frelick's The Children of Haole? Do you realize how wrinkly I am now?? Seriously, as a huge Kirk fan, I really enjoyed it, thanks!

From Rob Morris -- September 2003

First off, A Difference Which Makes No Difference is a great novel. Despite the extreme situation, everyone stayed in character and their actions fell into the realm of the possible. I did find it odd--though this is probably vanity-- that when McCoy cautioned Miguel against taking on Khaareg, Miguel didn't point out that a much smaller, nowhere near as strong Human, being Peter Kirk, had bested a similar opponent in my own novella, Waiting on Serenidad. But that's a minor quibble. {It's just because we generally try to avoid referring to previous works unless integral to the plot. It helps make the stories flow smoother without causing the reader to worry about a lot of backhistory. - Randy}

I am confused by Vetara's final fate. I had thought she was to live long enough to be killed by her son, who would be Ja'rod, father of Star Trek: The Next Generation's Duras and his sisters who died in Generations, and enemy of Worf's father Mogh. I realize the daughter may still be alive, so maybe she fits the timeframe better, but I was just curious. {Indeed, the infant daughter ends up being the father of Ja'rod, as far as the timeline goes. It just fits the timeline better. -- Randy}

From Tim Harrison -- July 2003
excerpted from his website: http://www.starshiptim.com/treklib.html   © Tim Harrison

Chris Dickenson's Keeper of the Katra is one of the best fanfics I've ever read. Better than a hefty portion of the professional novels.  Aside from the somewhat strange way the chapters are divided up, it's excellent in every way. It takes place immediately following the bulk of Star Trek V, during the time the Enterprise leaves the "center of the galaxy" (please) and Kirk, Spock, and McCoy return to Yosemite. An excellent character piece and good history surrounding Sybok. Now, just because it has a connection to Star Trek V, don't discount this. Great stuff.

From Rabble Rouser -- July 2003
an excerpt from their website: http://www.geocities.com/rabble_rouser_st/
© Rabble Rouser

The Orion Archives of Star Trek - The Original Series contain original general works that “are true-to-aired Star Trek as well as internally consistent with each other.” There are a wealth of fine stories that focus on the entire crew and not just the “big three” spanning their entire careers. I enjoyed Randall Landers’ "To Coin a Phrase," a charming McCoy story, the humorous Scotty story "Parts Is Parts," and the poignant Nomad vignette "Memorial Day."  Also excellent is Landers novella Chekov's Enterprise where Pavel gets command of the Enterprise-B when Harriman gets his comeuppance.

Chris Dickenson’s stories are wonderful from the short and scary "Blood Is Thicker," a vampire story, to a story about the friendship between Sulu and Uhura “The Wait” and a McCoy story “The Difference.” Dickenson also wrote the powerful novella Keeper of the Katra which tells the story of Sybok. Ann Zewen also has some strong pieces in the archive including a story of the bond between McCoy and Chapel in “The Music Box,” a story of Jim Kirk trying to get to know his young son Boy Scout.... Highly recommended is Donna S. Frelick’s "Heaven,"   which tells Antonia’s story. Yet another standout is a story which gives a slice of life aboard an Enterprise filled with cadets, “Fairy Tale Ending,” by Joanne K. Seward. Cathy German’s “Comeuppance” is warm and uplifting and not to be missed.

From Paul Laurendeau, York University -- July 2003
an excerpt from his website article: http://www.yorku.ca/paull/mavision/colt.html
© Paul Laurendeau

...Another short story, titled Drink Deeply, authored by Elizabeth Knauel and Nomad, was inspired by Captain Pike and Yeoman Colt (who, strangely enough, carries here the first name Jeanne-Marie). Violent and harshly sexist, this piece of fiction is strongly held under the spell of what I call the Talosian Prejudice. It is consequently very unpleasant, but somewhat intriguing to sample -- if you can stand it...

From Mutara Nebula -- October 2002

Wow! I printed out and read the Nomad novella, Resurrection, while waiting for my brakes to be repaired at an auto shop. It was fantastic.

Anyone with the slightest interest in Gary Mitchell, the Galactic Barrier and Uhura need to read this thing ASAP. I would swear it was written by an actual Trek novelist. It had great continuity with past episodes that answered such questions as why the ESP transformation didn't take place in the Kelvan and Medusa episodes as well as a plausible explanation as to the Klingons change of appearance.

Well done -- congrats to the author.

From Joseph Manno -- September 2002

I read Chekov's Enterprise some years ago, and wanted to mention that while I was never impressed with Trek's favorite moptop, Randy Landers instilled him with that wry fatalism all Russians possess, and yet managed a unique characterization. I wasn't quite able to make the jump required to see Pavel as worthy of commanding that ship of ships, but that was far more to do with my own preconceptions than any failing on his part.

From Mysti -- September 2002

Regarding Randy Landers' Chekov's Enterprise -- Fantastic and artfully written just as it was in the movie and the parts that follow are also incredible penmanship.

From Angela Soloman -- June 2002

Just a quick note of kudos for the quality of the stories being posted recently.  I especially enjoy the work of Cathy German, being as you may remember, quite the McCoy fan.  The characterizations and interactions ring absolutely true, and the storylines never fail to grab my attention and hold my interest!  Thanks!  Everyone keep up the good work.

From Bill -- May 2002

Really enjoyed Rob Morris' story, "Dead to Me."  Little things like the "shuttlecraft certification" as a justification to get him home, and a written depiction of a Scots accent that wasn't overblown (like many authors' attempts). Great dialogue. Aye, ye've done well.

From Nicole C -- April 2002

I would like to say that I loved everything about Cathy German's "There Would Be Others." Hearing McCoy’s voice so clearly in my head. Jim Kirk’s strong presence even though he really almost wasn’t even in the story. The skillful portrayal of McCoy and Spock’s relationship. Spock being injured. (I always enjoy a dose of hurt-comfort.) And the fantastic look at the familiar boys through alien eyes. You captured it all. I honestly haven’t read an original Star Trek   fanfic this good in a long time. Thanks so much.

From Gina -- October 2001

Yesterday, I finished reading Randy Landers' Chekov's Enterprise. What a pity that my English is so little! I'd like to tell you a lot of beautiful words, but I'm afraid of [making] mistakes. The story is very involving; the characters, the old ones and the news, are happily described. The situations are enthralling. During the battle against the Tholians, on the bridge, I was there, too... You truly love Chekov, and after the reading of the story, I love him as well. Congratulations! Thanks! Tomorrow I'll start reading another story.

Could I ask a question? Is there a sequel to Chekov's Enterprise that develops the characters of Riley and the others who have been presented almost at the end of the story,  and explains the plot against Kirk, Scott and Enterprise-B? Thank you! {Indeed, there is. In bortaS choQ, you'll see more of Riley and the intrigue at Starfleet Command. -- Randy}

From Gina -- September 2001

I'm an Italian reader of Orion's stories, I like reading English even though with difficulty, because of I'm still learning this language. Then I apologize for my bad English. {Not a problem. We've got lots of readers worldwide, and it's wonderful to hear from fans in other lands. -- Randy}

About Keeper of the Katra, I'd like ask author Chris Dickensen who was T'alya. I never heard this name before. In the story, Kirk maybe loved her and she had died in McCoy's arms. How can I ask Chris this question? Thanks. Ciao! {T'alya's story is told in Ann Zewen's novella, No Cold Wind. -- Randy}

From Donna Ramos -- August 2001

Just read Ann Zewen's Boy Scout story.  I really liked it. It had me wanting Kirk to work things out with Carol and be with her and their son, even though I knew something had to happen so that he would go off and command the Enterprise. I especially liked it in the Beginnings section, right after Randy Landers' "The Spider's Lair" so that I knew what had happened on the Shenandoah.

Carol Marcus certainly comes off the bad guy here. Very self-centered, overly protective to the point of smothering. Interesting that you have her using proto-matter in her equations to get the grants years before David actually employs it. I keep wondering why Kirk never took her to court to get visitation rights, but then this is how The Powers That Be set it up, with David never knowing Jim Kirk is his father until Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

One of my "picky buts" (this is picky, but...) is that I was quite surprised to see that the group of campers were so upset by the rain and hadn't brought tents. I was always taught that anytime you go camping in the mountains you plan for rain. In fact in the Rockies in the summer, it's a given that it rains every afternoon! I've hiked a lot in rain over the years and I've never encountered a trail that became all that muddy and treacherous that quickly. I know you do say it is raining really hard, and you do need a crisis at that point...  :-)

But anyway, really enjoyed the story!

From Karen Halliday -- June 2001

I think Jim Ausfahl does some brilliant writing, especially in "The Ambassador's Taxi" and "A Serpent in Eden" (which have my max of 5 stars in my personal "zinedex" notes).

I think Jim has excellent characterization, dialogue, and just plain good ways with words, but most of all I am very taken with his ability to come up with new lifeforms and civilizations which, to me, is what Star Trek  is fundamentally all about (well, along with loyalty, sacrifice, courage, honor, angst and all that stuff). What I love about exploring other cultures is that little zing you get from a new perspective, and Jim does that really well. I enjoyed his social caste that could only speak in questions -- I went around for a morning or two trying it, and I couldn't do it. And I loved his high-temperature metallic tree people. I look forward to any new stuff he comes up with! {Then check out these two stories by Jim: "Planet of the Killer Chickens" and "The Hitchhiker." -- Randy}

From Helen Kay Ferguson -- May 2001

I have just read Cathy German's story, "Only So Much," and I wanted to tell you immediately how very much I enjoyed it. Cathy is a wonderful writer, and she has just the right feel for Star Trek in her story. By that I mean that all the little details are authentic to my 'ear.'  McCoy's dialogue and body language, Kirk's body language and character, the cocky spring to his step, Spock's unselfishness for his friends--all authentic and very satisfying. She knows these characters well, and it shows in her writing. I've been a TOS fan since the show first aired on television so long ago, and I found her story very satisfying. As a long time fan, and someone who loves these characters well, that is the highest praise I can think of. Thank you, Cathy, for sharing your excellent story through Orion Press. I will certainly look forward to reading more work with her name on it!

From Ann Freeman -- May 2001

I very much enjoyed Randy Landers' Chekov's Enterprise. It is about time we read about his becoming a competent captain. After years of being under the tutorial of Captain Kirk and Mister Spock, Chekov is indeed the most worthy and experienced officer to command a ship of her stature. I look forward to reading more adventures with Chekov and Uhura. I do hope you continue to write them! For the most part, I felt that your characters were...well, true to character. {Check out the Chekov's Enterprise page which has lots of stories about our dear Russian and his first command. - Randy}

From Marcia Pecor -- May 2001

Randy Landers' "The Sound of Death" is a sobering story.  "And tragic that a race could actually think they were the sole masters of creation."  That says it all. Thanks for a good read.

From Karen Halliday -- February 2001

I enjoyed Ann Zewen's No Cold Wind just as much on a second reading - terrific characterization, plot and aliens, and what a nice job of tidying up a bunch of loose ends!

I also really loved Rob Morris' A Form of Redemption - it was predictable that Peter was going to have to do something heroic, but the something was very well executed, and Rob did a lovely job of exploring motivations and letting Peter start to make better choices.

From Karen Halliday -- December 2000

I just loved Randy Landers' "A Klingon Holiday" story with Klingons capturing all  those smirkin' Kirks on the Shore Leave Planet - and their commander wiping  out his entire force in sundry fits of pique. Especially liked his refrain of  "I am never wrong!" Not to mention Kirk discovering a stun burn on his butt.  What a hoot! Another winner: Nomad's "The Human Equation" --  very nicely executed story. Xon provides a "fascinating" new perspective, I think. I finally got to read Nicole Comtet's Until the End of Time over the break. A charming and well written story.

Really enjoyed Randy Landers' take on Sulu in "Spider's Lair" - I like the contrast of Sulu's command crew that just doesn't come together to form the kind of team he was part of with Kirk, and the effect that has on him. Sulu's more interesting here than he was in Randy's Chekov's Enterprise, where he was kind of annoying. I also like the open ending --  did they, or didn't they rid the universe of Kicksulpop...  Nice work!

 

From Angela Solomon -- October 2000

I just wanted to drop a note of feedback and a huzzah or two regarding the Nicole Comtet novella Until the End of Time.  I greatly enjoyed the story, it rings true throughout. My only caveats are some awkward grammar and punctuation in spots, but hey I'm anal that way. I may be mistaken but I take this as a fitting tribute to the late DeForest Kelley, of whom I continue to be a fan. All I can say is that it makes me cry every time I read it, which is repeatedly. Keep up the wonderful work, each and every one of you!

 

From SJO58 -- June 2000

I read Ann Zewen's story "Sam" in the online Orion archives. I just wanted you to know that her story deeply touched me. Thank you for sharing.

From Anna Perotti - May 2000

I liked...Rob Morris' "The Way Back" and "The Viewing" and Jim Ausfahl's "Intruder." I'm very fond of both writers and I was looking forward for them. Nicole Comtet's "Home Sweet Home" is also good, although I think the confrontation between the wise Vulcan and the fanatic one is a bit abused (and not much logical, IMHO). But it is well written, Spock is Spock and I liked the chance to get a glimpse of Number One. She was an interesting character, who had deserved more than the moon-light appearance she got in the series. Cathy German's "Last Picked" is the kind of story which makes an Italian reader- we are all superstitious to a degree :) -- wishes the heroes to be blessed. Hope Kirk and Spock got court-martialed for endangering their lives and McCoy's so foolishly. It was entertaining anyway.

From Nicole Comtet -- February 2000

A very good website. A great variety of subjects and genres, all well written and plotted. My favorites are Joanne K. Seward's "A Bird in the Hand, a Bird in the Bush" (with our trio so well depicted) and especially  Cathy German's "Last Picked" (which I loved for I just could hear and visualize our dear McCoy as he struggled all by himself to save the "skinny butts" of his friends, at least that of Spock since Kirk's butt is not exactly skinny). "Last Picked" is beautifully written, and the characters are just right, just as I image them. I hope that Cathy German will give you more of her works; I am looking forward to reading her again.

From Allyn Long -- January 2000

I just finished Randy Landers' tale of the Enterprise-B (Chekov's Enterprise). It was a wonderful story! I hated to see it end. It reminded me of the old Star Trek stories where the main characters relied on each other for support and information. It also brought up small bits introduced in TOS that may have been more prominent had the series continued for a few more years, such as the relationship between Spock and Chekov. I also enjoyed reading about some characters that we rarely hear about in the Simon and Schuster books or the movies. Randy seemed to capture the personalities that were vaguely introduced on the show. Randy gave them depth and emotion worthy of Star Trek (for that matter Starfleet Academy) something the show at times has lacked upon.

I am new to the world of fanzines although I have been a fan of Star Trek for many years. I am a lone fan since my husband does not understand my love for the show or the books nor do any of my friends or fellow teachers where I have worked. (Where are all you people?) My children are young however so there is still hope. I am looking forward to reading more tales from Orion Press.

Thank you for the story. Will it continue?  {Check out the Chekov's Enterprise page which has lots of stories about our dear Russian and his first command. - Randy}

From Helen Ferguson -- January 2000

"The Red Shirt" by Ann Zewen -- A very interesting perspective for a story, well written and just the right length. After the story, you are left with your own questions, rather than having all the loose ends neatly tied up. I imagined Kirk beamed back to the ship, tight lipped and going to his quarters to write his reports, putting the details on paper, with all the emotions left out, to be later talked out over a glass of Saurian brandy with Bones. And then up into the wee hours of ship's morning, gritty eyed and headachy, struggling with letters of condolence for each lost crewman, the heretofore unknown names burned into his brain with each letter written. Thanks, Ann, for yet another great story!

"The Emancipator of Trill" by D.B. Littleford -- Of all the stories in this zine, this was my favorite! DS9 has the best aliens, bar none, in Star Trek (the Shapeshifters, the Cardassians, the Vorta, the Jem Hadar and, of course, the Trill, my personal favorites for dressing up as at conventions)! And the Trill present some interesting ethical problems that are beautifully explored in this story. Bravo to the author for a wonderfully written story that fits into the television universe, and gives us some prequel material on the trill. I think McCoy is beautifully written in this story, his dialog rings true and is perfect for McCoy. I loved his bad, but perfectly typical McCoy joke. A wonderful touch in a story with many of them such as having him previously involved with Emony Dax. The idea of the symbionts as being "voyeurs" of Human sensation and experience was an interesting one that I know I will think more about, as well as the idea of cultural conditioning making certain practices in a society that may be in fact be questionable become accepted norms. This story has all the best of Star Trek, entertaining, beautifully written and thought provoking in a larger sense! Many thanks to D.B. Littleford for sharing this great story. I hope to have the chance to read more of your writing soon.

"Winter Hunt" by Crystal Perry -- An adventure story that is fun to read, clearly and vividly written; all the characters are very believable and the dialogue is well done (no easy task!) with a satisfying conclusion. I hope to have the chance to read more of Crystal's writing in future zines.

"Dead to Me" by Rob Morris -- I found the premise of this story to be very interesting, but somewhat confusing. I would like to read more from this fine writer. Thank you, Rob, for taking the time to share your work. A thought provoking story.

"The Ride of the Valkyries" by Nicole Comtet -- This story was great fun to read. It reminded me of stories I used to read in early zines, that often seemed to be written for the pure fun of it! I really enjoyed all the little details, and I loved the idea of all of them riding away on the HD motorcycles. The restaurant descriptions made me hungry! I love to read stories where Sulu gets to be in a lead role, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Great writing, and I hope to read more from her. Thanks, Nicole, for sharing your work. I hope to have the chance to read more from you in the future!

From SJO58 -- January 2000

I want to start off by thanking you again for Chris Dickenson's Keeper of the Katra. It's one of the best fan fics I've read in some time.

Chris did a wonderful job in creating Sybok, and the relationship between him and Spock. In The Final Frontier -- which I thought was the worst of the movies. We did not get a sense of what Sybok was all about, other than some insane Vulcan. Nor did the film give any indication that there was any bond between the brothers.

Chris created a story of Spock's family. His Vulcan family and his Enterprise family, and entwined them together into one. I thought the characterization of Kirk was dead on. In the film he came across as a spoiled child, demanding to know everyone's business. Yet at the same time he refused to share himself. Keeper of the Katra explores Kirk's vulnerable side, and explains why he became so reckless.

I also like the fact that Spock has a wife in the story. And I'm curious to know if Chris had written any other stories involving T'Liba? {Hmmm. Not to my knowledge. We've thought about a referral to her now and then, but we've not had much opportunity to do so. Perhaps this is an oversight we'll soon correct. -- Randy}

Well, I can go on and on about why I thought this story was so great. But I don't think you want to be up all night reading my phrase.

So I'll just sat thank you to you and Chris Dickenson, for sharing the story.

THANK YOU!!!!! 

From Cathy German -- December 1999

I think that The Dianasian Gift, by Carol Davis, is as good as anything I'd ever read. No other story names immediately come to mind, but there is a general, overall goodness to what you post, and I wanted you to know that I appreciate it

From Tan Y.S. -- November 1999

I have just finished reading Randy Landers' novella, Chekov's Enterprise, and I must say that I have enjoyed it very much. The Star Trek movies did not allow for much character development of the Enterprise crew other than Kirk, Spock and McCoy, and I think Randy did a wonderful job of exploring the relationships between Chekov, Uhura and Sulu.

From Helen Kay Ferguson -- October 1999

I would like to comment on Ann Zewen's excellent novella Boy Scout, and if you could pass my comments on to Ann, I would be most grateful. Ann's writing has been a favorite of mine for a long time, and I think she is truly a wonderful writer as well as a skilled editor. My favorite elements of Boy Scout have to do with the overall tone of the novella and how well Ann captures the tone of the relationship between Kirk and Carol. The dialogue is perfect, sounding to my ears just as it would really be spoken between them. I forgot I was reading a story (the highest praise I can think of for a writer) and felt as if I was watching everything unfold before me. I loved the scenes showing David's growing trust of Kirk. And, I loved the careful coming together of Carol and Jim as they explored whether their youthful love was still strong enough to carry though ten years later. I loved Carol's cooking scenes in the novella, and the remembrance of her "cooking" in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. These small bits are what really make fan fiction special, and this novella in particular ring true to me. Carol's fears for Jim, and down the line someday for David rang true to me too, I think they would ring true for any mother who loves her child and wants the best for him, whether it is possible, logical, or not. As parents we want that safe world, safe situation, the best of all possible scenarios for our children. Carol takes this to an extreme partly because of her need to be in control. The scenes in the novella involving Carol and her work make this really clear. In Star Trek: The Search for Spock, Saavik chides David for his use of protomatter in creating Genesis, and the movie intends this scene to be an indicator of how David is like Jim Kirk, but I always felt that scene rang false, and was more of an indicator of the relationship between David and his mother.

