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Author Topic: slush defiers in Asimov's
zerostone
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Here's the last of what I can find in my magazines.

VASQUEZ ORBITAL SALVAGE
AND SATELLITE REPAIR

By

Matthew Jarpe

Thirteen hours in the jar would be enough to break the will of any man. The jar was small for a space habitat, measuring somewhere between a coffin and an elevator. It wasn't as comfortable as a coffin, or as entertaining as an elevator. Outside was the eager embrace of vacuum. Inside, there wasn't much more than that.
Thirteen hours in the jar would have had the most hard bitten space captain begging to give up the self-destruct codes to his ship. But for Emilio Vasquez the jar wasn't a torture imposed by some brutal interrogators. It was his job.
Vasquez made his money by scooping up junk in orbit around Venus in a wire mesh net attached to the front end of his orbiter, the _Chomper._ On most planets you could make a bit of ...

Asimov's, July 2000, p.52


ALLIES

By

Miriam Landau


She shouldn't be here on Kailas, but Nathan is dead, and no one else on the station can climb. "Falling, Sarah," he'd joked at the end, when it was clear the doctors couldn't save him. The virus sucked all the water from him; his hands withered under his climber's calluses until he had nothing to anchor him and he blew away.
But I'm still here, Sarah thinks, why am I still here? Kailas is too far from Earth for trade, too far for war, too far for anything but curiosity, and that was something between Martas and Nathan that had nothing to do with her. The cliff looms over her, three thousand feet of alien granite; in the gray light before dawn, she imagines Kailan faces grimacing on the rock, their three-fingered hands curled into a striking gesture...

Asimov's, March 1999, p. 86


EVOLUTION NEVER SLEEPS

By

Elisabeth Malartre


Death came instantaneously to the deer. The dark blue semi had been laboring up the final quarter mile of the Sherwin Grade, fighting the rapidly thinning air. Its headlights picked out roadside pine trees, their nearest branches blown away by the snowblowers of winters past. As it crested the summit the truck began to pick up speed, hitting its stride on the gradual downhill. It was a crisp summer night, sky sprinkled with stars, light traffic on Route 395.
A few miles later, just beyond the offramp to Mammoth Lakes, a six-point buck leaped off the shoulder of the road into the truck's grill. The lifeless body arced back to the right shoulder of the road, landing in a crumpled heap amid the low shrubs. The truck swerved slightly, shifted gears and roared...

Asimov's, July 1999, p. 58

THE TERRIBLE LIZARDS OF LUNA

By

Michael Carroll

"So why didn't they?" asked the woman as she paced across the observation deck.
"It's ridiculous," replied the man on the couch, his voice edged with impatience.
"Not so ridiculous at all. They had one---two hundred million years to do it. Why not?"
"No opposable thumbs comes to mind," he said dismissively. He kept his bespectacled eyes on her long legs, trying to force his mind into something of a parallel track to hers. But it was difficult, especially after a sleepless night.
Kirk Teige never liked space travel, or boats, or even cars for an extended period. This two day trip would be his undoing, he supposed. He shifted his weight on the couch, trying not to sit...

Asimov's, June, 2000, p.56

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited June 24, 2009).]


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Doc Brown
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Zerostone, all of these are somewhat inferior to the ones you posted in the previous thread. I have always thought of Asimov's as a hit-or-miss publication.

In my opinion these three have cliche settings:
"Vasquez Orbital Salvage and Satellite Repair"
"Allies"
"The Terrible Lizards of Luna."

"Evolution Never Sleeps" looks like the best of the bunch, but even that has weak wording. "Dark blue semi" is a thin description, yet it takes three words. Blech!


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MAP
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I agree with docbrown. These are not as well written as the other examples. These don't have that literary feel, but all of these except the last one have a hooky first line.

"Thirteen hours in the jar would be enough to break the will of any man."

"She shouldn't be here on Kailas, but Nathan is dead, and no one else on the station can climb."

"Death came instantaneously to the deer."

I think all of these are good first lines.


