Star Trek Fanfiction

Data: Sir, I’m picking up a numeric value from the life form.

Picard: Is it less than zero?

Data: Negative.

Picard: Right, and is it?

Data: Negative.

Picard: That’s what I said.

Data: The number is not negative, sir.

Picard: Positive?

Data: Negative.

Picard: So it might be negative?

Data: Negative.

Picard: Yes, could it be?

Data: There’s no way it’s negative sir.

Picard: So, is it positive?

Data: Negative.

Picard: You just said it wasn’t.

Data: It isn’t.

Picard: It isn’t what? Positive or negative?

Data: Affirmative.

Picard: You’re making zero sense.

Data: No, captain, I’m sensing zero.

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Four Boys and the Golden Treasure


This is a story that I wrote when I was about ten years old. I’ll have you know I won finalist in the local contest for it. I reproduce it here exactly as it was originally printed, and then give the all-new author’s commentary version.


 

There were four of us, Jack, Tim, myself, and Bill. We were our fishing one day in a sailboat when Tim felt a tug on his line. He reeled in a large Chinook salmon. “Well I guess that’s our dinner,” said Bill.

“Don’t look now but it might not be,” I replied looking at our pail as the salmon flopped it over.

As the salmon flopped toward the edge of the boat, Jack, the oldest and strongest leaped to grab it. Unfortunately, when he landed he lost his balance and fell into the river. He sunk down into the deep and landed with a bump on the river bed. When he gathered up enough courage to open his eyes, he saw a dark opening that looked like a cave. “I wonder if an octopus lives in there,” Jack thought as he swam towards the cave. When he reached the cave entrance he looked in cautiously. In the dim light he could barely make out five burlap sacks. One of the sacks had fallen over and a few nuggets of gold were scattered on the ground. “Oh boy! I’m rich,” thought Jack. He quickly grabbed a bag of gold and swam towards the surface.

I was startled when Jack’s head popped out of the water and nearly fell in the river myself. Bill and Tim were relieved that a shark hadn’t eaten him. Jack brought the other bags up to the boat one at a time because the bags were heavy. We sailed to shore and headed home.

On our way home we talked about our gold. “I’m giving one nugget of gold to Mom and Dad, you three get one nugget among yourselves. I will keep the rest!” said Jack.

Just the Mrs. Sanders walked by. “Whatcha got in them bags, you guys?” Mrs. Sanders scowled.

“The fishes we just caught,” lied Tim, the youngest.

“In burlap sacks?” questioned Mrs. Sanders.

“You betcha,” replied Bill. “You boys are sure strange to do that,” she said with a small chuckle as she walked away.

“I think that we had better get home before someone stops us again,” I said to Jack.

“Good idea, they might ask to see inside the bags.” We ran the rest of the way home. Jack went and hid his treasure in his wall safe and hung his dinosaur picture of a Velociraptor over it.

That night I couldn’t get to sleep so I go out of my bed and turned on the late night eyewitness news. When I turned it on it said something about a car accident. Then it said “Mrs. Sanders saw four boys carrying burlap sacks today. The boys claimed that the sacks contained the fish they had caught. She told the police about it when she heard that five sacks of gold had been stolen from the St. Petersburg Museum. She identified the boys as Bill, Jack, Tim and Lemme Carter.”

“Holy Cow!” I yelled waking up my brothers.

“What’s all the noise for, Lemme?” asked Jack.

“The treasure you found was stolen from the museum.” I said. “Mrs. Sanders has gotten the police after us.!”

“Are you sure?” asked Tim.

“It was on the news,” I replied.

“Let’s go back to bed now,” said Billy sleepily.

“Good idea,” we agreed. Then we climbed into bed and went to sleep.

The next day a police officer came to our door. “Do you have any treasure?” asked the policeman.

“Yes,” I said nervously.

“How much?”

“Five bags full,” Jack said joining me with Bill and Tim.