Ann's scenes in the novella involving Carol with using protomatter make more sense to me. Bravo! I really thought that Carol's passionate need for Jim, her desire to "absorb his entire being into herself" before she parts from him for the final time, was a sensitive and accurate observation of human nature that is familiar to any woman who has loved someone to distraction, but knows in her deepest heart, that it will not work. Bravo Ann, you are right on, and this honesty in your writing makes the novel true and compelling, making the reader turn the page even though anyone who loves TOS knows the final outcome for Jim, Carol and David. The only thing in this novella that did not ring true for me was the character of Dick Sylvan, who seemed too obviously incompetent to be leading any group of children and adults doing anything. This character was too much of a set up for Jim Kirk to once again save the world, or in this case, the scouts! However, as a character study of Carol Marcus and Jim Kirk, Boy Scout was very well done, and a great read. This novel can't be beat--and I thank you so much Ann for writing it, and all the writing and editing you have done for Orion Press! I remain a very loyal fan of your work, who only needs to see your name on the cover to know I will want to read what's inside!! My very best wishes are sent your way.

 

From Amanda Ludwig -- September 1999

I have got to hand it to you. Out of all the online (and off-line) stories I have read, Randy Landers' Chekov's Enterprise has got to be the best. I found it sometime in February and have been back to read it again several times. It has to do with several of my favorite characters from the series, and it's a very nice piece of work. Wonderful story!

 

From Brad Whitley -- September 1999

I am so glad I found your website! I am a college student who is interested in the original Star Trek, especially the voyages of Captain Pike. I'm glad you posted Nomad and Elizabeth Knauel's Drink Deeply. I am glad of your site and hope to use it as a means of getting high-quality fiction in the future.

 

From Holly Trueblood -- August 1999

I would especially like to pass along my appreciation to Nicole Comtet for "The Ride of the Valkyries." It was -- I don't know how to put it -- an "old-fashioned" fan fiction story. Light and fun, nicely constructed and with the characterizations all properly in place. Sometimes I'll read a story -- especially one without sturm and drang and high drama -- and wonder at the end, "So what was your point? Why did you write this other than to fill up some paper and some hours." Not this one! It was perfectly delightful! It's so nice, sometimes, to see our good guys just acting like good guys with only the conspiring of circumstances rather than intergalactic bad guys as their foe. Thanks for including this story in your website. Where else on your website can I find Nicole's work? {Nicole has quite a few pieces online, including Encounters and Countermoves, "Home Sweet Home" and In the Line of Duty. - Randy}

 

From Karen Halliday -- August 1999

I really enjoyed Holly Trueblood's The Dorian Solution. I believe Holly has given us the single most delicious dilemma I've ever seen Kirk put through in that story -- and even if you can see it coming away off, it is just beautifully executed.

 

From Rhonda Green -- July 1999

Nomad and Elizabeth Knauel's Drink Deeply -- The story was terribly enjoyable. I love vampires, and I like reading Captain Pike stories, so I figured that the odds were in my favor that I'd enjoy it.... As I prefer stories rated PG or PG13, I always get apprehensive when fanzines delve into the sexual, especially the homosexual. But you guys handled it extremely well. It was always tasteful, never gratuitous -- tastes great! less filling!

 

From Nicole Comtet -- June 1999

...I have just finished reading The Dianasian Gift, by Carol Davis, and enjoyed it very much indeed. It is very well written, the plot is interesting, and the characters are superbly described, even Chekov, which is the character I like the least in the bridge crew. But what I enjoyed most is her rendition of the relationship and closeness between the three: Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Spock, in particular, is just as I love him; so Human and yet so Vulcan. The best of both worlds! It is thanks to people like her (and you, Randy) that we can still read good stories about our favorite characters of Star Trek. Unfortunately, what PocketBooks publishes nowadays is usually just trash -- so please keep up the good work, and give us more Classic fan fiction. I shall do my best to contribute.

 

From Tim -- June 1999

Have just finished reading Randy Landers' Chekov's Enterprise. Interesting look at some of the more rarely seen aspects of the Federation. Could really visualize the action. Well done! The media and the power of Section 31 are foremost in my mind. I haven't seen any DS9 episodes, so I hadn't any previous knowledge about Section 31. Scary is the word, in my mind.

 

From Jane Melander -- April 1999

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading Randy Landers' Chekov's Enterprise. I've been a Chekov fan for years....

I adamantly agreed with your write-up on "Why not Chekov?" It's really sad that the Powers That Be at Paramount think the only form of the original Trek that is "true" Star Trek concerns only Kirk, Spock and McCoy....I sure couldn't understand why Chekov hadn't been Sulu's first officer in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. I like Rand well enough, but it just didn't seem to fit all that well. I always maintained that the reason Chekov wasn't Sulu's first officer was -- naturally - because he was going to get his own ship soon! So you can see how your story fit into how I saw the natural progression of the Star Trek universe (at least that of the original series) after Generations.

Getting back to your story -- I really liked how you tied in the ramifications of Captain Harriman's actions on the Enterprise-B's maiden voyage! He was an accident waiting to happen, that's for sure! And that Sulu and Chekov would react in the way they did at Kirk's memorial was only fitting for their characters.

I found it really distressing (and disturbing) that -- had Chekov not been overridden by Sulu on his search pattern -- they would have found Scotty's transport. That, I think, is really tragic! Thank you for tying up that loose end. If I take that idea into the Next Generation universe, I could speculate that Scotty possibly searched through the memory banks, and found a log stating what happened there -- including Chekov's fight to keep on a more careful and thorough search pattern. I'm sure he would have said, "What if...?" What if Sulu hadn't been so blasted bull-headed? What if Starfleet Command hadn't ordered Chekov to do it Sulu's way? What if...? That's really tragic!

I always thought Chekov and Uhura would work well together....I see Chekov and Uhura forming a natural team....I liked the give and take you gave their relationship -- especially as both of them were adjusting to their new roles as Captain and First Officer.

I must say that I truly enjoyed how you added Saavik into the mix, and the secondary plot about her still dealing with David Marcus' death on the Genesis planet after all those years.... I always thought Saavik's character held a lot of promise, if handled the right way by the writers. I was always disappointed that Paramount dropped her character. Oh well, I think you did your homework well. The way you portrayed Saavik fits exactly how I pictured her! It means a lot to me that you got it right! Well, that and how you portrayed Chekov's character! <grin>

It dawned on me after I completed reading the story that you did something really amazing with Chekov's Enterprise. I'm not a big women's lib freak, so I don't go out of my way to point out where things are balanced too heavily on the male side of things. But it dawned on me slowly that most of Captain Chekov's main command staff are women!!! What a huge change from the old days of Kirk (and the "new bimbo of the week" attitude)!

Thank you for all of the hard work (not to mention the sweat and tears) that you put into your story! And thank you for sharing your story with the rest of the universe! Believe me, I can appreciate how much work and effort goes into writing such a wide-reaching story! Your efforts are very much appreciated by your readers!

 

From Sylvia Mancini -- April 1999

Although I have enjoyed all the Classic Star Trek stories I have read, I must single out Donna Frelick's The Mindsweeper and Children of Haole as two of my favorites. Apart from the storylines, they were written in such a way that one didn't want to put them down until the end! I hope she has more stories in the works!

 

From William F.B. Vodrey -- April 1999

Thanks for Chekov's Enterprise -- I enjoyed it. It was good to see Chekov finally in (long overdue) command. I liked how you worked in other characters and the names of worlds from the original series, including Saavik, Sulu (a little harsh on him, but I understand why), Uhura, etc. The memorial service for Captain Kirk was very well done, and Chekov's Jewish faith (done because of Walter Koenig's ancestry, I presume?) was sensitively portrayed, particularly in like of what he had to do to the Tholian colony. The closing tie-in with Starfleet Intelligence's secretive Section 31 was a masterstroke -- I didn't see that coming! Well done. Thanks again.

 

From Diana -- April 1999

I just finished reading Randy Landers' Chekov's Enterprise. It was wonderful! I thought putting Chekov in the captain's chair worked very well, and I liked the plot. The conflict with Sulu was surprising, but I thought it added a lot to the interpersonal relationships you had happening. I look forward to reading more of his fan fiction.

 

From Donna Frelick -- April 1999

I enjoyed reading Chekov's Enterprise. Some very nice plot twists there and a different perspective on our favorite Russkie. It never ceases to amaze me that, given the same premise and canon, we can all come up with such different interpretations of character and key events....

 

From Joseph Manno -- April 1999

Let me start by saying that I enjoyed Randy Landers' Chekov's Enterprise for a variety of reasons. Since writers like to hear what works significantly more than what doesn't, I'll start (and finish) with praise.

  1. Enjoyable conceptualizations and ideas such as Chekov's Hebrew heritage, the development of Tholian culture and behavior, and the inclusion of characters from the animated Star Trek series (such as Arex), which I, too, think should be considered canon.
  2. For the most part, the novella was well written, with some neat turns of phrase and good use of simile.
  3. Decently plotted, engrossing, and certainly holding the potential for subsequent work -- which, evidently, you've already begun.

As for the flip side:

  1. The character Sulu ultimately fails because it simply doesn't ring true as Sulu. I think you would have been better off to have him be a little more subtle in his approach -- perhaps still considering himself a mentor to Chekov when one is no longer needed or desired.
  2. Though it's a common theme (and a greatly overused one, in my opinion), the reunion of so many Star Trek characters on one ship seems unlikely to me in a fleet so vast and among officers so skilled and ambitious. Chekov and Uhura, yes, sure, I'll go with that. I'll even accept Chapel in the mix. But when you throw in Rand and Saavik as well, uhh, no. {Incidentally, it wasn't my decision to make Rand Sulu's first officer. That was seen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as well as the Voyager episode, "Flashback." - Randy}
  3. The writing could be tightened up a bit -- there's a tendency to overuse the same word, which created something of a literary monotony. Look to vary the vocabulary a little more -- it's not a glaring flaw, but it does weaken the prose. This may just be an editing problem, vis-a-vis a writing one.
  4. Conversations tend to drag and meander a bit, and chapters don't end as much as they trail off. There's got to be a little more snap.
  5. One doesn't pass the psychological tests associated with command and then commit suicide. For me, when I read it, I just went, "Well, that would never happen." However, as my wife pointed out, the whole scene in Generations involving Harriman's uncertainty and Kirk's death was highly contrived, and your explanation works as well as any other I've heard, so...
  6. The skullduggery at the Admiralty was too much. It's one thing to work behind the scenes to outmaneuver another Admiral (or even to allow the Klingons to do your dirty work for you, a la Star Trek VI); it's another to assert that Starfleet Intelligence regularly threatens assassinations against rival top brass. It seems contrary to Gene's vision of the future. {Perhaps it does, but those sections of the novella were derived from Deep Space Nine's Section 31 as well as Nomad's earlier works. - Randy}
  7. Finally, I've never been much of a Chekov fan, and I don't see him ever being given command of a starship, let alone the flagship of the Federation. His career (what we've seen of it) just doesn't warrant, or merit, the position (not that Harriman did either!).

Here's my grades:

Plot: Some good ideas, some reaching. How about a C+?

Writing: While my observations are valid, I believe, still when it works, it works well. I'd say a solid B.

Characterization: Extremely uneven. Some near brilliant (I like Chekov a bit more than I ever did before -- I'm just not sure it's him!), some not so brilliant (I think you have Takei and Sulu mixed up), so I'd have to say C+.

Intangibles: Your awareness of the Star Trek universe is strong enough to boost any fan fiction you create. B+.

That's an overall grade of B-, close to a B.

Let me finish with something a Professor of English and a writing instructor used to say to me -- "I only comment on stuff with potential. Otherwise, I just try to smile and nod." Take care and keep writing!

 

From Garry Stahl -- April 1999

Regarding Randy Landers' Chekov's Enterprise: Chekov is handled consistently, but I think you are a little inconsistent with McCoy. He seems almost a manic depressive before his wife and kids are killed. Sulu comes off an a ass, but having read your introduction to the story, I can see why. The Scotty material ties up a little inconsistency between "Relics" and Generations and doesn't strain the fabric of reality in doing so. Nice touch. Most Trek inconsistencies do not clear up with that ease or elegance. Spock, is well, Spock and done well. Saavik, I have seen nothing of the character myself outside of the movies, so I can't really comment. So much for the characters.

The story is good, I will say that first. It wallowed a bit too deep in tragedy for my personal taste, but you told a good tale in the end. My dislike of tragedy is my problem, not a problem with your writing. I liked your portrayal of the Skorr, another ignored race that has potential....I like the usage of Caits and Skorr. All in all, good tale, good concept, please do more. {Check out the Chekov's Enterprise web page which has lots of stories about our dear Russian and his first command. - Randy}

And, of course, only our hero would take "Sgt. Murphy's Rules of War" and make them Russian...

 

From Diane Randle -- April 1999

Just a quick note to let you know how much I appreciated and enjoyed Randy Landers' novella,  Chekov's Enterprise.

I've always been a Chekov fan -- maybe because my grandfather was Russian (an honest to God Cossack! for Nicholas II). But I think the real reason I liked Chekov to begin with was that in 1967 I was a twelve year old, and he was so cute.

Later, I came to appreciate Walter Koenig's ability to insert so much subtext into his role that Chekov became, in spite of the scantiness of dialogue, a complex character, charming and funny and serious and keeping some sorts of secrets to himself. I think a lot of writers of Chekov fan fiction have picked up on that, and it is a testament to Walter Koenig's abilities and personal depth...

I loved the story. I loved seeing Chekov in authority. I was surprised you made him Jewish. Being Russian, I guess I always just imagined he'd be Russian Orthodox. But I liked it. I liked it that he has faith.

I loved the handling of Uhura and Saavik and Chapel and Demora Sulu, and was surprised at what you did to poor Hikaru....I thought it was kind of funny, and it range true that Sulu's character would be so condescending toward the former bridge baby of the Enterprise.

One note: Please put Chekov and Gretchen Jaeger (introduced in Carol Davis' The Dianasian Gift) back together. Could you? Would you? I'd  like to see somebody (especially Chekov) in an on-going relationship on the ship, and I think that would be very interesting. So many story possibilities. And a chance to build, through a series of stories, a relationship of depth and complexity you don't often see in fan fiction (or the "professional" Star Trek books, for that matter, most of which suck). A relationship between Pavel and Gretchen would give us a chance to see Pavel more deeply than ever. It is through our relationships that our deepest, darkest and best and brightest places are revealed. (I'm begging now, aren't I?)....I think you have that kind of opportunity with Pavel and Gretchen. Pretty please? {As developed in Chekov's Enterprise,  Gretchen Jaeger and Pavel Chekov went their separate ways. In another story in the series, "Chains of Command," by Randy Landers, Chekov encounters Gretchen again under less than desirable circumstances. We are intending to introduce a romantic interest for the good captain in the coming year, though, and I think you'll appreciate it immensely. - Randy}

So, Randy, thank you again for your enormous effort -- I know how much work it takes and how much you put into it -- it shows in the quality of your work. I can't wait for the next installment!

 

From Phil Surgison -- April 1999

...I have now read all the stories from your original series archives. At first, I tried to be selective and read the synopses, but that ended up a waste of time. All of the stories are brilliant! Well edited!

Just thought I'd let you know that I really enjoyed reading the on-line fiction. I thought d. William Roberts' In Harm's Way was excellent.

 

From Matt -- April 1999

Chekov's Enterprise is an excellent piece of writing, especially the conflict between Sulu and Chekov and the story's adherence to the canon of Star Trek. Are there any plans for a sequel in the works?  {Check out the Chekov's Enterprise web page which has lots of stories about our dear Russian and his first command. - Randy} I'm not overly sure about the "conspiracy" element in Starfleet -- I can understand secret ops and cloak and dagger items, as it were, but out and out racism seems a bit over the top...

 

From Sylvia T. Francis -- June 1998

I recently discovered the Orion Press Online Archives and have been very pleased with the consistently high quality of the writing. I am a fervent fan of the original series and am excited to find any stories that continue the adventures of Kirk and crew.

I enjoyed Donna Frelick's The Mindsweeper and d. William Roberts' In Harm's Way. Both were well-written, and the authors remained true to the characters.

I just completed Nomad's Serenidad series ("The Wages of Vengeance," "Oath of Vengeance" and "The Cost of Freedom"), and I was thoroughly impressed by its originality. It certainly helped to fill in some blanks in the Star Trek universe that I've always felt Paramount completely missed the boat on. Also, the storyline was superior to many of the so-called "professional books" being churned out by PocketBooks--where do they find all those hack writers?

 

From Joanne K. Seward -- July 1997

One of my favorites stories from Interludes 1 was "Where and When." Okay, I'm certain it was my favorite. I reread it about four times...At one point I wondered if it hadn't originally been intended as two stories (I've had that happen: two different ideas that I somehoe ended up working into one story), but I decided it didn't matter. It worked, and I loved it.

"Whatever Your Heart Desires" was rather sneaky. It started out with a light-hearted air, but ended up rather somber. Sort of like a homily in church--start out with an anecdote and end up with the lesson. That doesn't mean that I didn't like it, just that it rather surprised me, which could be the best thing about it. After all, a lesson is usually more pleasany and more easily remembered when one enjoyed oneself while learning it.

"The Temple Maiden" by Ann Zewen...this was one time I truly wished for an illo. What I wouldn't give to see Kirk dressed up as a cross between a geisha and a priestess. Can you imagine? I guess Ann could since she wrote it! I'm sure Spock's ears must have been turning green at all that open talk of sex, though. Nice, light-hearted fun.

From Mary Rottler -- July 1997

I feel like a kid in the candy store. I have just finished checking out the ORION PRESS website and have spent the better part of an afternoon reading and having lots of fun. Thanks for providing it. I have only read part of the Serenidad saga, and am looking forward to reading it all.

 

From Doug Roberts -- July 1997

Just finished Nomad's "Never Forget." Nice bridge to Sulu's command of the Excelsior. Good introduction to metagenic biological weaponry. Star Trek: The Next Generation made mention of it a couple of times, alluding to its devastating effectiveness, but never really explained what it was. The introduction of future story characters in Doctor Cord (reminiscent of Highlander's immortality) and the two "bunnies" were good. It also turned into a good bridge piece for Romulan Warbird evolution from the D-7's they got from the Klingons to the thoroughbred they used in The Next Generation. Then there was the fantasy element of the physical relations between Humans, and I mean fantasy. Oh, boy, do I wish! I don't think there's a male in the readership who wouldn't want to find a group of Human women so hot to trot in such as small environment and have the abilities to perform like that without collapsing from exhaustion while at your duty station the next day. Must be something in the air on a starship. BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY!   {Interesting point about Highlander, but not even close. In a subsequent novella, A Little Family Secret, by Randy Landers, with Nomad, her origins are revealed to be a definite part of Trek lore. - Randy}

 

From T'Su -- July 1996

I just read Keeper of the Katra, by Chris Dickenson. I've read other stories that you've posted on line, though not all of them. I wanted to say that, as stated in the intro to this wonderful story, this one, Keeper of the Katra, is the best of the lot, at least of the lot that I've read. Anyway, I enjoyed it so much that I was wondering if you had others to offer in the same vein.... I'll admit it, my favorites are mostly of the hurt-comfort vein, especially those that lean heavily in Spock's direction. {I'd recommend reading through this collection of letters from readers such as yourself and make your own decisions as to which stories are bound to appeal to you. - Randy}

 

From Joanne K. Seward -- July 1996

Donna S. Frelick's "Heaven" was a well-crafted answer to my irritated "Who the heck is Antonia?" My only grip was that Donna didn't rescue Kirk from the Nexus, just left him to Picard and fate. All the same, I thoroughly enjoyed finding out who Antonia was. Having read Donna's novella, The Mindsweeper, I wasn't surprised at how well put together "Heaven" was. She clearly takes her writing very seriously....read what's inside!! My very best wishes are sent your way.

 

From Patricia Burford -- July 1996

I bought d. William Roberts' Liberation from Hell at RevelCon in Houston. I enjoyed it a great deal, and found to my delight that there is a sequel: In Harm's Way.... {In Harm's Way is a rarity in that it was written well before Liberation from Hell. And while Liberation from Hell concentrates on the political machinations of Klingon society (detailing it's evolution from one of treachery to one of honor), In Harm's Way touches on them as well while providing a solid, action-packed novella featuring an invasion from the Kelvan Empire. - Randy}

 

From Donna Frelick -- June 1995

The Dianasian Gift, by Carol Davis -- This one is pretty hard to critique, because, frankly, I didn't see much wrong with it! I loved it --  despite the fact that Chekov is far from my favorite character. I think the characterization was terrific, very true to the characters we've grown to love over the years. The dialogue, in particular, contributed to that "truth." There's wasn't one incident at which I exclaimed "He wouldn't have said that!" That's something that's heard from me frequently when I'm reading one of the pro-novels.

Okay, okay, if you push me, I might admit that the plot was a little thin. But I really didn't care. It was the characters that intrigued me and their relationships that kept me interested. Carol's vision of Kirk is not too different from the one I drew on for "Return to Tarsus," though I remember thinking he was whining a little too much when I read it the first time.

