aeromancer

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  1. Hello. You’ve probably not met me, judging that you’re new and I’ve been away for a bit. Anyway, I’m aeromancer, I like sci-fi. Nice to meet you. Now, for your story, there are a few interesting parts. Firstly, the story wasn’t all that interesting, but seeing how late I am, there’s other people who commented on it. So I’m just going to talk sci-fi. The sci fi part was good in conception, flawed in execution. Let me break down some of the major problems. Spaceships: Laser sails, aka solar sails are really awesome. Problem is, you’ve got them doing a few things they can’t actually do. Like reconfiguring to slow down. You specify laser, which are photons. You can do a bit more with ionic plasma, but not moving backwards. Also, you can’t return on the same laser you use to get to places. Doesn’t work. Current plans for photon sail probes are merely for sending back data, they’re lost causes. And firing lasers from your own ship at the sail won’t help any more than trying to power a sailboat with a turbine strapped on it. Oh, also you don’t have time gaps in communication, don’t take into account time dilation, and you have FTL ships which are being unused for some reason. Aliens: In a short like this one, aliens are basically eye candy. (Minus the sun, of course.) That’s fine as far as I’m concerned, but I want the good stuff. Describing aliens as five-limbed isn’t enough, are they trigonal biplanar, prehensile tail, what? Having a sun as an alien is sufficiently foreign that you get a pass, though I seem to recall Saga of the Seven Suns doing something similar, take a look if you’re interested. Energy Requirements: The sail needs to be the size of a country (not a small one, mind you), the laser station is going to exerting so much force that if it’s one a planet, it’s on is going to have the atmosphere plasmafied, if it’s on an asteroid the asteroid will knock Kepler from its Keplerian orbit and sent it spirally out of the system, and if it’s free floating … actually, that’s be fine but the laser will be clearing the system as well just in the opposite direction. Also, as much energy as that is, a sun has more. A rough calculation indicates something like 100,000,000,000 times more energy per second. If anything, it wouldn’t be tired but exhausted from trying to hold back. That said, the premise is great for a sci-fi short. Stranded crew need to interact with a sun to get back home and have to deal with some inter-crew tensions. Story needs to be wound a bit tighter together, and the sci fi needs a bit of touch up, but I’d love to read this if you submitted it again.
  2. Unfortunately, I can only comment about the tarot cards, because the rest of this submission is a bit above my rating. So I will. A lot. Thoughts As I Go: Pg.4 – The atmosphere here is great. Maybe it’s also because I love storms, but I very much enjoyed your description about it. Pg. 5 – Three card reading isn’t so common, but it’s done. The rest is just a talk about Tarot Cards. Tarot Cards- These are fun, especially since they fit nicely into Jungian archetypes. They supposedly have a basis in kabbalah and Egyptian mysticism (somehow? Those cultures didn’t get along) but they don’t really, having been invented in the 1800s, and used mostly for card games. That said, they form a great backbone to a lot of magic systems, hierarchies, or character profiles (cough Persona). The Fool! It’s my favorite tarot – also, it’s not the card of spontaneity or faith (Wheel of Fortune and Priestess respectively, I believe). It is the card of new beginnings and is usually only drawn by people who have important things to do. A good starting card, but typically it’s only drawn by atypical people. So, good fit? The Chariot – It does signify challenges, but also signifies very difficult decisions. This is also a fairly standard card for a protagonist to draw, as they have to be protagonists. It’s kind of a pity this wasn’t drawn inverted – that would have been interesting. The Star – this is one of the one I don’t know a lot about. I do know it associates with hope, but not much more than that. Tarot cards are nice to work with because of the motifs they represent, but I couldn’t help but feel you were a little too specific. A lot of scenarios where I see them used (again, cough Persona) is when it exists in a vague sense, such as the cards are drawn, but P would only give vague answer or what they could mean, rather what they do. Fortune telling, especially in novels, is kind of synonymous with foreshadowing, so I feel it should be kept towards the vague side.
  3. Not like that, sorry. I wasn't specific. His head does, but his mind (soul, conscious, call it what you like) is an independent entity from his physical body, and is unaffected by his power. But, yes, if he moves too fast he can crack his neck. Or burn himself on air from friction. Snap his ankle from a misstep. There's a scary amount of things that can happen. Also, I don't know the strain on human limbs, but at some point he'll swing so fast the force will just pull his arm clean from it's socket. Fun stuff like that.