“Then you’re under arrest for stealing five bags of gold,” said the policeman.

Hearing this, Tim dodged past the policeman and ran into the street.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into him, but now it’s gotten into me too,” said Bill as he raced past the policeman and into the street.

“Those two sure can be strange sometimes,” said Jack with a sigh.

“I can be strange sometimes too,” I said racing past the policeman.

“Come in and sit down,” said Jack. As the policeman stepped into the house Jack ran through the open door.

“Quick! Into the storm drain!” yelled Jack loudly. We climbed into the storm drain and started running as fast as we could. Aften ten minutes or so we stopped and looked around. Seven feet off the ground was a pipe we could climb into and hide. We climbed up into the pipe and started crawling as fast as we could. All of a sudden we heard shuffles behind us. The policeman was after us! We began to crawl faster. The policeman was faster than us and was coming closer…closer when we saw a light up ahead. We crawled for all we were worth towards the light. Finally we came to the end of the tunnel. We looked out and saw the river below. We leaped into the river and sunk down to the bottom.

When we opened our eyes we saw two dark shadowy figures swimming towards a cave. “Hey, that’s the cave I found the treasure in,” thought Jack. “And those people must be the thieves who stole the treasure.” Jack motioned to us to go up to the surface.

“I’ll tell the policeman,” thought Bill as we swam upwards. “Hey, mister, get down here!” yelled Bill, “We found the real thieves!” The policeman jumped into the river and followed us to the shadowy figures. He handcuffed and took the thieves up to the surface and out of the river.

“These guys are the Buddy Brothers, the police have been after them for years,” he told us.

Later we returned the gold and were given a reward for catching the Buddy Brothers and recovering the gold to grateful proprietors of the St. Petersburg Museum.





And now, here is the version with author’s commentary!


 

There were four of us, Jack, Tim, myself, and Bill. Yes, that was stolen from the beginning of Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. We were our fishing one day in a sailboat when Tim felt a tug on his line. He reeled in a large Chinook salmon. “Well I guess that’s our dinner,” said Bill.

“Don’t look now but it might not be,” I replied looking at our pail as the salmon flopped it over.

As the salmon flopped toward the edge of the boat, Jack, the oldest and strongest leaped to grab it. Unfortunately, when he landed he lost his balance and fell into the river. He sunk down into the deep and landed with a bump on the river bed. I hadn’t learned about the whole buoyancy thing yet. When he gathered up enough courage to open his eyes (What was he scared of? Not running out of oxygen apparently. I suspect this was a reflection of my childhood fear of getting water in my eyes), he saw a dark opening that looked like a cave. “I wonder if an octopus lives in there,” Jack thought (the first of many logical thoughts in this narrative. Oh, and holy POV fail, Batman! This POV is called “first-person psychic”) as he swam towards the cave. When he reached the cave entrance he looked in cautiously (still more concerned about an octopus than oxygen deficiency). In the dim light he could barely make out five burlap sacks. One of the sacks had fallen over and a few nuggets of gold were scattered on the ground. “Oh boy! I’m rich,” thought Jack. He quickly grabbed a bag of gold and swam towards the surface (buoyancy making up for lost time).

I was startled when Jack’s head popped out of the water and nearly fell in the river myself. Bill and Tim were relieved that a shark hadn’t eaten him. Wikipedia says there are indeed freshwater sharks. These are sharp kids to know that. Jack brought the other bags up to the boat one at a time because the bags were heavy. We sailed to shore and headed home.

On our way home we talked about our gold. “I’m giving one nugget of gold to Mom and Dad, you three get one nugget among yourselves. I will keep the rest!” said Jack. And that was OK with the rest of them.

Just the Mrs. Sanders walked by. “Whatcha got in them bags, you guys?” Mrs. Sanders scowled. Old people talk funny, obviously.

“The fishes we just caught,” lied Tim, the youngest.