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philocinemas
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I see more traditional hooks in these openings, but I also see some literary devices such as parallelism, hyperbole, flashback, repetition, and strong characterization. I initially see more of what I've been calling depth in the third example, about the deer, and I would bet a dollar it is the more "literary" of the four. Oddly all of these potential plots appeal to me more than some of the others have.

Now, I'm not saying that these other openings do not have depth; I see some examples I could wrangle up for all of them, but most of them would center on structure and not content.

I have also noticed one very interesting coincidence. Not a single one of these stories, since zerostone started posting them, has began with a character's name. In most, the character is not named until several lines down.


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InarticulateBabbler
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I've stayed out of the redundant debate on first 13s (this time), and will continue to. However, that is what this topic is about.

Here's where I add my worthless and annoying point: The title can be the hook in a short story. IT can be the promise of tension, conflict and can be indicative of the genre.

So, what are these titles, and do they do that job?

VASQUEZ ORBITAL SALVAGE AND SATELLITE REPAIR
By
Matthew Jarpe

Thirteen hours in the jar would be enough to break the will of any man. The jar was small for a space habitat, measuring somewhere between a coffin and an elevator. It wasn't as comfortable as a coffin, or as entertaining as an elevator. Outside was the eager embrace of vacuum. Inside, there wasn't much more than that.

Thirteen hours in the jar would have had the most hard bitten space captain begging to give up the self-destruct codes to his ship. But for Emilio Vasquez the jar wasn't a torture imposed by some brutal interrogators. It was his job.

Vasquez made his money by scooping up junk in orbit around Venus in a wire mesh net attached to the front end of his orbiter, the _Chomper._ On most planets you could make a bit of ...

(Yes, this sets the genre--even is indicative of the milieu. combined with only the first sentence, there is a promise of danger. There is a lovely two-sentence hook at the end of the second paragraph.)

ALLIES
By
Miriam Landau


She shouldn't be here on Kailas, but Nathan is dead, and no one else on the station can climb. "Falling, Sarah," he'd joked at the end, when it was clear the doctors couldn't save him. The virus sucked all the water from him; his hands withered under his climber's calluses until he had nothing to anchor him and he blew away.
But I'm still here, Sarah thinks, why am I still here? Kailas is too far from Earth for trade, too far for war, too far for anything but curiosity, and that was something between Martas and Nathan that had nothing to do with her. The cliff looms over her, three thousand feet of alien granite; in the gray light before dawn, she imagines Kailan faces grimacing on the rock, their three-fingered hands curled into a striking gesture...

(The title, by it's very definition, indicates conflict. Personally, I did find one sentence confusing, butthe others show danger and aliens...hmm. That would fit the title for a conflict. Present tense is distracting to me, but I would probably give it a few more lines.)

EVOLUTION NEVER SLEEPS
By
Elisabeth Malartre


Death came instantaneously to the deer. The dark blue semi had been laboring up the final quarter mile of the Sherwin Grade, fighting the rapidly thinning air. Its headlights picked out roadside pine trees, their nearest branches blown away by the snowblowers of winters past. As it crested the summit the truck began to pick up speed, hitting its stride on the gradual downhill. It was a crisp summer night, sky sprinkled with stars, light traffic on Route 395.
A few miles later, just beyond the offramp to Mammoth Lakes, a six-point buck leaped off the shoulder of the road into the truck's grill. The lifeless body arced back to the right shoulder of the road, landing in a crumpled heap amid the low shrubs. The truck swerved slightly, shifted gears and roared...

(The title is a hook--for me--and added to the suicidal deer, it makes a plausible conflict to me...I'd read on to find out whether or not I was right.)

THE TERRIBLE LIZARDS OF LUNA
By
Michael Carroll

"So why didn't they?" asked the woman as she paced across the observation deck.

"It's ridiculous," replied the man on the couch, his voice edged with impatience.

"Not so ridiculous at all. They had one---two hundred million years to do it. Why not?"

"No opposable thumbs comes to mind," he said dismissively. He kept his bespectacled eyes on her long legs, trying to force his mind into something of a parallel track to hers. But it was difficult, especially after a sleepless night.

Kirk Teige never liked space travel, or boats, or even cars for an extended period. This two day trip would be his undoing, he supposed. He shifted his weight on the couch, trying not to sit...

