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Mandamon

20220131 - Of Mycelium and Men - 4936 words - Sub 2 - Mandamon

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Hi Folks!

All of chapter 2 this week, but I think this is the last chapter under 5000 words. Last week we were introduced to some of the characters. This week you get almost all of the other POVs.

As usual, any and all comments are welcome: plot, setting, character, grammar, etc.

Let me know if this helps with some of the character connection problems some of you were having in chapter 1!

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Overall

No issues with this one at all. It was all character with some foreshadowing, which was fine after last chapter. I was getting a touch antsy at the end, so hoping next chapter moves towards some larger action, like landing. Lots of anticipation there. Very well executed all around, especially the tropes and expectations of hard sci-fi. I'm loving this. Carry on.

 

As I go

- the toilet interlude in the first paragraph is just great. It helps add levity and character buy in to an otherwise somewhat dry paragraph

- really enjoyed the first two pages

- pg 4: Lol at married life. "Stumpy legs' indeed

- pg 7: I thought that was a great little home life snippet, and enjoyed the military breadcrumbs. This is all tracking just fine for hard sci fi for me, with all the right beats and tropes. I'm well engaged

- pg 7: J felt like she <-- it's more dynamic if you remove the 'felt like' and just make it 'She always seemed to be' or something akin

- pg 7: She hadn’t fit the biology she’d been born with, and she didn’t fit this job. <-- aww, this makes me sad. Have they not sorted trans issues this far into the future?

- pg 12: LOL at the DND gamers and their chitchat

 

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Thanks @kais!

1 hour ago, kais said:

I was getting a touch antsy at the end, so hoping next chapter moves towards some larger action, like landing.

The next chapter is titled "Landing," so...hopefully? ;-)

1 hour ago, kais said:

- pg 7: She hadn’t fit the biology she’d been born with, and she didn’t fit this job. <-- aww, this makes me sad. Have they not sorted trans issues this far into the future?

I meant for trans issues in this universe to be pretty much settled. This is more a problem with the character and how she views things. Hopefully it comes across better in future chapters.

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Most of this chapter was pretty good. It was really just the opening scene that gave me trouble. 

A lot of the first two pages kind of felt like filler with the important part being the last line of the scene. I think it could be trimmed and rolled into the second scene. 

The next scene got good once A was with her spouse. I like that there is some emotional tension in this scene, and that you get to finally get to really see these characters as people.I also liked seeing the tension between one person excited to land and another not.

Also, I'm curious about the physical affects suddenly being in gravity will have.

"She hadn’t fit the biology she’d been born with" So she’s trans? Part of me likes it put this way but something about it also feels a little off. Like is it erring to close to the "wrong body" thing? Probably not. 

I liked J's intro through.  A snapshot of someone excited about the landing.  :-)

When we got to Frank's POV, I was a little wary of another POV, but you had set up the group as a friend group, so it is okay. I do like seeing how different people view the landing. Each has an interesting take on it. 

Something about the opening to the game night scene had me very briefly disoriented but after a few paragraphs I was very engaged with it and liked seeing the group come together. 

Towards the end, the V escalated to physical violence, very very quickly which makes me dislike the whole admin thing and feel like there might be dystopian vibes coming soon though based on the short story I'm not sure that s actually the case. 

 

Overall I thought this was a good chapter and probably only needs some minor adjustments at the begining. 

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Forgot I was reading a sub for a bit and had to go back :-) 

I didn't have any issues with the flow until the very end. 

So far, the characters remain distinct and likeable, but I am to the point where I would be flipping to that list before chapter 1. 

Missing quotation marks for dialogue near 3/4 in paragraph starting, "sometimes it's better to dive in..."

"Well, that answers a few questions." Not sure what to make of this line. It felt disjointed compared to what just happened. The violence felt like it didn't fit to me, with very little build up and not much acknowledgement after. To me, it wasn't clear why J was launching at the V, because attacking a superior officer for giving orders seemed out of place. 

@shatteredsmooth I share the same curiosity about how the Gens will adapt to gravity. Besides their bones, there is a whole lot of human biology that is about to be thrown out of whack. But, since this is hard scifi, and you decided to have your generation ships not spin or use other means, I'm betting this is intentional and relevant to the plot :-) 

Thanks for sharing

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Thanks to @shatteredsmooth and @Sarah B!

