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Mandamon

20220502 - Of Mycelium and Men - 8096 words - Sub 14 - Mandamon

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Here's the majority of part 10, which not as big as last week, but still large! The last bit of it will come next week. Feel free to read this in parts or only comment on sections, or whatever works best. Another of my favorite sections in this one, when I realized I was writing a hobbit...

Let me know what you think, and as usual, any and all comments are welcome: plot, setting, character, grammar, etc.

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This was probably my favorite section so far. 

The fungus ramp up was a good intensity bump after they had seemingly got things somewhat under control.  Watching J wrangle the other Admins is always intriguing.  I was very surprised when A the Vagal was told to get a hobby!  Then the book maker/seller was such a charming section.  It is great to see the culture returning to the colony and thriving as humans tend to do.  I hope the bookmaker M is a character we see more of as I thought he was very interesting!

Before this section I didn't view A the processor as a particularly lovable character, but boy was I wrong.  Seeing him adapting to his new life and finding love was such a humanizing turn that really had me empathizing with him.

This section breezed by when reading, seeing some warm moments in a story that has been largely bad news for most characters so far.  Great job!

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Surging ahead: very aptly named!

"For any generational with a child, it was obvious those born on a planet..." This was a great point that I hadn't considered until it was spelled out. What would it be like for the generationals as a group to know that none of their children would look just like them? To know that their grandchildren etc would look more and more like the administration and v's? Great human touch to what could have been just a clinical detail.

"They were loosing charge fast as the light grew..." a little unclear on what this meant.

I agree with the previous critique that the market place was one of the most enjoyable parts. It's nice to have a quick breather from doom and menace and get a sense of hope for these characters.

Likewise for poor Al! I did not expect to see A adapt so well but was pleasantly suprised! The apartment details were a great touch. Al is quickly becoming one of the most endearing characters to me since we're seeing less of J. Which begs the question.... should I be worried for Al's health? :-)

Not much else to say, this section was a great read and I found very little to make notes on.

Thanks for sharing!

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Overall

For me, this installment dragged in several places. It didn't feel like we got enough plot movement to balance all the human interest pieces. I like human interest a lot! And there were a lot of neat scenes. But I think to counterbalance the homeyness you'll need more forward movement in the antagonism scenes, like with the fungus.

Still very engaging!

 

As I go

- up to page 8: I understand the purpose behind this first interlude, but for me it dragged on and without much point. It was hard to stay focused as, aside from the acid in the fungi, didn't appear to give much forward momentum

- pg 10: the fungus interlude is excellent

- time to find a hobby, indeed!

- pg 18: He could kill a weed <-- was this supposed to be couldn't kill a weed? Otherwise it doesn't make sense

- pg 24: LOL spicy books

- I adore the market scene

- pg 30: I think A's sections might go on a bit long, as they don't seem to tie directly into plot progression

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One overall, sort of big picture note, is that some of the characters seem to be staying the same more than growing. I've noticed a lot of growth from An and some from Ag, but to me, the others, mostly all seem the same even if things around them have changed. It might be WRS, but I'm having trouble seeing the arcs and growth. 

I read all of part 10 together over two days, and while I don't have too many comments on individual things, I feel like the overall arc or beat for the section isn't quite coming together for me. I'm not quite sure what is or have a feeling I'm missing something. 

As I read:

p. 8

Not much to comment on here.

It read smooth. There was a bit of tension. Sings of the colony’s progress. Though I think I had been expecting the hole or the call to be something a little more significant and felt a little let down when it wasn’t.

p.10

". It was time more direct attention was devoted to this troublesome area." This feels repeated, sort of.

p. 15

The admins may be a little evil, but at least they appreciate the arts.

p.18

To an extent, I felt like I was being told stuff I already know about how  the implant works and where it’s name came from, but I also liked seeing N tell An to get a hobby.

p.24

“The trashiest,” the man said. “My latest is about a Generational and a Vagal who run away into the biomass, but rather than killing them, it does, well, other things to them.”[A1] 


 [A1]This had me laughing out loud

p. 25

He’d have plenty to do until his prosthetic was ready[A1] .


 [A1]I love that A is buying smutt books

 

p. 27

It had been a while since we'd seen Al. Had almost forgot about him.

 

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Thanks @Warmacky, @Sarah B, @kais, and @shatteredsmooth!

On 5/6/2022 at 3:37 PM, Sarah B said:

I agree with the previous critique that the market place was one of the most enjoyable parts. It's nice to have a quick breather from doom and menace and get a sense of hope for these characters.

