Revisiting Fan Fiction

2021 is here, and, so far, I’m not impressed. But, as the year laughs at my meager expectations for it, throws them down in the mud, stomps on them, urinates all over them, and then flips me the bird for good measure, I press on. 2021 is a petulant child, and perhaps a lot of encouragement and a few timeouts will train it up into an acceptable adult.

And let’s not rule out spanking. I will put this year over my knee if it pushes me too far, no matter what Psychology Today says about the damage to Baby New Year’s tender self-esteem.

I believe I’ve mentioned that I haven’t been writing. Or have I? In case I haven’t mentioned it, I haven’t been writing. But then you know that, don’t you? If I had been writing, you’d be reading about it here.

In an effort to get myself back in touch with the writer within, who has taken to living in a shack with no central heat or running water somewhere in the uncharted wilds of my cerebral cortex, living off Squirrel meat and hoarded cases of Key Lime LaCroix, I have been revisiting opuses past. (Opii?)

To wit, I’ve been reading and gently correcting (which involves neither timeouts nor spanking) my fan fiction, written between 1982 and 1996. I’ve also been sharing it on AO3, as I’ve been sharing some of the works of my late mother-in-law, Bev Volker, and her sister, Nancy Kippax.

Writing characters not your own in universes you didn’t create can, if approached with care, but a stimulating mental exercise for the writer. Going back and reading those exercises can be pleasantly nostalgic. It can also be cringe-worthy. If you’re honest, it can give you a glimpse into who you used to be and how you got where you are.

And, at the end of the exercise, maybe—just maybe—you’ll feel up to doing original writing again.

We’ll see.

In the meantime, if such appeals to you, my Fan Fic page has been updated with more links to the works that jump-started what we laughingly call my career. (And if you look closely, you’ll see that one more fan fic slipped out of me recently.)


Re-reading Jean Lorrah’s “Night of the Twin Moons” (Part Two of Two)

(Read Part One if you have not)

Penthesilea, the world on which Night of the Twin Moons is set, is a female-led culture. The name of the planet suggests that, if you know your mythology. Penthesilea was a queen of the Amazons, sister to the more-familiar Hippolyte, whom she had killed in a hunting accident, making her queen. In Greek myth, the Amazons were not, like Wonder Woman’s Amazons, women who lived without men on an island. They were warrior women who dominated their timid husbands, lopped off one of their breasts to make them better archers, and lived in the city-state of Themiscyra. 

Lorrah’s Penthesileans are likewise women who dominate their men, with the added wrinkle that there is a tremendous IQ differential between the women and the men, with few of the men being of even average intelligence, compared to humans, while the women’s intellects are comparable to those of earth people, or even Vulcans. The women therefore use men for breeding, swap men, retire (and castrate) men when they become too old to be attractive. It is heresy on Penthesilea to even suggest that a man could be as intelligent as a woman. Men are, essentially, livestock. Indeed, “one man” is a unit of currency. But Penthesileans are not Amazons, for the very simple reason that they are not warriors. War has never occurred on their world, because there is literally no competition between the sexes, and the choosing of a mate is so well regulated that there is no jealousy. 

Into this unusual paradise comes the Starship Enterprise, on a diplomatic mission to negotiate rights for the planet’s dilithium resources. Two big challenges are evident: One, the ambassador has to be female, since Penthesileans don’t believe men can think: two, the Penthesileans expect, if trade is to be opened with the Federation, to be paid in men. 

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The Pretender – Epilogue



The former radiation-proof bunker under what Tanya had dubbed “Moonbase Beta” had space enough for each of the seven human occupants to have separate quarters. Jackie would live with Sue, of course; but soon enough, he would grow and want his own room.

If they lived that long.

It wasn’t a bitter reflection from Victor Bergman, only a matter-of-fact one. The odds were against them. They had no Eagles, and couldn’t leave the confines of what was once a humble monitoring station. They had power, but only if they could keep the generator going. Food, water and oxygen they had, with the same caveat for the recycling plants. One failure would wipe them out.

The same had always been true of Alpha. But they had smaller numbers, and they didn’t have John Koenig.

Still, where there was life, there was hope.

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The Pretender – Act Four

Pretender_SmAfter the previous act, a few readers wondered if there would even be another. Hey, I said “Four acts,” right? I did. Go back and check. And, after this, there’s a brief epilogue.

Thanks again to my beta readers and proofreader, as well as to those of you who’ve shared and commented. Please Note re: Facebook: While I am still pushing blog links to FB, I am not monitoring my wall there. Needed to take a break for at least a couple of days, perhaps a permanent one. So, if you comment on FB, I won’t see it. You’re welcome and encouraged to comment here, though.


Victor Bergman was pleasantly surprised to find that he was not dead. He was also mildly surprised to find that he was still on the Moon, although not on Alpha. More of Quince’s trickery? He looked around him at the small room in which he’d appeared–as far as he knew–instantly after vanishing from Main Mission. He glanced out the viewports at a familiar lunar landscape, festooned with slagged heaps of white metal, scarred from a firestorm. He knew this place. He’d last been here months ago. Really, this was where everything had begun.

