Might as well post this up too. I wrote this for one of the challenges. At 1,000 words, this baby is loaded and ready to go.
Er... adult themed material, though nothing too explicit.
The blast hit Valeron’s anterior shields and shot him into the planet’s atmosphere. His mangled wings would not open and his thrusters had broken loose. There was nothing left to do but prepare for reentry. He locked his exoskeleton into a fetal position, folded his wings as best as he could, and prayed he’d land with enough integrity to survive the natives.
He blacked out before he hit the ground. His mech exterior urged him awake. Through the neural link he could feel it losing hydraulic pressure as if it were his own blood leaking from the tubes. Maybe it was. From one of his legs? He couldn’t tell—they were all numb, metal and flesh alike.
He reached down into his life-core and let his energy seep into his shell.
My only problem with this was this incect-like cyborg tucking into a fetal position. The line at the end that talks about: one of his legs... they all felt numb... says that it has more than two-- I assume six or eight. That being said, it would tuck in to a larval position. Since it is a cyborg incect that can fly, survive re-entry, it might posses the ability to secrete a liquid chemical armoring that harden and protect it from things such as this (like a cocoon)just a thought probably far fetched
I also wondered what kind of blast could shoot it into the atmosphere without incinerating even the most indestructable materials, unless it was controlled, intentional. That may be the case, but if I turned the page and it was an explosion at ground level I would immediately stop. That being said, I would rephrase to be more concise. It was blasted from something in orbit into the atmosphere or whatever may be the case.
Otherwise I found this really interesting. I would read on.
The only problem I had with this one is that I really wanted to know what Valeron was doing before he is hit. Maybe just a sentence or two saying where he actually is and what he's doing might bring the reader into the story more. As it is I enjoyed the writing but was still having a hard time picturing the scene.
I'll be glad to read this one if you want to send it my way.
Unless I know more about the blast--like it's a nearby anti-matter explosion or something stupendously powerful--I don't see how any blast of the type I would normally imagine could mangle his wings unless he was sufficiently destructible to burn up on re-entry, or be utterly smashed on striking the ground.
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Lol, yeah, flash is tough for me. Hm... about the blast... I'm imagining something more magically than scientific. If given the right context would that be more believable?
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orbit says to me sci-fi. You may be teetering on genre confusion. We still need to know where or what it is blasted from to make that distinction.
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quote: The blast hit Valeron’s anterior shields and shot him into the planet’s atmosphere. His mangled wings[I stopped because I thought he literally had wings.] would not open and his thrusters[Because of my former comment, this gave me another pause.] had broken loose. There was nothing left to do but prepare for reentry[Into what? I thought--in the first sentence--he had been blasted into the atmosphere already. Maybe he should be blasted into the planet's gravitational pull instead.]. He locked his exoskeleton[What exoskeleton? Maybe this should be mentioned with the shields to alieviate any further confusion.] into a fetal position, folded his wings as best as he could, and prayed he’d land with enough integrity to survive the natives.[This threw me because: If he can survive the fall and heat of reentry, what can natives do?]
[He blacked out before he hit the ground.<--POV?] His mech exterior [urged him<--How?] awake. Through the neural link[,] [he could feel it losing hydraulic pressure<--Hook. And it is an interesting enough concept for me to want more.] as if it were his own blood leaking from the tubes. Maybe it was. From one of his legs? He couldn’t tell—they were all[How many legs does he have?] numb, metal and flesh alike.
He reached down into his life-core [His what?] and let his energy seep into his shell.
I don't care what kind of blast it was--for now. I care about what's happening to him, and learning more about his culture/suit and the link. Only slightly more important is whether or not he survives the landing, and what the "natives" are.
Hope this helps, though it's a little late.
Edited to add: I thought the title told me a bit about what he is. I may have been mislead, but I took this for a different take on Angels.
[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited March 28, 2008).]
So annepin, freelance writer from Berkeley, Ca. I fail to see how this piece furthers your passion to free Lance. Wasn’t he the guy who got twenty-five to life for sending in an unsigned tax return. Got what he deserved in my opinion. What if we all did that, just sit through an audit and say, “Oops, I guess I accidentally moved the decimal point. Good job I didn’t sign it eh?” No no, I say let him rot. And Berkeley… am I supposed to be impressed?… I am actually. Berkeley’s pretty cool. I can just see you marching down the street with your friends waving your ‘Free Lance’ placards and yelling at passing motorists. Probably have a ‘Vote for Hillary’ banner in your back pocket just in case your group decides to switch causes after lunch at Starbucks. I’m from Murrieta down in SoCal. Yeah, we have better weather than you… if you can tolerate the odd firestorm sweeping through and burning everything to the ground. That’s – inconvenient – come out and find ash all over your car – if you still have one.