17 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

So she’s trans? Part of me likes it put this way but something about it also feels a little off. Like is it erring to close to the "wrong body" thing? Probably not. 

I think I need to adjust this a bit. Sounds like it's not landing quite right.

17 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I was a little wary of another POV, but you had set up the group as a friend group, so it is okay. I do like seeing how different people view the landing. Each has an interesting take on it. 

Cool. There's only one other POV that will be coming up in a couple chapters, so if these make sense to you, it should be good through the book.

17 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Towards the end, the V escalated to physical violence, very very quickly

 

6 hours ago, Sarah B said:

The violence felt like it didn't fit to me, with very little build up and not much acknowledgement after.

Need to adjust this part, then. It was a late addition to give some more explanation to the V's abilities, but sounds like I need to flesh it out some more.

17 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Also, I'm curious about the physical affects suddenly being in gravity will have.

 

6 hours ago, Sarah B said:

I share the same curiosity about how the Gens will adapt to gravity.

I hope it works, then! There's some explanation and some "future scifi" explanations, but hopefully the whole seems believable.

Thanks again!

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I like a lot of things in this chapter. It's nice to get everyone's thoughts about landing, and the various perspectives they have on the situation.  Definitely makes me excited to see how the landing and what follows plays out.  

Pg 1-3

I’m torn about the names. I like that they’re similar to modern-earth names. It definitely creates the impression of having come from a world/culture the reader is familiar with, and I don’t have to struggle to figure out how to pronounce them in my head.  However, being one letter different feels too close to the versions we’d see now to reflect intentional changes, and there wouldn’t be the blending of languages/cultures/etc. or hand-written census records to misread that would argue for it being accidental.  Am I overthinking it? Yeah. Probably. But I’m weirdly fascinated by how naming conventions change over time (and why some names stick around spelled the same way forever), so it jumped out at me.

Pg 3:

“Though with D…” The clause split across paragraphs tripped me up a bit.

“No sense reducing the structural strength” Good job, engineers.

Space Sheep!  

Pg 4-5

I like the home-life scene a lot

Pg 8:

They aren’t just using some form of composting toilets to automate this?

“…hit the fan.” *facepalm*

Pg 9:

I have questions about what they expect a “priest” to be if there aren’t any official religions left.

Pg 11:

Feast/Settlers. Nice. Now I’m curious as to how these are played.

Pg  13

“Looks like that list was deprecated…”  I’m not familiar with this use of deprecated. But I do appreciate the cringe-worthy continued existence of out-of-date e-mail lists.

Pg 15

H seems to get physically forceful pretty quickly. The others were mostly just trying to figure out what was going on. J was getting a little flippant (which is the absolutely mildest appropriate response when someone’s about to ruin game night), but then, is fine? I feel like I’m missing something there.

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Thanks @C_Vallion!

Sounds like this chapter is working pretty well. I'm going to make some changes to the end so the fight doesn't happen quite as quickly.

On the names, I wanted to show that there were changes, but not make people think about it too much. They probably would have drifted a bit more, in reality, but this gives a readers a nudge to say "time has passed" while not requiring a lot of thought.

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Time to get into it!

pg 1-2. The only information I really feel like I get from this is the last line/paragraph. Maybe could either be condensed or expanded if the dynamics on the first page need to matter

pg 2. Hmm I understand why population control would be necessary but given how it's been used as a talking point historically this does raise my suspicions... should it?

pg 4. I like the setting work and characterization here with the cooking! My only hangup is that this seems like a very character-focused moment and given how quickly PoVs have already switched around I'm not sure how important A is to the larger story, so I'm not sure whether to get invested.

pg 5. I like the setup of the differences between people who lived on earth and people who were born on the ship. This dynamic seems really key to understanding what's going on, and I'd like more of this even earlier like in ch 1. But hey, maybe that's the fantasy reader side of me talking.

-The military being heavily involved makes me even more skeptical about this going well 

On 1/31/2022 at 2:42 PM, kais said:

- pg 7: She hadn’t fit the biology she’d been born with, and she didn’t fit this job. <-- aww, this makes me sad. Have they not sorted trans issues this far into the future?

