PDA

View Full Version : SOLARIS: The New Earth



ShatteredUniverse
February 10th, 2012, 07:05 PM
*removed*

Canis
February 10th, 2012, 11:38 PM
I will be brutally honest with you. It is not my intention to "ruffle your feathers," as the old Southern expression goes. I am merely giving you my honest opinion. I found it very hard to critique this work. I was torn between admiration and disappointment. Let me explain one then the other.

The content of this work is great, quite frankly. Event horizons, ZPEs, teleportation, and savants are right up my alley, metaphorically speaking. This story has a similarity to the "Stargate" franchise, which I loved, so I immediately connected with the narrative. The main character's confusion is well written, in my opinion, and the character of Alexander is intriguing to say the least. I will say that for those who know nothing of this type of Sci-fi, this is a lot to take in. You are bordering on the edge of info dump with regens, event horizons, ZPEs, etc., so I would suggest either simplifying some of the more technical aspects of the story to reach a larger audience or adding in a brief prologue to set the scene of your story.

Now, what I didn't like. The content of this story, as I've said, is wonderful. The presentation of the content is less than wonderful, to be frank. There is a time to be formal, grammatically speaking, and a time to be informal. Using words like ain't, 'specially, and gonna isn't terrible, but overuse can make your work suffer. I would suggest only using informal grammar and speech when your characters are either thinking or speaking.

I loved the story, I hope to see more in the future, and I hope this helped. Cheers.

Foxee
February 10th, 2012, 11:53 PM
I more or less agree with Canis. Overall, I really enjoyed the hickville feel combined with the futuristic setting though there were a few moments that tripped me up a little. The first person perspective reads a tiny bit rough though I imagine that'll smooth out as you continue to write it. ('Then, the doors slide apart and my hands fly up to an open mouth.' and a few other moments like this read a bit awkwardly to me.)

Really liked the premise of it and it was especially easy to see the old man, too.

SeaBee1
February 11th, 2012, 02:24 PM
This may sound like shallow praise, but it ain't - overall, nicely done!

Now for the quibbles (or constructive criticism, if you will): Pretty much the same as Canis and Foxee. Although I grew up in the deep south where 'ain't' was probably the second word I learned (after 'no no'), its overuse can be slightly annoying. For example, this:

'If he's a regen, ain't any way to tell how old he really is. But if he's a regen, then why ain't his leg healed all the way after 'a few days'?' could be changed to:

If he's a regen, there's no way to tell how old he really is. But if he's a regen, then why ain't his leg healed all the way after 'a few days'? It reads much better (to me) and you get to keep one of the "ain't"'s.

Also noted: you give us 'zero point energy' and then we get ZPE; that works well, but while I know AG= artificial gravity, some may not. Do the same for AG that you did for ZPE and I think it your story will be better for it. It is always better, imho, to work this way.

Thanks for sharing! I look forward to more!

Best regards

CB

ShatteredUniverse
February 11th, 2012, 09:49 PM
I will be brutally honest with you. It is not my intention to "ruffle your feathers," as the old Southern expression goes. I am merely giving you my honest opinion. I found it very hard to critique this work. I was torn between admiration and disappointment. Let me explain one then the other.

The content of this work is great, quite frankly. Event horizons, ZPEs, teleportation, and savants are right up my alley, metaphorically speaking. This story has a similarity to the "Stargate" franchise, which I loved, so I immediately connected with the narrative. The main character's confusion is well written, in my opinion, and the character of Alexander is intriguing to say the least. I will say that for those who know nothing of this type of Sci-fi, this is a lot to take in. You are bordering on the edge of info dump with regens, event horizons, ZPEs, etc., so I would suggest either simplifying some of the more technical aspects of the story to reach a larger audience or adding in a brief prologue to set the scene of your story.

Now, what I didn't like. The content of this story, as I've said, is wonderful. The presentation of the content is less than wonderful, to be frank. There is a time to be formal, grammatically speaking, and a time to be informal. Using words like ain't, 'specially, and gonna isn't terrible, but overuse can make your work suffer. I would suggest only using informal grammar and speech when your characters are either thinking or speaking.

