Robinski

Robinski - 170403 - TMM, Chapter 14 to 16 - 4556 words (LV)

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Hi everyone,

 

If you happen to have the time and inclination to read this, I am very grateful. I am also interested in just about anything you have to say about it, so please do comment on anything you like.

 

Previously on TMM...

 

Best, Robinski

Edited by Robinski
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Overall

Slow start, as they are still traveling. Again, it's nice to have the descriptions of place, but in Quirk's POV from how you had him set up, I expected more clothing descriptions, or fashion at least. Like yes, the desk is moon dust but was that in style fifty years ago? New trend? 

Those last three pages really amped up and I got swept into the narrative. Of course then the end made me smack my chair because I want the next chapter. I'd like to get to this point faster. Maybe there could be a consolidation of the two previous travel chapters so that it doesn't take so long to get here? I feel like the end of this submission is when we are finally getting to the meat of the story, and I want more!

 

As I go

- So, wait. The android's name is Callan, but he asks the doctor to call him Gregor? That is... confusing.

but quickly he found that if he did not control a part of the android it would act according to its programming- this confuses me. Are you saying that if he doesn't actively seek to override the android parts, they just function autonomously?

- page 123: well, the android became interesting, but appears to also lack a moral base. I wouldn't mind seeing that explored more in-depth at an earlier stage. It seems like maybe you're trying to suggest that he is driven by his more basic instincts?

but the dome hove into sight - the dome what now?

It might have been my wife; people sometimes get us confused. I LOLed! BURN! Oh god, that was lovely. As an aside - where is Quirk at with his sexuality? He okay with it? Still working on it? If he's okay with it, there would likely be a moment of camaraderie here, even if not spoken. If he's still working on it, this should probably make him feel a mite awkward

- page 134: as much as I am enjoying the descriptions, I feel like these two have been traveling for ages. I'm needing something to happen. Soon.

- oh, the end is fun! I was just starting to get really invested!

Edited by kais
Apparently it is 'toe'. The Internet lied to me
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Well, I have little to no experience reading sci-fi, so I might have a different perspective than other readers. Hopefully, looking at how to get to sci-fi newbs like me will still be helpful. :) I also haven't read this story from the beginning, so I'll do my best with the plot.

So we have what looks like the actual mandroid murder here in the first part of the submission. The "android" here clearly functions on a human level, but the murder still confuses me. I think that I understand it a bit more after reading the bit in italics a second time. It was confusing at first because Callan reacts in an ashamed way at first, implying that he has emotions and thoughts like a regular human, but he seems to feel little when killing Mills. Upon a rereading, I see that Callan is intentionally suppressing some of his thoughts and feelings that he doesn't want Mill to detect, which may have played a role. We're also told that Callan is nervous after the killing, but I had a bit of a difficult time visualizing it. It's hard for me to come to any conclusions about this scene because I feel like there's a lot missing from the plot.

During the travel part in the space elevator (which is a totally cool idea, by the way), I found that the most interesting parts were talking about the fancy tech used to make the travel and life on the moon more similar to Earth (gravity boots, 24-hour cycle mimic, ect.) while Quirk's interaction with the moon and space tech didn't stand out as much to me. I can see that you portrayed Quirk's attempt (pg. 5) to reconcile the mystical "otherness" of the moon with the fact that it's logically just a big rock like Earth to try and connect him to the setting, and I do appreciate it. I think that Quirk's impulse to think of the moon as possessing almost magical qualities that shouldn't be defiled by human touch represents a larger way that humans view the unknown, and Quirk's final conclusion about humans doing whatever they please without any of it really making sense reflects a lot about his personality. I would love to hear more about his thoughts, but something about the implementation didn't quite work for me. It felt like I was being led through a series of ideas rather than hearing Quirk's pure thoughts on the matter, if that makes any sense at all. :unsure:

Also, the clashing between Quirk and Moth during the travel didn't really pull me in. It wasn't bad by any means, but I felt like the scenes could have used a bit more fuel to spur their conflict. I didn't get the impression feel like there was a lot at stake for them in terms of what happened on the space elevator, even when sparks go flying between the two.

That being said, I loved the last bit. "Gooey little rat shits" is now my favorite way to describe raisins. :D Although, I did feel like the justification for Moth's swearing/tantrums could be truncated, as you've done a good job implying that Moth and Quirk like to butt heads to let out steam throughout the chapter. And chamomile tea just seems like the perfect choice for someone like Mary. I loved that detail and I can't even say why. :ph34r: In fact, the personalities of these business-type people are amazing when paired with Quirk's "pleasantries."  And then the ending made me want to read more. I'm definitely looking forward to your next submission.