This was basically exactly my reaction

pg 8. This dynamic of generational jobs is interesting to me! Though I find it hard to believe that it's as unchallenged as J seems to think it is. It might help if she has an idea of what would happen if she tried to challenge it--unless it's really not in her consciousness at all. But with how much she thinks about other jobs it has to be, right?

pg 9-10. So far F is the least interesting of our three PoVs to me. I think this is because I'm more interested in the cultural and societal setup of the ship and how it will translate to planet life than the science. Again, not really a sci-fi reader.

-Because of this I'm not really sure what his scene does for the chapter, at least given what I'm interested in.

pg 13. I'm both interested in this and unsure. I pictured the society as being either implicitly or explicitly a strict caste system, but given that there's a lot of talking back to their superior

pg 14-15. The control that the admins have over the generationals seems very tenuous. It's an interesting dynamic but the fact that nobody is acknowledging that makes me wonder if it's intentional. 

Overall:

Character connection here is good! I'm still unsure if the story is going to focus on a core cast of characters with their own standalone arcs or if they're supposed to be closer to setting fixtures where the real story comes from the combined context of what all of them are doing. This makes it hard for me to be fully invested since I don't feel like I know what I'm getting myself into. I'd be reading forward at this point, but tentatively. 

Like I mentioned, my real interest is in the social/cultural dynamics of the ship. There's a lot of interesting stuff here but I still feel like I need more clarification as to what the dynamic between admins and generationals actually is. Admins as a name makes them sound like they occupy an explicitly higher social status and the fact that generationals don't get to choose their jobs makes it sound like the generationals are being tightly controlled, but their interactions with the admins don't make it seem that way. I feel like with a system like this there must be a real threat of mutiny or at least resistance (especially given that J is basically already doing the resistance part), so the fact that the story doesn't seem to be acknowledging the cracks in the system makes me wonder if the power dynamic here is really as important or focal as I want it to be. 

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Thanks @Ace of Hearts!

You've picked up on some important point that will be themes through the book (or really, trilogy, since this will be three books) so I'm glad they're coming across. I think you're asking the right questions at this point!

13 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 4. I like the setting work and characterization here with the cooking! My only hangup is that this seems like a very character-focused moment and given how quickly PoVs have already switched around I'm not sure how important A is to the larger story, so I'm not sure whether to get invested.

pg 5. I like the setup of the differences between people who lived on earth and people who were born on the ship. This dynamic seems really key to understanding what's going on, and I'd like more of this even earlier like in ch 1. But hey, maybe that's the fantasy reader side of me talking.

I think some of this reaction is from not reading a lot of Sci Fi. I grew up with old pulp hard scifi novels from Larry Niven, David Pournelle, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov, which is where a lot of this setting comes from, however I like to think I've updated it with a lot more character focus, which is a more recent trend in scifi. Anyway, please let me know what you think as we get a few more chapters in.

13 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:
On 1/31/2022 at 2:42 PM, kais said:

- pg 7: She hadn’t fit the biology she’d been born with, and she didn’t fit this job. <-- aww, this makes me sad. Have they not sorted trans issues this far into the future?

This was basically exactly my reaction

I'll be adjusting this a bit.

13 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 9-10. So far F is the least interesting of our three PoVs to me. I think this is because I'm more interested in the cultural and societal setup of the ship and how it will translate to planet life than the science. Again, not really a sci-fi reader.

-Because of this I'm not really sure what his scene does for the chapter, at least given what I'm interested in.

Yeah, he's basically for the reader to geek out with about the weird biology, so if that's not what you're here for, you probably won't like his POV.

13 hours ago, Ace of Hearts said:

pg 13. I'm both interested in this and unsure. I pictured the society as being either implicitly or explicitly a strict caste system, but given that there's a lot of talking back to their superior

pg 14-15. The control that the admins have over the generationals seems very tenuous. It's an interesting dynamic but the fact that nobody is acknowledging that makes me wonder if it's intentional. 

This will be a big thing going forward! This is one place where I wonder if I haven't done enough in the story, but also as I'm outlining book 2, more elements are coming in. Let me know if the setup gets clearer in the next chapter. I'd love more feedback on if this is working well, in the next chapters.

Thanks again!

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11 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

This will be a big thing going forward! This is one place where I wonder if I haven't done enough in the story, but also as I'm outlining book 2, more elements are coming in. Let me know if the setup gets clearer in the next chapter. I'd love more feedback on if this is working well, in the next chapters.

Great! And I will keep you updated on how this feels going forward. For this chapter I think all I really need is to know that that people are at least thinking about this (or in a broader sense that the story is aware of it if the characters aren't yet). 