“In burlap sacks?” questioned Mrs. Sanders. Burlap?! For fish?! Apparently I knew about some unwritten rule of fishing back then that I have since forgotten.

“You betcha,” replied Bill. Oh no, now the old person slang has got Bill. “You boys are sure strange to do that,” she said with a small chuckle as she walked away. Another realistic line of dialogue.

“I think that we had better get home before someone stops us again,” I said to Jack.

“Good idea, they might ask to see inside the bags.” We ran the rest of the way home. Jack went and hid his treasure in his wall safe and hung his dinosaur picture of a Velociraptor over it. I had that picture. This was right after Jurassic Park came out. I was a fan.

That night I couldn’t get to sleep so I go out of my bed and turned on the late night eyewitness news. When I turned it on it said something about a car accident. Then it said “Mrs. Sanders saw four boys carrying burlap sacks today. Mrs. Sanders, as usual, requires no introduction. The boys claimed that the sacks contained the fish they had caught. This is action news, folks! She told the police about it when she heard that five sacks of gold had been stolen from the St. Petersburg Museum. Fact: museums always display gold in burlap sacks. By the way, when I wrote this, I did not know that St. Petersburg was in Russia. She identified the boys as Bill, Jack, Tim and Lemme Carter.” I love how the police went to the news and compromised their identities, and didn’t actually come get the treasure. Good thing thieves don’t watch the news.

“Holy Cow!” I yelled waking up my brothers.

“What’s all the noise for, Lemme?” asked Jack.

“The treasure you found was stolen from the museum.” I said. “Mrs. Sanders has gotten the police after us.!”

“Are you sure?” asked Tim.

“It was on the news,” I replied. I was naïve and thought this statement answered the question.

“Let’s go back to bed now,” said Billy sleepily. Bill temporarily had a nickname.

“Good idea,” we agreed. In unison, apparently. Then we climbed into bed and went to sleep.

The next day a police officer came to our door. “Do you have any treasure?” asked the policeman. Ah, he approaches the matter casually. Wouldn’t want to be too specific.

“Yes,” I said nervously.

“How much?” He prepares his clever trap.

“Five bags full,” Jack said joining me with Bill and Tim. And they jump right in.

“Then you’re under arrest for stealing five bags of gold,” said the policeman. Rats! Four bags of gold is only a misdemeanor.

Hearing this, Tim dodged past the policeman and ran into the street. Not the pride of the academy, this guy.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into him, but now it’s gotten into me too,” said Bill as he raced past the policeman and into the street.

“Those two sure can be strange sometimes,” said Jack with a sigh.

“I can be strange sometimes too,” I said racing past the policeman.

“Come in and sit down,” said Jack. As the policeman stepped into the house Jack ran through the open door.

“Quick! Into the storm drain!” yelled Jack loudly. I was small when I wrote this. This made sense to me because I could have fit into the opening in the side of the curb into the storm drain. We climbed into the storm drain and started running as fast as we could. Aften ten minutes or so we stopped and looked around. Seven feet off the ground was a pipe we could climb into and hide. We climbed up into the pipe and started crawling as fast as we could. All of a sudden we heard shuffles behind us. The policeman was after us! We began to crawl faster. The policeman was faster than us and was coming closer…closer when we saw a light up ahead. We crawled for all we were worth towards the light. Finally we came to the end of the tunnel. We looked out and saw the river below. We leaped into the river and sunk down to the bottom. There goes buoyancy again.

When we opened our eyes we saw two dark shadowy figures swimming towards a cave. “Hey, that’s the cave I found the treasure in,” thought Jack. OK, why isn’t Jack the protagonist? “And those people must be the thieves who stole the treasure.” Jack motioned to us to go up to the surface.