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As usual, similar comment to @kais. Slow to ramp up and still traveling, and I'd like some more back-and-forth between Q and M. Glad we got to the titular sequence, but was also a little confused by the series of events, especially how it connects to the first italicized paragraph. Was C deciding to murder, or was he having an attack of some sort? The end was definitely a cliff-hanger, though at this point I'm ready to get going on the case. Definitely agree the last couple of chapters could be condensed to get to this point. a couple lines of arguing between M and Q could do as much for character building as their time in the space elevator.

pg 119: does C think he's a doctor, or saying he knows how to fix things? Still not sure what the word is--referring to sex of some sort?

pg 120, top of first full paragraph is a big run-on sentence.

First chapter: Aha--so we've finally gotten to the reason for the title.  I was pretty much expecting this to happen, so not a big surprise. I almost think it could come a little sooner in the story to help drive tension.

pg 124-126: lots of thinky thoughts from Q. Starting to drain away any tension.

pg 128: infodumpy on describing the dome.

pg 129: "spit out my dummy"
--not sure what this means. Comparing Q to a toddler?

Second chapter: I want more sass from M! Have some points leading to what's coming, but still a lot of traveling and talking.

pg 132: "He made a bee line for the red-head in the centre of the desk, which looked like polished grey stone,"
--at first I was wondering how the red-head looked like polished stone.

pg 135: "an automatic door that seemed to favour some patrons better than others"
--More than others? How?

pg 134-136: lots of sitting around in the cafe...

pg 137: "Q sighed and hoped they could get through this without M being obnoxious."
--I'm hoping for the opposite...

Good ending to the chapter--although I would think Q might insist on reading the contract before he signed, if he's done this so many times.

Looking forward to finding out what's next!
 

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Hey, thanks for reading, @kais, as ever I look forward to your comment, but am also slightly trepidatious to read them!!

Your overalls are as I would have expected. I'm going to 'spruce up' Quirk's character as one of the major elements of Edit #2. Travelling is..., travelling. I did my best! Yes, I'll look at where I can trim that, or change it up. Glad that you were on board at the end :) 

On 04/04/2017 at 0:39 AM, kais said:

So, wait. The android's name is Callan, but he asks the doctor to call him Gregor? That is... confusing.

I'll call this out better. The miner's name is Mr. Gregor Callan. Callan is conventionally a surname where I come from.

On 04/04/2017 at 0:39 AM, kais said:

they just function autonomously?

Yep, well, in this largely unprecedented situation, which no one has ever really been in before.

On 04/04/2017 at 0:39 AM, kais said:

appears to also lack a moral base

The android has whatever moral base it's programming permits it to have. Callan is very much feeling his way around at this point. You could say he has partial control.

On 04/04/2017 at 0:39 AM, kais said:

the dome what now?

There's a town on the moon and it sits under a big plass dome. They're just arriving there?

On 04/04/2017 at 0:39 AM, kais said:

where is Quirk at with his sexuality?

Yeah - I would say he's uncommitted. He knows he likes the ladies, but he likes some men too. I don't see him having consummated his male attractions.

Thanks, Kais, really helpful comments here. Comments have been pretty consistent about travel, Quirk's tone, etc. which gives me real confidence to make changes in these areas in the next edit. Thank you so much. And yes, finally we've arrived at the town under the dome on the Moon. Stuff will happen now, consistently I hope, and in an exciting way, I hope.

For what it's worth, you're a chapter off half way through the story.

Thanks for reading! :) 

<R>

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On 04/04/2017 at 2:48 AM, Wisps of Aether said:

so I might have a different perspective than other readers

Excellent! Thanks for reading, Wisps - much appreciated.

On 04/04/2017 at 2:48 AM, Wisps of Aether said:

Callan reacts in an ashamed way at first, implying that he has emotions and thoughts like a regular human

You'll likely not have picked this up due to missing early chapters, so I'll recap here, but you make a fair point, that I may need to do more to remind the reader about what actually is going on here. Gregor Callan is a human miner who was paralysed by a mining accident and is now a paraplegic. He is part of an experiment headed by Dr. John Mills, who has found a way to map the human consciousness and implant it into an android. The android is not an AI, but it is in these scenes being operated by a human intelligence, Callan's. In the mean time, Callan's body is on life support in a hospital bed in the Androcon Building on the Moon.

