Boldly Reading Book Club #1 – Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions

Boldly Reading Book Club #1 – Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions

Welcome to our very first Book Club Discussion! Here’s hoping to it being the first of many. Our first Boldly Reading Book Club Choice is jespah’s Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions a K rated story though possibly K+ given some of the darker themes within.

The choice for the story was mine, and chosen before jespah’s recent promotion to modly powers, because of jespah’s enthusiasm and participation at all levels on Ad Astra. Additionally, before all of that, jespah was willing to be our guinea pig for this little enterprise.

The story itself though is one I thought would provide a lot of delicious little commentary for our book club and offer a number of discussion points considering some of the themes it covers despite how short it is.


Introducing Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions

Boldly Reading Book Club #1 - Paving Stones Made From Good IntentionsMany of you may already be familiar with the story as it was entered into the January 2012 Ad Astra Pathways Challenge and won said challenge.

Paving Stones is a delicious little story. Short and sweet but I have a feeling aspects of it are going to stay with long afterwards. A Mirror Universe tale set in the ENT era and follows on from the tale seen in the ENT season 4 episode: ‘A Mirror, Darkly’.

It’s a nugget of a story I’m sure you’ll agree and if you care to discover more or read some background on the piece read Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses and Reversal.

Boldly Reading Book Club #1 - Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions

Long Live the Empress!

 Story Synopsis – The Elevator Pitch

Why is the Mirror the way it is? It’s bred into the people from an early age. Childhood in the Mirror Universe leads one down a dark road. Families are forced into a corner to put their children on the path to success, paving it with good intentions but at the price of their souls.

Find jespah’s own commentary on the story here.




Cover to Reversal

Introducing Doug


Within Paving Stones you are going to find Doug Hayes Beckett, counterpart to canon character Major J. Hayes.

Doug’s a tactician and like nearly all figures in the MU he’s a soldier. Read about Doug in jespah’s own words: Portrait of a Character – Doug Beckett and appropriate music to accompany Snow Patrol – Shut Your Eyes.

Doug was first introduced to me in Reversal and so Paving Stones on my reading was somewhat of an origin story of Doug in the MU. Again, jespah tells it best when she writes her own review on Reversal.


Talking Points

This is all still an experiment, so bear with me folks. However, there follows some theme and discussion points within Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions. Mostly from my own reading of it and derived from other reviews. I offer these as discussion points, something to ruminate on, but in no way feel compelled to try to answer these. The Book Club Discussion Thread will open soon and allow for a fluid flow of the discussion.

Talking Points


The story is a Mirror Universe tale. It is properly dark and twisted and offers the reader an insight into life living within the regime of the Terran Empire. There is a story of ambition, survival and even of family love within this short tale.

As you read, things to consider as part of a discussion are given below. But helloooo! This is the Mirror Universe! We have all the Mirror Universe to consider here.

Think about how jespah portrays the Mirror Universe and the Starfleet of this universe. Did the story lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your the Mirror Universe you might not have thought about before?

I think especially striking from the reading is the sense of indoctrination instilled into the young Doug’s mind by his father. What are your own thoughts on that?

What do you imagine or suppose family life within the Terran Empire is like and what did this piece offer on that matter? How do you think education is handled within the Terran Empire?

The Mirror Universe can be a difficult setting to write in. Some of the regular criticisms you will read about the writing of the Mirror Universe is that too often it can be written too pantomime like or too extreme. How do you like jespah’s interpretation of the MU here? Do you think her vision of the MU future credible? What was different or unique about the jespah’s rendering of the MU and did it enhance or detract from the story?

What themes did you find in the story? How did the author highlight them? Were they successful in getting these themes across to the reader?

Given the topic matter, did certain parts of the story make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Is it justified by the story context?

What thoughts do you have on the character of Doug? Is Doug redeemable? Can he rise above his origins, his discipline and his indoctrination?

What’s Lena’s role in all of this? Why isn’t she trying harder to help her son? And why is Jeremiah so insistent that Doug be thrown into the deep end so quickly?

The story is a challenge winner and has already received a number of reviews, after reading and reviewing, do you agree with the reviews of the story? Did it live up to positive reviews?

If you were the author and were to write a sequel continuing Doug’s story, where would you consider taking him and where would you consider the story’s direction might lie? Would you stick to canon and keep the Terran Empire alive and kicking by TOS or take your own path?


Plenty to think on.

So all that remains is to get Reading, get Reviewing and get Ready for Discussion.
Boldly Reading, Miranda Fave