Perceptions: On Short Stories, Stargates, and Grief on the Page

Available at AmazonToday’s the official eBook release for the Stargate SG-1/Atlantis anthology, FAR HORIZONS – Volume One of the Travelers’ Tales.  Fandemonium, the official Stargate Novel Publishers, will be releasing the print edition on November 6th (you can order it here).

If you’re a Stargate fan (and come on! Who isn’t?), you’ll find a compilation of tales ranging from Teal’c’s first day/night on Earth to a closer look at the Pegasus Galaxy’s Wraith. It’s a healthy mix of adventure along with some quieter reflective moments.

And of course, a little bit of humor thrown in to warm the soul because Stargate’s pretty good at reminding the reader/fan of what matters most.

I contributed a short story that’s been on my mind for a long time: An exploration of how SG-1 pulled themselves together and moved forward after Dr. Janet Fraiser’s death. “Perceptions” takes place shortly after the events of season seven’s “Heroes” and “Resurrection” and before “Lost City.”  It’s the team’s first off-world mission after Fraiser’s memorial/funeral and while SG-1 must overcome Anubis’s super soldiers to get home, they find themselves individually and collectively dealing with the inevitable grief of loosing a significant influence in their lives.

Click here to read the opening pages for “Perceptions”

While Daniel’s death received the time and attention it deserved in Meridian and the subsequent episode, Revelations,  Janet’s death was never explored past the fantastic two-part episode in which she died: “Heroes.” Sure, there was the Ripple Effect episode in season 9 where an alternative universe Janet made an appearance. That was fun, but I always felt that bringing her back sort of cheapened the emotional cost of her loss. (I tend to feel this way about Carson on Stargate Atlantis, too).

Hence the reason why I wanted to share with readers MY PERCEPTION of how Jack O’Neill, Sam Carter, Daniel Jackson, and Teal’c would have faced grief — especially when the need to do so was forced upon them.  While most short stories tend to be only from one POV, in my mind SG-1 is a singular POV. Each character is a voice in a collective chorus.  Each voice needed to be heard.

Perceptions does just that — with each character focusing on one stage in the first four stages of the classic five-stage grief cycle and coming together for the final stage:


The timing was a bit unusual when I wrote this tale. I was recovering from a ruptured cervical disk, hadn’t been able to use my hand for several months, and while I was getting back sensation — and hence could type the thing up — my specialist made it clear that I would probably never get back full use of my hand.  So… A bit of grief was already bubbling to the surface (grief over losing a healthier, hardier version of myself) when the world decided to split open.  In the manner of a few days — all while working on this short — a former student of mine took her own life and then Robin Williams followed soon after. I was stunned.  Those who knew the student were, too.

Everyone knew Robin Williams. The world collectively lived in a stunned and saddened state for days.

Grief is as individual a thing as snowflakes.  No two people go through it in exactly the same manner, but there are certain milestones in the journey.  Having dealt with loss of both a personal and public nature, I’ve come to realize that the journey is just as important as that end phase of acceptance and while we never truly ‘get over’ our personal losses, we can learn to relish and value each day if for no other sake than to celebrate the lives of those we lost.

One last note for the SG-1 fans: Haven’t you ever wondered why Lost City starts out with a bet between Sam and Jack over a crossword puzzle?  If you read Perceptions, you’ll find out why.

Thanks to my critique partners Jen Brooks and Rhonda Mason, to Laura Gerling, and to JL Gribble for their feedback and editorial support.

And, as always, to Fandemonium’s editor-in-chief and guiding light: Sally Malcolm.


Whether you’re a fan of STARGATE SG-1 or STARGATE ATLANTIS, there’s something for everyone in our first anthology of Travelers’ Tales, with ten short stories from ten fantastic Stargate authors:

  • Jo GrahamCo-author of the STARGATE ATLANTIS Legacy series, co-author of STARGATE SG-1: Moebius Squared, author of STARGATE ATLANTIS: Death Game
  • Melissa Scott – Co-author of the STARGATE ATLANTIS Legacy series, co-author of STARGATE SG-1: Moebius Squared, author of STARGATE SG-1: Ouroboros
  • Peter J. Evans – Author of STARGATE SG-1: Oceans of Dust, STARGATE ATLANTIS: Angelus
  • Amy Griswold – Co-author of the STARGATE ATLANTIS Legacy series, author ofSTARGATE SG-1: Heart’s Desire
  • Keith R.A. DeCandido – Author of an upcoming Stargate novel
  • Suzanne Wood – Author of STARGATE SG-1: The Barque of Heaven
  • Diana Dru Botsford – Author of STARGATE SG-1: Four Dragons, STARGATE SG-1: The Drift
  • Geonn Cannon – Author of STARGATE SG-1: Two Roads
  • Sabine C. Bauer – Author of STARGATE SG-1: Trial by Fire, STARGATE SG-1: Survival of the Fittest, STARGATE SG-1: Transitions, STARGATE ATLANTIS: Mirror Mirror
  • Sally Malcolm – Commissioning editor at Fandemonium Books and author ofSTARGATE SG-1: A Matter of Honor and the sequel STARGATE SG-1: The Cost of Honor, co-author of STARGATE SG-1: Hostile Ground, STARGATE ATLANTIS: Rising