On 04/04/2017 at 2:48 AM, Wisps of Aether said:

which is a totally cool idea, by the way

Isn't it? not mine unfortunately.

On 04/04/2017 at 2:48 AM, Wisps of Aether said:

It felt like I was being led through a series of ideas rather than hearing Quirk's pure thoughts on the matter

Hmm, interesting. I think you have touched on something which chimes somewhat with certain other comments. That Quirk's thoughts sometimes stop short of conveying what he's actually feeling. I'll think on that.

On 04/04/2017 at 2:48 AM, Wisps of Aether said:

"Gooey little rat shits" is now my favorite way to describe raisins. :D

Awesome :) 

On 04/04/2017 at 2:48 AM, Wisps of Aether said:

And then the ending made me want to read more. I'm definitely looking forward to your next submission.

Well this is just the perfect compliment, especially you coming in at this stage. Although having said that, as Kais says, the story (plot) really only gets going in this submission.

I'm really pleased that you found some of the characterisation effective. I've tried to give all of the side chrs a personality, so to hear that some of that is coming through is sweet indeed.

Thanks so much for reading, @Wisps of Aether :) 

<R>

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Thanks for reading Mandamon, I'll apologise straight away for this sub starting with more travelling!!

13 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Definitely agree the last couple of chapters could be condensed to get to this point

Yeah, fair comment. I'll try to pare that bit back hard.

13 hours ago, Mandamon said:

infodumpy on describing the dome

Argh, okay. I was trying to hide it as the tourist introduction to L'ville.

13 hours ago, Mandamon said:

"spit out my dummy"

For me, this is a pretty standard phrase to express someone losing their temper. Interested to see if anyone else trips up on it.

13 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I want more sass from M!

Okay - have added a little.

13 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I was wondering how the red-head looked like polished stone

Ahhhhh......I've tweaked that a bit; fair point.

On 04/04/2017 at 7:10 PM, Mandamon said:

an automatic door that seemed to favour some patrons better than others" --More than others? How?

Ah-ha, lol. This is based on the coffee shop where I write in the morning, which has an automatic door which sometimes refuses to operate correctly. How would my reader know that? I've edited accordingly. Also, replaced 'better than' with 'above' :) 

On 04/04/2017 at 7:10 PM, Mandamon said:

without M being obnoxious." --I'm hoping for the opposite...

:lol:

On 04/04/2017 at 7:10 PM, Mandamon said:

I would think Q might insist on reading the contract before he signed

I'll tidy this up. The email from Paulson, which Quirk reads on Page 127, attached a contract. Quirk and Moth here are signing a Non-discolosure Agreement (NDA). I'll refer to it in Paulson's email.

On 04/04/2017 at 7:10 PM, Mandamon said:

Looking forward to finding out what's next!

I'm very glad that you stayed with it through all the travelling. We're here now!! I hope I can make it worth the journey so far. Thanks so much for reading :) 

<R>

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13 hours ago, Robinski said:

You'll likely not have picked this up due to missing early chapters, so I'll recap here, but you make a fair point, that I may need to do more to remind the reader about what actually is going on here. Gregor Callan is a human miner who was paralysed by a mining accident and is now a paraplegic. He is part of an experiment headed by Dr. John Mills, who has found a way to map the human consciousness and implant it into an android. The android is not an AI, but it is in these scenes being operated by a human intelligence, Callan's. In the mean time, Callan's body is on life support in a hospital bed in the Androcon Building on the Moon.

Ah, that makes so much more sense than what I thought. I think it's pretty clear that Callan is controlled by a human for someone who already knows it. I honestly assumed that he was just a human until I saw that he was described as an android, which made me falsely assume AI. :) 

13 hours ago, Robinski said:

Isn't it? not mine unfortunately.

Yeah, I don't know if space elevators in Ecuador are a thing in sci-fi (I guess it needs to be on the equator for the physics to work?), but it's not the first time I've come across it. Still awesome. :) 

13 hours ago, Robinski said:

Hmm, interesting. I think you have touched on something which chimes somewhat with certain other comments. That Quirk's thoughts sometimes stop short of conveying what he's actually feeling. I'll think on that.