I loved the story, I hope to see more in the future, and I hope this helped. Cheers.

Brutal, but respectful, honesty was exactly what I was looking for, and that's exactly what you delivered. The absolute best compliment you could have given my work is that you like the content. Aspects of writing that are sub-par can be fixed. Ideas that are sub-par are, well, sub-par. I've been working on this general premise ever since I stared writing seriously (going on about seven years now). Glad to know I haven't been wasting my time.

You didn't "ruffle" my feathers at all. In fact, you helped illuminate a few comments I've been getting on FictionPress repeatedly in a manner that finally clicked with me. In other words, you've helped me in a way no one else has been able to so far. Kudos.

Stargate? I was expecting someone to scream "DOCTOR WHO!!!". Yeah, there's some Doctor Who influence in there, especially from the current incarnation, because I love Steven Moffat's writing style. But I came up with this general premise years before I knew of a Doctor Who, so. . . You wouldn't have been impressed with my content back then, I'm afraid. :P

I actually don't know that much about the Stargate franchise. I've only seen a handful of episodes over my lifetime (whereas, I've watched every single Star Trek: The Next Generation and almost every single Star Trek: Voyager episode in existence, if that puts it into perspective).

I totally appreciate the push you've given me concerning Emma's thought and speech patterns, though, because it will provide better contrast for Alexander's more formal overtones.

I took the liberty of looking up your profile, and was pleased to find that you hail from the South as well.


I more or less agree with Canis. Overall, I really enjoyed the hickville feel combined with the futuristic setting though there were a few moments that tripped me up a little. The first person perspective reads a tiny bit rough though I imagine that'll smooth out as you continue to write it. ('Then, the doors slide apart and my hands fly up to an open mouth.' and a few other moments like this read a bit awkwardly to me.)

Really liked the premise of it and it was especially easy to see the old man, too.

There's nothing like getting a review from the site admin. :welcoming:

I did my best to iron out the first-person idiosyncrasies present--I'm still trying to catch my bearing with this whole POV change. I'll get it eventually, though.

I would say the 'hickville' comment stung a little, but only in a playful way.

Oh, and I love your avatar.


This may sound like shallow praise, but it ain't - overall, nicely done!

Now for the quibbles (or constructive criticism, if you will): Pretty much the same as Canis and Foxee. Although I grew up in the deep south where 'ain't' was probably the second word I learned (after 'no no'), its overuse can be slightly annoying. For example, this:

'If he's a regen, ain't any way to tell how old he really is. But if he's a regen, then why ain't his leg healed all the way after 'a few days'?' could be changed to:

If he's a regen, there's no way to tell how old he really is. But if he's a regen, then why ain't his leg healed all the way after 'a few days'? It reads much better (to me) and you get to keep one of the "ain't"'s.

Also noted: you give us 'zero point energy' and then we get ZPE; that works well, but while I know AG= artificial gravity, some may not. Do the same for AG that you did for ZPE and I think it your story will be better for it. It is always better, imho, to work this way.

Thanks for sharing! I look forward to more!

Best regards

CB

Haha. I mean reviews on the order of "dis is great, giv us MOAR pls!!!!" or ones that indicate said reviewer only read previous reviews and composed one just to get their turn as the review-ee (I'm a haunt of FP's Review Game Forum, and this happens sometimes).

I grew up in the Deep South, too. Born and raised. . . That my writing tends to more formal grammatical patterns is still a mystery to me. Unless I force myself to annunciate, a lot of (usually Northern) people can't understand what I'm saying. XD

I've noticed from both your screenname and various posts across the site that you're a former Sailor. You may wish I hadn't found that out, as I will probably be inclined to ask you questions about the real-life Navy experience. See, an integral part of Alexander's past is service in a High Guard that's a combination space Navy/Marine service, rather similar in structure of the one in the book (haven't seen the movie) Starship Troopers (one of my favorite books ever). Not that Solaris is a military science fiction series per sae, but especially because of the time travel factor, I'll need to flesh it out just as much as if it were.

