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Mandamon

20200106 - Fall of the Imperium Ch4 - 2894 words - Sub 4

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Chapter 4 of book 3. Yes, I know it's a new POV, but you'll be with this one for two chapters at least! However, in reading back through this, I think it may be better to put this chapter and the next before the Man. POV you read last week. Let me know what you think.

All comments are welcome. I've tried to work on bringing personalities out for a larger cast of characters, so let me know if it lands. Anything else is fair game.

Previously: S, E, and I arrive in the other facet and tell the inhabitants what's going on. E and I learn a little about their species, but they all decide to go back to their facet to learn more, but when they get there, E still has issues from her imprisonment that keep them from leaving. They instead work with the leader of the Ari group, until the Eff faints. [MAY MOVE TO AFTER THIS CHAPTER]: Man comes to the Imperium with his new Society, to learn what happened after they tried to bring something through with his device (at the end of books 2).

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I really enjoyed the setting descriptions in this chapter. It especially made H D a more intriguing character. 

My only real negative comment is that this is another chapter with far more planning and discussing than acting. Seeing characters take more actions (like H D got in this chapter) really helps lock unfamiliar characters in my memory as a new reader. More than descriptions alone. 

This chapter flew by! I was easily able to picture where they were and what they were doing.

Thanks for sharing!

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This was a shorter chapter that seems more like a reaction scene with elements of planning to the end.

Pg. 1 – Hand D is such a cool name I wish their species was called that – much like the face dancers in Dune – instead of L

Shades of black are a thing, there’s no less than 24 of them. Instead maybe you could say she saw colors she didn’t have a name for and was pretty sure didn’t exist.

Having 10 species with as many genders and dozens of named characters and political factions is confusing enough, especially without clear ways to separate each visually, so having separate pronouns for each species (now hir and zie) is too much worldbuilding for me. I want to just follow the plot instead of being swamped in so many cultural differences. Surely if the Net can pass something as complex as emotions, it can also simply specify the gender by which each character likes to be addressed and then unify them all in English to streamline the show. I understand the problems of political correctness and representation nowadays but this is, after all, primarily a novel and the secondary aspects should not be given more attention to than or hijack the action. Otherwise it risks becoming Anvilicious. In short, I personally don’t need to know about these people’s genitals as I’m never going to ask W Wobn on a date – I’m sure W’s an upstanding Prophet but our senses of humor differ too much. Also I don’t even know what P is or what he looks like so knowing his preferred pronoun is superfluous.

Pg. 4 – In O’s speech paragraph “If he wasn’t careful, he was going to show some ankle doing that.” This seems like O’s thought, not R’s?

Pg. 5 – “Why did two more appear” – from M’s battle with a creature I knew they must be like the Arid… but now I’m convinced they travel in pairs because of the thing with the 2 instances, however that works (I didn’t read book 2). So I’m guessing S, E, and I already have the answer to this and now we’re seeing 2 more groups arriving to those questions. Is that correct?

Pg. 6 – “As long as both twins are with him, the three form an imposing trio” – Repetition, I suggest changing to ‘together they’re an imposing trio.

Pg. 7 – “as only one with his inflated sense of self could” – R’s comments make her seem annoyed at everyone all the time or at least she seems to dislike them all.

That entire para is a mix between O and R and their respective streams of actions and dialog need to be separated in different paras.

“were you just planning on spilling the twins secrets without their permission” – what O was saying about the LC smuggling a Dra seed on his ship seems like a major plot point that needs to be shared with allies as soon as possible. Keeping it a secret makes no sense even if it’s sensitive to someone, and anyone should be sensible enough to see that. It doesn’t make R’s seem more trustworthy but less mature.

Pg. 9 – the last sentence looks extraneous to me. Ending with R’s statement is punchier in my opinion.

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On 1/6/2020 at 6:46 AM, Mandamon said:

However, in reading back through this, I think it may be better to put this chapter and the next before the Man. POV you read last week. Let me know what you think.

You know, while I was reading the Man. chapter, I had a lot of questions that the R chapter answers. However, by the time I got to the end of it and into the following chapter, I liked how it worked out. Getting answers to the questions I had in that manner was satisfying. 

The line about the room being "more pleasing to the eye than his robes" made me laugh. :-)

 

20 hours ago, Sarah B said:

My only real negative comment is that this is another chapter with far more planning and discussing than acting.