(It is only the promise of the title that hooks me at all. but it's a good contlict-filled promise, set--I already know--around a moon. I don't dig the abiguity, but I could see how an editor gave it a chance for a couple of pages based on this title.)

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited June 27, 2009).]


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zerostone
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Hello all, I've spent the last week working 10 hour days so that I could get today off, so I've been offline for a while.

Thanks IB,

I think your point is well taken about the title being a hook in itself.

In any case, I think this discussion has brought me some insights, despite the off-subject tangents.

I must admit, Doc Browm that I found the Asimov's slush defiers a bit disappointing myself. (I certainly wouldn't have gone on reading, but I'm unabashedly story oriented. Working 10 hour days tends to do that I guess.)

Anyway, thanks all, especially philocinemas, for the comments!!


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snapper
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I find myself disagreeing with the rest of you. I found all four worth reading forward. They all had a solid hook for me. If in F&F I would have told the authors so.
The Examples of the Fantasy and Science Fiction openings I did not feel that way. I thought they were written to impress, not to entertain. Although the prose’s of these openings seem simplistic compared to the other thread, they focused on something that is important to me, a compelling plot.
As a reader, a lot of the stuff that makes publication I feel is weighed to poetic descriptions and establishing a superficial depth of a character that I rarely find relevant. In other words, those stories are focused on the trees when the forest is much more interesting to me. Give me a plot worth reading, not a prose that is supposed to mean more than its crafted words.


VASQUEZ ORBITAL SALVAGE
AND SATELLITE REPAIR
A man in a prison, except his prison is his job. The conflict and hook is there for me. A classic man vs nature type of story with the nature being the vacuum of space. The jar, and the man that whose fate is to inhabit it, I find compelling. The second and third sentences are the right and left hooks that were set up by that jab of the first line…
.The jar was small for a space habitat, measuring somewhere between a coffin and an elevator. It wasn't as comfortable as a coffin, or as entertaining as an elevator.

ALLIES
A story of the marooned, another of man vs nature story. The combination of a mean virus and that the characters are so far from helped grabs me. Sentence three is the one that draws me in…
The virus sucked all the water from him; his hands withered under his climber's calluses until he had nothing to anchor him and he blew away.

EVOLUTION NEVER SLEEPS
I agree that the title is half the hook, but it is the vivid, although simple, description that draws me in. I can see the truck working its way up the road, the deer nothing more than a speed bump to it. The opening suggest something bigger is about to happen, and I want to know what that something is.

THE TERRIBLE LIZARDS OF LUNA
all the signs of a Sci-fi who-dun-it. As a fan of many SF mysteries, this one has me hooked. I want to know what these creatures are and why they couldn’t do whatever they couldn’t do. The fact Kirk is dismissive convinces me that he shouldn’t be.

I have never bought an Asimov. Plenty of Analog’s and Fantasy and Science Fiction. Based on these examples I will have to change my choices of reading material.

[This message has been edited by snapper (edited July 03, 2009).]


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Robert Nowall
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That seems odd. Why would you not buy Asimov's, if you're going to make the effort and buy Analog and F & SF? I subscribe to all three. (I rarely read them from cover to cover, but that's another story.)
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snapper
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Because Robert. I only buy one when I come across it. Bookstores, Wallmart, Newstands. They are getting harder to find. I just do not have the time to read all three and their content is not entertaining enough to me to justify the expense. I would rather spend the money on a book. Plenty good authors out there that I wouldn't be dissatisfied with my purchase.
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Robert Nowall
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That's why I subscribe to them...it'd cost less than newsstand price, no more than four or five good books, and it'd come to your mailbox every issue.

Besides, if you're serious about getting some item into them, it might be worth your while to buy them more often...


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ScardeyDog
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I find it interesting that you all said you would read the story about the deer. I found that one the least appealing, but maybe that's because I live in an area where deer are constantly being hit by vehicles.
What is it about that story that appealed to you? Plot? Prose?
Just curious.

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philocinemas
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I enjoyed the prose, but if memory serves me right the next line, which was truncated by our 13-lines ruler, was about a metamorphasis or another intelligence or the like.
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