Jonah Bergan on Star Trek Renegades
How I Made a Fool of Myself in No Time At All
by Jonah Bergan
Respect is important, and if anyone understands that, it’s the fans of Star Trek. Those who know me know I am respectful of others. They know I am an even tempered man. I am not prone to anger or rather; I am not prone to angry outbursts. I’ve worked with the public for far too long to let one random opinion or another rankle me, and I’m a writer, so I have plenty of constructive outlets for many of my passions. But one day, recently, I raged—only a little, but I raged, and like Roseanne Roseannadanna (a favorite of mine from my era of SNL) when she discovered that the issue at hand was not violins on TV, but violence on TV, I was forced to say “Oh. Sorry. Never mind.”
What happened? Was I over-tired? Had I had too much caffeine? Was I so stressed out that I lost my emotional equilibrium? I have just released my first novel, so yes of course, all of that and more, but all of those facts are precursors, warning signs if you will of a wholly different problem that has been simmering away in my unconscious, looking for an outlet and it found one—a man who posted something I misconstrued—a young man who was wholly undeserving of my outburst.
See the images at left to get an idea of my mistake – a misunderstanding, yes, but a mistake nevertheless.
Let’s back up a moment. Give me a moment to offer you a little back-story. A novel can take a year or more to write. Even if an author is a full time author, it can take that long and longer. It is a tremendous amount of work, requiring long hours and more than a little soul searching. There’s research involved, there are drafts (Off-World had seven) in which significant aspects of a story are changed, plots revised, and characters added or eliminated or re-tasked. For most writers, the work is emotionally charged. For many writers, the act of writing is about reaching deep into the unconscious and dredging up difficult issues. Under the best circumstances it is an attempt to find some kind of meaning in life that can be expressed in a story. Then there is the editing process where those perfect and semi-perfect and imperfect sentences get cut, modified and yes… re-tasked, and this happens again and again until something remotely resembling a story that matters has been formed… or a deadline arrives, whichever happens first.
Not long before my outburst, I encountered the opinion that $4.99 or even $3.99 (the very reasonable price of my own book) was considered, in certain circles, to be too much to pay for any e-book. After all, the argument went, it was only a download. Clearly, someone hadn’t thought their argument through. Had they forgotten the author, the editor, and the many other people who worked to bring the book about? I planned on addressing this issue in an article I would write sometime soon.
Consciously, I planned on explaining that four bucks is about the same amount of money we might pay for a large coffee in most cities, including a gratuity of course. Four dollars will buy any of us about a gallon (or so) of gasoline. It would also buy us a few hours of cable television or internet access in most markets. I was going to write an article on this issue, but I hadn’t really started one yet. These were merely facts. I was still letting the thoughts roll around in my unconscious so I could find a better way to approach this issue. That was when I stumbled across the post that supported Star Trek Renegades, but which, instead, I misinterpreted as being disrespectful to the writers, producers, director and actors in Star Trek Renegades and disrespectful of all of the time and effort they put into making the pilot, and out it all came, and in a flurry of keystrokes, and I hit send and there I was—all but standing there in my underwear and blinking.
You see? What my unconscious was brewing up while I occupied my conscious mind with the more mundane tasks of researching and ruminating on facts, was a position on the respect I believe is due anyone who makes an effort to create. In terms of the discussion over the price of e-books, I suppose there is an argument to be made that the opinion over price might have been arrived at with less effort and more than a little thoughtlessness as opposed to any sort of disrespect. Of course thoughtlessness is still disrespect—it’s just a spontaneous form of disrespect. By its nature, it can’t be construed as intentional, but I digress. Let me regroup. Let me summarize… by summarizing another article I have been intending to write once my obligations to my “book tour” are complete.
Star Trek Renegades is a pilot. I believe that it bears the same resemblance to the TV Series it may become that “The Cage” (aka “The Menagerie”) bears to the original Star Trek series. It is, in my opinion, akin to a draft, a proof of concept, and an example of an idea whose time has come. That is: A story that takes place in the Star Trek universe, with a point of view outside of Starfleet and the Federation—a rough and tumble Star Trek, and a Star Trek where some real and powerful stories can be told.
That’s why I support Star Trek Renegades, by the way. That is also why you should support Star Trek Renegades. Of all the fan based Star Trek projects, it is the one project that is a proposal. It is not purporting itself as a finished product. It is a proposal to bring Star Trek back to television. While there are other projects out there (some of them quite well done) none of them are pilots. That alone makes Star Trek Renegades stand out. The pilot has been released to the public to gather a fan base—and to generate some support that can be used to bring the Star Trek franchise back to television. I want that. You want that, we all want that, and I know (now) that the guy who made the meme that I completely misconstrued wants that too.