“I’ll tell the policeman,” thought Bill (Oh good, I can’t keep the POV on the same wrong character) as we swam upwards. “Hey, mister, get down here!” yelled Bill, “We found the real thieves!” The policeman jumped into the river and followed us (because of that great relationship of trust we built earlier) to the shadowy figures. He handcuffed and took the thieves up to the surface and out of the river. He is a very strong swimmer, and does not require oxygen to survive or read Miranda rights.

“These guys are the Buddy Brothers, the police have been after them for years,” he told us. They should have tried to arrest them underwater earlier; it’s the only place where the police are competent.

Later we returned the gold and were given a reward for catching the Buddy Brothers and recovering the gold to grateful proprietors of the St. Petersburg Museum. Ah, falling action and resolution in one sentence. I was done writing I guess.

Wut

While going through some old papers, I found this story entitled How it Exploded, which I wrote back in middle school. Here it is:

How it Exploded

It exploded.

The End

 

I also found the sequel, which I had written on the same page. It’s called How it Didn’t Explode. I don’t think I need to transcribe that one.

Books

I love reading books. I grew up without a television, so books were the only way I could read stories. [Editor’s note: Why does everyone laugh at that sentence? I didn’t have a TV, for all I know you read on those too] Even back in elementary school, I read mostly science fiction and fantasy. I’m not sure if my brain is just wired to like those or if it is because my father read me books like The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet and The Hobbit, while my mom checked out Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain books and the Narnia books from the library for me to read. In fact, my mom was the one to introduce my dad to J. R. R. Tolkien, so she is a great judge of good books too. As I got older my friends showed me more cool books, especially the Wheel of Time series.

These days I am always looking for new awesome books, but it is hard. There are a lot of mediocre books out there. There are a lot of good ones. But the excellent ones are harder to find. The trouble with excellent books is that they are hard acts to follow. It’s hard to get into merely good ones afterwards. I am having this difficulty right now. I am coming off The Way of Kings, and it’s dashed hard to find a book to interest me after reading that. Brandon Sanderson (TWoK’s author) has that skill that makes a book unputdownable. I call it book charisma. It’s like a slightly lesser version of what Robert Jordan had that made Crossroads of Twilight more intriguing to me than other fantasy books in which stuff actually happened. CoT is a long book covering many characters only briefly so it is uneventful, and yet Jordan’s storytelling made me not care. I can see why it annoyed fans who waited a year for it to come out, but now that there are almost 3 books following it, I don’t mind reading though it at all. In fact, if I could have a 200-book version of the Wheel of Time where the plot progressed at the rate it did in CoT, I would be happy. Jordan and Sanderson both have this gift for storytelling that makes their books compelling regardless of the actual events taking place. They are good at having awesome events happen too though. But not all authors, even those who can write exciting stories, have this gift of storytelling. Fortunately, while I was waiting between the latest Wheel of Time book and The Way of Kings, I discovered a third author who is right up there with the best fantasy authors: Patrick Rothfuss. His only epic fantasy book is The Name of the Wind, which came out 3 years ago and is the first in a trilogy. The second is coming out next year, which isn’t nearly soon enough. He has also written a children’s picture book, The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed, which is awesome but much shorter. I hope I can find more great authors, otherwise I will be out of luck in the long intervals between the books I am looking forward to. The awesome upcoming books I know of are, in order of emergence:

  • I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (September 2010)
  • Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (November 2010)
  • The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (March 2011)
  • A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Early 2012?)
  • Book 2 of the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson (Late 2012?)

Stay tuned, the next post will be about book collecting and various media. Then I will write some book reviews so that I can convince Pat Rothfuss’s publisher to send me an ARC of The Wise Man’s Fear so I don’t have to wait so long. The book reviews will be separated off into a special blog, Book Warlock. Check it out!