It was a little planning heavy, but my bigger concern was that the planning seems like it might lead them back to where they came from. 

Granted, I hardly noticed this while I was reading. I was very caught up in all the descriptions. Good sense of wonder here. 

 

I did stumble a little bit in the part where R accidentally spilled the twin's secrets. I had a time hard following the dialogue, 

 

3 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

Having 10 species with as many genders and dozens of named characters and political factions is confusing enough, especially without clear ways to separate each visually, so having separate pronouns for each species (now hir and zie) is too much worldbuilding for me. I want to just follow the plot instead of being swamped in so many cultural differences. .

I have never had a hard time keeping track of the pronouns and what not, though I can see, to an extent, it being overwhelming if this is a readers first introduction to it. It was introduced in a much more gradual manner in Seeds. 

3 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

Surely if the Net can pass something as complex as emotions, it can also simply specify the gender by which each character likes to be addressed and then unify them all in English to streamline the show.

That would strip away so much of what I love about this book. And having it do that would assume the nether is working for only one specific type of reader and not the diverse world it lives in. Doing this would pretty much undermine the entire beautiful complex world the author created. 

3 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

In short, I personally don’t need to know about these people’s genitals as I’m never going to ask W Wobn on a date – I’m sure W’s an upstanding Prophet but our senses of humor differ too much

Who said anything about genitals? That was kind of a big jump there. No one needs to know what anyone's genitals are unless they're planning on sleeping with each other, but people do need to respect other people's pronouns. It's not just about being pc. It's about showing people respect. And this book models something we need more of in real life. 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, shatteredsmooth said:

Who said anything about genitals? That was kind of a big jump there. No one needs to know what anyone's genitals are unless they're planning on sleeping with each other, but people do need to respect other people's pronouns. It's not just about being pc. It's about showing people respect.

Yes, knowing someone's pronouns versus knowing their genital configuration are are two very different sets of information.

3 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

Surely if the Net can pass something as complex as emotions, it can also simply specify the gender by which each character likes to be addressed and then unify them all in English to streamline the show.

I think that artificially having the Net streamline this into a gender binary would actually undermine a lot of the worldbuilding that's been done, since it would effectively erase a component of the identity of many of the species depicted, humans included. It's certainly going to increase the learning curve for some readers coming into this world, but this is going to vary a lot - and xie and hir are already becoming relatively common neopronouns, so there certainly are folks for whom this won't be new at all. If anything, I would second the suggestion of having a few more reminders of the different species' appearances in places to help readers distinguish them in our minds.

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37 minutes ago, shatteredsmooth said:

That would strip away so much of what I love about this book. And having it do that would assume the nether is working for only one specific type of reader and not the diverse world it lives in. Doing this would pretty much undermine the entire beautiful complex world the author created. 

i am not arguing against diversity but I am saying that using two sets of pronouns with identical usage is unnecessary. There was a set of gender neutral pronouns introduced for W Wob and now there is a second set, which as far as I can tell does exactly the same thing, for P, whom I lost track of. I don't know their species or how they dress or their role in the plot or in the council but I know a new set of pronouns just for P.

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2 minutes ago, Silk said:

t streamline this into a gender binary would actually undermine a lot of the worldbuilding 

I was not arguing for a gender binary. I was arguing for a single set of gender neutral pronouns regardless of the homeworld new characters come from. He, she, and xyr or they or zie but not all 3 of them.

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8 minutes ago, Lightbearer said:

I was not arguing for a gender binary. I was arguing for a single set of gender neutral pronouns regardless of the homeworld new characters come from. He, she, and xyr or they or zie but not all 3 of them.

Ah, I see. I actually find that the pronouns can be a helpful cue when introducing a new character, as it gives me another memory peg to hang a particular character on until I can learn a little more about them.

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Posted (edited)

17 minutes ago, Silk said:

 I actually find that the pronouns can be a helpful cue

to clarify, for me as a someone who's always been somewhere between demi and grey, ranging up to a-, it's jarring to get to be introduced to someone's gender characteristics first. It feels like a violation to not know their taste in music, or their humor, or their favorite color, their favorite author, taste in clothing, or if they have siblings, but to know about their gender identity. And then at the end to be accused of disrespect when my own position with respect to gender dynamics is negated simply because I'm being pegged down as someone I'm not. I've come out and said it. Stereotyping is also disrespectful, especially when I'm not arguing against gender neutral pronouns (I am using gender neutral pronouns in my novel too) but against too many different words that mean the same thing.