I might spend many happy hours arguing with Carol over the Kirk-Spock-McCoy dynamic, too. (I see McCoy as Kirk's best friend, not Spock, though Kirk is clearly Spock's best friend--oh, don't get me started!) But that was half the fun reading this novella -- Carol made a good case for her point of view. Again, I have to contrast this with the pro-novels which tend to ignore all the subtleties of the Star Trek relationships, largely because too few of their authors have a genuine love of the characters.

A couple of things to work on, Maybe? Point of view. It avoids confusion if you stick to one POV per scene and keep the total of different POV's to a minimum throughout the novel. I can't push this one too far, though, because I really enjoyed all those insights those POV's provided, particularly those related to Kirk. In this case, the problem is similar to Stephen King's. He really messes up the POV sometimes, but who cares? Everything else is done so well you forgive him.

In general, I loved the dialogue. It was very natural; everyone had a distinct voice, and Carol did a good job of developing the story through the dialogue. But occasionally it did get a little obscure. It's sometimes a very fine line between realistic dialogue--in which people don't always say what they mean or say it very clearly--and confusion. I have this problem as a writer, too. I tend to get a little carried away in my own mind and forget to let the readers in on my thought processes! I call it the "helicopter syndrome," after a comment my husband made on reading one of my first sf stories. I'd spend many pages describing an encounter with an alien spaceship from the point of view of an old African woman. He got through the whole thing, looked up and asked, "Was it a helicopter?" Needless to say, I went back to the computer and endeavored to be somewhat clearer!

Anyway, I enjoyed reading this one immensely. Hope Carol finds the comments useful.

No Cold Wind, by Ann Zewen -- I enjoyed this one. Ann and I share a pretty consistent image of Jim Kirk. I generally found her Kirk to be believable and very real. Spock, McCoy and the others from the original series were equally faithful to the original and showed true depth in Ann's capable hands.

Talya was a marvelous character! I thought Ann did a great job of demonstrating the characteristics of her bizarre heritage through her actions early on, without giving away the crucial truth. I kept turning those pages to find out where the heck she came from -- and, of course, what would happen between Talya and Jim Kirk.

Ann's exploration of the whole idea of mind-bonding between lovers was terrific. What a concept! When it came right down to it, though, I think Ann was a little tentative about showing how it worked. As a result, I had to reread the key passage over a few times before I really got it. I can sympathize -- love scenes are always the hardest to write without sounding totally ridiculous. Courage! Boldly go next time!

For some reason, those of us who have a special affection for Kirk keep wanting to take him out of his natural element and see how he reacts. Having him kicked out of Starfleet or off the Enterprise in disgrace seems to be a favorite ploy -- a even used it myself in The Mindsweeper. The tNomad to using it as a plot device is to string the reader out as long as possible without giving away the secret -- he's not really in disgrace, of course; he's on a mission. It's not an easy writing task, but Ann pulled if off admirably. All the pieces of the story were carefully crafted to come together at the right moment.

The best thing about Ann's story, though, was the depth of emotion she allowed her characters to show. The pro-novels avoided all emotion for a long time (though more recent titles have shown some improvement in this area) and the stories suffered. Ann did a great job of using emotion to make us care about what happened in the story and to justify the actions Kirk and Spock took at the end of the story, without slipping into purple prose and unlikely hyperbole. (Though, dog gone it, does Jim Kirk always have to lose the one that he loves?)

I do have a couple of small bones to pick with Ann. First, I can't conceive Jim Kirk calling someone a blonde bitch no matter how angry he might be that she turned him down. And I don't think he'd have the reputation he has with women if all of his lovemaking was like the first time with Talya. No preliminaries, and afterwards, he gets up without a word and goes into the next room??? That's not the Jim Kirk I imagine!

Aside from that minor criticism, this was an excellent story, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Hope the comments are helpful.

In Harm's Way, by d. William Roberts -- I have to start by saying that this wasn't really my kind of story. It was much too heavy on the military strategy and tactics, and much too light on dialogue and character development for my tastes. But I understand that these are just my tastes. There are plenty of readers out there who love this kind of thing, as the success of Red October and its many sequels demonstrates. I live in Virginia and love to traipse all over Civil War battlefields, but I have yet to be able to visualize any one of the battles, even standing on the very spot with a map in front of me. I guess all the strategic talent in my family went to my military historian and fighter pilot brothers.

Given my handicaps, all of Roberts' detailed accounts of which squadron had what ask and so on were completely lost on me. Those sections just left me confused, and worse, bored. The actual battle scenes were better, since there was less exposition and more action, but I muddled through them with just a general idea of what was going on. The one place I thought it was effective was when Kirk finally blasted Cartwright for sitting on his ass doing nothing to help his troops. That I understood.

There just wasn't enough time in a book of this length to flesh out the characters in the way they deserved. And that was a shame, because Roberts made a good start at it, had some interesting characters and could have done it well, I think, if he'd worked at it. I see a lot of potential in his work if he pays some more attention to this and either makes the stories longer or drops a lot of the logistical details. I generally liked his grasp of Kirk's character and found the interaction between Kirk and Uhura intriguing. Their scenes, though, just seemed like add-ons, not developed enough to come out of nowhere, though knowing the character like I think I do, it would've been believable if the author had worked it a little more. The same could be said of Kirk's relationship with Kelsey, a character I liked but knew little about.

Conceptually and structurally, I think Roberts did a good job with the story. The differing viewpoints, including that of the Kelvans, worked well (though he should watch taking someone's point of view to the point of death). I liked the idea of working in our favorite Klingon characters and their internal intrigues. I could have used a little more help deciphering the whole Klingon racial issue, but it may just be that I'm not up on what every other Star Trek fan knows already. Of course, I loved the way Roberts drew off other stories in the Orion Universe. Finding Kate Logan mentions was very flattering!

 

From Anita Y. Agzarian -- August 1994

..."Rapids" was a real surprise. I could hardly believe it had passed by Ann Zewen’s editing. Incongruous word choices, awkward sentence structure, rambling narratives "lecturing" the reader and bad grammar ruined what could have been a fairly interesting tale. Just imagine this story being read aloud by a sneering non-fan! What an excruciating embarrassment for a fanzine devotee! {When we took the opportunity to upload the story to our website, we also took the opportunity to make quite a few corrections in the story. I believe that the story now passes the muster. — Randy}

..."Bad Luck Holiday" was difficult for me to read because of glaring medical errors. A concussion is a very serious injury—often followed by days of headache, vertigo and functional disability. Two concussions increase the risk of permanent cognitive impairment and dementia—a horrible fate for James T. Kirk! But I did enjoy the story because the author obviously likes the characters and has a perceptive understanding of their personalities and regard for each other. {Again, when this story was uploaded to the Orion Press website, we reedited the story to correct several glaring medical errors. Medical inaccuracies permeate hurt-comfort stories, and those published by Orion Press over the years are no exception to this generalization. We can only hope that we’ve made the story more plausible. — Randy}

From Mary Lee Boyance -- July 1994

...I especially enjoyed "A Crystal Clear Problem" by Rowena G. Warner. It's a charming story.

 

From d. William Roberts -- July 1994

Ann Zewen's "Sam" -- Nice, warm piece giving us a look into a portion of James T. Kirk's life rarely seen in the adventure novels. I liked Pop. I question the technology presented in the piece. It seems to me that in the twenty-second and twenty-third centuries agri-business will have advanced beyond man-driven combines, though man may still need to grow his food on farms.

Phillip A. Mucha's "The Killer Instinct" -- The title was a great hook, drawing the reader into this short look at a moment in Spock's childhood. It complimented "Sam" well.

Linda McInnis' "Southern Comfort" -- My, my, this was a hot, steamy one. I loved the imagery (what guy wouldn't!). Phew!

Randy Landers' "Return to Xantharus" -- A well done, fast-paced adventure that was right up my alley. Randy and I have a lot in common when it comes to writing. Which explains why I liked this story so much. It also gave us a reason why Admiral Cartwright got involved with the conspiracy revealed in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

 

From A. Wokanowicz -- July 1994

...Chris Dickenson's Keeper of the Katra has to be just about the best fan fiction story I've ever come across. This writer truly "disappeared" into her story, which is a rare enough thing in professional writing, let alone amateur. My compliments to the author!

 

From M.J. Millard -- July 1993

...After beginning to read The Daystrom Project, I find I can't get any further with Nomad's novella. As a feminist, I'm thoroughly disgusted with his use of the female characters, who exist only as objects for male fantasy (Cheryl Saunders) or as objects to be terrorized and abused (Melinda Daystrom). This is not the kind of Star Trek I love; in fact, it resembles...the World War II propaganda films which referred to "dirty rotten Japs." Just substitute the words "slant-eyes gooks" for "knot-headed Klingon bastards" and you'll get the picture. His women, for the most part, are helpless, terrorized victims of these nasty, evil, bad guys, and depend on our strong, manly Starfleet men to preserve their purity. I do not like novellas that depict: a) women as helpless victims, and b) totally unsympathetic villains. I actually found my stomach tensing with anger as I read the dialogue in Commodore Thacker's conference room, wherein the Federation diplomat is made out to be a naive, ridiculously foolish man. Nomad seems to be saying that anyone who does not hold his militaristic views is a hopeless fool....I was not among those who cheered when the United States made war on Panama or Iraq; I was disgusted with President Bush's lack of imagination and his fomenting of Iraq as a major military power -- now that would have been an interesting Federation-Klingon story. I was no less disgusted with this author's point of view. Perhaps in the future, Nomad should write from Spock's point of view; those sections, while still problematic in the propaganda area, did not resort to prejudicial terminology and were a bit easier to stomach. Nomad's writing talent, by the way, suffers only from his tendency to cardboard-stamp the characters (women and villains) and his jingoistic references; many of the action scenes were very well written. Sorry I couldn't detach myself enough to get through The Daystrom Project. {It's a pity you didn't finish the novella. The very character who was espousing the propaganda and the racial epithets was, in fact, revealed to be a Klingon agent by the end of the story, and the women ended up helping save the day. - Randy}

Other stories were pretty good -- my favorites, and the most convincing and involving, were Chris Dickenson's stories (except the depiction of another horny, evil woman trying to best Saavik in "You Are Not Alone." This struck me as a plot device repeated from her own story, "To The Last Extremity" -- wouldn't Starfleet weed out idiots like this? How did such a person get to the rank of Commander, fraternizing to the detriment of her crew? Chris' depiction of Saavik and Spock's relationship was lovely and had a great deal of depth. I also liked the Christine Chapel story, "Shades of Gray" by Chris Dickenson, quite well.

 

From Holly S. Trueblood -- July 1993

...Chris Dickenson's Keeper of the Katra was one of the best pieces of Star Trek fiction I believe I've ever read -- pro or zine. I hope you'll have access to a lot more of Chris Dickenson's work...

 

From Thomas C. Bailey -- July 1993

Nomad's The Daystrom Project was a very well-written, fast-paced story about more trouble for the beleaguered professor...

 

From Donna  Frelick -- July 1993

...By the way, please pass along to Carol Davis that I really enjoyed her novella, The Dianasian Gift. Might argue with her on a few points of Kirk's character, but I admired her willingness to depict some real emotion and complexity. That is what has been missing from the pro-novels for several years now. And you just can't have good fiction without it.

 

From Carlos Perez -- July 1993

Nomad's "Incident on Xantharus" -- Interesting story centering on Ensign Julie Chastain. I liked that this story involved the Enterprise and crew during the Christopher Pike era. There was a lot of violence and masochism in this one which was sometimes a little heavy. Otherwise, a well written story about the rescue of Chastain and the plans for the phasers. I thought that the semi-unhappy ending was a nice touch. It seems that phasers weren't created without bloodshed. I love irony. I really like the bits with the crew of the Enterprise. Too bad there couldn't have been more like that. Captain John Raintree was a likable character. There should be more stories with him.

Thomas Harden's "The Salos Sell-out" -- Predictable. Too much dialogue with very little description. This seems as though it may have been a script at one time. {The story was recently reworked prior to posting to the website and being reprinted in the new Orion Archives 2266-2270 First Mission1 collection. - Randy}

Linda McInnis' "No Beach to Walk on" -- Nice. Brief.

Thomas Harden, Randy Landers and Kevin Morgan's "A Matter of Trust" -- Very bizarre with Spock as deus ex machina at the end. The alien glowbugs that were dying due to interaction  with the Humans and Romulans was a neat idea. It was good to see a story about the two races acting together towards a common goal. I've always liked Romulans. I was hoping at the end that this was an alternate universe Star Trek story and that the Enterprise had really been destroyed but such was not the case.

Nomad's "The Once and Future Kirk" -- This story was confusing at first! I was reading it and saying to myself, "Well, this does not give with what we know now about the Trek universe today. Maybe it was because the story was written some time ago." Then I find out that the entire beginning of the story is a dream created for Kirk by the Lotus Stone. Cool! What a great idea! I'm glad you didn't spoil it in the editorial up front. It's too bad that the Lotus stone was destroyed because there could have been many of these future type stories. Maybe there's another one. Of course, we know that Kirk's dream future was only that -- a dream. Or was it...

Nomad's "No Place Like Home" -- I really liked this one. I think it should have been longer. The whole time that I was reading this I had a sense of deja vu. Did I read this somewhere before? Yep, I checked -- Jeanne Dillard's The Lost Years. I'm really interested to know which was written first and if there is any connection between the two other than the subject matter. {"No Place Like Home" was first published in 1982, eight years before J.M. Dillard's novel, Star Trek: The Lost Years was published. It's not the only such coincidence. For example, in 1994 we reprinted "Just What the Doctor Ordered," by Autumn Lee (which had originally been published in 1990 in Laura Guyer's fanzine Encounters). It's a story about a bar and cafe located where various universes meet. Sounds strikingly similar to "The Captain's Table" series published by PocketBooks in 1998, doesn't it? - Randy}

Jody Crouse's "To Weather a Storm" -- This story never got me. From the beginning, it was just an exercise in turning pages. It read like a video game: Kirk and Spock are at point A and traveling to point B. On their way, things will assail them. Upon reaching point B, Spock will assess the situation and save the day. There was never any kind of dramatic tension necessary in these kinds of stories. the denouement, to put it plainly, sucked. It was trite and cliched. McCoy's pun at the end was truly awful.

Linda McInnis' "Only the Sound Remains" -- I don't like "Spock in Love" stories. It seems to much like wish-fulfillment to me. It was VERY well written. I just couldn't buy the premise. I also found the use of lower case italics with very little punctuation to indicate the underwater speech slightly confusing. I had to read some passages twice to see who was talking.

Nomad's "Homecoming" -- What a great story! ...this story was so good....The end was predictable but (here I repeat myself) what a great story. I feel that Nomad really caught the essence of the Kirk-Spock-McCoy trinity with this story.

Linda McInnis' "A Collection of Lines" -- What a sad and emotional story. It reminded me of "Balance of Terror" where the guy dies on his wedding day. This was a more in-depth treatment. A really nice piece done from the viewpoint of the bereaved and not one of the standard characters.

Nomad's  "The Human Equation" -- I liked this story because it had Ensign Antonio Perez... this was a good story that shows even Vulcans are Human, too. It was good to see Xon (one of my favorites from Star Trek Phase II) in a story of his own. Xon begins the story a little naive and ends learning a great lesson, that having emotions may not necessarily be such a bad thing. It would be interesting to see another story with Xon after this. I was disappointed that Lisa Templar didn't live to see the end of this story, but I guess that would have made it a different story. I would have liked to have seen how Xon and hear dealt with the fact of her feelings towards him along with his burgeoning emotions.

Randy Landers' "Ad Astra per Aspera" -- A really good story. We get to see Sulu on his own, as exec of the U.S.S. Cooper. This story had it all: fights, alien glowbugs, mad scientists, murder, inter-office squabbles and sex. The last one is the one I had the most problems with in this story. I was hoping that in the 23rd century, Hikaru Sulu could have a platonic relationship with his female bunkmate. Reading page after page with delight, I kept saying "I hope they don't end up in the sack. That would be too predictable." Over and over, I kept saying this. And, sure enough, they did. But this small disappointment did nothing to spoil the rest of the story. Really nice job, Randy. You should be proud.

Landers and McInnis' "Parts Is Parts" -- What a funny and wonderful story combining elements from the original series and the animated. BEM as a detective? The Dohlman as a hooker? What great ideas. But to mix the both of them? I read this in a hotel bar during happy hour. On many occasions, I laughed out loud then noticed, to my chagrin, that people were staring. What a great story. Wonderful.

 

From Barbara Schang -- October 1992

I look forward to the novellas from Orion Press and hope to see more in the future. Ann Zewen's No Cold Wind and Nomad's The Daystrom Project are among my favorites. See if you can "squeeze" some more out of these great writers. Thanks!

 

From M. J. Millard -- March 1992

...On the whole, Chris Dickenson's Keeper of the Katra was outstanding -- enough to recall my love and respect for the Classic Star Trek characters, which have been all but trampled by the likes of The Motion Picture, The Search for Spock and The Final Frontier. Chris explained the "brother" bit very well. Watching The Final Frontier, I was extremely bugged by the idea that Spock had a "brother" and had never said a word about him. Well...there were a lot of things in that movie which bugged me extremely, but Chris' story certainly made the character Sybok easier to swallow....I think Chris did a great job of tying up every single loose end. Even Nimoy's ancient appearance was explained (and here I had thought Spock had taken up cigarette smoking!).

Scenes I particularly enjoyed and found moving:

All in all, a wonderful job, and a wonder, in that it almost made Star Trek: The Final Frontier bearable.

[Ann Zewen's story "The Music Box"] seemed a trifle off, in that I personally don't see McCoy as exploding his temper physically outward like that (smashing an object against a wall). Oh, no, I think he turns it inward, listens to the demons for too long, and then seeks Kirk out in hope that he can solve a problem for the captain instead of focusing on his own, or seeks out Scotty for a good, honest "drunk." Also, I'm sick to death of hearing that Joanna McCoy went to nursing school. Doesn't anybody think she might want to be a doctor, like her dad? I do, and that's how I intend to write her, if I write of Joanna.

 

From Claire Moseley Young -- March 1992

...Linda McInnis' "Gillian Weep Not" and "Popcorn," by Chris Dickenson were both exceptionally fine examinations of Spock's character and motivations.

 

From Elizabeth Knauel -- March 1992

My only problem in Ann Zewen's "False Colors" was Kirk jumping in the sack with Caren Hollis. She doesn't seem his type to me. Unless I missed something? Sorry, I don't believe Kirk's hormones are always on overdrive, not do I believe he is the galaxy's stud. I personally couldn't stand Hollis. She carried on so much about the Big Bad Starfleet and the Poor Innocent Orions and then acted she knew all along that Starfleet was getting set up. The characterization was excellent -- Hollis is an absolute bitch -- but I don't believe there is anything that would attract Kirk to her. However, if I missed something, let me know.

"Popcorn," by Chris Dickenson, was a very enjoyable story. Also nice to know Spock enjoys some Terran foods.

Linda McInnis' "Gillian Weep Not" is a very touching story. It also wraps up The Voyage Home completely. I couldn't believe Gillian would leave without saying farewell to the whales, not after leaving her time to be with them.

 

From Shirley Huang -- March 1992

...I especially enjoyed Chris Dickenson's Keeper of the Katra...

 

From Sally Greaves -- March 1992

...Could you please pass on to Ann Zewen my compliments on No Cold Wind. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was impressed with the standard of writing and the complexity of the plot.

 

From Laurie D. Haynes -- March 1992

...I really enjoyed Ann Zewen's No Cold Wind. I intend to nominate it in the Surak Awards for the Best Novel of 1990...

 

From Marcie Lamont -- March 1992

From such a disappointment as Star Trek: The Final Frontier comes Chris Dickenson's story of the Keeper of the Katra, so wonderfully fulfilling that I can't find anything to gripe about. And I hope that someday Chris will write a story that has T'Sai getting her just desserts. I also admire the use of a timeline that is in keeping with the known Star Trek universe. One of my personal peeves is the lack of cohesion in many zines and the professional published novels.

 

From Pamela J. Corsa -- March 1992

Ann Zewen does such a wonderful job introducing and involving us with new characters. "False Colors" had us meeting Caren Hollis. I truly pitied Kirk having to put up with someone that short-sighted and and single-minded. She was annoying, to say the least, and I'm sure that's how Ann wanted it. Still, I did find myself caring what would happen to her. Kirk's colors were true in his reaction to her, and subsequent handling of this situation. The ending was great. I'm just glad I'm not that reporter.

It's amazing how a smell, a taste of something, or a simple sentence can have us stepping back into our past. McCoy's very nature will continually have him feeling inadequate in the face of patients he can't help, and there will be a constant struggle to come to terms with this. Chris Dickenson illustrated this beautifully in "The Difference."

I think "Popcorn" will be one of my favorite Chris Dickenson stories. Not only did it enlighten us on a bit of Spock's childhood, for me personally, it reminded me of my grandmother showing me how to make popcorn over a burner in a wire mesh container. Mine caught on fire. It was, however, a cherished memory. Thanks, Chris!