  4. MC is powerful, but he does have limitations, the main one being Newton's Third Law and his power only works for fifty feet at maximum (the latter one isn't said explicitly, but it's in my notes). Also, as noted, if VJ knew about his powers, he could've used a razor cloud to kill him. The impression I'm getting is to start off the novel a lot lighter of a conflict, maybe skip the 'boss battle' interaction and just have the initial fight against the mob. I'm also on the fence about just having Gray's power be clear from the get-go, especially since he's got quite a few weaknesses to outline ahead of time. Two for two for further read. I also like how everyone seems to like the idea of a florist/sniper. And yes, things need to be clearer. I normally don't like description which compose of 'X meets Y', but MI meets SHIELD plus realistic science is now an exception to these rules. And makes me want to write it. Suppressors are banned in Massachusetts, and I'd like E to have a legal armory, not an illegal one. So that's a no go either. There is always a bigger fish. And Gray is planned to be one of the lesser powerful characters. Hopefully, I'll get good character interactions and personalities. And as to the tension point - well, that's why we have Sanderson's First Law. His time control power is supposed to be relatively minor. There are three main limitations. The first is that his mind doesn't catch up to his body, so he has to figure out all the movements he wants to do before he does them. So, if he's pinned down by gunfire, he can't use superspeed to go out, aim, and shoot, just go out and shoot. The second is Newton's Third Law, or he can't just hit things at superspeed without killing himself in the process. He uses the collapsible sword, partially because the collapsible structure lets it absorb impacts better. The third is that he can move more than fifty feet (possibly less, I'll see what I can get away with). Why? I'm not sure. But he can't. Sanderson's Second Law. Yeah, I have limitations, they just didn't get expressed yet. I'd do it in a short story, but since this was a novel, I planned on doing it later, possibly having him explain to someone why he wasn't overpowered. Also, it's funny you mentioned YoYo - I don't watch Agents of SHIELD, but I had one of my friends point this out to me when I was explaining the concepts. He's Russian in the sense that he's from Russia, doesn't work for them. He's actually Georgian, but he speaks Russian thanks to the communist takeover. I thought it'd be an interesting background. I addressed the power issues earlier by Mandamon, they exist but they weren't written well in this segment. As for guns - they're mostly worthless, I suppose, but ceramic rounds would've killed VJ, and a sniper shot to the neck would have killed Gray if he didn't know where it was from. The point here was just for the character's introduction, the actual plot is a fight between three or four factions for the relic mentioned in the title. Overall, I got a lot of feedback on how the characters need limitations, which is only to be expected from a forum on the 17th Shard. I also got a lot of book recommendations, so thanks for those too. Most people seemed positive about this towards a novel, so I'll start working on this as my next project.
  5. This is a break from what I've normally submitted, which has either been short stories or parts of novels. The Oberth Effect is an urban fantasy that I've sketched a rough outline for, mostly because I've always wanted a superhero story with actual physics involved and urban fantasy seems like a good place to do a non superhero version of it. To that end, I wrote a prologue to the sketched out novel, to get a feel for the characters and world. I'm not looking for normal critique here, because everything is rough. A lot of things are currently loose right now, like the city it's set it (Chicago and New York have both banned the types of guns I'd like characters to use, so they're out). I'm more looking for how the concepts, powers, and (importantly) limitations feel, and whether or not you'd want to read on in a book which starts out like this.
  6. Thoughts As I Go: Just as a disclaimer – I haven’t read SoD, but I have read the Dramatis Personae Pg. 4 – Is S talking to himself deliberately, or out of habit? Notes: Well, my thought section was a bit sparse, mostly because a lot of what is being discussed between characters are things which happened within the last book. While I can’t really comment on that, I can only say that if I did know what everyone was referencing, I might have found it repetitive, but honestly I can’t say for sure. I’m curious as to what the chime was, as the characters just seem to treat it like an alarm clock and wait for it to shut off, but I’d expect otherwise from characters using a sound-based magic system. That aside, it’s a good note to start on, I feel like I have a good idea about what’s going through the character’s mind and what direction the plot is going to go. If I was looking this over, I'd probably read it. (One of my bad habits is starting book series mid-series.) Seconded. Star Wars is name, job, race, planet of origin, such as Luke Skywalker (human Jedi Master from Tatooine). I did appreciate it because, as mentioned earlier I haven't read SoD, but I'd agree with kais's points about them being too long.