Edited by Lightbearer
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44 minutes ago, Lightbearer said:

There was a set of gender neutral pronouns introduced for W Wob and now there is a second set, which as far as I can tell does exactly the same thing, for P, whom I lost track of. I don't know their species or how they dress or their role in the plot or in the council but I know a new set of pronouns just for P.

 

43 minutes ago, Lightbearer said:

I was not arguing for a gender binary. I was arguing for a single set of gender neutral pronouns regardless of the homeworld new characters come from. He, she, and xyr or they or zie but not all 3 of them.

Thank you for clarifying. I didn't understand that from your initial comment, and it completely changes how I would've reacted. 

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Overall

I don't have any technical quibbles with the chapter, and I'm always game for an R chapter, even though I feel like we've had a lot of POV switches early on here. I do, however, wonder what the arc was for this chapter. It felt like a lot of talking without a lot of doing, and I felt like that talking could have been accomplished while also doing things. 

I think this is one of the issues that I end up with, personally, with too many POVs too early on. Because it takes me a while to get invested, I use the action or tension to invest in instead. And when it's more talking, and I don't have a POV vested interest yet, it's hard to hold my attention. But I also realize I am not generally a reader of high fantasy and other forms where there are many, many POVs, so mine may not be the opinion to put weight on here.

48 minutes ago, Lightbearer said:

was not arguing for a gender binary. I was arguing for a single set of gender neutral pronouns regardless of the homeworld new characters come from. He, she, and xyr or they or zie but not all 3 of them.

Oh, I think I get what you're saying. I think I may have accidentally started this trend in the book series I subbed through here some time ago. I'm pretty certain @Mandamon is using neopronouns and such like I did, wherein each pronoun set is being assigned to a different gender. So the reason there are so many is that each is indicating a unique gender, not necessarily a 'one nonbinary label to rule them all' that is the same across all species (please do correct me if I am wrong, @Mandamon). So for instance, a human might use 'they' to indicate nonbinary gender, but another species might have a gender outside woman/man that is like, secondary male or something, which wouldn't be a nonbinary gender, so it would get a different pronoun, like xe. 

I don't know if that helps or not.

 

As I go

- I really like that epigraph!

- pg 2: elgyn....<--- WRS?

- pg 3: without the Net to guide them, I feel like I would be very wary of a drink from another species. Who knows if you can digest the same things they can??

- pg 4: NOT A BARE ANKLE!

- pg 5: I think I'm having some WRS. I'm anxious for this group to go be more proactive. There is a lot of chit chat for how much happened in the last book, especially since there is no time gap between the books

- pg 7: so the on again, off again thing with Or is on again? Their romance totally worked for me in the first book, but I've been pretty confused about it either since. Are they just... friends with benefits? It seems like R goes to see Or whenever she needs some wind down time

- pg 8: yes I would like to go to a more pleasing installation of color. I'm going to use this line from here on out every time a room is boring

 

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33 minutes ago, Lightbearer said:

o clarify, for me as a someone who's always been somewhere between demi and grey, ranging up to a-, it's jarring to get to be introduced to someone's gender characteristics first. It feels like a violation to not know their taste in music, or their humor, or their favorite color, their favorite author, taste in clothing, or if they have siblings, but to know about their gender identity.

 I agree that being introduced immediately to someone's gender characteristics can be jarring. I think I have a better idea of where you are coming from now and why I reacted so strongly to parts of your initial comment.  Maybe part of why I got so confused and reacted so strongly is because I don't always associate pronouns with people's gender characteristics. Two people can use the same pronouns and have very different gender characteristics, or use different pronouns and have similar gender characteristics. When pronouns are used in introductions, I almost equate it with exchanging names, not defining gender identity or characteristics.

 I get very uncomfortable when people associate physical characteristics with pronouns, so when I saw a comment that I thought was equating pronouns and anatomy, I got very defensive. Outside of certain circles on the internet, being demi (I think, I'm still trying to figure out if this is actually the right label) and nonbinary, is something I mostly have to either hide or constantly defend it, so there are certain phrases I react rather strongly too. 

