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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Pink Noise

   
Author Topic: Pink Noise
silverberry
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One of the best brain doctors of his time, Nathi lost his own brain five centuries ago when he became a posthuman.

He is called upon to save a comatose girl. The damage is extensive, so he decides to map his own mind into her brain in order to replace the badly damaged part.

But something unexpected waits for him within the Girl's brain. She is a carrier of a Wish Fairy, an enigmatic sentient cyber being whose only purpose is to kill the Wish, a virus used by the ruling cyber Wizard Orders to enslave all posthuman minds--including Nathi's.

Liberated, Nathi forms a symbiotic union--the Dancer--with the Girl, discovers the true cause of her brain injury, and finds a way to break out of the Castle, their high-tech prison, and into the Martian polar night.

But once outside, the real chase begins.

They must resist the cyber wizards trying to remotely regain control of their minds, while also sending a force in pursuit. It is a battle that must be fought both in the physical world and that of the mind.


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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silverberry, is this supposed to be your first 13 lines? If so, it's too long.

If it's not your first 13 lines, is it your query?

What I'm really asking is what kind of feedback you would like to receive from other Hatrack participants in relation to what you've posted.

They need to know if you want feedback on the actual text, or on the idea (brainstorming), or if you are asking for volunteers who would be willing to have you email the whole manuscript to them for feedback (they would need to know how long it is, and they would need to be able to say how much they would be willing to have you send).


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silverberry
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Kathleen,

According to the forum's description, the first 13 lines and/or a brief summary are acceptable. This is a summary (in fact, just about 13 lines long).

Any kind of feedback is welcome. It could be the critique of the summary itself, of the story's premise, or an offer to review a longer excerpt and/or the entire thing. Speaking of which, the entire story is available as a 192-page long PDF file and as individual chapters (ten in all).

Thank you for your interest,

Leo


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Thank you, Leo. It's best if you make it clear what kind of help you would like.

Please read this topic to see how we count 13 lines here.

Since it's a summary, the 13-line rule doesn't apply, by the way. I'm referring you to the topic for your information.

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited December 29, 2009).]


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silverberry
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I would also like to ask the people here if they would buy a book with the following dust jacket:

http://pinknoise.net/images/temp/DustJacket.pdf
(temporary, low-res)

Leo


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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That's a cool cover. I'm a little iffy on the "pink" in the title, though--not sure why.
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silverberry
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Thanks! Well, pink is truly a part of the title, in this case. Can't help it!

Leo

P.S. FYI, pink noise is when the amplitude is inversely proportional to the frequency. It's the noise found in the brain's neuronal activity, as well as almost everywhere in nature. If the amplitude is constant, the noise is called white, since the equal mix of all colors of the rainbow ends up in the color of white. The pink noise is called pink because the red part of the spectrum makes a heavier contribution than the blue end; so people think the end result is pink. However, when I did the exercise of rigorously computing the color of pink noise in the CIE xyY system, it turned out not to be pink at all; rather, it's close to golden brown. But who cares if the noise is already called pink, right?


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Thanks. That information makes the title cool as well, for me, at least.
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ScardeyDog
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I like the cover art, very cool.

About the summary:

I don't understand why a doctor would give up his life to save a girl. He's a brain surgeon, he must have lost patients before. What's so special about this girl that he puts his brain into her head?

Ok, I just re-read it and I think I understand now. He lost his brain earlier when he became a robot (posthumans are robots, right?) He's poking around in her head as part of his job, finds the Wish Fairy and is infected by it.

An adult man forming a symbiotic union with a young girl kind of creeps me out. This will have to be handled very carefully to work.

This novel seems very SF, but the words Fairy and Cyber Wizards are throwing me off. Is this a world with computer-magic, like those Web Mage books, or are those just titles, with no actual magic?

I think your premise sounds interesting. I suggest you put up the first 13 lines if you want some more direct feedback.


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silverberry
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Thanks, ScardyDog.
Nathi doesn't actually give his life. Nor is he really a robot. Even a robot has a physical body, whereas a posthuman has none at all, existing in a purely software world.

The first 13 lines:
===================
The girl was in a coma so severe that it prevented digital upload of her mind. This rescue mission called not for a doctor but an artist. Nathi was one, the best master of brain debugging in his Order.

It helped that he had no brain himself.

Almost six centuries ago, the first human mind had been successfully transferred into a digital format, becoming the world’s first official posthuman. No body to age, digital backups--all this translated into a potential immortality. Much of the human race had followed suit. Their cyberspace reality, e-World, had grown in size, with hardware spread out all across the colonized part of the solar system.
===================

A few more paragraphs of a brief introduction are followed by a brain debugging scene, in which Nathi makes the girl dream while experiencing everything at the same time. A modified (to make the 500 words limit) second half of the girl's dream won a contest for the best prose poem in speculative fiction, judged by Joe Haldeman:

http://www.oddcon.com/stories.html

Leo

[This message has been edited by silverberry (edited January 05, 2010).]


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silverberry
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P.S. Oh, and to answer your question about "magic": I have never heard of the books you mentioned. The futuristic society in Pink Noise is ruled by the parahuman caste technocracy. Parahumans are basically humans with cyber enhancements in their brains (and the rest of the body). A parahuman's caste is determined by the nature of enhancements: wizards (from "computer wiz") rule the cyberspace, warriors have enhanced combat abilities, and the like.

Unlike posthumans, who have no body at all and are immortal, parahumans do have bodies and are mortal. But most of the posthumans and mind slaves, because of certain subtle differences between the analog and digital intelligences, explored in the story.

I didn't want to use the word "cyborg" because of its dehumanizing aspect, as if they are less than human, as if the cyber in them *replaces* something human--whereas it's only *added* to it. The word "cyborg," actually, is a swear word in that universe, sometimes used by plain humans, sort of like the N-word for African Americans in our days.

Leo

[This message has been edited by silverberry (edited January 05, 2010).]


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ScardeyDog
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Cool idea. I think if you want to make the summary posted above into a query letter you should include the information you just told me (the difference between post-humans and para-humans, "wizard" = computer wiz, "Wish Fairy" = computer virus). This will make your imagined world more clear.

On to the first 13, comments in bold

quote:
The girl was in a coma so severe that it prevented digital upload of her mind. This rescue mission called not for a doctor but an artist. Nathi was one, the best master of brain debugging in his Order.

It helped that he had no brain himself. Love this, great hook.

Almost six centuries ago, the first human mind had been successfully transferred into a digital format, becoming the world’s first official posthuman. You say first twice in this sentence, which feels repetitive. No body to age, digital backups--all this translated into a potential immortality. I don't care for "all of this" here, maybe because you've only listed two things. What about if you cut straight to " - potential immortality."? Much of the human race had followed suit. Their cyberspace reality, e-World, had grown in size, with hardware spread out all across the colonized part of the solar system.


Overall, a great begining.


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silverberry
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Thanks, ScardeyDog! Much appreciated.

Leo


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Architectus
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The universe you have imagined is very cool, and I would love to read a novel that takes place in this universe.

However, about your first 13, I would follow the advice you gave someone else in another thread. Start with something happening. Someone doing something in real time. The info in your first 13 is nice, and you shouldn't cut it, but weave it into the scene.


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