 

On 5/12/2022 at 2:39 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

This had me laughing out loud

 

On 5/12/2022 at 2:39 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

I love that A is buying smutt books

I really enjoyed writing these parts, so glad they're enjoyable.

On 5/3/2022 at 9:00 PM, Warmacky said:

Before this section I didn't view A the processor as a particularly lovable character, but boy was I wrong.  Seeing him adapting to his new life and finding love was such a humanizing turn that really had me empathizing with him.

 

On 5/6/2022 at 3:37 PM, Sarah B said:

Likewise for poor Al! I did not expect to see A adapt so well but was pleasantly suprised! The apartment details were a great touch. Al is quickly becoming one of the most endearing characters to me since we're seeing less of J. Which begs the question.... should I be worried for Al's health? :-)

You can rest easy with Al. I decided to give him a break this book ;-)

On 5/6/2022 at 7:30 PM, kais said:

But I think to counterbalance the homeyness you'll need more forward movement in the antagonism scenes, like with the fungus.

 

On 5/12/2022 at 2:39 PM, shatteredsmooth said:

I feel like the overall arc or beat for the section isn't quite coming together for me. I'm not quite sure what is or have a feeling I'm missing something. 

Yep, I can see this. I was going to say Kais' comment might be handled by the next section, but Shatteredsmooth already read it, so I'll need to beef up this arc a bit.

Thanks again!

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 P1 “She thought it was K…” This threw me. When Ag mentioned glancing at a display I assumed she was looking at call display. 

“…if she wanted it to disappear, or to never go away.” Very nice.

I can’t picture “glassed crush.” As in, they applied fire and turned it into glass, or…?

“Let the Gens work in B and G and be a buffer,” this is great, and feels almost understated given that it’s an awful thing for Ad to be doing.

P4 “resinp was coming along, but” Should capitalize “resin” here

P6 “No species of animal or plant… could change so fast to outside pressures” hmm, “in response to” maybe?

“...and excreted acid under their skin” Well those are words I never wanted to hear in that order. D:  

P7 “…with the virility of…” not sure “virility” is the right word here? I stumbled.

P8 “Not for whether S was okay, but how much time it would put them back.” Glad to see these details here. I think we could use a bit more stuff like this, actually.

P9 “Even the tiny winged mobile signal carriers no longer received information…” hmmm.

“…should have been easy to communicate with, but instead there were strange blank spaces.” Stumbled on this sentence. Maybe just delete “there”?

P10 “It was time more direct attention…” welp

P11 “Their normally placid tone was sharp…” not sure you need both “normally” and “for once” here.

P14 “leaving unsaid that construction and planning was her area” heh. I’m enjoying this section more than many of the others – I’m feeling the tension here in a way I didn’t before

P18 “He routinely traded jobs for Gens who could supply him…” Curious to know what jobs he trades (that is, I assume he’s bargaining his own labour). Might round out his character a bit.

P20 “And had noticed his pinky being slower to react, but…” Does he not have someone he can talk to about that? Even just a quick note that he’s been too busy or something would help smooth out the stumble here, I think.

P21 there are a couple of transitions that I stumbled on here, where it didn’t seem like there was a ton of connection between one sentence and the next. “Too many of his fellow Vs” right after And watching the toddler and “Jewelry and carvings” right after he thinks about the Vs’ dwindling numbers.

Not that it’s important to the narrative, but I’m dying to know what kind of pigments were used to paint this. Are they all fungal pigments?

Omg the supersoldier reading trashy romances I am delighted

P25 “…and Al thought that was one of the best ideas he’d heard yet.” Nicely understated, well done here.

P26 “…wasn’t as bad as he’d been expecting.” I chortled.

This section with Al is a nice little slice-of-life segment, but I’m not sure what it actually accomplishes.

               Edit: Since it seems to mostly be setup for the next scene, maybe just combine these two into one?

P32 “though he had no idea how the words got to his mouth” nice.

Overall: my biggest stumbling block was that I wasn’t totally sure how it cohered together as a section/chapter. The first three sections – the fungus, Ag and J’s various frustrations, seem very far removed from things going actually pretty well for Al and And. I wonder if there is a way to meld the two together in some way? I don’t want to presume things about the ending, but I’m going to go out on a limb (hyphae?) and assume that things will go some variety of poorly. So maybe there is a way to interject hints of the dread and frustration to come into those other, otherwise happy sections. Or something, so that the section feels more like a unit. Sorry, I know that isn’t terribly concrete.

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