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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Nostaglia SF (approx 3,800 words)

   
Author Topic: Nostaglia SF (approx 3,800 words)
Nick T
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Hi,

Not quite sure where to go from the first draft of this one. I'd appreciate readers for the whole thing. Apologies for the typo in "Nostalgia".

Regards,

Nick
Version 1

quote:
The young woman floating naked in the lake could have been his target.‭ ‬Steven did not know how the original version of himself had escaped,‭ ‬but it wouldn’t be impossible for the personality to take‭ ‬female form.‭ ‬She floated on her back,‭ ‬unaware of his presence.‭ ‬A‭ ‬flawless,‭ ‬innocent face.‭ ‬Even in rest,‭ ‬her sparse body spoke of athleticism,‭ ‬of joy in kinetic things.‭ ‬The operating version of Steven had long abandoned sexuality and had not included any understanding of current‭ ‬homo sapiens sexual mores when recreating him.‭ ‬He needed to be careful.‭ ‬Steven hoped to God he did not have to kill her.‭

Version 2

quote:
The young woman floating naked in the waterhole could have been the escaped older version of himself. Steven thought it possible for the archive to recreate itself using a female body. He examined her from behind a tree as she floated on her back, unaware of his presence. A flawless, innocent face. Even in rest, her sparse body spoke of athleticism, of joy in kinetic things.
This part of earth was the same as he remembered it, though families used to picnic near the waterhole. As far as he could see, they were the only people around. He hoped to God she was not the original. He did not want to kill another girl, even if his old personality resided within.
He turned his back and whispered, "Steven." No response.


[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited May 06, 2009).]


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skadder
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I know you apologised (trying to blunt my sword before I'd even pulled it out of the sheath, eh?)--but 'Nostaglia' sounds like a pasta you used to get in the old days.(boom-boom)

Any reason you have posted so much less than 13 lines?

I will insert my thoughts as I read, so you may answer something further on, but this way gives you my reaction to it.

quote:
The young woman floating naked in the lake could have been his target.

Could have been? Target for what--a hit, to talk to? Why doesn't he (and us) know if she is or isn't? I guess he knows some of this stuff and, therefore, so should we, but will we?.‭

‬Steven did not know how the original version of himself had escaped(from where or what?),‭ ‬but it wouldn’t be impossible for the personality (The personality? Whose or what's personality? Is it his; the orginal version of himself? And I am still confused about what everything is about)to take‭ ‬female form.‭ ‬Edited to add: So he thinks his original version may be the female in the lake? Or am I way off mark.

She floated on her back,‭ ‬unaware of his presence.‭ ‬A‭ ‬flawless,‭ ‬innocent face.‭ ‬Even in rest,‭ ‬her sparse body spoke of athleticism,‭ ‬of joy in kinetic [kinetic things? I get what yo mean, but a bullet is a kinetic thing--do you mean kinetic pursuits, as in sports etc?) things.‭

‬The operating version of Steven had long abandoned sexuality and had not included any understanding of current‭ ‬homo sapiens sexual mores when recreating him.‭

It sounds as though he has no information on this--if so, and as this is his POV, how come it's mentionned--its information outside of his knowledge, surely.

‬He needed to be careful (Why, what danger is there?).‭ ‬Steven hoped to God he did not have to kill her.‭


OK, so those are all my nit-picky thoughts, as I read it.

This is well written, apart from a sense of withholding running through it. I think a little withholding is fine, but there are too many questions.

The setting has been overlooked a little. The woman is in a lake, but where? In cold Scotland, hot Hawaii or an artificial lake on a habitat orbiting a gas giant in another system? Is Steven in the lake near her or watching from the shore or watching a video feed from a starship in orbit?

I think you need to balance your focus a little.


[This message has been edited by skadder (edited May 06, 2009).]