Whale song. It is the soul calling for the heart. Anyone listening to it may find themselves drifting to our first home, the sea. Linda McInnis' story, "Gillian Weep Not" is just great. I found myself as anxious for the whales to arrive as Gillian was. Her description of Gillian joining with the whales was excellent. Very exciting. At one point, I think I held my breath. I enjoyed this very special story.

 

From Karen Christensen -- March 1992

...I particularly like Chris Dickenson's story, Keeper of the Katra...

 

From Claudia Kowalski -- March 1992

I particularly liked Nomad's "The Cost of Freedom"...especially the scene with L'yan tormenting Princess Teresa.... Only one quibble: did L'yan really have to get killed off? It seemed an abrupt ending for such a vibrant character....Another thing I like about Orion Press is that the Klingons are finally portrayed as warriors and formidable opponents. The pro-novels, with very few exceptions make them more like a comic book menace, just something to make Kirk and crew look good... I've noticed objections to scenes of nudity and violence. It seems there's a simple solution to their dilemma: don't read the stuff. Neither should be used all the time, but there is a place for it....Has anyone noticed that the best stories and the stories with the most action had the Klingons in them?

I liked the ending to Ann Zewen's "False Colors"! I can't think of anyone who deserves it more!

 

From Jeff Martin -- March 1992

Enjoyed Chris Dickenson's Keeper of the Katra. In many way, I was disappointed with the resolution of Star Trek: The Final Frontier, particularly that Kirk was portrayed as somehow heroic for having refused to confront and come to terms with his guilt. I felt, as I think Chris does, that what Sybok offered was not a brainwashing technique to create a false sense of security, but an opportunity for individuals to deal with self-debilitating guilt, to free one's self from past failures in order to succeed more surely and live more fully in the present.

Two other stories that stayed with me after reading were Ann Zewen's "That's What Friends Are for" and Chris Dickenson's "Dignity," both of which explored post-Star Trek V related themes of coming to terms with one's past. Was particularly impressed with Ann's resolution, the likes of which don't usually occur in genre fiction where more often than not the characters are two dimensional. Too often in real life, there are no clear cut resolutions, and I was glad to see this reflected in your stories....Thought you might also like to know that I am enjoying Nomad's The Daystrom Project....

Ann Zewen's "False Colors" was a disappointment. The plot was predictable, but I'm willing to concede that the story was not written as a mystery, but a character study of the two principles, James Kirk and Caren Hollis. If the latter is actually the case, then allow me to point out what I thought were some of the week points in Zewen's development of Hollis and her relationship with Kirk.

The first problem I had with "False Colors" was the oversimplification in characterizing 23rd century reporters. I can live with Ann's assumption that muck-raking and sensationalism will remain staple features of broadcast journalism, but it helps to remember that journalists are Human beings whose lives are affected by more than the pursuit of truth. It would have been nice to have seen Hollis caring for something more than the story.

The second problem I had was with what appeared to be a very large inconsistency in Hollis' character and motivation. The story begins with she and Kirk in an antagonistic relationship rooted in their respective professions: the professional soldier attempting to protect the integrity of the service and a starship captain that was once under his command, and the reporter trying to get to the truth of the story without regard to reputations.

We learn right away that the woman has a very large ego. She protests to Kirk that no matter the extent of the cover-up of Bailey's guilt in the destruction of the Acadia, not only won't "her" viewers accept Kirk's white-washed report, but as if to speak for the whole of the Federation, she remarks that "the public will not be so philosophical about letting whoever's responsible" off the hook. Then at the end of the story, she takes sole responsibility for solving the mystery of the Acadia disaster in her broadcast report even though pages earlier she remarked privately to Kirk, "We found the answer, didn't we?"

All the cat-fighting between Hollis and Kirk and is evidence of her self-centeredness and unwillingness to compromise on anything having to do with Kirk or the investigation. I would submit that anyone who has put their ego on the line like Hollis has will not be likely to submit and will in fact actively oppose any attempt at manipulation. Imagine my surprise, then, to find Hollis submit to Kirk's sexual advances! It was entirely inconsistent with the character's development. It would have been much more consistent to have had Hollis verbally chew Kirk up and spit him out, humiliate him and threaten to expose his advances (or attempted rape) to get better access to the information she wanted.

Furthermore, I objected to Ann's depiction of Kirk as someone who uses sex to settle grudges and even scores. Not that such behavior doesn't actually exist, but I somehow see Kirk as being more intelligent and sensitive than to engage in such. Can Ann please tell us what a "punishing kiss" is? Is this the way a professional handles Human relationships? Next thing you know, Kirk will reprimand Uhura by bending her over the communications console!

By far my favorite writer is Chris Dickenson. "The Difference" and "Popcorn" are two of the reasons why. She takes simple, manageable scenes, and makes them come to life with her characterizations. Nothing in either of these stories is particularly complicated in terms of plot. A small cast of characters and only one or two locations helps her to focus in on what she wants to develop....

Linda McInnis' "Gillian Weep Not" -- I salute Linda for portraying the expatriate's feelings so well and wonder if she has spent any extended time abroad. The feeling of being cut off from your past life, from everything you one were, is really unimaginable until you've lived in a foreign country (or in Gillian's case, another century). the initial need a new expatriate feels to be in touch with something from his former life is very powerful and necessary in reminding one of what one is and where one came from. Congratulations to Ms. McInnis on such a fine and touching story.

 

From Rita Lewis -- March 1992

...I read No Cold Wind, by Ann Zewen. It was very well-written and once started, hard to put down, later hard to forget. Poor old Kirk. What a price the man must pay just to do his job!

 

From Joanne Seward -- March 1992

...."Memorial Day" by Nomad -- I'm amazed at how much can be said in two pages; it was wonderful. I hope he receives lots of comments congratulating him.

 

From Franke Jackson -- March 1992

I recently read No Cold Wind. It was fantastic; I couldn't put it down. I never wanted it to end!

From Karen Allman -- September 1991

Ann Zewen's story, "The Curtained Sleep," about Kirk's nightmare experiences as a (gasp) woman was really on target. What a different world it would be, hmmm? I thought that assurances that Janice Lester's lack of promotion were due to her shortcomings were true to that character, but I found myself wishing it had been a case in which a perfectly capable woman gets passed over again and again....It wasn't true in Janice's case, I know.

From Denise Hays -- September 1991

I find the quality super and the writing top-notch as always in Chris Dickenson's story "On My Mind." It was very well written, if poignant. It was so very true to character, even if we wish (almost like Spock at the end) that it had not turned out so.

From Lyria Hall -- September 1991

Chris Dickenson's "Unexpected Sparks" was a pleasant surprise. How nice to read a good story from Classic Trek that isn't a Kirk-Spock story. I like Kirk and Spock, but they have always been a bit overdone.

From Jean Kluge -- September 1991

Chris Dickenson's "On My Mind" was, well, nice. The narrative was clean and concise, yet not sterile, either. The descriptions of visuals, the phrasing of a character's actions, the entire mood was evoked with well-chosen words and a nice rhythm to the sentences, a certain cadence to the paragraphs. The ending was nicely done...not overblown. Just the right amount of quiet disappointment and regret on Spock's part. I enjoyed this one a lot, and the bit with the music box made me curious about the story that inspired this one, but the story stands on its own quite well. I was surprised, because I pretty much loathe Chapel....Chris, I was particularly taken with the way chose to describe Spock's absent fiddling with the music box. Not too many words, just enough to deliver an instantaneous and very strong visual image! 

From Susan Leinbach -- September 1991

"On My Mind," by the prolific Chris Dickenson, ties in well with its predecessor story, but I don't think it would work as well for someone who hasn't read "The Music Box." Still it was interesting to see Chapel from Spock's point-of-view (myself having always empathized with Chapel).

From Karen Biggs -- March 1991

"Deja Vu," by Ann Zewen, was very, very enjoyable and well written, one that I enjoy rereading quite often.

"The Lesson," by Randall Landers, was very nicely done, plot-wise, and had a well-written sex scene. While I'm not a big Sulu fan, I found the story well worth reading.

"The Ring," by Ann Zewen, and "Special Duty," by Chris Dickenson, were fun. I'll always wonder if Chapel and Uhura ever compared notes over the incident, of they ever let either Kirk or McCoy live it down/

From Susan Leinbach -- September 1990

I sincerely enjoyed Chris Dickenson's novella, Keeper of the Katra, and I think it outshone its predecessor film by several hundred watts. Especially welcome were the plausible explanation offered for Kirk's uncharacteristic behavior in Star Trek: The Final Frontier and the intriguing look at Spock's and Saavik's reactions to the events in the Genesis cave. Also, the relationship between Spock and Sybok -- particularly the scene where Sybok spent all his credits on a present for Spock -- was touching. Shoot, there isn't a single scene in the whole story that's not a sparkler! The Final Frontier couldn't have been a total loss if it inspired Chris Dickenson to write Keeper of the Katra.

Chris Dickenson's "Not a Bad Day's Work" was very sweet. I always suspected there was a sentimental side to the dour Scottish engineer. "Dignity" was also a good read. Chris can express the characters and their relationships so accurately.

Ann Zewen's "That's What Friends Are for" explained a great deal about the Scotty-Uhura "thing," which seemed to have come out of left field in The Final Frontier. As you may have noticed, I love for fan writers to tie up those annoying loose ends that aired Star Trek tends to leave dangling (especially of late).

I also liked Ann Zewen's "The Music Box," especially Christine Chapel's part in it. It's nice to see that character portrayed as having feelings/sympathies for other people besides Spock (as much as I like to see that!).

 

From Chris Lake -- September 1990

Keeper of the Katra was excellent. In The Final Frontier, I was not happy with having a never-mentioned brother show up, but this story ties up all the loose ends nicely, and makes The Final Frontier a better  story line. I greatly enjoyed meeting and getting to know T'Liba and T'Ariz, Spock and Sybok's wives. Chris Dickenson's story was very satisfying; it filled in all the gaps.

Chris' "Blood Is Thicker" was also enjoyable in its own way. Very good characterization. The final paragraph was my favorite.

Ann Zewen's "The Music Box" was good, but there was no mention of a major shift in time. It was obvious that major things had gone on (like the episode of "For the World Is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky") before the final section, but no time passage was ever noted.

Chris Dickenson's "Not a Bad Day's Work" -- Short and showcases Scotty very nicely. It's nice to get to know him better, too.

I liked Ann Zewen's "That's What Friends Are for." The story gives us a base for the closeness we see between Scotty and Uhura in The Final Frontier.

Chris Dickenson's "Dignity" was good, too. I liked the comparison of Spock and Sarek to Leonard and David.

 

From Julie Nosal -- September 1990

I knew from talking with Chris Dickenson that she had something special in the works, so when it was finally published, I read it from beginning to end. Keeper of the Katra was just fantastic. Many kudos, Chris, on a wonderful story.

 

From Barb Schang -- September 1990

I am happy to say that I have enjoyed Nomad's The Daystrom Project and Ann Zewen's No Cold Wind. I find myself  looking for more --especially a few that are related to some of the stories I've already read. Which story preceded "Out of the Ashes" by Ann Zewen? {That would be "Just Another Routine Assignment" by Ann Zewen. - Randy} I also became interested in the Serenidad storyline after reading "Aftermath" by Nomad. I believe both writers to be excellent, and I am anxious to connect their storylines....  {Nomad's "The Wages of Vengeance," "Oath of Vengeance," "The Cost of Freedom" and "Teresa" preceded "Aftermath." - Randy}

From Frances Murphy -- March 1990

Ann Zewen's story, "The Curtained Sleep," was true to the characters and very well written.

From Elizabeth Burnham -- March 1990

Two offerings by Chris Dickenson ("Unexpected Sparks" and "On My Mind") were, as always with her stories, finely cut gems, showing her readers new facets of familiar characters. It is always a delight, when you think you know all about someone, to be shown that they have depths that you may not ever have suspected were there.

I also enjoyed Ann Zewen's story, "The Curtained Sleep," very much. The "females rule better, and should be in charge" premise has almost been done to death--I think a lot of women use it for their "Mary Sue" stories--but the twist you put on it, and the way you used that twist to influence Captain Kirk, certainly livened it up.

From Barbara Robertson -- March 1990

I was particularly struck by Ann Zewen's story, "The Curtained Sleep." Best Kirk story I've read in a long time, especially since it "got him" for all those years of womanizing without being mean or vindictive. It epitomized what I like best about Star Trek: You can laugh with people at their foibles and take to heart their troubles without making fun of that person.

From Chris Dickenson -- March 1990

"The Decision," by Marnita Howald, was a clever little tomato surprise!..."The Curtained Sleep," by Ann Zewen, is an excellent psychological study of Kirk. Ann can do Kirk with one hand tied behind her keyboard, and her insights into the character are both entertaining and enlightening. I'm not a Kirk fan, so when I really like a Kirk story, it's a credit to the author.

 

From Marcie Lamont -- February 1990

Since this is my first reading of the Orion Universe, I looked for something different. Randy Landers' "A Klingon Holiday" provided the difference; excellent, especially with the thought of Klingons finding all those James Kirks. Serves them right. Saavik is an enigma, but Linda McInnis' "To Hellguard and Back" gives us a better explanation for her origins than the Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan novelization. The simple story is more realistic. It is expected that she would return and lay claim to her place in the Romulan Empire.  Nomad's "Aftermath" doesn't tie all the ends together. It raises even more questions: 1) What will McCoy find in Atlanta? {See "Southern Comfort" by Linda McInnis. - Randy}  2) Will Gervais be brought to justice?   {See The Day They All Came Home by Linda McInnis, Chekov's Enterprise by Randy Landers, and bortaS choQ by Elizabeth Knauel.}

From Mimi English -- February 1990

I have very much enjoyed ORION PRESS....I especially liked "A Klingon Holiday" by Randy Landers...

From Jeanne L. Matthews -- February 1990

Good grief, [some of the stories you've posted on your website are among] the best I've ever read. Chris Dickenson's Keeper of the Katra speaks for itself. I loved Nomad's "Memorial Day"; I wanted more. And now that I've ready Ann Zewen's "Out of the Ashes," I want to read all the Serenidad stories. And what's this about you, Randy Landers, not being a good writer? What do you call "Just a Little Training Cruise"? Give me a break! {That story was edited by Chris Dickenson, Nomad and Ann Zewen. With such talented folks helping me, how could I go wrong? - Randy}

From Chris Dickenson -- February 1990

Ann Zewen's "Out of the Ashes" was a marvelous tale featuring Klingons, explosions, Kirk getting lucky, and an obligatory visit to Sickbay. Now that's a Star Trek episode! Too bad they didn't ask Ann to write Star Trek V; her story beat all out of what we saw at the theater. I admire Ann's mastery of the Kirk-McCoy-Spock relationship, and I loved the scene between Spock and McCoy. There's so much between those two. Of course, it was great to see Chapel, the Chapel I like to see and write: a competent professional instead of a lovesick eavesdropper. Nice going, Ann.

"Memorial Day," by Nomad, was touching, and I'm not ashamed to admit it brought a tear to my eye. It's easy to make an impression in a long story, but I know of few authors who can evoke a lasting image with such a brief scenario. I don't think I'll ever forget "Memorial Day." Thanks, Nomad.

"Just a Little Training Cruise" turned out great, Randy. I still think the strength of the piece is the way you identify with Sulu and get into his head. Thanks for having him react to the sight of Uhura in her caftan; after all, he's only Human. Doctor Johnson is so real; I feel like I've met her. Show me a doctor or nurse that swears like a sailor, and I'll believe it every time. One question: Was Captain Williams raised by Vulcans, or is he just jealous 'cause Sulu is boffing all his female officers?  {Captain Williams actually studied Kolinahr at the novice level, as stated in "Ad Astra Per Aspera." - Randy}

From Steve Dixon -- February 1990

If I had to pick a favorite [story], it might have to be Chris Dickenson's "You Are Not Alone." It was a well written story and very believable.

From Chris Dickenson -- December 1989

"Deja Vu" by Ann Zewen...My, my! Now that's the kind of sandwich I can get into! "Bones is already awake, indeed!" I just roared over that line. Wonderful idea, Ann.

Randy Landers took us back to the Cooper in "The Lesson," giving Xon yet another glimpse of Human behavior. I loved the young Vulcan's matter-of-factness, and Sulu...ah, Sulu. He can take my helm control any day!

"Muffle Me Night, Awhile" was far and away one of my favorite stories of the website. Linda McInnis' Razak was marvelous! Saavik's unwilling arousal, the use of Spock, "Pain is a thing of the mind," and "Death is a thing of the body," really rang true to me! How Vulcan, how Klingon, how arousing! It's so hard to put Spock in a situation where he willingly has sex, and so often authors twist his character to suit the story. Linda McInnis found a believable way to force him, a way Saavik would dream up with her violent past, and the results were chilling and erotic. Linda, you have been and always shall me, my favorite role model for depravity.

From Camilla Morton -- December 1989

"Deja Vu" involved a dream interlude, and centered on Kirk, Uhura and McCoy who did the obvious. Ho hum... "The Lesson" was a trifle mechanical for my tastes.... "Muffle Me Night, Awhile" by Linda Mac bothered me a little in that elements of masochism seemed central to the story. I understand that in a dream anything goes, but I was bothered by the way Saavik responded to the Klingon. Psychologically, I know that those elements made it possible for Saavik to enjoy her sexuality without guilt as "she was forced." I know I am taking the whole subject too seriously; the story was meant to be erotic and fun to read, which it definitely was.

From Chris Dickenson -- June 1989

Nomad's "Turnabout Vengeance" was good! And Randy Landers' "The Price of Peace" was well plotted and told. The Romulan Commander certainly gets around, doesn't she? {Definitely. She also makes an appearance in Nomad's "Homecoming" and Nicole Comtet's "Encounters and Countermoves." - Randy}

 

From Brenda Kishpaugh -- June 1989

I especially loved Randy Landers' "A Klingon Holiday."

 

From Laurie D. Haynes -- June 1989

Among the stories I like best is "Aftermath," by Nomad. I'm in the process of reading the rest of the Serenidad stories.

From Joan Verba -- August 1988
excerpted from her review in TREKLINK 10

Orion Press always makes for interesting reading. Although I disagree with Randy Landers on many topics relating to Star Trek fandom, there is no doubt that he is a top-notch editor.

My thoughts on Nomad's Serenidad saga:

"The Wages of Vengeance" is the beginning of the series. This is a well-written story with many virtues. The very first story in the saga is the weakest of all, notably for the over-use of adjectives, a typical mistake for a first-time writer. In later stories, the quality of the writing improves dramatically. The characterization is very strong. Each individual stands out as a unique entity. The Klingon culture is very well defined. The author is very good at contrasting the joy of lovemaking in one scene to the horror of rape in an unrelated scene.

With few exceptions, the plotting and situations are believable. The premise of the story is that an Earth colony, Serenidad, is wanted by both the Federation and the Klingons. The Federation is looked upon with favor by many government officials, but this does not stop the Klingons from trying to install a puppet government. The Enterprise is heavily involved with this conflict.

This has many elements of a good Star Trek episode; action, romance, political conflict, narrow escapes. A minor weakness is that, in typing up the loose ends, anyone who might present a lingering problem once the conflict is resolved dies (a heroic death, to be sure, but nonetheless such characters do tend to get killed off). Even so, this is a story that should appeal to quite a few Star Trek fans (particularly Klingon fans, and I should point out that I'm not a Klingon fan).

The story continues in "Oath of Vengeance." The only minor complaint I have here is that I wonder if the entire crew of a starship would beam down for a ceremony. Further, the ethics of erasing someone's memory are dubious, in my opinion. Otherwise, the story is greatly improved here from the first installment.

"The Cost of Freedom" is another good installment of the Serenidad series.

Donna C. Clark wrote a story about McCoy's divorce called "The Anniversary Gift." This is the way I imagined that it happened; that is, both parties were well-intentioned, but had different expectations: he put priority on his work; she put priority on family life. As such, I found the story quite believable.

Nomad has a good interpretation of the "remember" scene in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan called "His Was the Most Human."

Linda McInnis' "Salt" covers Kirk's and Carol Marcus' early romance. I was toying with the idea of writing the definitive Carol Marcus story, but now that I've found Linda has done it, I've dropped my plans to do so. I find this is a very plausible exploration of their relationship.

Linda McInnis also has a nice story called "All That He Was...All That He Knew," which is another good interpretation of the "remember" scene. I found this story good reading.

Nomad has also written a novel-length fan story called The Daystrom Project. Here, Doctor Richard Daystrom has recovered from his mental illness and is back working in the computer field. The Klingons kidnap Daystrom and his daughter and force him to build a multitronic unit for them. The Enterprise gets involved in a rescue attempt.

Again, this has all the elements of a good episode. I was annoyed, however, by the extensive use of Klingonese. In order to figure out what was being said, I constantly had to break concentration in the middle of a paragraph and look at the endnotes for a translation. This might be acceptable in a research paper; it is annoying in an action-oriented story.

Nonetheless, again, it is an example of some quality writing. My favorite line is when Spock is trying to use diplomacy to resolve a situation, but is not getting results. At this point, the author gives us a glimpse of Spock's line of thought: "He wondered how his cool, logical father Sarek had ever managed to function in such a capacity."