The Second Post

The moral of the last two weeks is: if a book you have been looking forward to a lot is about to come out, don’t start reading a trilogy a week before. I had to put off reading The Way of Kings for another week while I finished the Hunger Games trilogy. It was Terry Brooks’s fault, even though he didn’t write any of the books I’m talking about. When he came to the University bookstore a couple Tuesdays ago, he said that he had been tempted to not show up so he could stay home and read a new book that came out that day called Mockingjay. There were copies of it all over the bookstore, and they had even had a release party at midnight that day. I decided to see what the fuss was about, forgetting that I had only 7 days before The Way of Kings, and started reading The Hunger Games, which starts the trilogy that Mockingjay concludes. I was partly through book 2, Catching Fire, when The Way of Kings came out and I had a choice: read the new book I had been waiting for while forgetting what was going on in the Hunger Games trilogy, or finish the trilogy and put off the new book a while longer. I decided that the trilogy was good enough to finish properly and so I did. It was quite a trilogy so I’m glad I finished it. It was good enough that I actually enjoyed it even though it was keeping me from The Way of Kings.

The Way of Kings is a 45-hour-long audiobook. That hopefully means it will last through my drive home to Los Angeles in two weeks even if I start reading tomorrow. I am going to a signing next week when Brandon Sanderson comes to Seattle, so I hope no one gives away spoilers. There is nothing worse for someone not finished with a book to have someone ask the author, “How did you come up with the idea for the part at the end when Dumbledore kills Darth Vader’s sled, only to find that it’s made of people?”

Dr. Who is awesome. Watch it. The Doctor is not only awesome, but he’s awesome in a British way. British things just tend to be better. Proof: P.G. Wodehouse, Christopher Nolan, Terry Pratchett, Dr. Who, Radiohead, Muse, the accent, blackcurrant juice, sweets, Wallace and Gromit, etc. The Doctor not only travels through space and time, he does it in a 1950s police box. And does he have a blaster, or a tricorder, or a lightsaber? No, he has a sonic screwdriver. If that doesn’t sound awesome, you haven’t seen enough Dr. Who.

It has been a month and a half since I first saw Inception, so I have had time to watch it again and cool off from the initial excitement. And I can still confidently say that it is the best movie I have ever seen. I give it a 10 out of 10, and in order to keep things to scale, I have to move the previous 10s (e.g. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Empire Strikes Back) down to about 7. They didn’t get worse, but the scale had to change to fit Inception.

I will start reviewing things like books on this blog, mostly so I can get Tor to send me ARCs of books I am impatient to read. But I won’t start today. I will leave my many readers with this question: why do people enjoy boring books? I’m referring to bestsellers that I haven’t read that are about real people’s life experiences or introspective journeys, or fiction about boring characters’ life experiences or introspective journeys. Or books about how to invest, etc. Have the people who read these books already exhausted the science fiction and fantasy section, so they are forced to turn to these boring books? That can’t be the case, or more of the good books would hit the bestseller lists. What is it that makes people want to read stories about the contemporary real world? We don’t need the book, we live here already! A book is like the TARDIS (follow my advice two paragraphs ago if you don’t know what that is) and can take you on fantastic journeys and adventures to other worlds, or at least to more interesting times in this one (e.g. medieval Europe). Why read about people going to jobs and doing their taxes or traveling to boring places when you could read about magic or space? I’m being a little facetious in belittling everything outside the realm of speculative fiction, but I’m also genuinely concerned that the reason many people don’t read very much is that the books they always see people reading look mind-numbingly boring. Of course, they wouldn’t be bestsellers if they looked boring to everyone. And many great books might look boring. There should really be some kind of idiomatic expression about how a cover isn’t a great way to judge a book.

Books need rating systems on what content is in them, like movies and video games have. Elitist Book Reviews puts this information in their reviews, which is big help. There are many interesting-looking books that I consider buying but then don’t because I don’t know if they are going to be a swearing sleazefest or in good taste. I am currently stuck with books EBR reviews and YA novels. Another good way to see what a book is like is to download a sample on your Kindle.

I tried to end this post a couple paragraphs ago, but I failed. Let’s try again.