  7. I might have a submission this week, but its a weird one. I got an idea for an urban fantasy that got stuck in my head, so I sketched a quick outline and wrote a prologue chapter to get a feel for the characters. It's unpolished, mostly because I'm not sure it's worth the time to flesh out the story proper so I can polish it up. I'd want to submit it, only to see whether or not there'd be an interest among the rest of you for a novel of that type. Also, I'm kind of way behind of critiquing, so I'd feel bad about that to. Any thoughts?
  8. I mentioned this in the Lounge and @Silk OK'd the thread, so I'm starting this here. The members of Reading Excuses are quite a diverse bunch. Diverse in a lot of contexts. This thread's context is in terms of skills sets. There's a lot of components to good writing, frankly too much for any one person to do all of it. That being said, this thread is for the various members of RE to post there various skill sets and specialties, offering to help writers with advice on components that make up good stories. In other words, a thread for RE members to offer up their help. If you have a specialization, like say world-building, character arcs, familiarity with the nuances of sub-genres, linguistics, anything that you've felt help your writing come alive, and you want to help forward this community, post here. Post what you can do, what you're good at, how you might help, and how people can contact you for that help. There's a lot of people on these forums and a lot of skills between us. And even non-forum members, this forum does exist for the whole of the Shard, so feel free to offer help or to ask for it. I'll try to unofficially curate this list using my topic post, in case the thread gets a bit too cluttered. Now, for this to work well, there are going to need to be a set of guidelines, open of course, to suggestions. Respect: Common courtesy goes a long way. No one likes their opinion being ignored. When having discussions, please treat other people with the same respect you'd like to be treated with. Help is Offered, but not Guaranteed: A lot of us are busy in our spare time. When we post here, we are saying that we'd help, but please understand if people lack the ability to do it urgently. Be Realistic: Both ways. As of now, there's no hard caps to anything, but requests should be realistic, as well as offers. Don't offer the moon, and don't ask it. Links to Externals: This isn't actively discouraged, but the idea of this thread is to incorporate the human element within these discussions, using interactions. Pointing to a set of online resources is a good start, but it'd be nice if this could be something more. Keep It Simple: If we have a nice list of skills, that's very easy to look through. A cluttered list, not as much. Sample Post: I'm aeromancer. I specialize in worldbuilding based around hard science or Sanderson's Laws compliant magic systems. In addition, I've made a study of game theory, so I'm always up for discussing games or systems surrounding those. The easiest way to contact me about them is to use the AMA page in my signature or PM me directly.
  9. I have similar habits, I suppose, though I do like your list. I'm currently playing Kerbal Space Program, while dabbling through The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, The Last Remnant, Reccetear, and multiple Tales games (I like starting them more than finishing them, apparently). And I'm trying to 100% an Etrian Odyssey 5 playthrough. I tend toward RPGs, similar to you, judging from the list, but I have a soft spot for story-less but mechanics heavy games like XCOM or Etrian Odyssey. (Or Kerbal Space Program, come to think of it.)
  10. Hmm. I can definitely Devil's Advocate if you need someone to try and bounce arguments off of, but I've never felt particularly compelled to explore the depths of philosophy, so I can't rattle off recommendations. That said, I found RA Salvatore's Legend of Drizzt rather excellent when it came to how it handled philosophy (I can go into greater detail, but that's better done on a different thread.) That aside, I can recommend a few non-fictions if you want interesting and exotic philosophies. Not a lot, though. This sounds great! I enjoy psychological horror, as I also enjoy figuring out what makes people tick. I don't think I'm quite good enough to try my hand at writing some yet, though. You mentioned a vested interest within the video game industry, so I'm slightly curious as to what genre of game you play. (My current avatar may tip you off that I happen to enjoy the odd character-driven game from time to time.) Great meeting both of you, @Severian4Scadrial and @Alderant
  11. This is kind of a public service announcement, but also kind of selfish. I noticed we have quite a few new members, and I have terrible name-personality internal recognition software. So, we have an old thread for that! It's here! If you want to introduce yourselves, or read up on the introductions of old members, that's the way to do it. (And the only update to my profile is that my profile picture is no longer Kane.) That said, I also think we might want to start a specialization thread of some sorts in addition to our introduction thread. In other words, aside from writers, we have some very good resources on this forum as well. Hard science fiction, specifically physics and inorganic matter would be my specialty. If anyone wants some advice on worldbuilding with those elements, I'd be happy to help.
