This is topic SotC in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by InarticulateBabbler (Member # 4849) on :
The title will be top-secret (at least as far as posting goes) until after the WotF results. The first draft of my newest WotF entry. Have at it.

3zra was new to the Stations of the Transverse, and to the troubled images that came unbidden into his processors. AIs were not supposed to dream. And an image of him shackled with huge couplings, suspended before monitors which showed only static, was a nightmare. As he roamed the repair heaps and work bays just inside of the docking bays and the narthex, 3zra saw no humans. He had never seen a place without men--it was like a mechanical wasteland, an oubliette for AIs.

It wasn't until he met the reconditioned mining droid, AZRA31, that he realized that he wasn't the only droid to have random alien images. At 3zra's first mention of the dreams, he could see AZRA31's flex-cord muscles pulse as if with something other than EPL--electric pulse life.

Posted by Bent Tree (Member # 7777) on :
I liked this. I think my only suggestion would be that perhaps the line "AI were not supposed to dream" should be the introductory sentence. I think that it would have more impact there and set up the lines it currently precedes with more effectiveness.

"AIs" and serial numbers "3zra" were somewhat of an eyesore in the text, but I think this is partly dew to the text in this browser. But, perhaps 3-ZRA would better serve...just a thought.

I almost feel that AI needs no contraction to show its pluralization.

AI were not supposed to dream... I think that works?

Edited to suggest A.I. AIs looks like AL's when reading

Also should "troubled" be "troubling"?

[This message has been edited by Bent Tree (edited April 12, 2009).]

Posted by TaleSpinner (Member # 5638) on :
Initially, I thought "3zra" was a typo. When I realized it wasn't, every time I saw it I wondered how to pronounce it (even though I know that some people substitute '3' for 'E' in passwords and such).

The text is nicely written as always, Rich, and I'd perhaps read on -- except it brings to mind Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", making the hook of an android dreaming rather weaker for me. It's weakened again in that 3zra seems to be dreaming of torture, and torture's becoming a common story theme I think, almost to the point of cliche.

There's also the question, "But when would an android dream?" It's maybe an interesting philosophical question but, alas, not for me a gripping one.

So I'd suggest a hook that gives 3zra a more powerful problem than dreams. They're presumably due to some evil menace, and a sense of the real threat might be more engaging.

Some details: the images might be random, but he recognized them, so to me they didn't seem alien. Why would he share the problem with a driod he'd only just met? Finally, pulsing muscles sounds more like a human reaction than a droid's, unless, like a human, it's pumping with the robotic equivalent of adrenelin in some kind of fight or flight reaction ...

[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited April 12, 2009).]

Posted by InarticulateBabbler (Member # 4849) on :

Pat, from your reactions (not being able to give you more than 13 lines) I'm happy with the thoughts you have.

The "Android dreaming" question is in no way related to the Dick story (accept andriods are in both).

I'd be happy to see what you think of the entire thing.

Thanks to you both, and, Scott, I agree that troubled should be troubling. Thanks.

Posted by TaleSpinner (Member # 5638) on :
Okay, Rich, I'll read with pleasure ...


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