While I do have a good body of knowlege of current Naval customs and traditions from my three-and-a-half years in NJROTC, this can't replace real experience, as I'm sure you know.

Foxee
February 11th, 2012, 09:53 PM
LOL, when I'm reviewing it doesn't really matter but thanks. I didn't mean 'hickville' as a slap at you, just a way to refer to the 'ain't's and coveralls.

ShatteredUniverse
February 11th, 2012, 10:00 PM
LOL, when I'm reviewing it doesn't really matter but thanks. I didn't mean 'hickville' as a slap at you, just a way to refer to the 'ain't's and coveralls.

I figured that, but felt I wouldn't be doing my job as the (stereotypical) whiny writer if I didn't bring it up. We're all really divas inside, don'tcha know? :P

SeaBee1
February 12th, 2012, 04:12 AM
*SNIP*



Haha. I mean reviews on the order of "dis is great, giv us MOAR pls!!!!" or ones that indicate said reviewer only read previous reviews and composed one just to get their turn as the review-ee (I'm a haunt of FP's Review Game Forum, and this happens sometimes).

I grew up in the Deep South, too. Born and raised. . . That my writing tends to more formal grammatical patterns is still a mystery to me. Unless I force myself to annunciate, a lot of (usually Northern) people can't understand what I'm saying. XD

I've noticed from both your screenname and various posts across the site that you're a former Sailor. You may wish I hadn't found that out, as I will probably be inclined to ask you questions about the real-life Navy experience. See, an integral part of Alexander's past is service in a High Guard that's a combination space Navy/Marine service, rather similar in structure of the one in the book (haven't seen the movie) Starship Troopers (one of my favorite books ever). Not that Solaris is a military science fiction series per sae, but especially because of the time travel factor, I'll need to flesh it out just as much as if it were.

While I do have a good body of knowlege of current Naval customs and traditions from my three-and-a-half years in NJROTC, this can't replace real experience, as I'm sure you know.

I'll be more than happy to supply any knowledge I may have, to fill in any gaps, so to speak. But you do realize that my knowledge of CURRENT Navy customs and procedures is woefully out dated. Just to complicate things, I am a former SeaBee, we did things quite a bit different than the fleet. I felt a greater kinship with the jarheads than I did with the swabbies. Then again, that might just work for your High Guard scenario. Just let me know, and I'll help if I can.

Best regards

CB

Jeko
February 12th, 2012, 03:29 PM
Nicely done sci-fi there. Feels fresh and modern, especially with the present tense.

My initial concern is that I am given little introduction to Emma - I only knew she was female when someone talked to her. I thought that she was Alexander at first. I also know little of her physical appearance - it would be very useful to know, to help me paint clear pictures of the lovely world you have presented. The futuristic feel has a confidence to it that I find hard to put into my own work; the concepts are clear and abundant.

Niggles:


This is sure a damn strange starship.

This sure is a small mistake to make. 'is and 'sure' should be the other way round, I think.


"Yeah but what is it?"

This line feels like it's run into itself. I'd put a comma after 'yeah'.


I love this piece - it's exciting and has a strong air of intelligence to it that nicely juxtaposes to the style of the first-person perspective. Well done, ShatteredUniverse. It's nice to find some good sci-fi to inspire me to write some. Although, my science-fantasy is more fantasy than science. There's little science in a battle with two giant men - I prefer to use fantastical concepts like the existence of Daema and Ancient Arts. I might try adding a bit more science in, especially after reading your writing.

Rustgold
February 13th, 2012, 12:35 AM
Are aren't are a detraction from the reading experience.

I didn't read your list of characters, and I was very surprised to discover that your leading character was a female.

Setting & story telling is fine.

Jon M
February 13th, 2012, 12:57 AM
The story is told in a very linear fashion, and that, coupled with the first-person narration, didn't work so well for me. First-person kind of requires a unique way of story-telling -- it is not just Third-person with the pronouns switched. It's supposed to be the most immersive point of view, it is the mind of the character, and the mind is a rather chaotic place. I'd suggest relying less on a 'play-by-play' style of narration and experiment, instead, with a nonlinear form of telling this story. Integrate the character's internal landscape more.