From Jeff Wagner -- August 1988

I especially enjoyed Linda McInnis' "The Day They All Came Home."

From Simone Delacambre -- August 1988

Ann Zewen's "Just Another Routine Assignment" is simply excellent. I also find it somewhat amusing that Ann crafts an action-adventure story of a Klingon invasion, and resolves it in less than thirty pages. This is quite a departure for the Orion Universe. Usually it takes Nomad thirty pages to write one part of a four part story! Ann's story was excellent, except--and if you or anyone else calls me a hypocrite, I'll sue you!--I wish it had been longer! {Hypocrite! - Randy} Seriously, some of Ann's action scenes and narrative could have been a little better paced at a slower tempo, thereby creating a more suspenseful mood. I also thinks the Kh'myr are a bit more bloodthirsty than portrayed; they would've started a death camp or two during the time the story takes place. {Who says they didn't? - Randy}

Randall Landers' Sulu story, "The Beggar's Tooth" was excellent. I found the premise to be logical, the plotting excellent, and the twists and turns of the subplots intriguing. However, I wonder how much interest there is for a series of Sulu stories? I personally would like to see more of Sulu's adventures aboard the Cooper, but I'm not sure a lot of fans would agree with me. {There's a whole section devoted to Captain Sulu and the U.S.S. Excelsior on this website. It isn't the most visited section, but its readership is quite happy, I believe. - Randy}

A final bit of praise: "Escort Service," by Linda McInnis, was an interesting story to me because I've often wondered if sexism exists in the 23rd century. From what we saw on the screen from the original Star Trek, I would say it does. "Captain, I'm frightened!" and the scene in "Balance of Terror" where Kirk hugs Janice Rand as the ship is about to be hit by a Romulan plasma torpedo are two such scenes that quickly come to mind. Another wonderful scene is in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. As Kirk steps aboard the Enterprise, he hands his copy of A Tale of Two Cities to Uhura. Why? Because as a woman, she has nothing better to do than hold Admiral Kirk's book, right? So I wish it had been sexism and not her association with the Serenidad incident which cost her the captaincy of the Sadat (nice name for a starship!). {See Randy Landers' "Just a Little Training Cruise" where this issue is addressed in the way Simone probably would've wanted. - Randy}

I enjoyed reading Randy Landers' "The Price of Peace" and Nomad's "Turnabout Vengeance."

From Bobby Hawkins -- March 1988

My thoughts on Nomad's "The Cost of Freedom"...

The downside: This story was really violent; unnecessarily so, I thought. Even so, it might have been all right--justifiable, at least--if the Klingons had been made to pay for their many horrible crimes. But at the end, even though they are ultimately overcome and destroyed, they are allowed to die dignified (and relatively quick) warriors' deaths. In that respect, the story just didn't deliver; I think you need to have more of a payoff in order to justify so many graphically depicted scenes of torture and violence. But then, I was assuming that the violence was intended to invoke a revenge response; I may have been mistaken. I also didn't but the fact that Captain Garrovick would have allowed the Klingons to destroy themselves -- he even goes so far as to give Korak the means for self-destruction -- a dignified and honorable death -- when there are no more Klingons left but him. I don't think that the Federation, with its emphasis on research, exploration, contacts with other lifeforms, and above all, a very high regard for life in general, would allow such a massacre, especially when given such a ready-made opportunity for study as the capture of two hundred-fifty Klingons. And all Garrovick can say after these events is, "Well, I hope the Federation will be pleased not having to spend tax money on prisoners." This seems like a rather crass remark to me, and not at all in keeping with what you might expect from a representative of the United Federation of Planets. As long as we're picking nits, the only other thing I didn't like about the story was the heavy-handedness of scenes such as is exemplified by the Tomás-Isobel episode; new-found love that waited so long to express itself and then is blown out of existence by the Klingons, and all that's left is a moonblossom he had given to her that floats so symbolically in the water until it sinks beneath the surface. Just a little bit too much to swallow, I thought.

The upside: Nomad and Linda McInnis who co-authored the last segment of this story are thoroughly competent writers. The story unfolds quickly and smoothly (translation: I could hardly bear to put the thing down and make myself turn the lights off even though it was 2:00AM). Although action-oriented, "The Cost of Freedom" was much more than a bare-bones series of action-adventure scenes strung together, as sometimes happens when dealing with fan fiction. The story was nicely fleshed out; expository scenes and descriptions of the settings, although brief, were skillfully handled in that all twists and complications of plot were clear at all times, and there was just enough of the scenery to facilitate reception of a vivid, clearly-etched image in the mind's eye without detracting from the main thrust of the action (translation: I like your style). I also thought the Klingonese interspersed throughout the piece really enhanced the portrayal of the Kh'myr as a species truly alien to our own, and I applaud the handling of the English translations of non-English phrases that were used. Nicely done.

...I know I'm repeating myself, but I can't help it -- you guys write good. Your writers are probably sick of hearing that, right? {Nope. - Randy} In my opinion, this action-adventure type of writing that focuses more on action and direct dialogue than elaborate description and characters that introspect aloud for pages and pages makes for a form of Star Trek that reminds me of the series itself (although the other style of writing can be equally entertaining, in a different way, as well).

In The Day They All Came Home, for example, I liked the way Linda McInnis created a rich and multi-faceted background for her story without a lot of fussy description simply by mentioning the word, D'H'riset. To anyone who has read Kraith, this recounting of Spock's ancestral home immediately conjures up powerful pictorial images in the mind's eye. {Just a point of clarification. D'H'riset has been used extensively in fan fiction for some time now. This novella is not part of the Kraith universe. - Randy} I also thought the characterizations were right on the mark; Uhura's intense interest in and study of the Vulcan katra and kr'alieu seemed very much like something Uhura might do. I also liked the Saavik-Sulu exchange. It was a pairing I must admit hadn't occurred to me, but the whole thing seemed to fall into place quite naturally, quite believably, without that feeling that you sometimes get that the author has had to force the personalities to fit the way she wanted the story to go. The only problem I had with the story was this reaction: "You mean that's it? Where's the rest of the story?!" I realize that Star Trek: The Voyage Home is meant to be the rest of the story, but somehow, it just doesn't fit. Personally, I'd like to see Linda McInnis finish her version of the thing -- I'd like to se what Uhura says when Sarek asks her to speak on the subject of the Vulcan death ritual for the Starfleet Arbitration Board. I'd like to see what happens with Sulu and Saavik. And I'd like to see how Linda's version of how the friendship between Kirk and Spock is redefined, something that The Voyage Home totally ignored, but that held great promise in The Day They All Came Home. {Some of your questions were addressed by Selek in his story, Contempt of Council and by Chris Dickenson in her novella, Keeper of the Katra. - Randy}

Before Linda McInnis goes all swell-headed, however, let me just say that I was less than thrilled with "Alis Volat Propriis." You mean to say that Kirk can best a fully-grown, fully-trained, fully-armored, half-crazed Kh'myr Klingon, but he lets a young Human female, even a big one, get the better of him? I didn't buy it. And if she was so high falutin' smart, why did she leave the door to the high security Records Complex open behind her for Kirk and the security guard to find so easily? But more essentially, what exactly was the point of this story? That Connor Randolph was the catalyst that rekindled in Kirk the desire to get his ship back? That doesn't seem too likely; Kirk was not the type who needed other people to make up his mind for him. Or maybe I'm missing the point. What this a Kirk story, or was this the first of a series of Connor Randolph stories? {It was simply intended to reveal what James T. Kirk was doing following the events of "The Cost of Freedom" and prior to Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. Connor Randolph ended up appearing as Princess Teresa's compound security officer in some of Nomad's and Rob Morris' stories, including Rob's Waiting on Serenidad. - Randy}

From Simone Delacambre -- March 1988

Nomad's "The Cost of Freedom" is finally finished? Oh my God! I can't believe it! {The story was originally published over four issues of our fanzine, ORION, and many people were stunned by the length and coherency of the series.  - Randy} What an outstanding finish to the story! All the Klingons taking their lives so quickly that the Feds simply stood there, unable to stop them. And Garrovick, he'll get into a lot of trouble to be sure, but what a sense of honor the man has! To allow the Kh'myr to take his own life! I really liked that part; the Feds have enough respect for the Klingons at last! .... A few points of criticism, though. Some sections were especially melodramatic to the point of disbelief: 'The moonblossom sank beneath the waters' and all that tripe. Come on, Nomad, tell a story about people. Don't get so wrapped up in poetic imagery that you lose track of the focus of the story, namely the characters....Also, more of the Enterprise cast and crew in the next adventure, please! Finally, please continue the usage of the Klingonese; it adds so much to the appeal of the story.

Randy Landers and Linda McInnis' "Ad Astra Per Aspera" -- I cannot believe how good this story is. You create a situation where Sulu would solo in the spotlight (or so I thought), and then you introduce characters that are, well, alive. I recognize that some of your characters are actually some old mutual friends from college. You've done a fine job of capturing their personalities and bringing them to the readers as completely new characters. I'd like to see you develop Xon, Haines, Mandala and Rachelson in any future stories set aboard the Cooper. {See "The Beggar's Tooth" and "Just a Little Training Cruise," both by Randy Landers}.

Randy Landers and Linda McInnis' "Parts Is Parts" -- I liked it. It was short, funny, and didn't have any wasted background information. The Dohlman is the Dohlman, and I hate her as much now as I did when I first saw that episode.

All right, Linda McInnis, you wrote a damn good story, namely The Day They All Came Home. But you didn't finish it, you sadist! What gives? Can't anyone finish a story these days? I mean that you all write excellent material, but often it is unfinished. Look at how long the Serenidad saga has been running, and you finish it with "The Cost of Freedom." Suddenly, low and behold, there's Nomad's "Aftermath"? How many Teresa stories are there going to be? Let's get a move into new territory. This idea of writing Second Hiatus stories is pretty good, but you can also work on post-Star Trek: The Voyage Home stories.... And for goodness sake, let's have some original five year mission stories. There's still a wealth of material there ripe for exploitation..., er, I mean...to hell with it, exploitation. You could have a number of stories running concurrently. Or perhaps have special post-Star Trek: The Voyage Home issues, original five year mission issues, et cetera. {Simon's letter was extremely prophetic. Nowadays, we've got several authors working in several different timeframes. The stories are divided into those timeframes, and readers are encouraged to check out those sections which interest them and ignore those they don't. And as far as Nomad's Serenidad saga goes, it's still going. - Randy}

But what, you ask, about the Linda McInnis story, The Day They All Came Home? Linda, I'm nominating it for a Surak Award. I mean, it was extremely well crafted, with a few novel approaches. The Saavik/Sulu relationship is a new approach that really intrigues me, almost as much as the Sulu/Rachelson interlude from Randy Landers' "Ad Astra Per Aspera." I want to see more of these relationships.... The best scene in the novella was the one where McCoy and Spock meet in the grotto and fused intelligences. I have never been satisfied with Star Trek: The Search for Spock, and I was pleased to see an explanation that is non-conflicting and illuminating. Cheers for Ms. McInnis!

And now jeers for Ms. McInnis. I don't understand how the same person who could write The Day They All Came Home could write the atrocious "Alis Volat Propriis." I mean, it was Mary Sue all the way, and I for one didn't like it. I couldn't understand the character Connor Randolph and why she allowed herself to be caught so easily....If she is meant to replace the tiring Princess Teresa as the reigning Orion Press sex symbol, then I am very disturbed. {Connor Randolph is not meant to replace Teresa. - Randy}

From Linda McInnis -- March 1988

My thanks to Bobbie Hawkins, Simone Delacambre and others who have commented on my stories, The Day They All Came Home and "Alis Volat Propriis." What can I say? I agree with you! The original ending of The Day They All Came Home was to have been the trial scene, having Sarek pleading Kirk's case before the Starfleet Arbitration Board.... {Selek has written a short story which addresses this very notion. "Contempt of Council" is highly recommended for those wanting a degree of closure. - Randy}

As far as "Alis Volat Propriis" goes, well, I won't apologize. You're right, guys; Connor Randolph is a Mary Sue, plain and simple. I like big, strong women because I am a big, strong woman, although I am not proficient in the martial arts. As far as Bobbie's comments about Connor defeating Kirk in their match, if you'll recall, Kirk had been severely injured in the conclusion of "The Cost of Freedom." There were doubts as to whether or not he would walk again. At any rate, he needed extensive physical therapy {See Nomad's "Aftermath." - Randy} and that was in my mind while writing the fight scene. Too bad that and a number of other things in my head didn't make it into the story. Also, keep in mind the Randolph is someone who has been fighting -- and winning -- since she was about four years old. I obviously didn't go into enough detail about her life before she left her planet -- next time I won't be so careless. As far as her being caught, well, who's to say she didn't want to be?

Finally, I want you to know that I value the criticism on "Alis Volat Propriis" as much, if not more than the praise for The Day They All Came Home. Why? Because now, if I wanted to, I could go back to "Alis Volat Propriis" and make it work. Several of you held similar criticisms of the story, so I have to think that the criticisms are valid. That's why we fan fiction writers need feedback! Keep telling us what we're doing wrong, and one of these days, by God, we'll get it right!

From Ann Meyer Hupe -- September 1987

Nomad's "The Cost of Freedom" raised some issues regarding medical ethics and competence. I believe that Doctor McCoy could have assumed that Teresa was already impregnated by Carlos prior to the rape, however, he should have determined the pregnancy and the paternity in his post-rape examination. As I have learned through Life's Hard Lessons, you can never assume anything. What I'm curious about is how Teresa is going to explain a half-Klingon child. I thought the Serenidad Council was trying to hide the fact that she had been gang-raped. I did predict that Teresa would keep her child...but what a bizarre mother-child bonding! I did wish I could have seen a little more action on Kirk's end. The final battle seemed to go by too quickly. There were some very nice touches to the story: L'yan's enmity towards the Klingon baby for having to be his baby-sitter and Korak's surrender.

Randy Landers' "Ad Astra Per Aspera" was an interesting combination of detective/historical orientation tale. It was refreshing to see the social structure of a small starship portrayed in such a realistic manner. As for K.C. Johnson, I love her! She just goes to prove that a female can be just as aggressive and "foul-mouthed" as any male. Some of my female medical student friends often talk like that--especially a close friend who loves to irritate the boring instructors by sitting up in the front row during lectures, wearing a t-shirt that says "Same shit, different day." However, the obligatory sex scene for audience titillation sort of ruined a good story. I would not have expected explicit sex in the story, and I was sorely disappointed when I arrived to those final scenes. I'm not a prude, but if you were going to include that scene, you should have designed the story to make that section more appropriate. The explicit details were not necessary. Insinuation and cut to the next section would have been more in style.

Randy Landers and Linda McInnis' "Parts Is Parts" is cute. But my anatomy instructor always wore a pin saying that, so my initial reading is sort of biased.

From Gennie Summers -- September 1987

...I thoroughly enjoyed Nomad's "The Cost of Freedom." There is a lot of action and adventure packed into the story, and the characters are all very real. L'yan was such a delightfully evil villainess that I almost hated to see her get wiped out. At least so quickly... All the Klingons are wonderfully nasty, just the way I like them. I'd like to see how Teresa's baby turns out as he grows up. He is potentially a good character, I think. I'm looking forward to reading Nomad's story "Aftermath."

Randy Landers' "Ad Astra Per Aspera" -- I was particularly glad to follow my favorite Oriental through this one. The humor of his frustrations, the excitement of his actions in danger, and the pleasures of his...by the way, that scene was definitely X-rated. Oh, well, Casey is quite a character. Is there a sequel? {A couple, actually, including "The Beggar's Tooth" and "Just a Little Training Cruise," both by Randy Landers. - Randy}

Randy Landers and Linda McInnis' "Parts Is Parts" -- I have a feeling I've read this somewhere before, but where? Was it something that appeared elsewhere, re-written and then added to? Anyway, it's very funny. {The story "Parts Is Parts" is indeed eerily and extremely similar to a story in Buck Godot--Zap Gun for Hire, but neither Linda nor myself had read the story until someone brought it to our attention after its publication. One of the consultants for the story admitted years later that some of the dialogue she suggested was right out of the Phil Foglio graphic novel. For her indiscretion, I apologize, but I assure you that Linda and I really did come up with the story which was intended to be in the style of a French comedy. However, we extend our apologies to David Gerrold, John Meredyth Lucas (whose characters, Bem and Elaan of Troyius were used in the story), as well as to Phil Foglio, and, of course, Buck Godot. - Randy}

From Simone Delacambre -- March 1987

Steven K. Dixon's "Runner" was an excellent first effort. There was very little Human involvement, though very typical of the action-adventure genre, I might add. The Orions seemed a little too willing to turn "belly-up" at the sight of the Enterprise. I feel that Scotus would have been a little more bloodthirsty and blown himself and his ship up rather than face the humiliation of having to surrender.

"All That He Was...All That He Knew" -- Welcome back, Linda McInnis! It was a pleasure seeing your work again. This story is frankly a masterful work of art. I've developed quite a fondness for vignettes such as this which detail certain points of view during a movie or episode. I'd love to see more on Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock.

"The Wounding" -- And yet another vignette! By Linda McInnis, no less! I'm afraid I'm becoming addicted to her writing. I would like to see much more of her work.

"The Cost of Freedom" -- Nomad and Linda McInnis have teamed up to deliver us an exceptional work. The Kh'myr Klingons are a logical extension of what we saw in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Nomad uses them fully to his advantage. I especially enjoyed the Teresa dream-sequence. The Klingon attack on the starship was typical of these savage Kh'myr that Nomad seems to have taken to his heart....I enjoy the usage of the Kh'myr language, and I hope to see more of it incorporated into future Kh'myr stories.

Linda McInnis' "Tryst" is one of the best erotic stories on your website. Well written, short and to the point. Bravo!

From Bill Hupe -- March 1987

Steven K. Dixon's "Runner" -- The storyline is quite good and enjoyable.... Nomad's "All That He Was...All That He Knew" is an exceptional short story, probably the best I have seen concerning McCoy after Star Trek: The Search for Spock.... Linda McInnis' "The Wounding" is quite good.

From Bill Hupe -- December 1985

Mark C. Henrie's "Victory" was extremely well written, but I question the concept of Starfleet risking top-of-the-line cadets in such a fashion. Rowena G. Warner's "Interlude" was a slight let-down from her past works. The Gol discussion seemed out of place--maybe I'm expecting too much. Mark's "Scotty's Vacation" was good, except that it seemed very similar to a story I once read in Delta Triad...

From Terry Sue Shank -- December 1985

Some of my favorite stories have to be Nomad's "The Cost of Freedom" and "His Was the Most Human"  and Linda McInnis' "Salt." I have enjoyed Nomad's entire Serenidad series, and am now looking forward to learning what else could possibly happen to poor Princess Teresa. "His Was the Most Human," Nomad's vignette describing McCoy's emotional response to Spock's death, is well written and quite touching. I am absolutely crazy about "Salt," Linda's sensitive and insightful explanation of how Kirk and Carol Marcus fell in love and ultimately parted. It could very well have happened that way. At least, I'd like to think it happened that way. "Salt" depicts Carol Marcus as being mature and loving. She understood both herself and Jim Kirk very well, and was not at all the selfish, ambitious bitch most fans seem to think she was. Way to go, Linda! I also enjoyed Randy Landers' "To Coin a Phrase" -- cute and very much in character.

From Tim Farley -- May 1985

"The Fire Bringer," by Jane Yambe, was an interesting character piece....  Bonnie Reitz's "Fire in the Shadows" was a good, balanced Star Trek story...

Mark C. Henrie's "Victory" is a fun story, although I wonder what the judges would say when the Victory's hatch opens and four cadets step out. "Uh, sorry, guys--you're disqualified. Rules specify only two beings per vessel. Too bad--better luck next time!" In all seriousness, one would think the judges would take circumstances into account. But would Spock get the promotion, too, considering he only rode the last leg in the winning ship? Mark's other story, "Scotty's Vacation," was light-hearted fun, though I doubt whether Starfleet would misassign its personnel like that.

Rowena G. Warner's "Interlude" was an interesting character piece--a nice counterpoint to the other, more action-oriented stories. I thought Spock and Kirk went a bit overboard, verbally abusing one another, though -- it turned into a shouting match at one point....

From Barbara Radford -- May 1985

Enjoyed Mark C. Henrie's "Victory" from word one, but found his story, "Scotty's Vacation," slow to start, though the excitement of the story was worth wading through The Berlitz Guide to Tellar. If Star Trek is Wagon Train to the Stars, then "Scotty's Vacation" is The Hardy Boys on Tellar.

From Brian Garner -- May 1985

Among my favorite stories are "Masks," by Bonnie Reitz, and "Incident on Xantharus" by Nomad, even though I think the raping of Julie Chastain served no purpose than to titillate the readers or shock them. {Would you believe both? - Nomad} The Dance of the Sun was a nice, if gruesome touch, though wasn't something like it used in A Man Called Horse? {Yes, it was. - Nomad}

Another favorite story was Klingons! by Randy Landers with Nomad. Only wish the thing had been longer! Excellent plot, superb.... Rowena G. Warner's "A Crystal Clear Problem" left me unsatisfied. The ending seemed rushed, and she had this marvelous setting and nothing happened!

