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Author Topic: First 13 of an SF short story, no title.
Member # 3260

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Relax! This story is NOT about global warming. Just an SF short story that is not ready for general overall critique. I like to at least finish the 1st Draft for that. But would like some feedback on the first 13. Thanks.

Charlie Dade became conscious as they hauled him out of the cradle. After sleeping for twenty three standard years immersed in cryogenic fluid the alien air of Tau Ceti Four stung like ten thousand needles tattooing every inch of his skin. He was naked and confused. Guards shouted orders and started pushing him around. He got hit in the lower back by a baton and collapsed to the concrete floor. A guard grabbed his chin like he was a dog in trouble.

"Get on your feet, convict", he yelled. "Stand at attention and show some respect for your new warden, or I swear I will bash in your skull; right here, right now."

[This message has been edited by thayerds (edited January 17, 2007).]

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Member # 4440

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Your gonna hear a lot about how, having your main character wake up, is a overdone extremely cliche opening but not from me. I don't have any issue with it.

That being said, I am not feeling what the MC is feeling. I would like to feel groggy, anxious, scared. Whatever the main character is feeling about the situation, I would like to feel. Right now the opening feels....sterile.


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Member # 213

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I'm not persuaded that shipping convicts across interstellar distances by slow-boat is cost effective or safe. Slow-boats are hardly the most secure means of transport, you know. And if this isn't a slow-boat...then it's even more not cost effective and it's even less safe.
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Member # 2267

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ten thousand needles tattooing -> ten thousand needles pricking
(That is, I thought, how does the tattoing aspect make the needles feel different from if they just prick him?)

Guards shouted orders etc. ... I'd say, show us an instance, and don't bother with this sentence of summary.

I had problems believing in the guard. OK, I get that guards can be sadistic and so on; it's just that we've got somebody who's just out of cryogenic fluid, and he's still groggy. Surely the guards are used to this by now, and wouldn't expect otherwise? Also, "show some respect for your new warden." It doesn't seem like a natural thing to say, but a way of informing the reader that we're about to see a new warden. Also, "I swear I will bash your head in": they just went to significant expense to ship this man to another star system. The guard's threat *must* be empty -- he'll be severely punished if they value a convict enough to spend all this money on him -- and Charlie *must* know it, and the guard knows he knows it. I could more readily believe in a threat to cause pain.

I am interested and would read further, although that last issue of plausibility would make me ready to drop it if another plausibility issue came up.

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Member # 2915

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This opening didn't work for me on several levels.
Right away reading "cryogenic fluid" and sleeping threw me off.
If he was in cryogenic fluid he'd be frozen.
I think I can intuit what you want to say, but as written this doesn't work.

I agree with wbriggs also that the guard reaction is out of place in terms of what the reader understands to this point in the story. If Charlie is a special prisoner for some reason then we should know that, if not then it seems overdone - I won't go so far as to say cliched, but it's close.

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Member # 3260

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Thanks all; very good points. I'll work on it.
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