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The Second Coming -Sci-Fi- 962 words (1 Viewer)

Davekyn

Senior Member
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Each warhead carried a sixty kiloton yield which produced an explosion so bright, that observers from the surface of Earth could see the assault taking place with the naked eye. Frustrated officials having exhausted all the options were in total disbelief as returning data now revealed that the alien vessel had sustained no damage, nor had recoiled even an inch.

In stark contrast to the frantic atmosphere that now gripped those back on Earth, the aliens inside their spaceship were still under cryogenic stasis. Although the human assault had not scratched the alien vessel, nuclear detonations did initiate the stasis pods awakening sequence. During this process a data stream was fed directly into the alien’s brain. There were three pods with one occupant in each. A few hours later after download was complete, the aliens gathered in the control room.

There the alien’s collectively processed the downloaded information, conversing in telepathic form. The news was not good. The smallest of the three gave signal by nodding its head and broke the connection thus ending the session. The two larger figures then took up positions behind a console each, whilst the other – who appeared to be their leader – took the only chair centered on the bridge. Above the heads of each three, a compartment door quickly retracted whilst a tethered helmet began to descend. The leader now seated and with helmet attached, gave another signal by nodding its head.

Back on Earth the news had come in, that the alien space craft had just broken orbit. Their spaceship could now be seen as a huge fireball descending through the atmosphere. The aliens were now broadcasting in multiple languages. All forms of communications devices across the planet currently accessed or not, received the following repetitive message:

“Meet us at Megiddo.”

Not everyone agreed with military action and now feared retaliation. Whilst many feared for their lives, religious leaders were now reading into the significance of the intended landing site. It is prophesied that Megiddo will be the staging platform of an invasion to wipe out all those who do not believe in the One True God. It would be a New Dawn that paves the way for a New Heaven on Earth and rid the planet of sin. Given that the Church controlled the World States; officials had now done a backflip and prepped to roll out the red carpet.


Surrounding the small hill of Megiddo, from one horizon to the other was a sea of people with more pouring in. One part of the landscape remained unmoved with folk dressed in monastic robes sitting in silence. Others were on their knees and bowing repeatedly atop their mats. Louder still were crowds with raised hands speaking in tongues that made no sense. Many were carrying heavy crosses, lighting candles, chanting, dancing, singing and crying. This was all taking place under a dark shadow cast by the city sized ship, which sat motionless several hundred meters above. Then suddenly a hush befell the crowds as the landscape and all within were now awash with an array of lights, coming from numerous points beneath the ship.

The silence was short lived as part of the hull dropped away with engines thundering to which now appeared, another vessel descending from the mothership. As this vessel neared its mark, it grew in size and pushed the crowds back with a cloud of dust. The sound of its engines roaring once more, slowing the ships decent whilst several segmented struts extended from the vessel. Each strut had a flat landing foot that sunk several inches into the ground as the ship had now came to complete rest. A huge opening under the belly of the craft appeared as several sections of the hull retracted and a ramp slowly extended to the ground.

Those who had not attended in person were as captivated as those on scene. Humanity had come to a complete stop as all eyes now watched the alien figure as it emerged from the opening and onto the ramp. Wearing a white robe with a hood hung low, the alien figure carried an illuminated staff that seemed to be surging with jolts of electricity. The aspirations of those clinging to hope had now turned to fear, as the reality of what was unfolding had only now just set in. Once at the bottom of ramp the alien lifted its staff and turned its head. At that moment all present experienced a sudden chill; an experience that only comes with a knowing of one’s end. But before such a climatic finish, the alien reached up with its free hand and pulled back its hood.

With deeply set eyes, encased below a prominent brow ridge did this alien’s enraged gaze, now pierce the hearts of all those present. With hand now tightly clenched around raised staff, hair above its low forehead began to stand, its nose flattened on chinless face and teeth beginning to show. Before the people of Earth could comprehend just how acquainted this alien be, did this ape like figure growl – then speak in a familiar tongue;

“Humans … Be Gone!”

It was on that last syllable that the staff made contact with the ground. A burst of energy set forth throughout all the land. There was no escape as the ripple of energy encompassed the planet disintegrating all mankind and manmade things. What little remained, gave testament to how selfish and destructive these humans had been. Bitter sweet it was for these ape like creatures. Thankful to of awoken from their stasis pods at all, but shocked to of seen this planet in such a state. Never before had they encountered such an evolutionary mutation. Several more motherships entered orbit and prepped to reseed.
 