...I knew a bit about Mark C. Henrie's "Victory" before reading it, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the entire story. Verrrrry interesting and well done....Rowena Warner's "Interlude" was interesting. Trust Bones to have the solution. I am a little uncomfortable with Spock, even in private, calling McCoy anything but "Doctor" or "Doctor McCoy."

...Especially enjoyed Nomad's "The Cost of Freedom" and "His Was the Most Human" (which brought a bit o' mist to this Klingon's eye. A nice piece. "To Coin a Phrase," by Randall Landers, was insane and highly amusing.... How nice to have Linda McInnis back, and with a story like "Salt"!

From Joan Verba -- June 1984

It appears that you have decided that the Star Trek universe has a definite framework and then go and try to work with that, as opposed to many other authors and editors who take the Star Trek framework, make many additions and speculations (even unto "alternate universe" stories) and go off into the wild, blue yonder. There is room for both approaches, of course, but your approach is well done. Another item that I like, in general, is that you have several stories set in the time period following Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I've often felt that that time period has been ignored by many writers, and I'm delighted you have chosen to publish stories that fit into that time frame. Third, I felt that the women characters were well-presented; there are too many female wimps in fan stories, even when written by women.

Alex Rosen's "Meeting at Xanadu" was a meat-and-potatoes story; not fancy, but it has all the basics right. Randy Landers' "Plague!" has a bit of excitement, but less than I expected. The pressure chamber was nice. This, as well as many other stories, has too many adjectives--not enough to make the story bad, but enough over the expected amount to be noticeable. Women, for instance, rarely have "faces"; instead, they nearly always have "pretty faces." Linda McInnis' "Completion" has a nice twist; it took me a page or two to figure out what was going on. Terry Endres' "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective" was certainly at least as good as the detective stories you see in most TV and movie mysteries, and the addition of the Klingons was a nice touch... Nomad's "The Last Survivor" was a pretty good story, and fit in with the established facts.

Nomad's "The Wages of Vengeance" was an excellent story. Its plot didn't strain credibility (well, I was surprised that Teresa survived, but not that much) and everything fit in well. The characterization, of both regular characters and guest characters, was great. Nomad's Resurrection was a pretty good story, too. I had one qualm with Nomad et al's "Until Judgment," and that is that I'm not sure it's accurate that a star will go from an average-sized star to a red giant in the space of a week's time, but that was my only quarrel. The rest is well done. The reactions of Carolyn Palamas to being raped are well done (would you believe I read a story--written by a woman--in which shortly after the event, the victim is chatting casually with the rapist?). These are, in my opinion, some of the best stories you've published to date, and these alone make Orion Press worth recommending.

 

From Regenia Marracino -- June 1984

I was intrigued by Bonnie Reitz's "Fire in the Shadows." Good story....Just finished "Victory," by Mark C. Henrie. Love it! It was so enjoyable that I didn't want to put it down until I finished it so I didn't...put it down, that is! Hope you get more stories by him. His "Scotty's Vacation" was most enjoyable, too.

 

From Patt Demetri -- June 1984

The quality is really progressing....I enjoyed "Fire in the Shadows" by Bonnie Reitz especially.

 

From Linda McInnis -- June 1984

Mark C. Henrie's "Victory" -- a good premise. It could have used some tighter editing. There were numerous examples of unrelated or unnecessary sentences in paragraphs, and overuse of certain words in descriptions. These technical problems could easily have been worked out to make for a tighter, better flowing story. The idea of a senior competition I liked, but would Starfleet risk, before commission, the "cream of the cream"? Perhaps if they were a totally militaristic organization. Otherwise, I don't know. Also, I felt something needed to click more between Kirk and Spock to give validity to the beginnings of their friendship. Maybe if the Andorian had not come out of the "berserker" phase and had not wanted to rescue the other two. Good area for conflict. One last point, I think the part about Kirk's and Lystra's past affairs was really unnecessary to the story as a whole. Although, I did like the way Mark compared Kirk's sexuality to Spock's logic and the Andorian's warlike aggression. On the whole, a very good effort.

Rowena G. Warner's "Interlude" was a very well done story, setting up in just a bit of a time, the whole birthday, birth/death/rebirth motif of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. I especially liked seeing McCoy as a mediator between Kirk and Spock since he is so often the instigator or aggressor. All in all, a fine character study of our three as they grow and truly mature.

Mark C. Henrie's "Scotty's Vacation" gave me a bit of a hard time, but more because I just don't care for "kiddy" stories rather than any real technical problems with the story itself; except that I just find it hard to believe that, with all the psych profiles, etc., available to Starfleet that they would actually pick Scotty. But who knows what a large bureaucratic organization does in the convolutions of its mind. Oh, one other point: it's hard to write Scottish dialogue/dialect. We all know what Scotty sounds like, I hope! Mark made him come off sounding like Gerald O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. Best, I think, to let our minds fill in the right voice.

 

From Mark C. Henrie -- June 1984

I thought Rowena Warner's "Interlude" was above average, though for my own tastes, I generally don't like to see speculative deep stories. Let me explain this; my own stories might be thought of as rather speculative in nature, but "Scotty's Vacation" was open-ended, as it took place years before the First Mission. "Scotty's Vacation" was, by its very nature, speculative, but it was not deep. "Interlude," however, was speculative, deep and locked into the structure of the Star Trek universe. This somehow tends to unnerve me. Still, that's just one small caveat. The story was very well written, thoroughly enjoyable, and it presented a logical "interlude" between the first and second movies.

 

From Gennie Summers -- June 1984

I found Mark Henrie's "Victory" quite exciting. I expected trouble in the race, and a rescue by the lead ship (it seems to always happen that way), but as it turned out, what happened wasn't predictable. Rowena Warner's "Interlude" was delightful and amusing. Good ol' Bones! It does take three! I loved Mark's "Scotty's Vacation." I guess I just like to see our heroes discomfited. The boys were delightful characters.

 

From Donna C. Clark -- January 1984

Rowena G. Warner's "A Crystal Clear Problem" was enjoyable and makes you think of now and the beautiful wilderness areas we have and how threatened they are...

From Tim Farley -- January 1984

My first impressions of Klingons! (by Randy Landers with Nomad) was that there were way too many K-names in the story. It's bad enough all the Klingons from the show had names that began with K, but then you add a bunch more in the course of a few short pages to add to the readers' confusion. Maybe I am being picky, but I found it a bit hard to follow as a result. The Spock sub-plot diverged too much from the main story. What happened to the landing party tied in okay, but the bit with Spock as god was getting way off the main track for a story that was supposed to be about the Klingons. After you got him out of that situation, it was okay. McCoy had some really nice lines -- I liked the line about "best view in the house." The space mines scene was exciting, but the bit about stopping for raw materials -- water for the hydraulics?? -- I wished you'd asked me first about these things! {I should add at this point that Tim was quite the expert in Treknology, and later on we made him "science consultant" for Orion Press. - Randy} And come on, now! All the ship's booze is non-alcoholic? I find that hard to swallow. {Actually, I said "virtually all" the ship's booze was non-alcoholic. I note with some degree of smugness that Gene Roddenberry himself proposed that alcohol was eliminated and replaced with synthehol for Star Trek: The Next Generation. - Randy} I didn't like the scene where Chapel spills her guts to McCoy -- I've expressed dislike towards scenes like this before. It seems unrealistic for people to suddenly start talking about their problems like that, no matter how close they are to the person being addressed. I guess I like to see character development through events, not dialogue. Some of the treachery sub-plots were a little distracting, though they added to the flavor. I think the novel as a whole suffered a bit by not really focusing on one Klingon in particular. However, the tale was generally believable (although the penetration nearly to Earth by one Klingon ship, encountering only one vessel on the way, was a bit over-dramatic. {So is "we're the only ship in the quadrant." -- Randy}

Rowena Warner's stories were nice. Well off the beaten path for what was originally an action-adventure fanzine, but a nice change of pace, for once. "A Crystal Clear Problem" -- "Neuron, peredon and alisitate" are not real gasses. There I go, being over-picky again. Then again, "Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle." The story was fun, but the crew conspiring to keep the U.F.P. from developing the planet was a bit much. I would've thought there would have been at least one James Watt-type around to make trouble....

 

From Pat Kilner -- January 1984

Randy Landers' Klingons! evoked very mixed reactions. I applaud the episodic format; if not original, at least different from the usual approach. For once, the regulars are doing their jobs, functioning as starship captains, doctors, scientists, security chiefs. Lots of plot action: a rescue mission, a confrontation with the Klingons, a confrontation amongst the Klingons themselves!, espionage, sabotage, a murder mystery. Variety is the least of your problems. (Oh, I forgot! Some good ol' sex, too!) But I felt that at times the scenes were too abrupt, or rather, the scene changes were. A little more fluidity may be called for. I think the flaw in the story, for me at least, was characterization. There needed to be more depth, perhaps more subtlety in examination of motivation or emotions. It's very difficult to pinpoint what I felt was missing. It could be well tied in with the intricacies of mastering prose description. Then again, my main interest with Star Trek has always been the characters, so I may be magnifying a non-existent problem. {Actually, looking on it back years after the fact, I think Pat's comments and criticisms are quite accurate. - Randy} Your approach to the movie Klingons was most interesting. My speculation has always been that they are just another race in the Klingon Empire. But genetic engineering is certainly a fair approach, making for fascinating political and personal rivalries amongst the various Klingons.

And what a find you have with Rowena G. Warner: perceptive, gentle (a rare quality in fan fiction), her story "A Crystal Clear Problem" was refreshing and pleasant....

 

From Jeff Card -- January 1984

Randy Landers' Klingons! was good reading, but one or two things spoiled it for me. For one, I hate it whenever an author brings in the Organians to save Earth, but particularly so when the threat to our planet was so small: one Klingon K't'inga battlecruiser. Granted, K't'inga's are nothing to laugh at, but even if Kirk were unable to defeat them with the Enterprise (I wouldn't put it past him--he's thought his way out of some pretty hopeless situations in the past), where are Earth's global defenses (mentioned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture)? Wouldn't it be well enough armed (particularly since it is the home of Starfleet) to (with the help of yes, a damaged Enterprise)  fend off Kor's attack? I think it would. {Actually, the story posits that Kor knows that to attack Earth would spell immediate doom for himself and his ship, not Earth, but it would be a glorious way to die, in battle against such overwhelming odds. - Randy} Also, I tend not to like stories that kill off people right and left, as if they were meaningless. All this death means the story is just a story, a product of the authors imagination, and not reality!

Jane Yambe's "The Fire Bringer" was thought-provoking in the tradition of Star Trek.

 

From Gennie Summers -- January 1984

Rowena G. Warner's "A Crystal Clear Problem" -- This is beautiful. It gave me a feeling I remember from my childhood on a Nebraska farm when all the world was shrouded in ice and snow. The descriptions are powerful. The characters are perfectly depicted, and the moral of the story timely.

 

From Kate Daniels -- January 1984

I thought the characters in Nomad's "The Human Equation" wooden and unconvincing, and the plots terribly predictable. The young Vulcan who should have been the focus in the story came across as a confused adolescent with so-called Vulcan characteristics grafted unconvincingly onto a vapid framework, and I'm afraid I'm tired of the character "Lisa" and all her counterparts unless they are awfully well-conceived.

I did enjoy Linda McInnis' "A Collection of Lines," and think it's one of the best you've published. The characters were convincing and fun. I think Linda has some real insights; she showed us something about the captain, and she created believable new characters in that familiar setting. I'd like to read more of her work.

 

From Lee Heller -- January 1984

Nomad's "Turnabout Vengeance" was okay -- I liked the idea of a drug inducing symptoms akin to those of a stroke -- but it was so wholeheartedly accepting of the attitudes of "Turnabout Intruder" that I felt I was just getting more of the same.

Randy Landers' "The Price of Peace" was an excellent idea, but too brief, and the introductory stuff about Kirk getting dressed was utterly irrelevant....I have to admit it was good for the context which it was written (i.e. by a college freshman).

Jane Yambe's "The Fire Bringer" was nice at times, but so lifelessly written that I never felt engaged either by Sulu or "Prometheus" and his people.

 

From Brian Garner -- January 1984

I liked Randy Landers' "Plague!" and Thomas Harden's "The Salos Sell-out." Both were well written.... I enjoyed Alex Rosen's "Meeting at Xanadu".... Nomad's "The Last Survivor" is excellent, though a bit bloody. A touch of this is acceptable on occasion, though.... Nomad's Kh'myr Klingons are awesomely menacing.

One of my favorite stories has to be Nomad's "The Wages of Vengeance." Nomad must have read some of those "adult" Westerns (you know, the ones with at least one half-clothed woman on the cover) or a similar type book as love scenes seem read like the best (or worst?) of one of those. Excellent story, and the sex was well handled.

 

From Caro Hedge -- January 1984

I liked Bonnie Reitz's "Masks".... Randy Landers' Klingons! wasn't quiet up to a novella, and needed more development and sterner editing. Also somewhat sexist ("girls" are under 18), but there were some interesting ideas there.

 

From Pat Kilner -- September 1983

Full marks to Linda McInnis' "A Collection of Lines." She handles grief well and achieves a sense of awkwardness between Kirk and Kemper, two people trying to share, which is quite effective. I thought Nomad's "The Human Equation" was quite admirable. Both these authors are to be commended for thoughtful writing. May they continue to work and improve. We'll all benefit.

From Gennie Summers -- September 1983

Regarding Randy Landers novella, Klingons!: I like these Klingons better than those of, for instance, Nu Ormenel. The extrapolations on the three races is especially good and typical, I think, of them. I'm not sure I appreciate being privy to dirty Klingon man-talk, however. It's degrading to women, and I feel insulted.... {Sorry, but that wasn't our intention. The Kh'myr Klingons are as nasty as they can get, and it was hoped that those three paragraphs of the entire novella-length work would quickly convey that to the reader. Sorry you were offended. - Randy}

From Terry Sue Shank -- September 1983

One of my favorite stories has to be "A Crystal Clear Problem," by Rowena G. Warner. She is a very talented writer with a rather poetic style. I believe that this particular story captures the unspoken understanding between Kirk and Spock.

From Bobbie Hawkins -- September 1983

Klingons! (by Randy Landers with Nomad) contained a couple of sketchy places that could have used some fleshing out, but, on the whole, I thought it was pretty darn good. I especially liked: a) the way the men sorta fell apart, and the women (Christine and Uhura) had to look after them  b) the description of Uhura's feelings for Kirk as being "more or less material," with shades of "perhaps a little more"  c) the way all the aspects of Star Trek series, movies, cartoons were interwoven by using established characters (Robert Fox, Chief DiFalco, Lieutenant M'ress) from all the different forms  d) the bit about Denise Jenkins being a product of Klingon propaganda. That was a stroke of genius. It brought Mara (from "Day of the Dove") to mind immediately. A creative and logical extrapolation from aired Trek -- the best way I can think of to write a really good Star Trek story! But, just for adversity's sake: a) I don't think you'd find Kirk sleeping with one of his own people (Lieutenant Commander Jennifer Michaels) on the ship, just as "...his devotion to the ship would never permit (Uhura)'s dream (her fantasies about Kirk) to be realized." I think it would be the same for any other crew woman.  b) Couldn't Chekov simply have stunned Denise?  c) Isn't Uhura's first name "Upenda"? Or is "Penda" a modified form? Or is my memory faulty? I rifled though my stuff trying to find it, but was unsuccessful... {Actually, we hold to the theory that her name is Upenda Nyota Uhura, and that some folks call her "Penda" and some "Ny." - Randy}

From Terry Sue Shank -- March 1983

"Turnabout Vengeance" by Nomad -- I'm told that this was his first attempt at Star Trek fiction. Even so, it is very good, well-done and intriguing. Janice Lester returns, obviously insane and deliciously diabolical, seeking revenge on Captain James T   Kirk. I also appreciated the fact that Ambassador Sarek was actively involved with this story.

"The Price of Peace" by Randall Landers -- In view of our own 20th century Mid-East complications, the idea of a religious war being waged over a strategically located, iridium-rich planet is quite plausible. I only hope that my the 23rd century, a peace-keeping body like the Federation Council will indeed be able to convene and act that swiftly and efficiently. Another example of Star Trek optimism. I was pleased to see the return of the Romulan Commander and that she is still endeavoring to seduce Spock into joining her in the Romulan Star Empire. Nice touch. Sarek's inclusion, as always, was appreciated. Also enjoyable was the detailed description of everyday, early morning chit-chat and routine aboard a Federation starship.

Resurrection by Nomad -- A compelling Second Mission sequel to the First Mission episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Vividly disturbing "dreams" and an old guilt lead Kirk back to the planet Delta-Vega and to a strange reunion with the "ghost" of his old friend, Gary Mitchell. Well-written, this story adheres to the gives established in the episode, as well as reflecting accurately the character growth of the crew since Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Nomad's explanations regarding the energy barrier are fascinating. Also, Uhura's part in this story was well done.

"Oath of Vengeance" by Nomad -- This second story in the Serenidad trilogy was even better than the first, "The Wages of Vengeance." I thoroughly enjoyed the prologue and its glimpse into the Klingon Empire. The parallels in the careers of Kirk and Kang were intriguing. I almost felt sorry for Admiral Kang...almost. (Poor Mara!) I hope this infighting between the original Klingons and the Kh'myr Klingons will carry over into the next story. Nomad's Princess Teresa character is fascinating, and has developed a lot since the first story. She is as courageous as she is lovely. Though I would rather not have seen quite so much detailed violence, I appreciate the fact that Nomad's female characters are always portrayed as intelligent, competent and brave. Great story. I'm looking forward to "The Cost of Freedom."

"The Anniversary Gift" by Donna C. Clark -- I enjoyed this story and its description of the demise of McCoy's marriage and his ultimate decision to join Starfleet. It probably would have happened pretty much like that. However, I do not believe it would have been an impulsive decision. Nothing quite so rash.

"The Balance of Nature" by Jeffrey Woytach -- Though the plot of this story was similar to that of "The Immunity Syndrome," it was interesting, well-written, and very descriptive. Also, I thought the characterizations were correct, especially Scotty's. Nice.

"Masks" by Bonnie Reitz -- A Star Trek mystery of high intrigue and deception. Well-written and rather imaginative. The Thrith, Beruntian and Pakari characterizations were especially well-done. Hope to see more of Bonnie's work.

"Incident on Xantharus" by Nomad -- A Captain Christopher Pike story. This, in my opinion, is one of Nomad's best -- a clever plot with several intriguing twists and turns. The lovely opening dialogue between a youthful Spock and the forever mysterious Number One was a nice touch. I found it to be touching and rather thought-provoking. By far, the most interesting and surprising character of this tale was "Malana," a young Orion female. In just a few pages, I was repulsed by her, admired her, and even pitied her. Good characterization. Though the violence in Nomad's story was a bit too detailed for my tastes, still, as always, even that was very well-written.

From Mary K. Curran -- March 1983

"Until Judgment," by Nomad, Harden and Landers -- all in all, it's a pretty good story, but I didn't like the Palamas rape scenes. I don't go for stuff like that anyway.

"A Collection of Lines" by Linda McInnis -- All in all, its a well put-together story. The characters don't get mangled (except for Kirk's eyes). Well thought out. I don't like gore, and this story doesn't have much at all.

Nomad's "The Human Equation" -- I liked it, I really did. It was fascinating; I like the way Xon confides in Doctor McCoy. He's kinda befuddled at the female attraction to Xon.

Nomad's "No Place Like Home" -- I really got into this one; I liked it a whole lot. The love interest is tastefully done.

Nomad's "Turnabout Vengeance" -- Oh, I loved this one!!! I love the way the story-line goes; and poor Kirk gets it again. Spock figures it out, and what happens? ZAPPO!! Janice Lester kills herself in a shuttlecraft while Kirk tries to save her. I really liked it!

Randy Landers' "The Price of Peace" -- I liked this one, too! You've got everyone just right.

Nomad's "Incident on Xantharus" was a damn good story! It's the only Captain Pike story I have read so far that I really loved. A bit too graphic in some places, but that only helped me to more easily visualize what happened to the characters.

Klingons! was a good read. Congrats, Randy!

From Lynda Carraher -- March 1983

Bonnie Reitz's "Masks" was outstanding. Bonnie has the mechanical skill to get the reader from Point A to Point B (or in her case, Point Q) smoothly, and she has the story-telling skill to make the trip vastly enjoyable. The Thrithians are excellently conceived. Alien-ness must go beyond the physical realm (a pitfall for many fan writers), and these do. The mask entity is a truly frightening idea, and the way it killed was well-drawn and believable within the framework. Her Romulans are equally believable. They are arrogant, yet possessed of their own very unique and very unbreachable code of honor to create "hero-villains." Too often, both Romulans and Klingons are used merely as "Bad Injuns" to present a peril and then be blown out of space by Kirk and company until next time. Bonnie's Romulans are worthy enemies, not just straw men, and one can conceive of a future in which they may become equally worthy allies. The Pakari concept is one I've seen her use before, always to good advantage. Not having a chronology of her work, I don't know which cam first in "Masks" -- the Pakari or the plot -- but in either case, the character was well-used. All in all, it was a rousing good piece of work.