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Antinomy
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The woman in the lake is the hook, and in IMHO the second sentence beginning with, “Steven did not know…..” interrupts and distracts from the buildup. Maybe it could be inserted a little later?
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tnwilz
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This is a great hook and I already know a great Sci-fi story is afoot.

Sparse doesn't really equal athletic for me and I instantly questioned how he had drawn that conclusion from the fact she was skinny. Saying she had well defined muscles that spoke of athletic joy in kinetic things or something along those lines would tell the reader more accurately how the narrator had so quickly drawn those conclusions. I have often marveled at how a single word can totally change a piece.

I'll read.

Tracy


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Nick T
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Thanks everyone. Version 2 to (hopefully) address the withholding, etc. above.
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skadder
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quote:
The young woman floating naked in the waterhole could have been the escaped older version of himself. Steven thought it possible for the archive to recreate itself using a female body. He examined her from behind a tree as she floated on her back, unaware of his presence. A flawless, innocent face. Even in rest, her sparse body spoke of athleticism, of joy in kinetic things.
This part of earth was the same as he remembered it, though families used to picnic near the waterhole. As far as he could see, they were the only people around. He hoped to God she was not the original. He did not want to kill another girl, even if his old personality resided within.
He turned his back and whispered, "Steven." No response.

I make you a line short of 13 lines, still. Is it your opinion that the next line is distracting or something?

I have some slight confusion when you say that the woman could be '...the escaped, older version of himself...' but then in the next sentence say '...the archive to recreate itself using a female body...'. The two sentences seem at odds with each other. I can only deduce that Steve is the Archive...if that is so why then does he speak of himself (within the prose) as both Steve and objectively as the archive? It's a bit like calling the MC Jeff and then have him think that Captain Morgan is cruel--people may think its two people. If he is both then I would tackle that later to avoid confusion early on, after all the current hook is the possibiliy that he may have to kill a female, older version of himself. If he isn't both and the archive made (or he thinks may have) a female version of Steve then I would suggest altering the sentence to '...the archive to recreate him using a female body...' (suggestion--'template').

The last issue I had was with the second to last line.

>He turned his back and whispered, "Steven."

Do you mean he turned away from her and whispered this? Was he hoping for her to hear this? If you are suggesting she may have super-hearing then this is fine...otherwise it seems odd he turns away from her. It crossed my mind that perhaps this is a test...super-hearing then she probably is his former self. You could have used the extra line to strengthen this hook. ("Steven," he whispered, well below the level of human hearing. The girl's eyelid flickered.) I am guessing here that the reponse he was looking for was from the girl...but it could from a controller.

earth= dirt.
Earth= The Planet Earth


This version is much improved. I don't think you have lost anything by adding the setting--only gained.

I would read on.

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited May 07, 2009).]


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Nick T
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quote:
I make you a line short of 13 lines, still. Is it your opinion that the next line is distracting or something?

No, I'm an idiot who pastes it into the box to check for length and then decides to edit some words he's noticed.

quote:
If he is both then I would tackle that later to avoid confusion early on, after all the current hook is the possibiliy that he may have to kill a female, older version of himself.

Good suggestion. I was hoping to avoid confusion, but it doesn't work.

quote:
Do you mean he turned away from her and whispered this?

What he was hoping for was a response from the girl because you're more likely to pick out your own name from background noise than a louder sound. I'm not how to get that across.


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skadder
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quote:
What he was hoping for was a response from the girl because you're more likely to pick out your own name from background noise than a louder sound. I'm not how to get that across.

Difficult. Steve has checked that they are alone. The impression I get (he is watching her from behind a tree) is that she is unaware of his prescence. If she heard ANY voice she would likely react--I would if I thought I was alone.

Also what you say is true, but isn't that called the 'cocktail party effect' or something--you'd hear your own name in amongst all the other voices...Doesn't quite work in a nature setting, because the human voice is the odd man out. So if audible, it will be heard and reacted to. (unh?)


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Nick T
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Hi,

Thanks Skadder. I'll have to rethink that point.

Nick


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