I didn't mean to make you feel stereotyped or attacked. You just use certain phrases that evoked a very specific reaction from me. 

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Well, this blew up while I was asleep! I'm going to address the pronoun thing first, and then critiques.

14 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

Having 10 species with as many genders and dozens of named characters and political factions is confusing enough, especially without clear ways to separate each visually, so having separate pronouns for each species (now hir and zie) is too much worldbuilding for me.

This is a great comment, especially from someone who hasn't been following through all three books. I'm hoping if you read them in order, the buildup will not be as hard to follow. But this tells me I need to do a little more reintroduction in the first few chapters.

9 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

I was not arguing for a gender binary. I was arguing for a single set of gender neutral pronouns regardless of the homeworld new characters come from. He, she, and xyr or they or zie but not all 3 of them.

I do have an appendix of species in the full book, in which I detail what gender each one has, so it an be used for reference. Maybe I should have also included that in the summaries I posted. For now, here's a quick rundown of pronouns I use:

He/She - used for most characters. Several species are predominately binary. One uses a dominant and subordinate version of he/she as well (for a total of four genders).

Zie/hir - used for one's specie's third gender. All three are required for reproduction.

Xy/xyr - one of five genders in W.W.'s species. Two are for reproduction, and the other three for growth and development of the species. Xy gives a rundown in both books. The one in this book is a little later on.

Them - this one is trickier. I use it for both nonbinary (in that the person using it does not fit within the major genders for that species), for an agender species, and for certain cases where there are literally multiple identities within one body.

The species in the next facet have more exotic gender types, which I don't really go into in the text, except for W.W.'s If I get into them more in a later book, I'll have to do some buildup around them.

As several people have said, there's a fair bit of worldbuilding behind these, over two books,four novellas, and a novellette. I love playing around with how species might define themselves both physically and mentally.

Hope this helps!

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14 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

Hand D is such a cool name I wish their species was called that – much like the face dancers in Dune – instead of L

HD is actually named after the musical instrument they play! I think you asked about TD in the last thread. They are named for the "stutter" caused by their fingers touching too much while they sign.

 

14 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

Shades of black are a thing, there’s no less than 24 of them. Instead maybe you could say she saw colors she didn’t have a name for and was pretty sure didn’t exist.

Good catch.

 

14 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

“If he wasn’t careful, he was going to show some ankle doing that.” This seems like O’s thought, not R’s?

 

14 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

“as only one with his inflated sense of self could” – R’s comments make her seem annoyed at everyone all the time or at least she seems to dislike them all.

 

9 hours ago, kais said:

NOT A BARE ANKLE!

9 hours ago, kais said:

so the on again, off again thing with Or is on again? Their romance totally worked for me in the first book, but I've been pretty confused about it either since.

O and R know each other really well. So much that R can tell what O is thinking and what he will do. 

As to their romance, they are definitely back on after book 1. I need to put some more indicators in book 2. I've tried to make it stronger in book 3, so let me know if it lands right.

 

14 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

“Why did two more appear” – from M’s battle with a creature I knew they must be like the Arid… but now I’m convinced they travel in pairs because of the thing with the 2 instances, however that works (I didn’t read book 2). So I’m guessing S, E, and I already have the answer to this and now we’re seeing 2 more groups arriving to those questions. Is that correct?

Ah, no. I need to vary the number of Elg that come through, They don't always come in pairs, so they aren't paired instances.

 

14 hours ago, Lightbearer said:

O was saying about the LC smuggling a Dra seed on his ship seems like a major plot point that needs to be shared with allies as soon as possible. Keeping it a secret makes no sense even if it’s sensitive to someone, and anyone should be sensible enough to see that. It doesn’t make R’s seem more trustworthy but less mature.

Yep. This is something from the novella prior to Seeds, and I need to put a reference to it into Book 2 as well.

 

11 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

You know, while I was reading the Man. chapter, I had a lot of questions that the R chapter answers. However, by the time I got to the end of it and into the following chapter, I liked how it worked out. Getting answers to the questions I had in that manner was satisfying. 

Cool. I'll take another look as I do the next edit, and see what others say as well.

 

11 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

It was a little planning heavy, but my bigger concern was that the planning seems like it might lead them back to where they came from. 

Granted, I hardly noticed this while I was reading. I was very caught up in all the descriptions. Good sense of wonder here. 