"Incident on Xantharus" wasn't particularly my cup of tea, principally because of Nomad's apparent fascination with torturing naked ladies. It was also flawed by a near total lack of characterization of the lading lady. We saw all her outside -- and I DO mean ALL! -- but none of her "inside." The constant reminders that she was "lithe," "lovely," "golden-haired," "firm," "young," etc. and the descriptions of her "writhing in bondage" got a little tedious after a while. The best parts of the story were the first and last sections. The opening scene, with Spock and Number One mind-linking, really had nothing to do with the rest of the story, though. I kept waiting for that to become important, and it never did! He made up for it in the ending, with the ironic twist. Having Pike discover that the Hood had been used as a decoy and purposely sacrificed was a stunningly effective touch.

From Cadet John Jones -- March 1983

I just finished reading Randy Landers' Klingons!...a worthy effort, I must say. I was disappointed in the ease with which the Klingons were defeated -- it was almost as though you and Nomad both got tired of the effort after a while. The first portion -- Spock the Stargod -- seemed to have either been cobbled up to make the novella longer, or to have some Klingon footage tacked on to connect an unrelated short story to the novel. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the effort. {Regarding the evolution of Klingons!, "To Capture God" (Spock the Stargod) was the original story, and the Klingons were essential to the story. There were no extra scenes added to make it lengthier. "Assassin in Our Midsts" (Chekov's tragedy) was written about a year later. "To Deny All Truths" was half-way finished when I ran out of steam and shipped it off to Nomad for completion. I then added the Prologue, and he tagged on the Epilogue to make it a novella. To be honest, I was never one hundred percent satisfied with the first story. I'm still not. *shrug* But if I was ever going to wait until I was perfectly satisfied with the story, it never would've been published, and that would've been a shame. - Randy}

From Patt Demetri -- December 1982

Nomad's "No Place Like Home" was very well written, and the characters remained true to Star Trek.

From Randall Landers -- December 1982

Since, I cannot take credit for editing these stories -- Nomad and Linda McInnis edited the fanzines in which they originally appeared, I thought I should express my opinions on them as a reader.... Linda McInnis' "A Collection of Lines" is a beautiful story, tragic and sympathy-provoking... Nomad's "The Human Equation" introduced a new crewmember, namely Lieutenant Xon. It's nice to see he finally made it... My favorite scenes are the accidental "overhearing" of the woman's sexual fantasy, and all the confrontations Xon has with McCoy. Nomad's "No Place Like Home" perfectly fills the gap between the series and the first movie. Nomad can be one of the best writers in Trekdom, in my opinion. Linda's "No Beach to Walk on" didn't really appear to me; I've read similar stories all too often.

From Tim Farley -- December 1982

Nomad's "No Place Like Home" -- I enjoyed quite a bit. It filled in an empty area in the chronology of the Star Trek universe that I'm sure bothered a lot of people....There is one scene in the story that was a bit racy -- I don't think it would have hurt the story to leave a little bit of the descriptive passages out.

....As for Linda McInnis' "No Beach to Walk on" -- tremendous! I've always been partial to the Kirk and Spock scenes in "The Naked Time," and while I usually don't enjoy stories which rely heavily on an episode (except where they fill in a gap), this one was touching and believable. It really is too bad that Linda isn't writing any more. {Indeed, her absence is strongly felt at our press and by fandom in general. - Randy}

From Sue Ann SaNomad -- December 1982

Bonnie Reitz's story, "Masks," was very good. It showed a lot of thought had gone into composing such a complex plot. It was different, which is always a nice surprise, from the usual Star Trek story of the Enterprise fighting with the Klingons. The story-line was imaginative concerning the impressionistic part of the plot using the character Triann. It was a very skillful bit of writing.

I could not finish Nomad's "Incident on Xantharus." It was such a disgusting story...

From Gennie Summers -- December 1982

Bonnie Reitz's "Masks" was good. I liked the Thrithians, from their name and description to their depiction in the story. The Mask was a different kind of villain. The threat, and the mystery, the wolf/shapeshifter, with Romulans mixed in for good measure, made for an attention-holding narrative. It was also set in the Second Mission; I like that. The alien names were very interesting. I dislike borrowing too much from history, mythology, or other Earth sources for names in science fiction; I prefer originality....

Nomad's "Incident on Xantharus" -- "Incident"? more like "Horror"! -- was powerful, gripping and highly readable. I felt that some of the indignities heaped upon Julie Chastain would have been better left to the imagination, however. The characters were very well presented, and developed within the story so that I really cared for them. I like Amerinds. The ending was especially pathetic as it seemed that all they had been through and had lost was almost for nothing. Spock would've understood Captain Raintree's being torn between two cultures; I like to think they would have a talk later. It seems to me that Nomad dwelt on and lingered over Julie's humiliation and degradation, much more than the torture of John Raintree. Okay, so he chose to make her the central character, but I'm just wondering. I'm no feminist, but I'm wondering if this kind of material doesn't tend to exploit and cheapen women. {Actually, my girlfriend at the time who helped type and proofread our fanzines was very fond of this story except for the ending. We discussed whether or not the story was exploitative, and agreed it -- and most of Nomad's other writings while lurid, dark and violent, in fact -- just aren't exploitative. - Randy}

From Terry Sue Shank -- December 1982

"No Place Like Home," by Nomad, is definitely one of his best. It equals his "The Human Equation" and offers us an insightful speculation into Kirk's soul-stifling, Earth-bound years just prior to the events in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Nomad has a real feel for the Kirk personality, and his look inside the admiral's brief marriage to Lori Ciani is both sensual and tender. I also enjoyed Doctor McCoy's part in this story, especially his angry confrontation with Admiral Nogura. The characterization is perfect.

"No Beach to Walk on" by Linda McInnis -- Short, but compelling -- Kirk's terrifying yet revealing dream. Good.

"The Wages of Vengeance," by Nomad -- Though he has improved a lot since this one was written, this is still a very good story. It's exciting, well-plotted, and also ells us more about those hideous Star Trek: The Motion Picture Klingons. The surprise ending and tantalizing epilogue left me looking forward to "Oath of Vengeance" and "The Cost of Freedom."

From Caryn Clymer -- December 1982

Linda McInnis' "No Beach to Walk on," while short, was very, very well done. Now that's the way to handle characterization! Linda's "A Collection of Lines" is a fine character piece.

Bonnie Reitz's "Masks" was great!! She can really write well. She manages to put so much action into her work. It really makes the story live for me....

Nomad's "The Human Equation" is a fine character study of Lieutenant Xon. Nomad has taken a character sketch by Gene Roddenberry and made him live, with excellent results. Nomad's "No Place Like Home" (one of my favorites!) is one of the best characterizations of Kirk I have ever read. Such depth of feeling! He really gets inside the head of our beloved starship captain. Nomad also gives us a rip-roaring, slam-bang adventure story in "Incident on Xantharus" -- and gives us a tale about Captain Pike and the original crew to boot! I've always wanted to see a story like this one. Thanks, Nomad! His Julie Chastain character is well handled. That poor girl! After all she went though, to find out that the Hood's mission was just a decoy, well, the irony is really heart-rending. Nomad's writing goes beyond run-of-the-mill fan fiction; it's Star Trek with guts. He's not afraid to be a little dangerous or daring, and that's very refreshing. It might surprise you, but we ladies enjoy some sexiness in our reading material from time to time...

From Debbie Bryant -- October 1982

Jeffrey Woytach's "The Balance of Nature" -- I have to be honest and say that while the plot was acceptable, the actual writing needed some heavy-handed polishing. For instance, it was filled with things like "Kirk's command instinct gave him a little jolt." I don't know whether or not this is Jeffrey's first story, but he shows a lot of promise. {It indeed is his first and only story submitted to us for publication. - Randy}

Donna C. Clark's "The Anniversary Gift" -- I find it hard to accept that McCoy would join Starfleet on the spur of the moment. His feelings for Heather must have been non-existent if he let her go so easily.

Nomad's "Oath of Vengeance" -- This is one of the better stories you've published. The Klingons were suitably fiendish. However, telling in detail how the Klingons tortured their victims seemed to be the only reason for the story. Yes, I realize that the Klingons aren't your basic good ol' boys, and I understand that Nomad was graphically getting that point across. I liked the confrontation between Kang and Kral....

Nomad's "Mark of the Beast" contains excessive violence. I've read his other works and have noted his 'fascination' for bashing in or ripping out throats. He does it with such relish! I got the impression he wrote some of the story tongue-in-cheek. For instance, he was discussing the werewolf's preference for Human females as "simply a matter of taste." The werewolf was suitably beastly....[With the new uniforms of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the perscan units, ] Luka would have been quickly detected. {The new perscans devices are not present on every uniform, certainly not the shore-party duty uniform Riggins was wearing when he was killed. - Randy} There's one scene that still puzzles me. Luka has just killed ten security men. Kirk and Spock come racing around the corner and stop. The werewolf starts to lunge at Spock, but stops when Spock doesn't move. Luka then picks up his original prey and drags it away. Not one word of discussion from Kirk and Spock as to why the werewolf didn't tear them to shreds. It was unquestionably in a killing frenzy.

Harden, Landers and Morgan's "A Matter of Trust" -- I think I've read a similar story somewhere. Good idea! I found myself wishing it were longer. It would have been nice to have both groups thrown together for a longer period of time to see how they would interact....

"Homecoming" -- I like Nomad's inclusion of the captain's log. I wish more people would use it in their stories. The story was well-thought out until the part where Spock left for the desert. When I first started reading the story, my initial reaction was "ho-hum, another dull pon farr story." Then Nomad changed the direction of the story by having Spock decide to go to Vulcan and i.e. I really couldn't believe he was going to die, but I couldn't figure out what fortunate accident was going to save him. That's why the last half of the story was so disappointing to me. Having the Romulan, Di'on,   suddenly appear was just too convenient. From this point on, the story seems hurried, as if Nomad was tired of it and wanted to get it finished. {You might try reading Chris Dickenson's Keeper of the Katra. Chris builds on the situation created by Nomad and ends up giving Spock a bond-mate in the process. - Randy}

"The Once and Future Kirk" -- Sentimental, I thought. That is until I got to the part about the Lotus Stone, which is too much like those stories where they wake up at the end and discover it was all a bad dream. I'm glad the Klingons were there. Now, I can see them doing this to Kirk. If someone is going to do a story having Kirk, Spock, etc. having "bad dreams," there should be a good reason for it explained at the end of the story. Nomad did a good job on this one. His writing is getting better all the time....

Linda McInnis' "A Collection of Lines" was a good change of pace story. It's nice to read something that hasn't been rehashed dozens of times. I did get the impression it was written in a detached manner. What I mean is that is seems like Linda wrote it like it wasn't from personal experience or anything. It seems to be what she imagined or maybe what someone told her the experience should be. I don't know; I really can't explain. I just couldn't get involved in the story.

Nomad's "The Human Equation" is another one of the best you've published. I think Nomad did the right thing by just bringing Xon aboard the ship instead of trying to explain how he avoided the transporter accident. {Actually, that was Commander Sonak who died in the movie's transporter scene, not Xon. Xon was created  for Star Trek Phase II and we've used him rather extensively in the Orion Universe. - Randy} My favorite part was where he picked up other people's daydreams. That's an intriguing possibility that should be used in more stories containing Vulcans.

From Terry Sue Shank -- October 1982

"A Collection of Lines" by Linda McInnis -- A sensitive examination of the pressures of starship duty have exerted on the lives and marriage of a young Starfleet couple. The first person narrative, from the point of view of the young wife, was handled well, and served to intensify the feeling of loss and sadness. Thanks again, Linda!

"The Human Equation" by Nomad --  I had been looking forward to reading Nomad's Xon story, and as expected, it was terrific! In my opinion, Xon's character was handled sensitively and accurately -- just as it should have been had Xon ever made it to the TV/movie screen. The Xon fantasy scenes, of course, could not have gotten a PG rating. However, in the context of the story, I found it amusing and within limits. I also found Doctor McCoy's advice to Xon very much in character, and his explanations of Vulcan sex-appeal insightful. Great story! Thanks, from an Nomad fan!

From Roberta Rogow -- October 1982

Jody Crouse's "To Weather a Storm" was a good, solid adventure. Linda McInnis' "Only the Sound Remains" was marvelous! Spock as a merman? Lord! Linda's "A Collection of Lines" is a nice look at the Enterprise crew -- I guess there are a couple of people like that on every spaceship....And I like Xon as seen in Nomad's "The Human Equation." It took Spock nearly twenty years to learn with Humans, and he was half-Human himself! I don't know why women of Terran extraction crawl all over Vulcans either, unless it's the challenge of the hunt?

From Terry Sue Shank -- April 1982

"Mark of the Beast" by Nomad -- a very well done werewolf adventure story. I especially enjoyed the description and dialogue of Ensign Scott Riggins and Lieutenant Taryn Spring, the unfortunate young lovers. The plot was compelling, the description vivid -- a good story! However, that description was a bit too vivid for my tastes. Those some explicit scenes were necessary, with all that blood and gore, I believe even a real werewolf might've gotten a little queasy!

"A Matter of Trust" by Tom Harden, Randy Landers and Kevin Morgan -- a good science fiction Star Trek story. I liked the character, Chief Security Officer McMahan. The dialogue between Kirk and McMahan regarding her competency was good. I don't totally agree with her resentful attitude or her need to overcompensate, but I understand it. Kirk handled the situation well, of course.

"To Weather a Storm" by Jody Crouse -- An omnipotent computer runs amok and using severe weather conditions as its weapon. Interesting premise, good action.

"Only the Sound Remains" by Linda McInnis -- After reading some of her other stories, I was eager to read this one. I was not disappointed! Good science fiction. The story was intriguing, the description vivid. Because of McInnis' talent for imagery, I can see why Spock was tempted by and drawn to Ryllen and her lovely underwater world. I'm looking forward to more McInnis stories.

From Patt Demetri -- April 1982

"To Weather a Storm" was well thought out, and the ending was terrific. Mother Nature would be proud of Jody Crouse. "Only the Sound Remains," by Linda McInnis, was also well written, and her characters interacted well with each other. The storyline was unusual enough to grab my interest. I have enjoyed reading all the stories. Keep it up.

From Lois Camacho -- April 1982

Jody Crouse's "To Weather a Storm" was full of action and adventure. And it must have been 'fascinating' to Spock to find he had a fish tail in Linda McInnis story, "Only the Sound Remains." It certainly was a very interesting situation.

From Gennie Summers -- April 1982

Read "Homecoming" today and enjoyed it thoroughly. Nomad reads easily and his characterizations seem good from a quick reading. A question: "Vulcans do not perspire?" What then do they do? Dogs, cats, and other lower animals perspire only through their noses, if at all, but exhale excess moisture through the breath. Vulcans neither pant nor do they have wet noses -- do they pass more water than Humans then? I find this point interesting to speculate. Why would Nomad state arbitrarily that Vulcans do not perspire, other than to add another difference between Humans and Vulcans? I've not encountered this 'fact' anywhere else. Perhaps it has to do with their internal temperature regulation -- Vulcan is a particularly hot world -- I should their there would be a need for the ability to perspire. Just speculation, no criticism....I could also go on, particularly about pon farr, but I won't this time, as I fear it would run into pages. It does seem at first reading that the vase of the Vulcan navigator shouldn't be the norm by any means. Vulcans should be very well informed as to the onset (warning signals) of pon farr in order to avoid his mistake. But I'll let it rest there. Again, this isn't meant as a criticism of Nomad's story. It was an element which served to strength the logic of Spock's decision to isolate himself on Vulcan...

Nomad's story, "The Once and Future Kirk" is also quite good in my humble opinion. I find it interesting, also, to speculate on the Klingons becoming allies of the Federation in Kirk's lifetime, even if it was in a dream. I rather prefer them to remain the chief enemies of the Federation, but their integration into Federation forces would present some interesting situations due to the usual callous nature of Klingons, at least of those we encountered in the aired version of Star Trek. Of course, the Andorians are a violent race, and have been successfully integrated with Humans in Starfleet. {A rather prophetic commentary, considering Lieutenant Worf was five years away when this letter was received. - Randy}

From Lois Camacho -- December 1981

Nomad's "Oath of Vengeance" was good. I hope the Klingons finally leave those two young people alone! {I'm afraid that they didn't. See "The Cost of Freedom." - Randy} I also enjoyed Nomad's story "Homecoming." He couldn't have thought of a better solution for Spock's problem. And thank you for posting the original, unedited version of Nomad's "The Once and Future Kirk."

From Vel Jaeger -- August 1981

Nomad's "Mark of the Beast" just didn't appeal to me. I find so much graphic violence to be very repulsive, and most of the story seemed to consist of flying viscera.

From Cheryl J. Shelton -- August 1981

Nomad's story, "The Wages of Vengeance" was well-presented in the opening page. It had good sentence structure and direction. This story was creative to bring in something new to the Star Trek canon and make it fit: that's the Barrier Alliance. Something that writers forget, and the series did, too, is that of course there would be embassies of the Klingons, etc., on any planet the Federation would be interested in. This story had mystery and action. There is a very good description of the Klingons in this somewhat brutal story.

From Linda McInnis -- June 1981

Let me begin with Nomad's story "The Mark of the Beast," which is as good a place as any, I suppose. The overall premise intrigued me, since I am an avid fan of vampire and werewolf stories. My major complaint with this story was its gruesome attention to visceral detail. My opinion is, in a story of this nature, that less is more. One well-crafted sentence can cause more goosebumps than pages and pages of blood-soaked description. Frankly, there were times when I didn't really want to finish the story because I was getting nauseous. A couple of other problems: the way that the werewolf curse got back to its home planet from Earth. If Earth's moon triggered the glad, wouldn't leaving the influence of that moon reduce the gland's function? How then could they infect the inhabitants of their own planet when they returned? Was it a disease or a genetic mutation or what? {Actually, it was my decision not to try to delve into a technobabble explanation for their condition. I figured it was be boring to the readers. - Randy}  I did like the explanation of the diren. Might be interested to write a story about one of those people who joins Starfleet -- an interesting foil for M'ress, no? Another problem I had was dealing with Kirk's reaction when they finally cornered Luka. True, the thing had killed nineteen of his crew, but...Trevlek had just explained that this thing was incorrigible; Kirk himself had seen just what Luka could do; it was either get rid of it or blow up the Enterprise. I really don't think James T. would be in a particularly compassionate mood right then.

Now, on to Harden, Landers and Morgan's "A Matter of Trust." The idea of an electrical energy being who is so sensitive to our own mental impulses that our presence kills them was a good one. I didn't think of the Organians until you mentioned them; I think because these beings never actually appear in Human form (except in the corpses). Also, having to deal with the Romulans on a one-to-one, sticks and stones level presents excellent opportunities. And here's where I have a big problem. These two groups are stranded, right? No modern equipment, right? They gotta work together to fight these risen corpses who are attacking both sides, right? Where is the conflict? True, Rosenberg got a spear through the chest, but that's expected. Where was the mistrust, the verbal sparring, the desperation that each leader should have shown when finally forced to make a truce with the enemy? And for God's sake, Randy, where is the reaction when Kirk thinks he sees the Enterprise blow up in the sky above him??? It's like someone had broken his shuttlecraft, or something equally inane. And then there's this line: "He knew he shouldn't think about it, but he felt he had to." Come on. That's like telling someone who came home from a movie one night to find their house in smoldering ruins, and their whole family inside those ruins, that they really shouldn't think about it. Kirk would be knocked flat. True, he might pour himself into the problem at hand to try and forget, but he would not be as rational and calm as you portrayed him. In fact, he might make his fatal mistake her because he could not think straight due to grief. I saw no grief at all.  {I'm afraid the writers drew upon the events of "That Which Survives" for Kirk's reaction, which was admittedly subdued. - Randy} And the scene between McMahan and Kirk, just after they escaped the Romulans -- I seethed. :Why not try to be more of a woman than a man?" Indeed!!! And just before that -- "He chose to make his point." Just what point was he trying to make? I never figured it out. Then after that endearing little conversation, Kirk hopes that little McMahan will be a better officer for it. Good grief, they're stranded on a planet. They had no way of contacting Starfleet.  The best they can hope for is that the Enterprise will be missed, and a search team will be sent out. But with the unstable situation of the planet, they probably won't be alive to be found. That whole section seemed unrealistic to me. {I was of the opinion that even if Kirk and his landing party were stranded that they would continue with the command structure. - Randy} I guess I've come down a little hard this time, but "A Matter of Trust" just wasn't up to your usual literary standards. I know that you are action-adventure oriented, but there's no rule that says you have to sacrifice believable character relationships for shoot-'em-ups with the Romulans.