Oh, your story, sorry I get easily distracted. I think I may have undiagnosed ADHD and it really,.. what’s that on my keyboard… ahh, a dried drop of chocolate low-carb ice-cream. Hmm, tastes weird. What were we talking about? Yes your story, right. I think I should get a protest going. I want to come out against stereotyping. Of course you’d never get anyone around here to march. They’re too busy working trying to keep their houses out of foreclosure cos they bought a four-hundred fifty thousand dollar house on forty grand a year of income and now the piper’s shown up. Some of them even pulled a second on their equity to buy a pearl white Escalade with ten grand in rims and tires, that they could never afford either. Duh!
What? Oh your story opening. I liked it. You’re a great writer. This launches you right into the action. The opening is riddled with hooks. It raises so many questions. Hopefully they all have intriguing answers if I kept reading, which I would. The last sentence didn’t conjure up any particular guess at what you’re describing. Reached down into his life-core… well maybe it gets clearer as you read on. Good job.
In the first sentence, I don't know if "shot" is the best word. As I read, my thought process went something like this: and shot him (what? he's been shot? is he dead?)into the planet's atmosphere (ohhhh, that kind of 'shot'. I understood you were comparing Valeron to a bullet, flying through space, but when you say "shot him" it makes me think he's been hit by a bullet. How about "pushed", "thrust", "propelled"...
Anyway, that's a lot to say about one little 4-letter word, so let me just say that I liked the rest of it and, for me, the hook was "to survive the natives."
Tracy, er, ha ha, thanks...? A smilie would go a long way toward making your intentions clear. If you don't mean it in humor, well, I guess I prefer to remain deluded.
IB, why would it be too late? I appreciate your in depth analysis and clarity, as always. Jeff M, I'm glad you found that hooky--that line was my intended hook. Patrick James, thanks for your comments--it is sci fi, but something along the lines of techno-magic, not hard core sci fi. You bring up a good point in that I should probably make the premise a little clearer.
Thinking you're funny is the first step...then you have put down the bottle chloroform and open a few windows.
I liked this.
The blast hit Valeron’s anterior shields and (shot--not sure if this is up or down; I would say 'punched him down into the planet's..) him into the planet’s atmosphere.
I think for the sake of the 13 lines (as we all do) you have left out details that would ground me a bit more in the visual element of what was happening. It is a balancing act, however I think your title and your first two sentences establish your hook, so I think you have time to play around...
Just a point, it strikes me that a being wrapped in an exoshell that can survive space and hammering into the ground is unlikely to have any problems with 'natives'. I think the line weakens it slightly. I think you should mention that he knows the planet has 'natives', but in another way.
[This message has been edited by skadder (edited March 29, 2008).]
Tracy, I'm from Murrieta, too, and I find your humor terribly obscure. It's not a regional thing. But keep on going with it--I'm sure plenty of people find it hilarious.
I found it all quite interesting, but one issue I had, though it may be a result of going to bed at 4 this morning and waking up at 11, half of an hour ago, was the transition between the second and third paragraphs. It's obviously causal; I can tell that his reason for reaching down into his life-core is to heal himself or, perhaps, to give him a sort of adrenaline rush. But it's almost as though it's not written that way, and I think the new paragraph is what throws me off. It makes sense, of course, as you have a thought sequence ending the previous paragraph.
So... maybe you have some idea to appease my tired mind. If you don't, it's not a devastating issue.
I think your writing is some of the best on this site and I am not sure that I am qualified enough to critic it; however, I will use this as a learning opportunity on critiquing.
To me your stories come down to taste. You have three very different posts and I find little to critic on your writing style. To me THE CELLIST is your best. I’m not sure if it is because of my taste or because you seem to be more connected to it in your writing. It is eloquent and evocative. THE LAST TREASURE OF TROY seems to be the one you are least connected with, at the same time it holds little interest to me, again personal taste. This one, FALLEN ANGEL falls in the middle.
I like your hook of surviving the natives but it also leaves seems that you leave one world and land in another. You have this raging battle in space that the natives don’t seem to be connected to. At least using the word natives makes me think of more primitive people, not knowledgeable enough for spaceflight and if the blast came from them then I would think Valeron would be shot upward, not downward. This is why I assume the battle is in space, not that the natives shot him down. I like the imagery of “mangled wings”, thrusters breaking loose, “exoskeleton into a fetal position”; the picture in my mind is something between the Veritech Fighter and the Halo body armor. I am a fan of both so this has me interested and I can totally picture it.
I have no problems with the mechanics of your story save one, the likelihood of someone physically surviving the impact from re-entry. The speed at which he would be traveling and the G-forces that would create would not be survivable, even if the exoskeleton would survive. The amount of force from a sudden impact would shove his body against the interior of the exoskeleton with such force that he would have to have super hero strength to survive it.
Something like: “ and prayed his emergency rockets would still fire allowing him to soft crash with enough integrity to survive the natives.”
I imagine the space story would invade the native story at some point later on and think the contrast between the two cultures could be really interesting.
Anyway, Nice work. I would read more of this one and THE CELLIST if you like.