Also, kind of amusing to read some of the comments here. I wonder how long it will be before some people understand that a story told in the voice of the character doesn't have to be grammatically correct.

ShatteredUniverse
February 14th, 2012, 08:29 PM
Are aren't are a detraction from the reading experience.

I didn't read your list of characters, and I was very surprised to discover that your leading character was a female.

Setting & story telling is fine.

Thanks for taking the time to read my work and commenting. :-)


The story is told in a very linear fashion, and that, coupled with the first-person narration, didn't work so well for me. First-person kind of requires a unique way of story-telling -- it is not just Third-person with the pronouns switched. It's supposed to be the most immersive point of view, it is the mind of the character, and the mind is a rather chaotic place. I'd suggest relying less on a 'play-by-play' style of narration and experiment, instead, with a nonlinear form of telling this story. Integrate the character's internal landscape more.

Also, kind of amusing to read some of the comments here. I wonder how long it will be before some people understand that a story told in the voice of the character doesn't have to be grammatically correct.

You're referring to stream of consciousness- style narration. For me, while this technique would work well in a number of situations, extending it to encompass a novel-length work would be, to be blunt, annoying. It would be like CONSTANTLY SHOUTING (!!!!!!), and I don't think that's what Solaris needs at this time.

Don't think I'm not thankful for your time and consideration of my work, however.

ShatteredUniverse
February 14th, 2012, 08:37 PM
Authorís Notes:

Technically, this is a step back. It's the prologue-length section currently listed as "Chapter I, Section i" on the FictionPress version of this work. I didn't post it here orignally because I thought it was total rubbish. Thanks go to Canis for inspiring me to give it another go.

Warning: This section is in ALEXANDER's VP, so expect differences in style.



Prologue/Epilogue


Terra Nova | 15 MARCH 7792 C.E.

Alexander Batali-Solana (Past)
Emma Townsend (Future)



Most people never get to watch their own memorial service. To watch their family and friends and shipmates mourn their loss and not be dead. To be standing right there among them and not have heart enough to announce their presence, because they know they deserve to be dead for what they've done. And everyone thinks they're a hero.

". . .et ille universo e abolium Machinum . . ."

The bagpipes playing are the sound of my mourning for the universe to hear. The fog's a shroud shielding it from what should have never been. The eulogy is in one of the most ancient forms of our native language. It's not really that cold out on the knolls, but I pull my ankle-length overcoat tighter around me anyway, like the adjustment field fused to my cracked wristwatch won't prevent them from realizing who I am. My hand pats the permanently scarred area where the bullets pierced my abdomen. One. Two. Three. Four.

They're about to present honors, and then they'll march out, leaving the civvies to wrap things up.

Just in the periphery of vision, I see someone in tattered long-sleeved coveralls who's not gaping at the spit-shined spectacle for He Who Wiped Out the Machines, but at me. At me. At me? I decide not to look, hoping like a youngling if I can't see her, she won't be able to see me. My own mother's not twenty meters away and she can't see me. Gabriel is standing beside her with an expression indicating, in typical fashion, he wants to blow up a few small moons. He can't see me. Who's this person who can see more than my own mother and brother? I'm not close enough to catch the young woman's eyes, but something besides her flaming ginger hair tells me they can't be black. I focus on her. She's staring right at me, and no one else has noticed her. Odd, considering she's one of the few in the crowd who doesn't have dark hair. All the others are gleaming in their High Guard dress blues. Like them, she must be an Earther. An Earther daring enough to stare at a Solana on the Homeworld. There's something to be said for that audacity. The look of recognition, of concern, on her face is unmistakable. But I've never seen that face before--

Wait. Right before--right after the bullets hit--there was someone standing right next to me. A woman. She'd said two words buried against my roaring scream. I can still see her lips forming the words.

I'm sorry.

This one might be it, but it's impossible to be sure. Traemos IV's atmosphere was already so obscured by the light of more and more matter being converted directly to energy, and distorted space-time around me being wrenched far beyond normal bounds. I thought she was a hallucination, a ghost of the never-were invading my mind at the point of no return.