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John Galt

Senior Member
(I'm assuming this is the start to a novel, please correct me if this was meant as a short piece.)

I like some elements. It's well written, save a few minor grammatical errors (probably due to oversight, nothing damning.)

It reads like a prologue for the most part, and it feels like info-dumping. Calling them 'the aliens' is pretty generic; a name would do better. If this is intended as a prologue, I'd have a few people (not necessarily the actual main characters of the story, just random people present) discussing the event and throw some info within the dialogue; it should read less like dumping if there are people present, and it helps flow to have dialogue.
I don't think the reader needs to know that they were awakened from cryopreservation at this point (if any).
It can come across as cliche to many, so be wary of that. (though, ideas are cheap, execution is far more important.)
Evolutionarily speaking, the aliens, who have developed telepathic communication, would have lost the need for the ability to speak (or never developed it at all) as it would be obsolete, so I'd advise you add some environmental need for them to be able to communicate orally.

Good luck and happy writing.
 

Davekyn

Senior Member
It was my first ever attempt at a short story.

Ouch!

LOL - "nothing damning" you say - 95% of your response was so damning that I care less to understand what you have said.

Well written you say - How so again?
_____________________________________

You may very well be right - except I differ on my reason for the alien speaking to the crowed. The humans were not telepathic and it gave "the alien" great pleasure in announcing their death!!! Humans are so negative and only good for highlighting another's weakness, but useless at building on their strengths.

Have you ever heard of "betazoids" They are a telepathic species that can also talk. They seem to get mentioned a lot in the series Star Trek.

Huge HUGE - Buzz Kill!
___________________

Anyone know a place few newbies? I don't think this is it.
 

MizzouRam

Senior Member
Really, really well written, sir. I enjoyed the story.

Personally, I don't get what people are talking about when they use the phrase "info-dumping". It's a question of narration and point of view. This one is written in an omnipotent 3rd person, and all of the information given was relevant, so it didn't through me off at all.

All in all, it's good stuff.
 

Davekyn

Senior Member
Thanks MizzouRam,

It might sound like I'm only looking for pats on the head by raising the issue of hard criticism with complete newbies like myself. I assure you that is not the case, although patting is more than welcomed. I spent hours upon hours refining as best I could. I can see how trolls would like the process of Critiquing and then rely on their intellectual skill to make the sour notes stick. I simply don't have time to be crushed liked so and can't tell you how much it means to of received the smallest bit of encouragement after a blow like that.

Info dumping - LOL - They really do come up with some good ones. If it were not a short story I guess I could ramble on about the texture, smell and all other things. I do see the cliches as pointed out, but again - falls on deaf ears when delivered like that. I tried very hard to use a variety of synonyms to avoid repeated words. Perhaps this whole thing and claims that others make about "info dumping" is just another way of saying less words and more content that leads appropriately.

I don't know - fact is ... as a complete newbie I struggle to understand much of the technical jargon handed down blow by blow in such critiques. When its lumped on me with you did this wrong, you did that wrong, you should done it this way, your too vague and bla bla bla ... not only do I not understand, I'm simply not interested in asking anything further as is the suggestion I have read in the forum guide. If there is an ignore feature here, I think that will be my best friend. Good way filter the kind of help I need.

I appreciate the view point being identified. Learning how to introduce dialogue is something I'm struggling with. I'll follow the advice of those I seem to connect with in another thread regarding just that. Some more reading for me. I often struggle to find a good book that I like. I like the old school sci-fi authors who seem to cop a lot of flack from those who don't understand their style. I'm not sure what their style is, but I find too much vulgar and romancing quite tedious to get through these days.

Man - there are so many rules in the places like these ... I fear going on any further might have me muzzled. Don't get me wrong, I do like a little chemistry between the species. It's just hard to find a good balance that focuses more on getting "me" through the book as opposed to getting hung up on so much swearing, sexing, gender battles and so on. Sci-fi seems to of been impacted by the addictions that now run so rampant, that if the watches and readers want to see change and ever go off this hopeless planet, then they best start learning to write.

I'll try working in some more dialogue into my next attempt. Thanks for speaking up MizzouRam. If I may say in my hill billy slang,"Much appreciated!" Fact is, as a newbie ... I don't mind people using the word "Nice".