How could these buildings possibly have survived?

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The Pretender – Act Three

Pretender_SmACT THREE

The Author was prompt in his appearance. He materialized in the center of Main Mission and glared at Tanya Alexander. “Well, Koenig, have you made your choice?”

Koenig stepped forward, interposing himself between Tanya and the alien. “The boy has made it for us. He’s gone.”

The Author stared for a moment. Perhaps he was attempting to read Koenig’s facial expression, perhaps his mind. Perhaps he was merely scanning the base with his own extrasensory abilities. When he spoke, he said, “You’re lying.”

Koenig made a sweeping gesture. “You can search anywhere you like. You won’t find him here.”

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The Pretender – Act Two

Pretender_Sm ACT 2

 “This person you’re running from,” said Victor, “who is he?”

“He is–I suppose you’d call him an author,” said the boy.

They were in Victor’s lab, with Verdeschi stationed outside. Koenig had agreed to let Victor, who seemed to share an affinity with the boy, question him alone. Before they decided what to do about the ultimatum they had received, they needed more information.

“And, ah, what does this author write?” Victor asked.

“He doesn’t write. He creates–stories, realities. He brings them into being for amusement. His own and that of others.”

“Do you mean to say that he–he creates universes? As entertainment?”

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The Pretender – Act One


Pencils by Steven H. Wilson, Inks by Ethan H. Wilson

Shout-out to Paul Balze for–as always–speedy and thorough proofreading!


 In Medical Centre, Koenig and Bergman looked up as Helena Russell entered from the isolation ward. She’d insisted the boy be kept separate from other patients, due to his unknown origins.

“He’s alive,” said Helena, scratching her head. “But in a coma.”

“I swear he was dead, Helena,” said Koenig. “There was no pulse.” Continue reading

The Pretender – Teaser


Pencils by Steven H. Wilson, Inks by Ethan H. Wilson

Okay, I’m a little self-conscious about this. Forty years ago this Fall, ten-year-old me fell in love with a new TV show called Space:1999. I started writing when I was 11, and, after my first “original” short story was complete, I began writing Space: 1999 fan fic. It was my passion and it launched me on the path to an addiction–I mean a career–albeit only a part-time career, in writing. So, near the end of the show’s 40th anniversary year, and, quite frankly, exhausted from almost two decades of building my own universes, I decided to return to my roots and honor the show by writing a “lost episode.” This is prose, but it’s built on the four-act structure that dramatic television used in the 1970s. I hope it feels like a novelization of an episode you never saw. 

And, as with all fan fic, the characters and world are not mine, aside from the guest star characters I created. I’m borrowing them without permission, not for profit of any kind, just to celebrate something I loved with other people who may have loved it too. I hope you’ll pardon an otherwise professional writer taking a detour. And I’d like to further point out that a lot of very talented people like John Kenneth Muir and Andrew E.C. Gaska have actually been licensed to write new Space: 1999 adventures, and I don’t mean to detract from their work in any way. 

Oh, and I’d like to thank my beta-readers: Sharon Van Blarcom, Russell Wooldridge, Susanna Reilly and Cheri Rosen, for encouragement and insight. 

The Pretender

Computers can go mad.

An ignorant man would say a computer was mad when it simply did what he asked it to do, but not what he expected it to do. The more sophisticated idiot knew this was folly, but assumed that the computer would always do exactly what it was told to do. David Kano knew better. He knew that, just like every other intelligent creature, an artificial intelligence could be touched by madness.

David had been given his first computer at the age of 13 and had fallen in love. But when the burgeoning personal computer industry had died a-borning, consumed by a devastating world war, David had taken up working on the massive, shared systems owned only by governments, universities and industrial giants.

Moonbase Alpha’s computer had been his employer’s masterpiece, and he had been her lead developer. She was the most sophisticated brain ever built, superior, in David’s eyes, to a human brain. When she was installed, David had come with her. For five years they’d been intimates, partners, practically a human/machine married couple. He knew her every habit and idiosyncrasy.

Today, he feared for her sanity. Continue reading

Save the Fanzines! (Even if you don’t know what they are)

philconSo I’m at Philcon, America’s oldest running science fiction convention. Tonight, I’m doing a panel about fanzines of the past, present and future. A big piece of my agenda in proposing this discussion was to plug something that’s (obviously) very close to my heart: preserving fanzines. For the uninitiated, fanzines are amateur magazines published by people who love some professional work, like Star Trek, Star Wars, Starsky and Hutch, and even some things that don’t begin with the four letters ‘S-T-A-R.’ They love these works so much that they just have to write about them, produce artwork inspired by them, compose songs about them.

When I got into science fiction and Star Trek fandom, dinosaurs roamed the earth. Seriously, my mother-in-law and her friends, who published fanzines, called themselves “dinosaurs,” because they’d been in fandom so long. Their zines (short for fanzine–please take notes) were beautiful, but printed on plain xerox paper and bound with staples or spiral combs. They were far more vulnerable to the ravages of age than, say, hardbound books. Forty years later, a lot of the existing copies are in tatters.

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