In regard to the outburst, you might argue that it wasn’t such a big deal, and certainly in comparison to the many “flames” on the internet, it doesn’t look like much. Still, I attacked a young man who didn’t deserve to be attacked, and we must all take such things seriously. I have apologized to him privately. He was very gracious. I think he understood that I intended no disrespect. I think he understood that my outburst was merely thoughtless—and based on a misunderstanding. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to him publically. “I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve the harsh words I threw at you. “
I know that buying e-books is oftentimes a crap-shoot. I’m not pretending that every work is rendered equally, nor am I suggesting that any of us should spend our money like lawn sprinklers spreading water. What I am suggesting, however, is that with a blurb, and “look inside” and customer reviews, and blog reviews, most readers can separate the wheat from the chaff and choose a book that will take them on a ride through the ideas and thoughts of another human being. Surely, four bucks isn’t too much to pay for that, is it?
QSFer Jonah Bergan has a new sci fi book out:
What really brought Taine to that backwater little world? Taineís a hunter. Heís a red-skinned and black-eyed Lowman by nature, and a hunter by trade. Some hunters work in flesh, others in secrets, and some few work to set right whatís been set wrong. Itís a big galaxy and thereís always plenty of work for a hunter like Taine, so you got to wonder, what with all that at his feet, what really brought Taine to that backwater little world?
Off-World is a M/m science fiction action/adventure set in F/m dominated space. The story takes place in an arm of the galaxy where slavery (sexual and otherwise) is legal and commonplace. Strictly speaking, it is not a BDSM novel in that consent is not a matter of concern for the characters, but those with an interest in BDSM should enjoy the story. Due to explicit content, Off-World is not recommended to readers under eighteen years of age.
You his father?” Taine asked.
“Uncle,” the man said, glancing toward his wife. She looked away, a terse expression on her face. He looked back at Taine, bringing his chin up defiantly. “By marriage,” he said. “I did right by the boy.”
Taine shrugged. It made no difference—these backwater worlds, with their backwater cultures, none of that mattered to him. It was bad enough he had to ride in from the starport on horseback. Bad enough he had to dress the humble part just to avoid offending these rubes. Still, if he’d come blasting into town in his Hover, he’d have found half the doors shut to him, and the other half damned slow to open. Taine was a hunter, a Lowman—a red-skinned and black-eyed alien, and his kind wasn’t welcome everywhere, no matter how much they paid for what they bought. No point in making things worse by flaunting wealth in a place of such poverty.
Taine turned his attention back to the human he was here to inspect. He took a quick inventory of the boy. Pretty face, decent frame, all good starts, but the boy was un-groomed, pale and too lean for his age. Malnourished, Taine thought. Most likely in body and mind both. That might be correctable, might not. Sometimes that kind of damage can’t be undone no matter how much you pay to fix it. Still, the boy looked appealing enough despite the slight frame—long legs, long arms and a pretty face with a halo of wild blond hair like the rays of some golden sun. He’s young, but not under, Taine thought. Taine checked the boy’s teeth, running his finger under the boy’s lips and along the gums. He tugged a tooth or two—still solid.
“How old?” Taine asked.
“Nineteen now,” the boy’s uncle said. “Twenty soon. Been here more’n half that time.”
“Hard worker,” the man snapped. “Wouldn’t have lasted otherwise.”
“So why are you selling?”
“Hard times,” the uncle said, “and harder coming.” This brought a scowl from the missus, but she didn’t say a word. She’d had enough of the gambling, and the drinking, and she’d said so often enough that the words seemed to have lost all meaning. If her husband had saved his earnings, instead of squandering them, none of this would have been necessary. When he said, “It’s him or me,” she didn’t argue. After all, it wasn’t an ultimatum, it was simply true. She consoled herself by thinking about the money. It would help them get off-world before the aftermath of the war came upon them like some kind of tidal wave, and swept both of them away from her. Choose one or lose both, bane or burden. It had been an easy choice, at least until now.
Taine slipped his middle finger deep into the boy’s mouth. The boy closed his eyes, and his face blushed red, but he yielded, relaxing his jaw and taking the finger as though it were a cock. Taine moved his finger in and out, fucking the boy’s face, watching him blush and tear up. Taine had good reason for doing it, but he earned a sharp look from the missus anyhow. She nudged her husband and glared at him. He scowled, and turned back toward Taine.
“You buying or not?” he snapped.
“Maybe,” Taine said. “Hard to tell with him all covered up.”
The uncle grunted and stepped forward. He tugged at the waist of the home weave the boy wore. The coarse trousers loosened and then slid down the boy’s long legs. A gentle tug and the shirt came loose in front. The uncle slipped it over the boy’s shoulders and let it fall the floor.
“There,” he said. “No need to make a show of it. Buy, or get out.”
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Jonah Bergan is a freelance writer living in New England. His publishing credits include a ten part serial, multiple short stories, and a collection of anecdotal humor. He has also published MMORPG game reviews and content, hypnosis scripts, online user manuals, and advertising texts. His first novel, Off-World is available now. Please visit jonahbergan.com to learn more about him.
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