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As I read:

bottom of p1: Not sure if this just a failure of memory on my part, but I cannot at all recall what or who “Little Chr-” was. Was it mentioned in the last chapter?

P2 “But that workload…” Stumbled on this. I think “that” doesn’t actually have an antecedent in the previous sentence.

P3 “Anything that far out of scope…” out of date? Because it’s not really a question of scope right now, is it?

“Though with D already sounding annoyed…” Suggest removing “though”

“They weren’t actually windows either…” Okay, yes, good.

“It saved on temperature regulation and risk management…” not sure “saved” is the right word in the context of risk management?

P4 “with much more melanin” I really like this as a solution for coding skin colour without relying on ancestry that wouldn’t make a lot of sense to people who have been on a ship this long.

“...that sounded like a locker designation.” Hah!

P5 “Fighting all the aliens, I assume…” I am cackling gleefully while reading this.

P6 “We’re both still young…” I had been wondering about this. Any chance of sneaking a reference to their ages in somewhere before now?

Oooh, the conversation about kids is good tension. Very well done. I do wonder if there’s a chance to be (briefly; I don’t think you need much!) a little more overt about A’s thoughts on having children. I can really feel her reluctance, which is fantastic, but I’m curious to understand a bit better whether she’s reluctant because of the upcoming landing, or reluctant in general. I’m kind of guessing the former because of the way the landing is overshadowing the discussion about kids in her mind (which I also like).

P7 “We’ll have a new life together…” Oh no. Oh buddy.

“J hated toilet duty.” Look I just want to say that making everybody hungry in the last scene, and then following all of this up with “J’s job was even worse than usual” (not to mention the next couple of paragraphs!) is basically an act of war. How dare you, sir.

I… I just want to give J (and D) a hug.

“On TE, which was increasingly referred to…” I think signposting how much time has passed since people started waking up might be helpful? This suggests it’s been a little while, but other than that, I don’t really have a frame of reference.

“Plants were being transported…” Again I wonder how much information they already have on this planet, and how quickly they’re planning on landing. The preparations named in this paragraph suggest pretty darned quickly, which is, um, potentially a not-great idea. (And I’m not just saying this because I’ve read “Down Among the Mushrooms.”) It’s good that they have drones down there, but I’d expect they’d send some smaller ships ahead, maybe hang out in low earth orbit for a bit, send a few small ground teams, etc. to start. This sounds like something very close to an all-or-nothing approach where they’re just going to land and damn the consequences, so it’s worth either clarifying that they’re being smarter than that, or hanging a lantern on the fact that they’re doing it anyway.

P9 Do I have the right idea when I think of “E-Vs” as e-cigarettes? Because that’s definitely what I’m thinking of.

Hm, it’s kind of interesting that F immediately thinks the Vs are “high up.” I would have assumed that the Vs have their own command chain, outside of the civilian one, unless this ship is more military than has been indicated so far.

P10 “This was not the last time he’d have to…” YOU DON’T SAY. (Seriously though, this was great.)

p11 “and J told about…” should be “J told them about”, I think?

Also wondering if J’s line should be part of the previous paragraph. I wasn’t immediately sure who was speaking.

“I don’t appreciate them butting into my area…” not sure which group F is referring to with “them”, it could be either.

Well this scene has definitely convinced me that Admin is pretty incompetent. Like… REALLY incompetent. Have they been totally hands-off this whole time?

P12 “It’s all from a noninvasive probe.” And they’ve already decided to land? I’m screaming. HOW ARE THEY THIS BAD AT THEIR JOBS.

I am facepalming on behalf of your protagonists at the mailing list thing. Classic.

Actually, I wonder if there’s a chance to move that scene up, or maybe better for the emotional arc of the chapter, have a similar snafu happen earlier? Something to give us a little more context for the fact that, no really, Admin is bad at their jobs. That’s easily the thing I’m having the hardest time with right now. The mailing list or something similarly concrete will drive the point home a little more than the staff being bombarded with requests for stuff, which though annoying is surely part and parcel of landing on a planet for the first time. The vaping thing helps a bit, but I had figured it was foreshadowing an upcoming subplot with the Vs, so it didn’t register in the same way that this mailing list scene does.

Oh, J, that wasn’t very bright.

P15: Missing the s on the end of H’s name.

