Author at Good Morning Sunshine

Lovely (Sentinel/Stargate)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 17th August 2003 (12)
Tags: Novel

When I saw that Martha had written a Sentinel/Stargate crossover (and a long one too) I just pounced on it. And I was not dissappointed. Lovely prose, good characterisation, banter, Really Bad Things happening, angst, reconciliation and love -- for both sets of characters. There are, I think, references to her previous story Unsleeping (been too long since I've read it, so I'm not sure) but this, while creepy, is not as totally creepy as Unsleeping was; basically because not all the Bad Things are supernatural.
    "I don't suppose you remember what happened the _last_ time you came home with someone who really, really didn't want to file a police report?"
    Oh now that was more than a little unfair. "It's not even remotely the same thing, Jim. Dr. Jackson's a Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Linguistics with a specialization in, um, geoarchaeology or something like that, or you know, maybe it was Egyptology after all -- at Chigago or Yale, or was that where he got one of his degrees? It's been a few years since I looked him up, but the point is, I really doubt he has an ex-boyfriend who couriers heroin across the Canadian border, you know? Besides, I'm not planning on bringing him home."

Famous last words, of course.

Blair's bedroom door was closed. Jim could hear the sounds of a sleeper's slow, rather congested breathing, and he caught a strong whiff of eau de emergency room, an unmistakable tang of antiseptic and sterilized cotton and steel combined with the sickening funk of human bodied cracked open wide.

Though Jim and Blair aren't the only ones this focuses on...
    "Some people from the service. They're asking for you. Dammit, Christmas morning, Sammie. Can't they leave you alone for a single day?"
    She pushed past him without answering. Somehow she already knew, even before she found Jack and Teal'c standing in the foyer waiting for her. The colonel was resplendent in his dress blues, his hat in his hand, and both of them smiled a little to see her.
    "Daniel," Sam blurted out before she could help herself, because she just _knew_.
    Jack held up a finger, one eyebrow arched meaningfully. "Be vewy, vewy quiet," he murmured. "Hunting wabbits, major."

And the chase is on for young and old...

Whether something inspired by H.P. Lovecraft could mix with something like Stargate is a moot point, because one is dragged along in the wake of it all. This is definitely AU for the Sentinel, because of decisions that get made at the end. It could be AU for Stargate, but if so, not a great deal; one simply has to put a large gap in between certain episodes.

Paper Cut (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 16th June 2000 (2)
Issue: 4
Tags: Short Story

Aw. That last line just got me. And I'm not usually a smarmy person.

Addendum: nominated for favourite epilogue in the 2001 Cascade Times Awards.

Plank (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 5th July 2000
Zine: Knitted Souls
Issue: 5

Very good. As ever, the author builds things up, and lets them creep up on you. All the stuff from Blair's point of view was excellent. Not only the broken confusion, but the shame of knowing oneself to have broken. And of course Jim angsting away too. And that declaration that Blair made to Michael - I could have stood up and cheered!

This story was nominated in the 2000 Cascade Times Awards in the "long story" category. And won the same category in 2001!

Unsleeping (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 10th September 2000 (3)
Zine: Unsleeping

Don't read this if you don't want to be spooked, or if you easily get nightmares. The Sentinel meets Cthulu. As ever, this author is subtle and creepy and picturesque. For example: describing, as only a Sentinel would hear it, the sounds of a corpse decaying (shudder). But even in the non-creepy things, we have well-painted scenes:

Students were pouring into the library in a steady stream, their arms or their backpacks weighted with books. They brought the scent of the night in with them, clinging to their clothes and hair. The evening smelled cold and clean and sharp, and the library was warm, the air a little close from the overwhelming proximity of so much paper and so many books, the heat of all the computers in Reference, and the constantly-running copy machines.

The characterisations of Jim and Blair here were terrific, and the other characters weren't flat either. Professor Nagle was interestingly done, making us more and more wonder how involved he was, and what his motives were. And the students were made even more disturbing by their sheer ordinariness. I also liked how the author used the fanon idea of Blair as a trouble magnet, and twisted it into something disturbing. The light attracts the darkness, but the darkness cannot put it out. (Not if it refuses to be put out, anyway...)

Addendum: Winner of favourite horror/scary story in the 2001 Cascade Times Awards.

Tristes Tropiques

(1) Ordeal (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 14th June 2000 (3)
Tags: Novella

The opening gets you hooked, wondering what has gone wrong. Then you get initially relieved, realizing that Jim isn't doing this out of sheer spite after all... and you wonder what happened.
    Blair finally tried guilt. "And what about my research? Do you think I'll have any hope in hell of finishing my PhD now? Damn you, Jim, we had an agreement. What gives you the right to ruin my career?"
    A muscle twitched in his jaw. But Jim only said, "Those extra letters after your name won't mean very much if you're dead."

This was very good. There were some good insights there, a struggle to understand, to communicate. There was... a subtlety about this writing that I enjoyed. I'm not sure how else to put it.

It's like I've already used up all the words in the world, Blair thought. There aren't any left for Jim.

Oh, and I liked the titles of the parts. And Blair's friend Paul's theory about Sentinels was an interesting one (though of course, completely wrong!). Just shows the wide world of academia, don't it? I liked this story!

This series was nominated in the 2000 & 2001 Cascade Times Awards in the "series" category.

(2) Snake Oil (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 14th June 2000 (4)
Zine: Knitted Souls
Issue: 4

Ah, this was very good. Most of the other scary/horror TS stories make it look too easy. This one was more realistic, more subtle (there's that word again - subtle) and more ambiguious, in a sense. It didn't require one to believe in reincarnation, or voodoo, or Wicca, or Shamanism, or even Catholicism - just something Other. It built up well. The author again seems to have a good grasp of academia. Maybe some people might possibly complain that this story was too slow, or something, but, I think it works better that way - the slow creeping wondering if one is just imagining things, if one is going crazy... makes other TS stories I've read (so far) of this kind seem about as clumsy as Stonehenge compared to the Notre Dame. You can't really just cure such problems by by an application of Holy Water. Not that easy. I really liked the way that Blair was grasping for rituals and not finding answers ('cuz I had faith he'd figure something out eventually!). This was definitely good.

This story won the 2000 Cascade Times Awards in the Scary/Horror category. This series was nominated in the series category.

(3) Cake (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 16th June 2000 (1)
Issue: 4

Great stuff - again! This was very psychological - nightmares, creeping up on you, things you can't remember, but need to. My print-out is peppered with notations of "oh my!" with the occassional "interesting". Boy does Blair get put through the wringer. (And Jim too, but Blair gets a double-dose, considering half the story is about Blair's experiences ten years ago). The good things here aren't so much quotable quotes but cool insights, like:
    His mere presence affected everything around him indefinably and unmistakably as a change in air pressure, the entire world shifting just enough to accomodate the proximity of one Blair Sandburg.
    Maybe not the whole world. Maybe just Jim's world.

No, I disagree with Kitty, the ending was sufficiently smarmy! The quotes from Tristes Tropiques were cool. Makes me curious about the book.

This series was nominated in the 2000 Cascade Times Awards in the "series" category. Also nominated for favourite angst story, favourite horror/scary story in the 2001 Cascade Times Awards