star trek

Shaka, when the walls fell

There’s a captivating episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in which Captain Picard attempts to establish relations with a race that communicates entirely in metaphors.

As the Federation representatives pose clear, direct questions to the Tamarians, they respond with phrases that puzzle and frustrate the enterprise crew, such as “Rai and Jiri, at Lungha.” Or, “Shaka, when the walls fell.”

It is only after Picard and the Tamarian commander are forced into a life-or-death predicament do they, out of mortal necessity, work through their misunderstandings.

Lately, I’ve felt a bit like the Tamarian, as more often cultural references I toss out are met with a “Huh?” or just a look of befuddlement.

For instance, I lately referred to Aristotle Onassis in the presence of two young medical students, both of who asked, “Who’s that?” They were in their twenties.

Another time, remarking on a side effect of a medication I’m taking, I complained, “This stuff has swollen my feet and ankles so much my legs look like they belong on Cabbage Patch Kids.”

Again, I was met with a stare and “cabbage?”

A couple of summers ago I was vacationing in a lovely Hudson Valley town and had worked up a thirst for a nice summertime cocktail. I ordered a Tom Collins. The bartender, a young woman, asked “What’s that?”

Had the drinks of my youth fallen out of currency? Had I outlived them?

We all make cultural references. They are the metaphors with which we communicate. And when they falter or fail, it is disquieting in a profound way, not unlike being rendered mute.

Young people of every generation have had their own cultural references and their own slang, but it seems to me as communication technology has progressed faster than our ability to keep up with it, language has become more compact, less layered, shallow and banal.

I was born after the golden age of radio, but I knew about radio shows, such as “The Shadow” and “The Inner Sanctum.” How? My parents used to talk about them.

If I were to mention Paladin or “Have Gun, Will Travel” to anyone younger than sixty, I expect I’d draw a blank stare. Are parents not passing the knowledge down to their children?

Cultural knowledge, which includes such trivia as the names of old television shows, and dead personalities, is part of the collective consciousness of our civilization. I think we all lose something if it decays and evaporates.

And it can leave an old codger like me feeling, well, rather isolated. There’s a proverb that says you only truly die after the last person who has any memory of you dies. I’d add to that, when your cultural memories are no longer shared.

From Fan Fiction To Hot Gay Male Erotic Medical Thriller

Elizabeth Black
writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror,
and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son,
her tuxedo cat, Lucky, and the two new feline additions Chloe and Breena. They
are Lucky’s new best friends. Visit her web
, her Facebook page, and her Amazon
Author Page

I admit it. I have written fan fiction. Stop laughing!

The first fan fiction I wrote was when I was in college. I
used to write Star Trek fan fiction
with my cousin, who was five years younger than me. She lived in Iowa and I
lived in Maryland, and we scorched the pages of letters to each other with this
crap. My favorite characters were Spock and Scotty. Her favorites were McCoy
and Kirk. We wrote long-winded and dreadful letters where we were the stars of
our own fantasies and the Trek
characters actions revolved around us.

Yes, we wrote Mary Sues. You’re laughing again!

We were perfect in every way. We were beautiful,
genius-level intelligent, vivacious, talented, knowledgeable in our fields (whatever
the hell they were), and the entire Enterprise crew was in love with us. Of
course, the bridge crew couldn’t get enough of us. Typical Mary Sue. I had no
idea the concept of the Mary Sue even existed, let alone we were splendid at
it. We kept these letters going for over a year, and both of us were hooked on
classic Trek.

I had a blast writing those letters. Sadly, I never saved
them. I wish I had. I could laugh and cringe over them while downing a bottle
of bubbly. I went another ten years before I wrote fan fiction again. In 1993,
I became hooked on The X Files. I
wished I could have worked on that show. I was in an AOL fan chat that show writer
Glen Morgan used to stop in, and he gave me the contact information to send my
resume. That was very nice of him. At the time I was working local crew in
Maryland doing lighting, scenic art, and makeup (including prosthetics) for
movies, TV, stage, and concerts. I worked on Die Hard With A Vengeance, Homicide:
Life On The Street
, and the movie 12
. I loved my work. I had enough of a background to qualify for union
work in Vancouver, British Columbia where the show was filmed at the time, and I was willing to move not only across
the continent but to another country. I thought I could live in Vancouver,
Washington in the U. S. and commute to British Columbia but that wasn’t
allowed. I’d have to move there and become a citizen. It was a long shot, but I
wrote. Never heard back. But I tried. I loved that line of work and being in
that fan chat.

Anyway, a couple of years later I attended a science fiction
convention as a guest panelist and I met a guy who was helping to put together
some anthologies. One was gay, one was lesbian, and one was TV fan fiction.
None of the books were ever published to my knowledge. It was a good thing,
too, because I didn’t know at the time I could have been sued for publishing
and getting paid for a short story based on The
X Files
without first getting the show’s permission. I did start the story
but didn’t finish it. However, I saved my file. I also wrote a lesbian story
for that other book and I saved that file as well.

Count about a decade into the future. I rewrote the lesbian
story and submitted it to Torquere Press for their Vamps anthology, and it was accepted! I was delighted. I had worked
on the X File for another half dozen
years or so. I changed Mulder and Scully to two gay men working on an outbreak
at a camp around a lake. I finally finished it a few weeks ago, and I submitted
it to a Men At Work call I saw at –
get this – The Erotic Readers And Writers Association’s Submissions Web
Page.  Funny how things come full circle.
The story was accepted! I called it Roughing
, and it’s due to come out in the spring. Although Jake and Lance are two
scientists, you can hear Mulder and Scully in their conversations. The story is
a cross between The X Files and The Andromeda Strain with a little sex
thrown in. The sex works, too. It doesn’t seem out of place. I like this story
very much, and it’s special to me since I have worked on it very hard for
nearly 20 years. The story in the Vamps
anthology is called Neighbors, and I
took the two characters in it – Charlotte and Lina, who could pass for
identical twins – and placed them in my work-in-progress Full Moon Fever. I hope to sell it to the same publisher that is
publishing my novel Alex Craig Has A
. Xcite Books is publishing that book late summer. If it sells
well, I hope to pitch Full Moon Fever
to them. I’ll do what I can to make Alex
sell. I’m very happy to be with Xcite. Xcite has published four of my
short stories in anthologies so I’m not a stranger. This is my first novel in
several years and my first with Xcite. I need the boost. Keeping my fingers

I find it amusing I’ve written a story that originated as
fan fiction, and the final result is getting published. Hey, if it worked for
E. L. James, maybe it will work for me. Everyone knows those 50 Shades of Grey books started out as Twilight fan fiction. I can only dream
of selling as well as she has.

I’ve also written Once
Upon A Time
fan fiction, but that’s another post. At least I stuck to Belle
and Rumpelstiltskin. No Mary Sue in those stories. I won’t give links. I’m too
embarrassed. LOL Look for Roughing It
in April and Alex Craig Has A Threesome
in late summer.

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