Overall: I really don’t have much to add that wasn’t in my LBLs; I’m really enjoying this. The biggest stumbling block for me – the only one really, was the incompetence of the folks in charge, and I think that just needs to be telegraphed more clearly a little sooner than it is so we know they’re SUPPOSED to be bad at their jobs. Well done!

On 1/31/2022 at 1:21 PM, Mandamon said:

I meant for trans issues in this universe to be pretty much settled. This is more a problem with the character and how she views things. Hopefully it comes across better in future chapters.

I also assumed this was a comment about gender dysphoria, for what it's worth.

On 2/2/2022 at 1:51 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

A lot of the first two pages kind of felt like filler with the important part being the last line of the scene. I think it could be trimmed and rolled into the second scene. 

Interesting. I really didn't have any trouble with this at all (though may have if it had gone on much longer). For me, it served the purpose of confirming the landing that I wanted from the first chapter (though I see, structurally, why it's a new chapter certainly).

On 2/3/2022 at 0:29 AM, Sarah B said:

The violence felt like it didn't fit to me, with very little build up and not much acknowledgement after.

I didn't have a problem with the violence, thought that this was more about showing a bit of J's character, but I was also a bit confused by her dialogue there.

On 2/4/2022 at 2:00 PM, C_Vallion said:

Space Sheep!

Space sheep!!

 

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Thanks @Silk!

22 hours ago, Silk said:

bottom of p1: Not sure if this just a failure of memory on my part, but I cannot at all recall what or who “Little Chr-” was. Was it mentioned in the last chapter?

This is the probe that was sent to the planet last chapter. I can add a reminder.

22 hours ago, Silk said:

P4 “with much more melanin” I really like this as a solution for coding skin colour without relying on ancestry that wouldn’t make a lot of sense to people who have been on a ship this long.

Cool. Glad this worked.

23 hours ago, Silk said:

“On TE, which was increasingly referred to…” I think signposting how much time has passed since people started waking up might be helpful? This suggests it’s been a little while, but other than that, I don’t really have a frame of reference.

It's been about a week. Can clarify.

23 hours ago, Silk said:

“Plants were being transported…” Again I wonder how much information they already have on this planet, and how quickly they’re planning on landing. The preparations named in this paragraph suggest pretty darned quickly, which is, um, potentially a not-great idea. (And I’m not just saying this because I’ve read “Down Among the Mushrooms.”) It’s good that they have drones down there, but I’d expect they’d send some smaller ships ahead, maybe hang out in low earth orbit for a bit, send a few small ground teams, etc. to start. This sounds like something very close to an all-or-nothing approach where they’re just going to land and damn the consequences, so it’s worth either clarifying that they’re being smarter than that, or hanging a lantern on the fact that they’re doing it anyway.

Sounds like I need to add some to this. Basically, any of the targets should be a possibility for landing, so behind the scenes things get done as the ship comes into system. Part of this is also that The People In Charge (Admin) said they're landing, so they're landing. Inept leadership FTW!

23 hours ago, Silk said:

P9 Do I have the right idea when I think of “E-Vs” as e-cigarettes? Because that’s definitely what I’m thinking of.

correct.

23 hours ago, Silk said:

Well this scene has definitely convinced me that Admin is pretty incompetent. Like… REALLY incompetent. Have they been totally hands-off this whole time?

in suspended animation for 400 years!

23 hours ago, Silk said:

the only one really, was the incompetence of the folks in charge, and I think that just needs to be telegraphed more clearly a little sooner than it is so we know they’re SUPPOSED to be bad at their jobs. Well done!

Good points on this. I can clean it up.

 

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Of Mycelium and Men

First off, sorry I didn’t get to this critique last week. Life is crazy, but I still wanted to share at least a little bit of what I thought of it.

Overall, I really liked this chapter, and the relationships you set up gave me some great reasons to care about these characters. I'm interested to see how things develop between the admins and the others. No big issues really jump out to me.

Pg 1:

Toilet problems for the entire journey? Just another thing that gives me the impression things weren’t smooth sailing when the fleet left earth.

Pg 2:

These sound like some pretty serious medical issues resulting from suspended animation. A result of spending longer frozen than planned?

Pg 3:

I’m just going to put this note here, though I noticed it on pg 3 with G’s name. Are these (G and D’s names) pronounced differently than the original Earth counterparts of their names? Or is it just the spelling that has changed?

