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Author Topic: Ghosts of Time (SF-WIP)
Bent Tree
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Well I have been redrafting oldies for so long that it feels really good to come up with a new storie here is the intro. I would love to hear what you all think and would be greatfull for any readers.

Hanzu took a seat in the lecture hall, eagerly awaiting the guest speaker, Master Nobuyaki, to begin.
“I am pleased to be here. As you all know were it not for my breakthrough with the quantum spectral analyzer, Ancient Earth History was soon to become a lost field. In fact this class was scheduled for termination.” Master Nobuyaki bowed slightly to the scantly populated room.
Hanzu could no longer contain himself. This could be his opportunity. “Your machine—does it work on any artifact? Can it really detect the presence of the Ancestors?” The hall fell silent and Hanzu felt very exposed and vulnerable.
“Everyone knows your sword is a fake, you buffoon. Your grandfather is a liar and a lousy share-miner” Jun sneered. The class erupted in laughter.

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Not sure if you need that first sentence - it doesn't add anything. I would start with "I am pleased...".
I am puzzled about what a quantum spectral analyzer does, but it looks like we'll find out in the next couple of sentences. I also wonder why "Ancestors" is capitalized (deliberate, I'm sure), and what a share-miner is.
I'll read if you want to send it on.

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Seems great, writing-wise. The whole spectral analyzer, looking into the past bit is a slight turn off for me, taste-wise, but the Asian culture hints counteract it.

On a second look, you probably need a comma after "as you all know."

Master Nobuyaki bowed slightly to the scantly populated room

I was going to say cut this, but I sense you are trying to lead into Hanzu's inability to contain himself. I'd suggest something else though as I'm not really sure why he'd be bowing. Maybe something self-deprecating, since his first bit is a little self-congratulatory.

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Are you using an omniscient narrator or is the pov shifting? You start with Hanzu, then go to the instructor and then Jun.

I also have to wonder why Jun is in the classroom if he thinks the guy a fake.

Also, when someone asks if the machine works we don't know who asks the question. It could even be 'a voice from the back row', but it should be identified. And he never responds to this question before the jab from Jun. Master Nobuyaki goes from being slightly boastful about his machine to feeling 'exposed and vulnerable". This seems inconsistent.

It sounds like there might be a cool concept here but it feels scattered. I think you need more focus, at least for this opening.

I'll read if you like.

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BT - The general feel of the passage is enough to make me want to read more. My only questions are;
Who is Jun directing the sneer toward, Master N. or Hanzu? Could the word 'would' fit better at "Anient Earth History 'was' soon..." Striking 'to'. And possibly the term 'near empty' for 'scantly populated'. If Master N is the guest speaker, what is the 'class to be terminated' connection... associated with his breakthrough.

I would be willing to read a longer segment...

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I’m having difficulty here.

Your first paragraph is supposed to show us where we are and paint Hanzu as “eager.”

It doesn’t quite work – for me. The way you have this phrased, H takes his seat then you say he is eagerly awaiting for N to begin. The eagerly awaiting makes it seem – again =, to me – that he is already sitting, except you told us he just sat down. I would phrase it more clearly thus –

Hanzu took a seat eagerly in the lecture hall. The guest speaker, Master Nobuyaki, was just shuffling through his papers. Nobuyaki looked up. All murmuring stopped.

Now I get really confused. -- were it not for my breakthrough with the quantum spectral analyzer, Ancient Earth History was soon to become a lost field.

What does he mean? If not for his breakthrough gadget ancient history would have become a lost field -- ????? Why? All the data had been lost? And his gadget would make that loss irrelevant?

Your - Hanzu could no longer… - starts a new idea, a new paragraph.

Cut your -- This could be his opportunity – you don’t need it.

Your - detect the presence of the Ancestors – I’m going to assume this is part of the sf-ness and will be clarified real soon.

The hall fell silent – No where did I read that it wasn’t silent. I think you have the order reversed. The hall remained silent – don’t say so. Go to the next bit where Jun sneers and challenges H. And then the hall laughs and H feels exposed and vulnerable.

I think you need to be bit more specific about the sword – your grandfather’s sword or your family’s sword

Just some suggestions.

[This message has been edited by arriki (edited December 27, 2009).]

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I suspect the lack of clear paragraph breaks is causing some of the confusion reported above.

I'd agree that "was soon to become" should go to something like "would be".

The "As you know" bothers me -- sounds like one of the 12 deadly sins. I'd suggest striking it. Just have N make the claim. Maybe follow it up with "I've now changed that."

Would N bow first, before speaking (as introduction), or is that meant -- as another suggested -- as penance for his bragging statement?

I'd like to read on...

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I'm with stutson on the "As you all know..." bit. If they all know it, why would he actually say it? Answer: for the benefit of those who don't know, which is to say, us. And as the statement doesn't really clarify anything (there's no hint of what the Quantum Thingumajig does, nor why Ancient Earth History would have been doomed without it - I infer, BTW, that we are not on Earth now) I think you should consider dropping it, and telling us about it in some other way.

Otherwise... it seems to be well structured but I am not sure I am fully involved, despite Hanzu's clear eagerness for some knowledge and the ridicule of his class-mates. I haven't yet worked out why this is, there SHOULD be enough there.

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I do like the history aspect.
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