From Marnie Strom -- June 1981

Nomad is coming right along. He's developed the new breed of villain in the Kh'myr Klingons -- getting good mileage out of the changes in the movie. I really did like Resurrection...I for one really enjoy getting into the characters' heads to see what makes them tick -- it gives me additional insight into myself I guess. Nomad tackled a few things I had wondered about myself and supplied plausible explanations (i.e. why crewmen weren't affected on the Enterprise's subsequent crossings of the energy barrier, and whether or not the rockslide would be sufficient enough to kill Gary Mitchell). Uhura and Gary's romance developed in record time, however, and that did seem to stretch things a bit.

From Roberta Rogow -- June 1981

Nomad's "Homecoming" --  At last, a Spock-in-pon-farr story that makes sense! The Romulan Commander is the perfect answer to Spock's sex drive. The Sarek and Amanda sections were well-handled, too. Now, if the Romulan really wanted détente--but that's another story!

"The Once and Future Kirk" by Nomad -- I'm not enthusiastic about time-travel stories (even though I've written a few), and I'm even less enthusiastic about the "It was all a dream/illusion/drug experience" ending. Nomad's gotten better since he wrote this one...

From Alex Rosen -- June 1981

..."Mark of the Beast," written by Nomad, was a little tacky, but I liked the explanation of Earth's werewolves....

From Linda McInnis -- June 1981

Nomad's "Homecoming" -- Overall, this one is excellent. The building of tension as Spock goes further and further into pon farr is gripping. I kept waiting for him to finally snap. I really think if Spock were "caught" in that situation, he would react as Nomad wrote him. Always the strong, silent, long suffering type. And he accuses McCoy of a martyr complex! Also, his revelation of his love for Amanda was a touching scene. Wish we'd seen what happened when he came back! And I must mention...the return of the Romulan Commander was worked in so well. What could have been contrived and awkward, or both, Nomad has handled very smoothly.  All together, this is one of Nomad's best stories.

Which brings me to "The Once and Future Kirk." Wow! That first scene is a real tear-jerker! Of course, I'm a sucker for Kirk anyway, but Nomad really pegged the captain this time! A question: how about a sequel where Kirk begins to remember, flash by flash, what he saw in his future. How would it affect his decisions in a life threatening crisis? Nomad?

From Jeff Card -- June 1981

Although written with a plot not unfamiliar to science fiction, Nomad's "Mark of the Beast" was a nicely done story, with some original touches to the werewolf legend.

Thomas Harden, Randy Landers and Kevin Morgan's "A Matter of Trust" had good characterizations, even Spock coming through true-to-form at the very last minute. I feel the Enterprise landing party didn't react to the destruction of their ship as strongly as they might have, but I suppose they did have their immediate survival on their minds.

From Roberta Rogow -- May 1981

Regarding Nomad's "Oath of Vengeance" -- I like the idea of the two warring Klingon factions, and I wish Nomad could have stuck with that, because the rest of the story was an exercise in the sort of "get-'em" stuff that gives honest porn a bad name. Rape, torture, nudity -- and for what? So that Spock can wipe it away with a few magic words? If you're going to have your heroine go through all that stuff, you've got to be honest and show her dealing with the after-effects -- otherwise, the story makes no psychological sense. As for the Kh'myr Klingon, that's a reversion to the old-style idea of the "Mongol Hordes with Ray Guns" that has been pretty thoroughly debunked by Klingon fanciers in fandom, ranging from Paula Smith to Fern Marder to Carol Walske. The bumpy-headed "movie" Klingons are mechanical monsters, with no real dimension to them. They are the Nazi beasts, and they don't NEED a ship's whore. Nomad, next time, stick to the in-fighting amongst the Klingons and save the X-rated stuff for the back-room where it belongs. {This story and letter were both written and published before Star Trek: The Search for Spock wherein we pretty much see that Nomad's interpretation of the Klingon race was in fact prophetic. It also should be pointed out that Nomad's Kh'myr Klingons are based on the original conception of the Klingons, as mentioned in Stephen Whitfield's The Making of Star Trek. It says of them that "cruelty is something admirable; honor is a despicable trait. They will go out of their way to provoke an incident with the Federation." Nomad simply adapted this as the basis for his Klingons. I also feel compelled to point out that several other criticisms of Roberta's were addressed in the sequel, "The Cost of Freedom." - Randy}

From Damon Hill -- May 1981

Nomad seems to be your best writer. He's bit lurid and over-dramatic at times, but his character and plot development show an awful lot of promise....the ending of Resurrection was a cop-out. However, I wasn't too happy with the original "Where No Man Has Gone Before" story either. That 'energy barrier' business just plain rubs me the wrong way..."

From Jody Crouse -- May 1981

Nomad's story, "Oath of Vengeance," is one of the better ones [on your website.] It was a nice sequel, and it fit the other story quite well. I liked Donna C. Clark's "The Anniversary Gift." Jeffrey Woytach's "The Balance of Nature" was a good story.

From Linda McInnis -- May 1981

Nomad's "Oath of Vengeance" -- Overall, I believed this one more than "The Wages of Vengeance." A good job on the Klingon characterization. For once, I really believed these were the bad guys, instead of just cardboard cutouts with black hats. There was some interesting interplay between the characters of Kull and Klyn that made them breathe for me, and the development of Kang and the history of the Kh'myr and their takeover of the Empire are completely believable to me.

I do have several complaints, though. First of all, when Kang warned Kral about Kirk early on, I expected a great confrontation later. There was none. When Kirk and his men break into the Klingon bunker, nothing happens! What a lost opportunity.

I also take great exception to the ending. Contrived to say the least. In the first place, Spock would never just go and meld with those two without consulting anyone. At the least, he should have volunteered it to McCoy or spoken with Teresa's uncle. And then if he had gone ahead, he would never have erased those memories. Aided the bruised minds, soothed, healed, maybe even blurred, yes, but never erase. Good or bad, whatever happens to a person in his or her life is what makes up that total person, and Spock, with his famous Vulcan reverence for life, would never take it upon himself to change even the worst part of someone else's life.

Now a word about the characterization of Teresa. Once I get past the combination of Wonder Woman and Barbarella, I see a good strong woman, no-nonsense and capable. I like her in spite of her physical attributes, which is a compliment to Nomad's characterization talents. If he can get me past the physical, and he does, I have no problem with Serenidad's little princess. I do think a little less dwelling on description of her endowments and a little more on her ability to run her planet might have made a strong story and character even stronger. How much stronger she could have been (and her husband, too) had she been allowed to deal with what happened to her, I suppose we'll never know, as she has been magically returned to innocence, completely untouched by all that's happened. Life ain't like that, Nomad.

Ah well, enough about that. Really enjoyed Donna C. Clark's "The Anniversary Gift." I do have a softness for the McCoy stories anyway, but Donna's had a good catch at the end, too. Jeffrey Woytach's "The Balance of Nature" was a fine first story, though it had strong overtones of both "Obsession" and "The Alternative Factor." I think it could have been a bit shorter, quicker to the point. I do hope to see more of Jeffrey's work.

From Linda McInnis -- March 1981

"Until Judgment" [by Nomad, Thomas Harden and Randall Landers] has an interesting premise. There was some good tension as the star began to get more and more unstable. Bringing Palamas back was a twist....One segment in the story I had a little trouble with was the conversation between Rand and Chapel just after Rand was zapped. I think that if I had just taken a mega-volt charge, I probably wouldn't remember who Captain Kirk was, much less remember how I felt about him. Also, I think Aleph's complete turnabout is not quite believable. A bit more convincing by someone else (perhaps Spock?) was needed. Altogether, though, a well-paced story.

I truly enjoyed Terry Endres' "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective," although I think the author might have challenged Mister Spock a bit more. 20cc's of strawberry soda with 2 cc's of dry vermouth? Hmmm.  {It amused me to no end that many of our readers (as you will see if you read on) enjoyed this story, and yet it is derided on "God-awful Star Trek Fan Fic" website. - Randy}

Randy Landers' story, "The Sound of Death" rang so true to me! Scary. I've often wondered how many people I know would react to a coherent signal from outer space. I hope it won't be that way. Good work!

From Melody Rondeau -- March 1981

Nomad's "The Wages of Vengeance" is a darn fine Trek tale with good characters throughout, and I'll accept the explanation of the 'new' Klingons. The Kh'myr Klingon is disgusting and a true villain. I do think the execution of the Klingon communications officer was unnecessary and wasteful, but I suppose it could be argued that the Klingon penalty for disobeying any order is death, however minor the infraction. {This story and letter were published well before "The Search for Spock" was filmed. Nomad's interpretation of the Klingon Empire turned out to be spot-on as far as the classic Star Trek films were concerned. - Randy}

Nomad's novella, Resurrection: Frankly, I am floored! This is the best I've read in a Star Trek zine in a looooooonnnnnnggggg time! And Uhura is intelligently written! (I don't know if I can handle the output of talent this man, Nomad, has.) I have never been a Gary Mitchell fan, but I was hooked from the first few paragraphs--this is a major part of the struggle for any writer: to grab that audience and make them want to read on. The dialogue and characterizations are brilliant. He shows us just enough to titillate us, but holds back just enough to keep us coming on. By the end of this novelette, I actually cared about Mitchell! You have succeeded, Nomad, and done brilliantly. More! More!

My only gripe with Nomad, Harden and Landers' "Until Judgment" is that the landing party was captured a tad too easily for my tastes. And Aleph's switch over was a little too abrupt.

Linda McInnis' short story, "Completion," was an excellent little after-the-fact story based on Scalos. Brief, to the point, and not unnecessarily cluttered with useless prose in an attempt to lengthen it.

My only gripe with Terry Endres' "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective" is that some mention should have been made that the three "drunken" Klingons were Kh'myr.

Randy Landers' "The Sound of Death" -- What can I say? I liked it; I was impressed (and this is not just because I agree with it). How can man be so vain as to believe that an all powerful God would confine himself to creating only intelligent beings on Earth? Good grief, the Lord created the entire universe; it's just plain foolish to assume that we're the only intelligence out there.

From Don Harden -- March 1981

Nomad, Tom Harden and Randy Landers' "Until Judgment" was nicely handled with some good dialogue. It had qualities reminiscent of "BEM," but it seemed to rise above that Gerrold story. I thought it was very gripping.

Terry Endres' "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective" was okay, and the characterizations were smooth.

From Roberta Rogow -- March 1981

"Until Judgment" is a classic situation; the so-called Superior race versus the Inferior. I think Nomad, Harden and Landers carried it off very well; although I question the use of the Enterprise crew to do the actual digging. Usually a team of trained experts would do that part of it, and the Enterprise people would be there only as a precautionary measure.

Linda McInnis' "Completion" is probably one of the best stories you've published; it's just beautiful, and it makes sense in terms of the episode. I'm glad that the Scalosians made it.

Finally, Terry Endres' "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective" gives Scotty a new role: Watson to Mister Spock's Sherlock!

From Jody Crouse -- March 1981

I liked Randy Landers' "The Sound of Death." It's different. This takes the 'parallel development' concept off on a new tangent. Until now, every other parallel story has had the inhabitants surviving the contamination. In this one, they didn't.

Nomad, Harden and Landers' "Until Judgment" was pretty good and even interesting at that. I thought the story could've been better. I think the usage of the spheres was too much like the Sargon episode.

Linda McInnis' "Completion": I loved it!

Terry Endres' "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective": It's a good and funny, hilarious story. I liked it; it was unusual.

From Mary Micke -- March 1981

I've just finished reading Nomad's Resurrection, and I enjoyed it very much. One of the things I like most about your press is that many of the stories are in the post:TMP setting. It serves to set up a continuity between the movie and whatever is to happen next. Keep up the good work.

From Nomad -- March 1981

...And now we come to Linda McInnis. What can I say? Randy, I don't know where you found her, but hang on to her! "Completion" was a great story. It displayed a lot of depth and understanding of emotional texture in characterization. The story was very appeal on several levels that might not be apparent at first. Excellent effort, and I hope she keeps writing.

Randy Landers' "The Sound of Death" was well-done. It almost had the ring of a parable....

My little brother, Terry,  has always had a sense of the ironic. His "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective" story was a bit of wry fun. I'll try to convince him to write more.

Donna Clark really came into her own in "The Anniversary Gift." It's a fine, sensitive piece. She does a great job of characterization in this one.

Jeffrey Woytach's "The Balance of Nature" was a fine debut story. It may have leaned just a bit heavily on the technological jargon, but it was obvious he knew what he was doing. I hope he keeps writing.

From Donna C. Clark -- March 1981

Jeffrey Woytach's "The Balance of Nature" was a nice little story, but I think when Kirk would weigh the possibility of two universes being destroyed, or even the countless billions of lives in his own, the choice would already have been made.

From Richard G. Pollet -- February 1981

....Nomad's story, "The Wages of Vengeance," was a well-done, no-nonsense story, much like his "The Last Survivor," which was also about Klingons. I don't mean to say it was similar in story line, though.... Just equally well written...

From Velda Roddy -- February 1981

....Randy Landers' "Plague!" tended to drift a little, but I really like the plot solution of the decompression factor....

"The Wages of Vengeance" was excellent. My compliments to Nomad. It was just the kind of story that exemplifies what...I look for in good Trek. I say back to wade through the story, but not when I got to the assassination! I couldn't put the book down. It had that special blend of Human sufferings, failings and plot twists that made Star Trek was it is. I look forward to more of Nomad's writing.

From Alex Rosen -- February 1981

....As far as Resurrection goes, I like how Nomad explains the new Klingons. I also liked the twist with the Ph'ecdalyns, especially since it was quite obvious that Mitchell had two personalities. The rest of it wasn't impressive, but all in all, it was decent. I guess I'm partial to action-adventure stories, rather than love stories. That's why I liked parts of it, and disliked others.

From Jody Crouse -- February 1981

...I liked Nomad's "The Wages of Vengeance." In my opinion, it is one of the best stories [on your website.]

I think Nomad also really did a good job with Resurrection. I think with possibly a few exceptions, I'd be hard put to find fault with it. I think Nomad got the characterizations pretty fairly pegged and in a story like this, that's 3/4th the battle. I especially liked the last couple of scenes: 1) where Kirk stuck to the bridge despite everything. 2) Uhura firing the final missile. And 3) all of them trooping off for what I think will amount to a final tribute to Gary even though it is going to result in several pretty severe hangovers. All in all, I liked the story really well.

From Lois Camacho -- February 1981

...Thank you for including Resurrection by Nomad [on your website]. It was a fascinating story. I think you should solicit more novellas from him. Nomad is an excellent writer.

From Mitchell B. Craig -- February 1981

Nomad et al's "Until Judgment" was a very excellent story, but I do have one small complaint. Are you going to bring back everyone who served aboard the Enterprise? If you are, you're going to have to get some god-being to resurrect all those crewmen killed in the line of duty: Darnel, Green, Kelso, Tormolen, Matthews, Rayburn, Tomlinson, Jackson, Galloway, Rizzo, Lieutenant Tracey, Thompson, Harper, Watkins and D'Amato, just to name a few. Seriously, I didn't mind seeing Riley and Palamas again, although some new crewmembers could be interesting. {One of the strengths of Orion Press is that we do call upon the established characters time and time again for appearances in our stories. It adds to the continuity of the original Star Trek universe and to the continuity of the Orion Universe. - Randy}

So Nomad has a talented brother/sister? {Terry is Nomad's brother, in fact. - Randy} "The Adventure of the Vulcan Detective" was a nice little detective piece....Donna C. Clark's "The Anniversary Gift" was excellent....However, did Linda McInnis' "Completion" have some sort of cosmically meaningful significance? Even if it did, it's a dud. Sorry about that, Linda. {It's actually a clever sequel to "Wink of an Eye." Read it from that perspective, and I think you'll see it's actually a well-written piece. - Randy} And Randall Landers' Bible lesson, "The Sound of Death" was very apt.

From Tim Farley -- February 1981

I enjoyed Nomad's Resurrection immensely. A very well written story.... The plot did advance a bit too quickly near the end; it was like SLAM! BANG! BOOM! "Let's go home." However, I had no qualms about any of the plot elements. Really liked the idea of the energy barrier as a lifeform -- explains both the bizarre character changes in Mitchell (in the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before" as well as Nomad's story) when he gets the power, and the unexplainable "barrier," which always seemed hokey to me.

Nomad, Harden and Landers' "Until Judgment" was another great story...I thought the "let's spill our guts scene" between Rand and Chapel was a bit forced, though. Those little touches are what makes a great story, but that one seemed a bit far out. The ending seemed a bit rushed, as in  Resurrection; you would think that the bridge crew would have had more of a reaction to their well-loved colleagues appearing before them from the brink of death. Of course, it was a very tight command situation...

Really enjoyed "Completion" immensely. What has Linda McInnis been doing all these years -- letting Star Trek fandom suffer without her great talents? Hope she will do more things for Orion Press, perhaps some longer stories. {Linda went on to write an extensive number of stories for the Orion Universe, as well as edit Stardate 14 and create the fanzines Idylls and Beyond the Farthest Star for us. - Randy}

From Tim Farley -- December 1980

Nomad's "The Wages of Vengeance" is perhaps one of the best Star Trek stories I have read. The Kirk-murders-the-King scene kind of caught me funny at first, but this was quickly overcome by the quality of the rest of the story.

From Don Harden -- December 1980

I thought Nomad's "The Wages of Vengeance" was well-written. It works very well. The only thing that didn't work was where Kyr kills the Kirk-double and leaves the body. You would think he would've gotten rid of the evidence.

From Mitchell B. Craig -- December 1980

...for individual stories, let's discuss "The Wages of Vengeance." The best way I can sum up my feelings about it is, "Nomad, where were you when Star Trek: The Motion Picture needed a writer?" It would make a very good Star Trek movie. The Klingon warrior Kyr was the penultimate embodiment of evil; he makes Darth Vader look like a fairy. And Princess Teresa is one of the strongest female characters I've seen. Very good all around.

From Eva Craig -- December 1980

"The Wages of Vengeance" was very good. I like the vicious Klingon... [Nomad] has the characterizations right, and it's quite well-done, and I like it. And I really liked the ending...

From Alex Rosen -- December 1980

Nomad's "The Wages of Vengeance" is excellent. Is there a sequel? {Several, including "Oath of Vengeance" and "The Cost of Freedom." - Randy}  I like the Kh'myr Klingons.

From Donna Cunningham -- November 1980

Randy Landers' "Plague!" was a little too long. Also, there was no specific mention of shore-leave being canceled once the crew had come down with the plague....Alex Rosen's "Meeting at Xanadu" was very good, and....Nomad's "The Last Survivor" was well-written, but I dislike stories with sad endings that inspire only horror, not sympathy from me.

From Karl Troeller -- November 1980

Randy Landers' "Plague!" was an average Star Trek fanfic story; the mystery was handled well, but there was little else in the story. Perhaps this was intended. Thomas Harden's "The Salos Sell-out" was not much different; there was more of a recognizable tone in the piece, but the writing was uneven.

From Jody Crouse -- October 1980

Randy Landers' "Plague!" I liked. It had a good idea, and followed progression. I liked the bit about the bends and McCoy's medical log made for a different approach and angle. I liked the line "Bones, are you forgetting we're in the biggest pressure chamber devised by man?" Pretty good, but it could've been better with another rewrite and a little more characterization. Usually, Kirk saves the ship, and having McCoy do it is a good switch. A bit abrupt.

Thomas Harden's "The Salos Sell-out" was a bit abrupt again. Instead of playing scenes to the hilt, Tom jumped from scene to scene. The story was fine, but more characterization was needed. More explanation was also needed on what Spock was doing in the archives. Really abrupt ending had too simple a solution.

Nomad's "The Last Survivor" I liked really well. It might've ended a bit abruptly, but perhaps there was nothing else that could be done. I would like to see Kirk's landing party to the planet with him as a lieutenant, but I don't think anyone has written one like that.

From Alex Rosen -- August 1980

...Nomad's "The Last Survivor" gives an excellent reason for the new Klingons, and a bit more of a glimpse of the 'new' Spock as well...

From Richard G. Pollet -- August 1980

...Alex Rosen's "Meeting at Xanadu" was pretty well done. I'd like to meet a character in a story that's interested in a time period other than our own, though, like the 21st or 22nd century. But then, I guess it's just too big a temptation to pass up, and it really doesn't hurt the story.

Nomad's "The Last Survivor" is among the post powerful of all the stories on the website, and it actually had a moral, something you don't see in many fan written stories.

From Lois M. Camacho -- May 1980

Randy Landers' story, "Plague!" was good, but I don't understand how the captain could recover so quickly when you had him dying in the beginning of the story. {Oxypyrilene works wonders. - Randy}

From Richard G. Pollet -- December 1979

Randy Landers' "Plague!" and Thomas Harden's "The Salos Sell-out" weren't bad, but ended a bit abruptly.

From Kevin Morgan -- December 1979

Randy Landers' "Plague!" was an interesting story, but it was way too long...


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