Pg 4-6:

 Love the marriage dynamic here, as well as the stakes you’re setting up. I want to see where things go for them as a family on the planet.

Pg 9:

I could be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure that earth life didn’t advance past algae-like complexity until around 5-6 hundred million years ago, not quite billions. Of course, I don’t know how far in the future this is set.

Pg10-11:

It sounds like the admins kind of dived into things without a full analysis. By waking everyone up, they’ve kind of committed themselves to landing before really knowing anything about this place.

Pg 12:

F basically just acknowledged the same things I did, so I guess it’s being picked up on in-book too.

Edited by Mwindaji
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Thanks @Mwindaji!

On 2/8/2022 at 5:15 PM, Mwindaji said:

These sound like some pretty serious medical issues resulting from suspended animation. A result of spending longer frozen than planned?

Yep!

On 2/8/2022 at 5:15 PM, Mwindaji said:

I’m just going to put this note here, though I noticed it on pg 3 with G’s name. Are these (G and D’s names) pronounced differently than the original Earth counterparts of their names? Or is it just the spelling that has changed?

I haven't really decided, so whatever you like! I most just imagine readers sounding out a name and going, "waaaait..."

On 2/8/2022 at 5:15 PM, Mwindaji said:

I want to see where things go for them as a family on the planet.

Yes. Well. You will...

On 2/8/2022 at 5:15 PM, Mwindaji said:

I could be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure that earth life didn’t advance past algae-like complexity until around 5-6 hundred million years ago, not quite billions. Of course, I don’t know how far in the future this is set.

Good catch! I'll change that.

On 2/8/2022 at 5:15 PM, Mwindaji said:

It sounds like the admins kind of dived into things without a full analysis. By waking everyone up, they’ve kind of committed themselves to landing before really knowing anything about this place.

Pg 12:

F basically just acknowledged the same things I did, so I guess it’s being picked up on in-book too.

yup.

 

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Overall: Nice character driven chapter, with characters I like and sympathize with a lot more than the ones in chapter one.

Awesome:

  • Characters: I liked the new characters that were introduced this chapter, a lot more than the ones in the previous chapter.
  • Rising tension: There were two points where I felt the tension rising. First was when Fr. got a request for stuff the awakened crew wanted, but he didn’t want to give to them until he was ordered by the higher ups. Second was near the end when they get thrown out of the room.

Boring:

  • Still early: Not quite bored, but I want something to actually start happening and right now it seems the countdown is two months away, and with the difference in time between chapters one and two being about a week’s time in the story, it feels like it’s going to be a while before we get to the action on the planet.

Confusing:

  • Time: I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I’m going to state it again, I don’t like the time system. I did the calculations with the difference between chapter 1 and chapter 2 and it’s almost a week. I didn’t get that impression at all just from looking at the time indication.
  • Waking up: From what I gathered in the first chapter, despite all the mishaps with the other targets, the fleet is still run very methodically. Waking everyone up before even a cursory exploration of the planet seems oddly premature.
  • Further travel to go: I’m really getting hung up on the travel speed. Thanks to Ag and Fr’s perspectives, I know it took five days from the start of entering the system for the probe to reach the planet and sent back the information it gathered. Why is it taking the fleet around two months to do what the probe did in less than a week?  

Miscellaneous:

  • their early teens: Everything the crew does is given in the other time system, where they don’t use years. However for ages they still use the old terminology for teenage years? Wouldn’t they also have a different terminology for that, since 10 years old would be closer to 315 mega seconds, in which ‘teens’ would have no meaning. Ag. has to mentally calculate what her age would be in years from mega seconds as well, to realize she’d have been 10 years old.
  • Children doing complex work: I was a little surprised that at 10 years old the child crewmembers would already be doing complex work, like system analysis. Training is one thing, but I got the impression they were doing the actual work already.
  • Last night: So things like years, months, days, get scrapped from the common vernacular, but ‘last night’, in space, remains?
  • Generational conflict: While I liked the rising tension it seems the awakened crew is intentionally giving rise to a conflict with the people running the fleet, by using a deprecated mailing list (they should have known it was deprecated by the fact the last memo was sent hundreds of years ago), smoking, overcrowding. Makes me wonder if that was always the plan, get rid of the space-born riffraff once a good planet is reached. Would be a cool twist, but also a confusing one to enact before fully validating the planet is habitable. “Yeah, we pissed off all our caretakers, but let’s go back to sleep now, I’m sure it will be fine.”