Reading through the other comments, I think that this is my version of stating the "not much was happening during the travel," because I wasn't feeling quite as connected to Quirk during this time. While I think that you could definitely shorten the travel chapters to get to the action more quickly, I would love to see the travel expanded instead. I feel like for me, the issue isn't how long it is but rather that it feels like the travel is a bit of a lull. I love what the characters are doing, but it was hard for me to get super invested in those parts because I didn't feel like too much was really at stake. Maybe my limited connection with Quirk's feelings are a result of that? I'm honestly not sure. :ph34r:

But for the most part, it looks great. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next. :) 

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18 minutes ago, Wisps of Aether said:

I would love to see the travel expanded instead

Err, I think that might push @Mandamon over the edge ;)

19 minutes ago, Wisps of Aether said:

I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next

That's great to hear...thanks again!

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1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Err, I think that might push @Mandamon over the edge ;)

*tears at hair, gibbers*

Actually, I will concede @Wisps of Aether's point. Either the travel needs to be cut down significantly to a montage of travel LOLs, or, it needs to be expanded into its own thing, helping to define Q and M's relationship, adding some plot elements, and requiring its own arc. Right now they're getting from A to B, and there are a few defining character moments, but nothing to put it into either bucket, which is where it starts to drag for me.

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6 hours ago, Mandamon said:

...a montage of travel LOLs...

I just got a mental image of Moth and Quirk playing ping-pong, for some reason.

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54 minutes ago, Eagle of the Forest Path said:

I just got a mental image of Moth and Quirk playing ping-pong, for some reason.

ROFL, that can be arranged, Spin Pong!!

Edited by Robinski
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Okay, I'm going to think what I can do about those travel chapters to enliven them. Thanks everyone :) 

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- I like the interaction between Callan and Mills. It kinds the readers on the toe.

- "15% awe, 85% what-the- fu**-have- I-got- myself-into" I like this, though I wouldn't mind a little more description of the expression.

- I do agree, the travel chapters are a little bit of a drag. I like the interaction between Moth and Quirk, but they can't all be just them interacting to another.

- The urgency is interesting at the end of the chapter, but I think it's a little bit of a cheat when we see Quirk's reaction but not what he's reacting too. 

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Hey, thanks for reading, RD - much appreciated.

21 hours ago, rdpulfer said:

I like the interaction between Callan and Mills. It kinds the readers on the toe

Excellent! I feel like the negatives I've had on this have been peeps who have not read from the start; which is not to say I don't need to tweak, but your opinion on this is reassuring that I'm heading in the right direction.

21 hours ago, rdpulfer said:

wouldn't mind a little more description of the expression.

Tweaked - in a slightly weird way, I would say.

22 hours ago, rdpulfer said:

can't all be just them interacting to another

Yeah, I'm cogitating on this.

22 hours ago, rdpulfer said:

but I think it's a little bit of a cheat

 I thought I would just hang a blatant cliffhanger out there and see what happened. Interestingly, I think your the first dissenter :) 

Really appreciate the comments, thank you!

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Alright. Let’s get cracking.

Chapter 14: You might have picked up from my earlier comments that I’m a die-hard sci-fi. This chapter is not that. I will, however, shut up about it because this isn’t a hard sci-fi book, and this chapter works decent as a set-up to the opera part of ‘space opera’. It just seems a bit too plot convenient. Maybe throw in a random malfunction to lower the suspension of disbelief level.

Chapter 15: As always, the Q / Moth banter is pretty good, though I wouldn’t describe Moth as ‘Machiavellian’. My understanding off Machiavelli is second-hand, unfortunately, so all I can do here is raise the point. I definitely like the Moon imagery.

Chapter 16: The receptionist dialogue seemed a little stilted to me. Kudos to Moth for a backstory drop, and presumably some insight into her motivation, but it seems to me she’s lying and is just swearing out of habit. The dialogue between Q and Mary feels a bit rushed and forced. I get the joke Q makes when he says ‘Call me Q’, but that’s only because it’s a joke I’d use and nothing from context. A reader might just assume that it was a misprint of some sort.

And we end off with Q cursing in an unimaginative fashion. I don't mind the cliffhanger as much as tone of normality it leaves me off on.

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7 hours ago, aeromancer said:

this isn’t a hard sci-fi book

Indeed not, and I'm glad you can still 'go with it', as it were.

7 hours ago, aeromancer said:

I wouldn’t describe Moth as ‘Machiavellian’

My knowledge is purely secondhand also. I suspect it's a term that gets misused a lot in popular parlance, having said that, I would have hoped that Quirk was sufficiently refined to know the difference. The OED says "Machiavellianism is "the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct", whereas the Handbook of Individual Differences in Social Behavior says "In modern psychology, Machiavellianism is one of the dark triad personalities, characterized by a duplicitous interpersonal style, a cynical disregard for morality and a focus on self-interest and personal gain". I don't think there are a million miles off Moth, or certainly Quirk's reading of Moth at this point.

