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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Dark Hard SF techno thingy

   
Author Topic: Dark Hard SF techno thingy
bobbyshane
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It almost becomes second nature, prying the vice-like grip of a dead man's hands from his keyboard, once you've done it a couple hundred times. The guys often told him he needn't do grunt work, but Ray Garret had grown a personal attachment to this case he couldn't shake. After the 17th victim of the digi-human virus they called The Chair in the media, Ray had seen enough. As he pulled the cold, chalky fingers from the back of the keyboard, random letters sprayed on the screen. Originally, it only contained the same message left with every victim.
Exit Reality.
Even though he knew the MO, Ray did the routine check for the HPDID (Human Perceptual Digital Interface Device). Most of the punks Ray came across called it The Lifeline nowadays.

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EVOC
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First, it is great to see you back with another first 13.

Now, I will give you my thoughts.

I like the first sentence up until "once you've done is a couple hundred times."

It seems to break up the flow of the sentence. I think if can be done without. It had become second nature sort of implies he has done it a lot.

quote:
After the 17th victim of the digi-human virus they called The Chair in the media, Ray had seen enough.
Again this sentence seems awkward. I think instead of "they" you should just say "the media" and cut out "in the media".

quote:
Ray did the routine check for the HPDID

Do you mean "of" or "for" I get the impression here Ray is checking the status or condition of the interface device rather then looking to see if one is there.

As far as am I hooked? Yes, I am.


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bobbyshane
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Good call on both sentences. It's pretty bad, I've already cut that first sentence down some from what it originally was. Don't you hate it when you like something so much that it blinds you to how bad it really is?

As far as the second sentence you mentioned goes, I think this works, thoughts?

After the 17th victim of the digi-human virus called The Chair in the media, Ray had seen enough.

On the third sentence mentioned, he really is checking to see if the device is there. A couple lines later or maybe the next paragraph you find out the device goes in the ear canal.

It's not finished yet, it's at 7k right now. But I'll be doing some major cutting and hopefully the finished product will be 10k or less, we'll see. If anyone's interested in critting it out when I'm done, let me know.


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axeminister
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Hey Bobby.

I have a few issues. First, it seems thick. There's a lot that's happened and is going on and I already feel behind, like I'm trying to catch up.

Here's what I mean:
"Once you've done it a couple hundred times."
Damn. That's a lot of times. Especially for such a unique way of dying.
Now, you've said you've already removed that part, which is good. And no need to make it "almost" second nature - it can just be.
"The guys often told him he needn't do grunt work."
So, I'm assuming the MC is a man of some rank, but I don't know who "the guys" are, or what the rank is, or who he works for of if he's a freelancer.... Plus, I think it would add more character if he alone decides he doesn't need to do grunt work, but does it anyway. This case has gotten under his skin. He's pissed. It's personal.
In fact, calling "prying dead fingers from keyboards" grunt work, while possibly setting up your world, really makes for a callous description. If that's your intent - it worked.
"The 17th victim." Earlier it was hundreds. ?

Personally, I would have seen enough after the first victim, but since I wouldn't know it's a pattern until x number of victims, it wouldn't be worth mentioning I'd yet had enough. However, 17 is a pretty high number. Plus, what does it mean he's had enough? What's he going to do differently now that he's had enough that he wouldn't have done had he not had enough?

I love the virus name. It combines well with the dead fingers on keyboard and live monitor.

But, you mention "they called" and "in the media" which shows us a larger world, but I feel like it's slowing down this moment in which the MC is looking for clues about how the corpse before him died. If you think about the corpse as being his brother, I bet his thought process isn't going to be about what "they, in the media" called what killed him. He'll probably note, or think something along the lines of his brother being a victim of The Chair. (The capitals, and your earlier description have given me enough info to make the connection to the name.)

Forget the random letters on the screen. There's no point when you're trying to set up a creepy situation.
The words Exit Reality (written properly with capitals, I might add.) are typed across the screen each time. THAT is what I, the reader, am jazzed about. What the heck is going on? The dude typed something, then gripped his keyboard, then died. Now, the same poor schmoe whose had to do this over and over has found the body and after 17 victims is no closer to solving the case than he was after the first body.

I want his frustration, his anger, his hopelessness... not what the guys tell him. See what I mean? What's happening is off the chart nuts. Put me in the room with him. Make me feel what he's feeling. What is he feeling?

"Even though he knew the MO" - kill these words. Take me through the mechanical check for HPDID. He's done this 16 times and he's sick of it, right? Every time the result is x. Do it again. Hate it. SHOW me he's had enough.

Punks? Who? Guys? Who? Leave them out of this. I'm interested in two people right now. Ray Garret, and the corpse. Since I won't get to know the corpse (probably) I want to get to know Ray, and I want to know him very well.

Tell me about him.

Axe


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bobbyshane
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Ouch, that's a tall order for a first 13, axe. I'll reply more extensively later today.
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axeminister
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Bobby,
I didn't necessarily mean you had to get all that in 13, but more to look down the road and choose your method of travel. I'm not saying I'm right, of course, just giving you some food for thought.

Axe


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A Yeatts
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Very intriguing! I would definitely read on. Love the concept so far. The original first sentence tripped me up a bit but it sounds like you've already worked on that one.

After the 17th victim of the digi-human virus they called The Chair in the media, Ray had seen enough. As he pulled the cold, chalky fingers from the back of the keyboard, random letters sprayed on the screen.

I had to wonder if this corpse was the 17th victim or the couple hundredth? The flashback sentence threw me.

Can't wait to find out more about the HPDID/Lifeline. I emailed you earlier about a swap. Send this one whenever you're ready. I'll look forward to reading it!

Anna


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