I start making my way to her through the crowd , an increasing buzz washing over my body the closer I get. That's supposed to be what an intense, sudden change in the timeline, a temporal wake, feels like to those of us who are Time-sensitive.

The woman's gently curving eyebrows go up a little as I get closer, but she averts her gaze just as I get close enough to see her eyes clearly. She turns and starts to move away from me and I do my best to keep up. She can move rather fast for an Earther in our double gravity, and she's already pushed through the outer edge of the gathering. She starts running as I break through. Being a native, I have the advantage now, though. I break out into a sprint, my boots barely touching the ground, my coat a sail behind me. It's not the first time I wish I could fly like Gabe, but I'm gaining on her. As I run, I try to figure out her logic. The mausoleums she's running toward won't provide even temporary sanctuary. Even so, she ducks behind one of the larger, more ancient, ones. I hear the hiss of a pair of hydraulic doors opening just as I step around the corner.

I stop dead, flailing my arms to keep from landing on my face. There's a saucer-shaped vessel, the same color as her brownish coveralls and about ten meters in diameter, resting and tilted towards me on it's ventral surface. I blink. Back in the days I swore I wanted to work in Fleet R&D, I drew up a very similar design for a small landing craft. I stand there and watch her disappear into some kind of control area. I watch the doors slide back together and back into the hull. There's a thud from deep inside, and golden light erupts and begins to circle around the circumference of the vessel. I watch the whole thing disappear with a pulsing, shimmering hum, leaving only a tinge of ozone in its wake.

I stand there for a long time after the ship is gone, listening to the ending memorial service behind me and deciding two things. One, once I leave I will never visit the Homeworld again. The other?

I am going to find that woman.

ShatteredUniverse
February 14th, 2012, 09:43 PM
Nicely done sci-fi there. Feels fresh and modern, especially with the present tense.

My initial concern is that I am given little introduction to Emma - I only knew she was female when someone talked to her. I thought that she was Alexander at first. I also know little of her physical appearance - it would be very useful to know, to help me paint clear pictures of the lovely world you have presented. The futuristic feel has a confidence to it that I find hard to put into my own work; the concepts are clear and abundant.

Niggles:



This sure is a small mistake to make. 'is and 'sure' should be the other way round, I think.



This line feels like it's run into itself. I'd put a comma after 'yeah'.


I love this piece - it's exciting and has a strong air of intelligence to it that nicely juxtaposes to the style of the first-person perspective. Well done, ShatteredUniverse. It's nice to find some good sci-fi to inspire me to write some. Although, my science-fantasy is more fantasy than science. There's little science in a battle with two giant men - I prefer to use fantastical concepts like the existence of Daema and Ancient Arts. I might try adding a bit more science in, especially after reading your writing.

Ooops! I can't believe I skipped over your review when writing my second wave of replies. Sorry. . . I tried to address your concerns by uploading the "Prologue/Epilogue" segment a while ago. It was the original "Section i" on FictionPress, but the reviews I got on there were much stronger for the section in Emma's POV, so I decided not to post it here at first. Canis' comments combined with yours convinced me to try posting it here.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your remarks. They'll be a big help when I hit rough patches in the future, I can assure you.

Best Regards,

ShatteredUniverse

Jon M
February 15th, 2012, 12:56 PM
You're referring to stream of consciousness- style narration.No, not really.

ShatteredUniverse
February 15th, 2012, 08:29 PM
No, not really.

Fair enough. :-)

josh.townley
February 16th, 2012, 01:11 AM
Do you ever start reading something, and then, after the first few lines, find sudden inspiration for a new story of your own? This happens to me a lot, probably because I try to guess what's going on right away, and then I think 'wouldn't it be cool if...'

It just happened to me as I was reading your piece. Luckily, as I kept reading I saw that it was actually completely different from what I was thinking so I'm not stealing your ideas :) (Mine is more along the alien abduction line)

As for the story, I really enjoyed it. I wasn't really put of by the informal style of writing. The only line I really didn't like was:
I start to but stop.