7 hours ago, aeromancer said:

I definitely like the Moon imagery.

:D I'm interested in your reaction going forward. Sometimes, I think I forget to play it up.

7 hours ago, aeromancer said:

and is just swearing out of habit

By this point in her life, that's perhaps more likely.

7 hours ago, aeromancer said:

A reader might just assume that it was a misprint of some sort.

I've tweaked up the sarcasm a little.

7 hours ago, aeromancer said:

Q cursing in an unimaginative fashion

I'm working 'Oh sh-t' as something of a catchphrase for Quirk, in that it's so much less sophisticated and verbose than his regular style. Because his regular style has slipped a bit in places, I'm going to have to work that back up a bit. Whether that makes this sit better as an uncomfortably simple phrase or not, I shall see down the road, I guess.

7 hours ago, aeromancer said:

tone of normality it leaves me off on

Hmm... What I don't want to do is go all guns blazing here. For one thing, the 'drop' is not that earth-shattering (moon-shattering?)

Thanks so much for reading, aero, Much appreciated :) 

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Hello! Sorry for the late reply I caught an awful plague and was sick with the death for most of the week! Here's what I have...

Mostly, I agree with what everyone else has said, especially @kais and @Mandamon

 

I agree, it really does seem like he should read over the contract a bit more, even if it is all boilerplate (it won't be if they're decent attorneys. boilerplate is such because it has to be in a contract, but it comes at the end, after the meat of the thing -- and you should STILL skim it, just in case. )

Moth has never quite clicked for me, but recent chapters have her more and more being a bad teen stereotype, randomly and gratuitously profane, and occasionally being a vehicle for As-you-know-Bob exposition. There's just not much to her right now. 

 

And this is yet more travel. Once again, I agree with Mandamon and kais -- either all these chapters need serious culling and condensing , -OR- the travel needs to be an end in itself, and thus be full of things that make the reader not mind the plot going nowhere for so long.  As it stands now, this is just travel for ... verisimilitude? a fear of jump cuts? padding word count to avoid the dreaded "novella" label? and they serve neither character nor plot. :(

 

Honestly, i feel a little bit cheated here. We're finally on the moon (finally!) and it seems really neat and interesting, and like it would be full of fun things for quirk to describe and differences from earth, and yet, the story lingers on the same old transportation minutiae we've seen in something like going on 6 chapters now and a standard chain coffeehouse that could be straight out of IRL-reality. It sounds cozy, but if i wanted that experience I could go to the Starbucks down the street. :/ Sorry.  

 

What we do get of the moon is good, though! there's some grammar stuff that an editing pass will fix, but on the whole, these are more of what I want. More moon, more clothes, more quirky Quirk.

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Hey Dragon, glad you're back with us. Ach, that darn plague, it gets everywhere...

11 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

read over the contract a bit more

Okay, okay already. I've added this:

"Quirk complied forthwith. First, he skimmed the contract, then he read it very slowly. For the third pass, he read every word as quickly as he could, because that was when legal papers made the most sense, when one’s brain was unable to linger on any particular detail. He never read contracts out loud, not since that time in Sarawak when he had passed out due to lack of punctuation."

11 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

There's just not much to her right now

Hmm, that's one for Edit #2. Duly logged for further scrutiny.

11 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

travel for ... verisimilitude? a fear of jump cuts? padding word count to avoid the dreaded "novella" label?

(a) to some extent, yes; (b) not at all, I see it as the characters getting to know each other and the reader getting to know the characters. I plan to consider this at greater length before embarking on Edit #2; (c) certainly not, and I would reject the suggestion that Novella is reader any more :P 

11 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

fun things for quirk to describe and differences from earth

11 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

same old transportation minutiae

Yeah - dialling up Quirk will cover the first, I am confident, and the second is asked-and-answered numerous times now. I know and will consider condensing. At this point, I'm not convinced expanding is the way to go.

11 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

More moon, more clothes, more quirky Quirk.

(1) yes, it's coming; (2) yes, that's for Edit #2; (3) see (2).

Thanks for reading, Dragon. I really appreciate your comments - always challenging and never easily set aside :) 

Much appreciated!

<R>

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3 hours ago, Robinski said:

passed out due to lack of punctuation

:wub: Hah! Having had to read and interpret for others statutory language for a job, I endorse the three-time read-through. First time is to go "wt-actual-f," second time is to parse punctuation, third (and subsequent) time is to maybe understand and then go compare with the doggone annotations. 

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