My two cents:

  • She hadn’t fit the biology she’d been born with: I mostly glossed over this sentence, and I didn’t really connect it to trans until I saw the remarks others have made and checked the dramatic personae again. The way I read it was that she’s unhappy with being stuck in a certain type of duty because of her familial lineage, and not having a choice in the matter. So her not fitting her biology I thought meant that the person she felt she actually is did not align with what is expected of her due to her family/genealogy.
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Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to these, work got crazy for a month there, but that just means you get reviews on chapters 2-5 today. I'm going to stay away from commenting on issues I had with previous chapters and just talk about new issues, questions, and of course things I enjoyed.

Overall

Overall I feel like the writing is a bit inconsistent. Part of this is made more clear by reading 4 submissions today, but there are scenes that I feel are really strong and I'm really engaged with the characters and the story while others feel more like a slog. In general, the more technical aspects of the story tend to weigh me down, while the character focused sections feel like they have a nice pacing to them and move the story along well.

The Good

I really liked that you started giving me a conversion for megaseconds, it helped my reality trapped brain understand the larger time frames. I'm also definitely interested in the conflicts that you're setting up between the different groups in the story and even the characters in the various groups. I loved Jw's section even though it was so short, you really pulled me into her mind and the way she was thinking and I love that she has a clear goal of what she wants in the new world. As a reader, I hope she's able to build a new life for herself, as a writer, I hope you make it super painful and difficult for her before she does.

Issues / Confusions

With the megaseconds conversion, you have several all from Ag.'s perspective. The first time she makes a big deal out of it, which is fine, but after that I feel like as a writer, you could probably let her annoyance slide a bit because it slowed down the important information.

What is a lagrange point? Never heard that term before and couldn't really deduce what it was supposed to mean from context. Maybe it's a sci-fi thing.

Why does Ag. refer to her spouse as her spouse in her own head? I get doing it the first time to help us connect exactly what her relationship to D. is but it got a bit distracting.

Sus-ani, I think that means suspended animation but I wasn't quite sure and you never defined it for me specifically to make it clear. Maybe a genre convention that you don't need but being new to the genre it tripped me up.

In the last scene where they're talking with H., the characters refer to that character as both 'she' and singular 'they'. Keeping the pronouns consistent will be helpful to your readers.

Nitpicks

The phrase 'pile of new data' felt awkward

"Supposed to be react" - there's a typo in there somewhere

Other Thoughts

I'm curious why generationals do things younger than their earth counterparts. Looking at the history of civilization, the longer people live and the more secure their lifestyle is, the older people tend to be when they hit major milestones in their lives. The concept that, on this ship, people are starting relationships, starting jobs and getting married younger implies that they don't live as long or that life is more unstable than it is in current society.

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Thanks @Asmodemon and @Mythranor!

2 hours ago, Asmodemon said:

Time: I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I’m going to state it again, I don’t like the time system.

This one seems to be about half and half, with people who read scifi not having a big problem with it.

2 hours ago, Asmodemon said:

Why is it taking the fleet around two months to do what the probe did in less than a week?  

I mentioned something about this in the sub1 thread. Basically higher accel/decel and it's unmanned.

2 hours ago, Asmodemon said:

Children doing complex work: I was a little surprised that at 10 years old the child crewmembers would already be doing complex work, like system analysis. Training is one thing, but I got the impression they were doing the actual work already.

 

1 hour ago, Mythranor said:

I'm curious why generationals do things younger than their earth counterparts.

Yeah, this was intentional, as I wanted a different societal setup from what we work with. The entire crew is focused on a singular purpose, and so time tables are a little different.

Good catch on the time-based words. I'll adjust.

1 hour ago, Mythranor said:

What is a lagrange point? Never heard that term before and couldn't really deduce what it was supposed to mean from context. Maybe it's a sci-fi thing.

Yeah, it's a sci fi thing. It's basically the points in a solar system where things tend to stay where you put them, due to competing gravitational forces. It's a good place to set up stations etc.

1 hour ago, Mythranor said:

In the last scene where they're talking with H., the characters refer to that character as both 'she' and singular 'they'. Keeping the pronouns consistent will be helpful to your readers.

Oops. Good catch. I'll check for those.

 

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