Thanks mate, you have a Really really good day. ;)
 

John Galt

Senior Member
Davekyn, never meant to discourage nor cause harm, I assure you. I apologize if it was received that way.
What I meant with "well written" was the sentence structures were nice, which kept me reading for most of it, and the fact that you didn't use the same words repeatedly. I assumed it was a long piece, not a short story, so info-dumping isn't really a concern here.
I know exactly what your struggle finding sci-fi that isn't some sort of YA (young adult) thing, peppered with sex and a romantic moment in every odd numbered chapter right before an enormous explosion and perhaps a gun or six.
 

Davekyn

Senior Member
It's good to hear you say that. Whilst I like old school techniques, I never responded well to being repeatedly humiliated and beaten. lets put it down to that. I'll throw on another layer of skin.

May I ask, "specifically, what is Info Dumping?"
 

John Galt

Senior Member
It's hard to define, but I got that sense (as I read this as a long piece, not a short one) of it when I read this. I could define it as when the writer (intentionally or not) conveys information about the world/races in quick succession. It's not really something you need to worry about here as it seems you did space the information with some motion (that they're conversing after awakening, for example), but I suspect it felt like that (for me) because there wasn't much dialogue.
 

Davekyn

Senior Member
Now I understand clearer. I did re-write that section about the races quite a few times. Indeed, I struggled with that. I also had a very hard time even thinking about character dialogue. I'm going to attempt some dialogue in the next one.

Thanks John.
 

ppsage

WF Veterans
May I ask, "specifically, what is Info Dumping?"


Good question. I guess I would say it's telling the story, or at least, a discrete portion of it, using exposition without character action or dialogue. A lot of times back story becomes an info-dump. For me, info-dumps are kind of neutral, if it's good writing it can be a good info-dump, but for a lot of genre type writing, they're practically considered radio-active. This piece is an info-dump almost by definition because it doesn't use any specific characters.

Probably because of no characters, I feel like this story wants to be a fable. It takes a fairly common sci-fi idea, conflating God with aliens in an end times scenario, and kind of abstracts it's essential elements. I think it has some charm and some potential.


Not everyone agreed with military action and now feared retaliation. Whilst many feared for their lives, religious leaders were now reading into the significance of the intended landing site. It is prophesied that Megiddo will be the staging platform of an invasion to wipe out all those who do not believe in the One True God. It would be a New Dawn that paves the way for a New Heaven on Earth and rid the planet of sin. Given that the Church controlled the World States; officials had now done a backflip and prepped to roll out the red carpet.

This paragraph has some tense issues. I might edit it thus:

Not everyone agreed with military action and now feared retaliation. Many feared for their lives, religious leaders read significance into the intended landing site. Prophesy held that Megiddo would be the staging platform of an invasion to wipe out all those who did not believe in the One True God. It would be a New Dawn that paved the way for a New Heaven on Earth and rid the planet of sin. Given that the Church controlled the World States; officials did a backflip and prepped to roll out the red carpet.

I don't like to repeat 'now' or 'whilst' very much in my writing. Seems to me that readers get the sequence without too many of those kind of reminders.

I think that new skin is a good sign. pp

 

Elvenswordsman

WF Veterans
In terms of your SPaG issues, I'd look at using more punctuation throughout, as you get into run-ons and have missed several commas within them.

John was pretty on point with his recommendations; perhaps flushing out your descriptions, further developing your storyline, and encouraging fewer instances of "Here's a bit of info. And here. And here." It makes most readers tired, and fails to bring them into the story.


Perhaps if you start with a bit more info, build a general scene, instead of straight into information, it would help with the flow of the piece.


Cheers, and keep up the good work!
 

Greimour

WF Veterans
It was my first ever attempt at a short story.

Ouch!

LOL - "nothing damning" you say - 95% of your response was so damning that I care less to understand what you have said.

Well written you say - How so again?
_____________________________________

You may very well be right - except I differ on my reason for the alien speaking to the crowed. The humans were not telepathic and it gave "the alien" great pleasure in announcing their death!!! Humans are so negative and only good for highlighting another's weakness, but useless at building on their strengths.

Have you ever heard of "betazoids" They are a telepathic species that can also talk. They seem to get mentioned a lot in the series Star Trek.

Huge HUGE - Buzz Kill!
___________________

Anyone know a place few newbies? I don't think this is it.

A place for* newbies.

This is a place for new writers. It is a question of who responds to your thread and what they can bring to the table for your growth as writer. For example; PlasticWeld (who I believe won't mind my mentioning him) joined this forum as a new writer. In the beginning his writing was obviously not that great, but: he has grown so much in his time here he is able to pass on knowledge to new writers and help them in their growth. He is a perfect example of how well this forum can work if you take the information you are receiving in a positive way.