  12. Thoughts As I Go: Pg. 1 – It takes a while to find out what a ‘night like that’ is Pg. 1 – I see you enjoy using the exclamation mark mid-sentence. It’s not often that technique is seen this side of the millennium. Pg. 1 – Is this supposed to be a friendly discussion, or more of an old rivalry? I can’t get a good vibe on either. Pg. 2 – It’s a bit disjointed, to be sure, but the priest’s introduction is alright. Pg. 2 – R’s name is a palindrome. Huh. Pg. 4 – R claims the beer was good. But the introduction states otherwise. Does R just have that bad of a taste? Pg. 5 – Rook, not rock, assuming this is chess. This would make the setting Medieval Europe. Pg. 5 – ‘Guy trying to mug him.’ Guy is modern English, something like ‘vagabond’ would better suit the piece. Overall: I find this to be interesting, and at the least I’d read a few chapters further. I do like the routine that R and P have, though the city has done nothing to capture my interest, except for an oddly named tavern. The beginning was a false start, as R appears to be the main character, and Y and A serve nothing to introduce him, but if they aren’t going to be characters, you might consider rewriting that segment from R’s perspective as well, to avoid giving the readers false impressions.
  13. Thoughts As I Go: Pg. 1 - You have ‘morning’ and ‘tidally-locked planet’ in the same paragraph. Not that it’s a problem, just that mornings on tidally locked planets take about a month and a half. Pg. 1 -Now we’re up to three month long morning, given that a Q year is about 2 terra firma ones. Pg. 1 – Sweet forcefield. Bet they use a lot of those. Pg. 2 – What are Ms? Sentient aliens? Dune style sandworms? Pg. 3 – I’m very unclear on precisely where on the planet they are. Pg. 3 – Why is E blaming N for the pain of bringing up T’s name, when E brought it up? Pg. 5 – I am lost. Holograms? Wasn’t N real? Pg. 6 – Earth’s legacy is an odd description for cancer. Pg. 7 – So this is now a Fallout Vault. All-female planet? Why? I don’t understand. Pg. 7 – Are you referring to double X male here, or some other variant? And is E a double X? You imply her biology is different, but you don’t specify how. Pg. 7 – Also, why are people living on this planet if there are apparently other inhabitable ones? Pg. 8 – Giant intelligent beetles? Cool concept, but I have a feeling that this isn’t going to be explored. Pg. 8 – I don’t like asymmetrical animals, even alien ones, unless there’s a really good evolutionary reason for it. Pg. 9 – Where did these Ms come from, if not colonists? Pg. 10 – Cool gun, but how does it work? Overall: There was no indication of any scientific expertise on E’s part. There is ample motivation to get off Q, but that’s because it’s basically the bad parts of Tatooine mixed with the terrible parts of Arrakis. I don’t really have an interest to tell you the truth, E is the only fleshed out character and the world is a desolate wastespot seemingly built with recycled tech. It’s a world usually used for high-stakes survival, and there’s just not so much of that right now. It could use a little punch up, to use your own words. I didn't find the info dumps to be too long, but I'll never find info dumps to be too long. Oh dear. I fear for my upcoming works.