The dialogue really drives it along nicely, and this was one instance where I was quite disappointed when I got to the end because I would really like to have kept reading.

I found the prologue to be very well written, but also very confusing. Time travel is something that needs to be handled with a lot of care to avoid putting the reader off. I'm sure it would make sense in context, though.

Really nice stuff, though. Thanks for posting.

ppsage
February 16th, 2012, 05:15 AM
I'm not sure how this factors in but Solaris is the title of a very famous science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem and also the title of the movie made from it. It's also an operating system and a publishing imprint. Of course, consideration may have already been taken of these facts, when titling this work, but if not, it may be something to think about.

ShatteredUniverse
February 16th, 2012, 11:11 AM
@ppsage: Never fear, consideration was made and sufficent research done to ensure no legal issues would arise. :-)

ppsage
February 16th, 2012, 06:34 PM
I knew there wouldn't be a legal issue, I was thinking more about the stamp of deritivity which will inevitably attach and if that is something desirable. But I'm old and perhaps no one even remembers.

ShatteredUniverse
February 16th, 2012, 07:47 PM
I've never even read the novel you mentioned! I only knew it existed, because someone on FictionPress told me, much as you just did. XD

Besides, SOLARIS is the series title. The actual title for this work is "The New Earth".

I sincerely hope I didn't come off the wrong way in my last post.

Best Regards,

ShatteredUniverse.

ppsage
February 16th, 2012, 11:53 PM
No problems. I would call the original spacey. Spaced out maybe. Very spaced out. I think your work here intimates a good grasp of where it's going, incident wise. The voice has interesting potential but its aspects aren't yet well integrated, still sounds a bit improbable as a single person. This piece moves awfully quick for my idea of what an opening should establish and gives many misses to digging into intriging techno details, any one of which might hook me like a baked flounder for the duration. pp

ShatteredUniverse
February 17th, 2012, 03:52 AM
Forgive my ignorance. Which viewpoint are you referring to, Emma's or Alexander's? Or to the 'voice' of the work as a whole? I've got a suspicion whichever it is might be the key to that unnameable thing that's been nagging me for so long.

Cefor
March 2nd, 2012, 05:21 AM
Hey there, ShatteredUniverse (cool name, by the way), I'd like to first of all say that your piece from Alexander's POV was much better than Emma's, in my opinion... at least, that's the character I enjoyed the most. There's something about the "ain't" that I found hard to stomach in narration, even if it is her personal voice. Though, I must say that I did enjoy the story in the first section, it was gripping and great sci-fi.

I wish I hadn't read your comments replying to the others, though, because after discovering your own admission of Doctor Who-style story, I couldn't help but think that myself... even though I wouldn't have if I'd not read that. Basically, I wouldn't go around saying that to people, it's sufficiently non-Doctor Who-esque already, don't worry.

Is this the total amount of work you've done on this, so far? I'm interested in seeing how you're coping with first person, present tense as it can be quite a challenge to write, sometimes.

If I could, I'd suggest only writing the name of the viewpoint character at the beginning of a section, if any. Having both names, or the names of every important character present, is at least confusing and at worst, distracting. This is from a reader's standpoint, I see the names and wonder what sort of connection the bracketed 'future', 'past' or 'present' may have and it causes me to not read your story. That's kind of against the idea, if you see what I mean?

I'd tend to disagree with CB about the 'AG' thing, purely because it is first person narration, and it has to always stay within that character's field of knowledge. If your character knows what anti-gravity is and doesn't have to think about it, it's second nature, then you need to find another way of giving inexperienced readers that knowledge. Though, you may find that anyone who reads science-fiction, these days, will already know what AG and other terms may stand for, and if not they may very well be able to figure it out from context, anyway.

The more I read your story, the more I attribute to Doctor Who... *sigh*, the Scottish, older, time-travelling man (I assume he's a traveller, anyway)... David Tennant springs to mind. Bah.

Other than that, great job... I wish you luck with your writing :)

ComplexVariable89
May 7th, 2014, 09:27 PM
Haha. Trolled myself, didn't I?