Admittedly we do have writers of a professional level, so there will be times when responses expect higher quality. That is why we have mentors here on the forum.

~~~

Sometimes, the responses you receive will not be favorable. At times like these you need to determine whether the response is informative (something you can learn from) or if it is merely an opinion. Either way, acknowledge it and thank the person for their time before moving on. Reacting negatively as you have done above will only play on your mind negatively. If your work was truly bad, you probably wouldn't have received a reply.

Perhaps John could have explained things more thoroughly, but how was he to know it was necessary? He can't possibly know the level you are at. Your prose isn't bad, so that is what I expect he meant when he said "well written". Could be improved, as mentioned by Elven, but a good base knowledge to build on.

As Mizzou said, the information dumped had relevance. The problem for many will be how you deliver that information. That is often the difference to being given information and being given an information dump. Sometimes it is merely a question of how much you dump at one time. The bigger the dump the more noticeable it is and the worse it is. Equally, the more often you do it the more it will affect your story.

To explain further on PPSage's comment regarding info-dumping:

The easiest explanation for it would be: "writing about the story without moving it forward."

You will not likely find information in a story that is not tied-in to said story, but you can often find information in stories that hold no relevance to what is being told at the present time. This is often the case for prologues: they will tell information that helps understand the story without being part of the story itself. Most commonly by way of background info-dumping before the story begins. If you skip the prologue to almost any story though, the story makes perfect sense without the prologue.

Dumps will often bring a reader out of the story. That is something you never want to do if it can be helped so it really is an important thing to take into consideration.

Do you get what I am saying?

If it doesn't move the story forward, it is often not needed or can be defined as information dumping. There are many ways to include information into stories without 'info-dumps'.

"Greimour wears £200 shoes"
vs
"Greimour finally snapped as he stood in dog faeces. The irony of a sign warning of penalties if you did not pick up after your dog did nothing against the fact his £200 shoes were now ruined."

*shrugs* random example.

In the first sentence, we are told he wears £200 shoes. .. So what? He has money, who cares?

In the second showing, we are not only told that he wears £200 shoes but we are given its relevance. He is having a bad day and things are about to hit the fan. The fact that he has money for expensive shoes is no longer passing comment but something that reflects on his character. Maybe he can't really afford such shoes and that's why their price-tag was so important to mention.

List of what it tells us continues depending on what came before that statement and what follows. It might turn out to have nothing to do with anything, in which case we will only find out later that it was crap we didn't need to know.

~~~

A little piece of advice though if you continue to write. Whether you are a new writer or professional writer, you will never reach a point where your work is not criticized. You have to take all responses and nod and smile. A thick skin is required to take the bashing that your work will receive. Even your good work. Every writer either faces or faced this and I expect they always will.

Steinbeck, Shakespeare, Beatrix Potter, George Lucas, J. K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, Tolkien, Dickens, Orwell... all face(d) it. Every writer does without exception.

So my advice: Even if you face the cruelest bashing in history, nod, smile and shrug it off. Try not to retort, react or otherwise show any negativity to a response. There are people in this world who would give responses just to get a rise out of you. This forum is one of the few that does not stand for that kind of thing, but as a writer- you will definitely face that scenario eventually.


Here at WF, we wish only for your growth and success. I hope that you are able to take my advice and put it into practice. I would hate to see your passion for writing be crushed by the critics that you will surely face in the future.

Regards,


~Kev.
 
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Davekyn

Senior Member
Righto - Kev ... I've Moved on.
_______

I shall now cut and pate from a lengthy reply I had ready regarding what PP said.

First:
You made me chuckle ppsage with “I think that new skin is a good sign.” In that regard, I do appreciate people’s patients. We newbies can be such a frustrated bunch.

Points -> “Info Dumping = Telling the story … using exposition without character action or dialogue”

Again to show my “lack of understanding”, I had to search the word “exposition”. I have gone over this explanation several times. Eventually the dim light in my head suddenly brightened. The choice of words here could not be any clearer! A huge Thank You!

____________________________________________

I was in deep thought attempting to take on board what really mattered with regards to all the help thus far offered, but then I had to do some work for someone else. It's all slipped through the sieve now.

I'll "dump" my thoughts in the writers discussion group with regards to all the help I have recieved in here.

I'll be sure to put some kind of warning up:

Warning – Spasmodic thinking pattern with excessive wording: High Quality - Under Construction. Please bare with me - :pride:

Thanks to all, for all you help.

Cheers
Dave.
 

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