  14. Yes, forced sterilization is a much greater deal than X makes it out to be. I do not disagree with that. However, X is a psychopath, so I ask you take that into consideration when he says things like that. Part of the point of X saying that was to demonstrate his moral integrity, or more specifically, his complete lack of it. Now for the rest. You may ask why I'm doing this and the short answer is because I haven't really had a good legal argument in a while so I find it hard to resist. I would ask you to please understand that nothing from what I say from now on is germane to my piece and rather is just rhetoric on my part. Also, none of it is personally directed against nor necessarily my personal opinion, I would happily play devil's advocate under most circumstances. The fact that Bell has never been overturned says a lot about the nature of the right to procreation, namely that it is a state-held power, presumably under the 10th Amendment. That is to say, since Bell upheld the right of a state to make such a law it shows such a right is neither enshrined in the Constitution, nor any of the Amendments at the time. Skinner, the case you quoted uses the 14th Amendment (specifically the equal protection clause), which was passed in 1868, thus the 1927 ruling was aware of it at the time and passed their judgement within their understanding of it. It addition, the court did not explicitly state that the right to procreation is considered fundamental under the Constitution, and an argument could be made that from the fact they needed to use the 14th Amendment, which only protects the rights of the people to be tried under law equally, that must mean there is no other, stronger stature that would have enshrined reproductive rights. I find your quote humorous to say the least, because every part of that quote, except for the second sentence, can also be used to refer to several other punishments, up to and including the death sentence, which currently seems to be thought of as a state-held power. Now, the death sentence's legal status in US law is far beyond the scope of what I wished to get into, but the fact remains that just because a power contains 'far-reaching and devastating effects', or that '[t]here is no redemption for the individual whom the law touches', or even if the subject is 'forever deprived of a basic liberty', that does not mean the State does not have that power to exercise in extreme case, in means that the State must be meticulous in using said power. Indeed, Skinner does suggest Bell is only tenable under extreme circumstances, especially since the 14th requires the punishment to be distributed equally, and there is nothing within Skinner that agrees with the logic that Bell is founded on. However, Skinner is only a decision on an aspect of the case, namely that Oklahoma was not permitted to carry out forced sterilization because that punishment was not applied equally, namely that Oklahoma would never use it in the event of a white-collar crime of equal magnitude. (And, as I have said previously, a logical structure can be created where this would support the idea that the state has the power to force sterilization.) Therefore, despite Skinner being unanimous, as well as ruling against force sterilization, it does actually have a significant bearing upon the the core of the Bell ruling due to the 'narrow degree' of its rule. To use a contemporary (and somewhat controversial) example, perhaps consider Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission, where the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop, not because they considered the them to be protected under the 1st Amendment, but rather because they felt that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had acted inappropriately for an anti-discrimination commission (by comparing Masterpiece Cakeshop to slave-owning, among other things) and thus did not retain the right to prosecute. Now, should Skinner be considered the end-all for eugenics, perhaps Masterpiece should be the end-all for free speech, but I would argue with both the assumption and the comparison. I merely bring it up to prove that not all aspects of a decision correlate with all the legal statures involved. (The jury is, almost quite literally, still out on whether the 1st Amendment would work under the circumstances of Masterpiece had the Commission not acted inappropriately, but similar to the argument I keep using, one can argue that from the lack on invocation of the 1st Amendment under these circumstances, the 1st Amendment cannot be invoked. Indeed, such can be discerned from Justice Kennedy's statements. But I am getting off topic.) In any event, the quote you used was from Justice Douglas. I shall continue were you left off. "We mention these matters not to reexamine the scope of the police power of the States. We advert to them merely in emphasis of our view that strict scrutiny of the classification which a State makes in a sterilization law is essential, lest unwittingly, or otherwise, invidious discriminations are made against groups or types of individuals in violation of the constitutional guaranty of just and equal laws." Or, in other words, the right to sterilize is a power given to the states (ergo the right to procreation is not sanctified under the Constitution), but the States are advised to kindly refrain from abusing their power in horrible ways, less they suffer the wrath of the Supreme Court for doing so.
  15. Thoughts As I Go: Pg. 1 – It seems odd that the default expectation is for caddies to steal luggage. Pg. 1 – I know not specifying coinage is an easy shortcut, but even something like ‘royals’ or ‘chits’ would be helpful. It’s also good for atmosphere building. Pg. 2 – The name is A. Like the snake. Pg. 3 – A’s sudden attraction to this man is a bit too sudden. Pg. 4 – What indicates the trap? A keeps indicating this guy is sketchy, but this is almost exclusively tell, not show. Pg. 4 – Depending on the gas, merely holding your breath may not even be enough. Pg. 4 – Also, is there no one around? A got off a skyport. That sounds like a place where Pg. 4 – And now there’s magic in addition to the scrimshaw technology. Pg. 5 – Good taste in weapons. Pg. 6 – So Miranda rights exist in this world. Overall: There’s a lot of poor setup in the beginning. I’m not sure what’s going, or what’s happening. The later half clears up some things, but it just makes the beginning confusing because A does not behave as I would expect someone to behave who wields sabers and blunderbusses. I'm also just not so invested because I have no idea what stakes are on the table for anyone. Sorry if this isn't much help.