I love the idea of watching aliens on tv. Like the nature channel.
However seems a little info-dumpy. We have many unfamiliar terms all at once: (1) Partner for the Journey (2) Sods-Quarga (3) Mars-Crodendra (4) D1101M (5) Kepler-scopes
I am also wondering whether we need quite so many numbers. For example, I have no idea what channel is CNN, yet I am able to watch CNN when I feel like it. If there are 250,000 channels, would he really be talking about channel 4445? Would anyone refer to asteroid D1101M or just call it "that asteroid that will wipe out those Mars-Crodendrons?"
I was a little confused by the word Mars. Is this like our Mars? Perhaps it would be less confusing with fewer hyphens?
Partner for the Journey. Is this like a wife?
"but as the Mars planet rotated, I could observe the millions of Crodendrans." I was confused by this. Are you saying "Due to the fact that the planet rotated, I could observe the millions"?
Lastly, here's how I imagine the story ending. We find that these aliens have their own kepler-scopes, and are watching us. Or perhaps they are watching our caveman ancestors.
[This message has been edited by OliverBuckram (edited October 19, 2011).]
Overall impression, and excellent idea – voyeurs of past civilizations. Nice enticements, like what is the Journey and who is the Partner? Also, good characterization with ‘A quarter of a million channels, and I’m obsessed with a race doomed to extinction.' I really get a feel for the MC in a short space.
I agree that there were too many numbers for my tastes. And I, too, was left wondering if this Mars was our solar system’s Mars. If it’s not, I might suggest changing it.
The writing got better the farther into the 13 I read, I thought. The first few sentences seemed choppy. Combining a few ideas might even it out. Such as (avert your eyes KDW, I’m rewriting…) “Like half the (passengers), my Partner for the Journey was always watching/glued to the civil war raging on Sods-Quarg. I preferred…”
Also, “Unfortunately, an asteroid would soon collide with their planet, (and) by the looks of the dailies, they had no idea it was coming.”
You have solid writing and an intriguing concept. If you need a reader, I'd be happy to oblige.
Oliver, Good call on the terms. By now I'm so familiar with them that I don't even see them anymore. (I don't even see the code, all I see is blonde, brunette, redhead.)
I'll cool the terms up front. Starting with the asteroid #.
Partner is wife, yes. Marriage is no longer recognized. I was trying to be fanciful. I didn't want to just say partner. However, I might. Partner is fine, let people assume what they may about the sex of the partner. It doesn't matter to the story. =)
Mars is simply the sector. I just love the way it sounds with the second word. I originally had it as Sods-Crodendra, but I didn't like the two d sounds, so I softened the first word and sent sods over to the waring peacekeepers. However, I can see the confusion.
The planet rotating thing is designed to show how long he watches them. (character) I'll have to work on the wording. =)
Thanks for taking the time to look it over.
Roxy, no prob on the restructure of my sentences. Much simpler. I often try to do too much in the 13, which is why I love bringing them here.
I'm not ready for readers yet, but could I drop you an e-mail down the road?
Two nits: - you said in the comments that Mars-C and Sods-Q are sectors? As written, they could also be referring to the names of the aliens or planets (which I'd assumed after learning the Sods-Quarga are at war--I guessed one side was Sods, the other Quarga.) I'd suggest throwing the word "sector" in there the first time ("always watches the Sods-Quarga sector). Then we can infer it easily enough for Mars-C and any others that come up. - You switch tense from past to present for the barest moment with the "I'm obsessed . . ." It sounds more natural than saying "I was obsessed," though, idiomatically . . . but it threw me a bit, so you might want to fiddle with that. Oh, and you want "had long since perished." Same reason.
Overall, I like the tone. It's laid-back, but full of casually-tossed-in hints of your setting, which is the way to go. Aside from the aforementioned complaints of too many numbers, it doesn't feel info-dumpy at all, IMO. More on the conversational side. And personally, I like the "channel 4445," simply because it's a super-early, easily recognizable marker that a) we're dealing with sci-fi, and b) we're dealing with an uber-familiar setting (watching tv), and can therefore draw several details into the picture forming in our minds.
I do have a question, upon a second read-through: is the Journey Partner sitting there with him, and are they essentially fighting over the remote?
Drat!! I was hoping you were ready for readers too, Axe. I saw your story was up after I posted for swapping story crits. I was hoping you'd be interested. If you are, give me a jingle.
I like your opening, but like I do sometimes, you are cramming a lot into a small space. Might want to slow your info down and give it to us more spread out and in smaller doses. I like what I've read so far. Sounds very intriguing.
Just let me know if you'd like to trade stories. I really feel I need someone to read mine before I can go any further with it.
I recently was watching a comedy/crime show where a guy said his partner was watching the bar all night. One of the characters mistook partner to mean business partner while all the younger "hipper" characters knew that partner meant the bar owners were in a gay relationship.
I don't care what your characters do behind closed doors, but I enjoyed the straight forward, yet ambiguous, Partner for the Journey. It showed two individuals in a committed relationship and it doesn't matter if they have dangle bits or not.
Other than that, I think the newer version is tighter.
1) Don't give the channel number but the name of the channel.
2) Consider changing "I'd become obsessed over..." to "I obsessed over..."
3) There is probably some reason the two individuals like watching other civilizations. That needs to be explained somewhere, plus the fact that they ARE watching alien civilizations (I was lost and had to figure it out later, after I read a few sentences past that point).
$) Consider canging the line about the asteroid-planet collision. "Unfortunately, an asteroid was about to smash the planer into smithereens" (not those words, of course, but you get the idea... (it sounds dry and unemotional as it is).
6) I think they should be "Kepler Scopes" not "the Kepler Scopes"...
7) I like someone's idea of them watching us. (I was looking back to see if you were looking back at me to see me looking back at you. Rick Derringer song)\
8) Someone also suggested putting the information of the dailies first, then that they were going to die....I like that idea, too.