 

9 hours ago, kais said:

I do, however, wonder what the arc was for this chapter. It felt like a lot of talking without a lot of doing, and I felt like that talking could have been accomplished while also doing things. 

Good points on the lack on tension and circular planning. I wrote this chapter because 1) I REALLY wanted to do something on this homeworld, and I think everyone is enjoying that aspect 2) It is sort of a sequel to the cliffhanger of the last book. I"m playing around with this format, hoping people will start reading #3 directly after #2. 3) It gives this group a chance to catch their breath and I can reset descriptions and personalities to remind the reader.

That said, I think this does go on too long. I'll see if I can roll this in with the next chapter, or come up with something more tense to fill this one out.

Thanks to @Lightbearer, @shatteredsmooth,@kais and @silk!

 

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Zie/hir - third gender. 

Xy/xyr - one of five genders in W.W.'s species. 

Now this I wasn't aware of, I thought they're both gender neutral. I looked it up while reading and found this resource where zie/hir is gender neutral https://lgbtrc.usc.edu/trans/transgender/pronouns/ and this other resource where xyr is again gender neutral https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/xyr, hence my original take.

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:

HD is actually named after the musical instrument they play! I think you asked about TD in the last thread. They are named for the "stutter" caused by their fingers touching too much while they sign.

...

That said, I think this does go on too long. 

That's very cool!

...

I don't think it's too long, you need reaction scenes and the characters need to talk these things at some point. I didn't see any information that can be removed without loss of meaning either. Since it's a short chapter, you could maybe simply follow the characters into their next action scene.

Edited by Lightbearer
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11 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

 I think I have a better idea of where you are coming from now 

I'm glad we're good.

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Tail-end Charlie is in the house :unsure: 

(page 1)

- "into different colors rather than different tones" - I love this line, and I enjoy HD's epigraph in general, but... and I know this is for humans, but it says here that the audible range of human hearing is 20Hz to 20,000Hz, whereas the (again human) visible spectrum is 430-770THz. As Tera is 10^12, these ranges are sooooo far apart at their closest point (21.5x10^9 times) that I feel this conclusion, very elegant as it is, can't be right.

- "shades of black" - Hmmmmmmm.

- "colors here" - Can't remember where they are. Maybe WRS.

- "my own nest" - I maintain that O is the most consistent, and most consistently entertaining character in your entire oeuvre. (Egg joke completely intentional.)

- "always alluring" - appealing? Hmm, okay, just checked the definition of alluring. Fair enough. I associate it with romantical things, but it doesn't have to be (I find).

- "devoid of other furniture" - are lights furniture? 

- "with a snap" - Ooh, I'm quibbling about this word and that word, but overall, their arrival in this space (and I can't remember where they were aiming) is very effect. Ending on 'snap' is just perfect.

(page 2)

- And resuming (page-wise) with "Where are we" perfectly captures my own feelings at this point.

- I have developed an mnemonic for the E: it's not pretty. 'El' (as in the Spanish); 'Gin' (as in the Juniper-based alcoholic beverage); 'Errdeen' (as in the hind(three)quarters of the Scottish city of Aberdeen). It's not critique, I'm just sayin'. I like the name, and I do not mind at all having complicated names, because I develop a mnemonic and move on. I was never the same after Ringworld (I mean, H-a-l-r-l-o-p-r-i-l-l-a-l-a-r H-o-t-r-u-f-a-n? Come on, Mr. Niven!) But it's beautifully alien world-building. Don't ever let anyone tell you the names are too complicated. They're beautiful.

- "they have the same regularity" - Oh, wait. Referring back to my first comment, I'm perfectly willing to accept that there is some sort of conversion factor or universal constant that 'translates' sound into (equivalent) colour. I mean, of course there is, the symphony does that already, but I just think in the epigraph it needs to be acknowledged that the translation from sound (frequency) to colour (frequent) is not a direct translation, but is factored in some way. (Oooh, oh, the crystal perhaps results in some sort of diffraction or refraction (more likely) of the waves such that they are suitably translated.

(page 3)

- "couldn’t talk" - excellent moment of realisation.

- "dialects of K" - on K, or of Kir--ian?

- "Instead" - Instead of what? Not sure about this is needed: could start "One of the three..."

- "very tasty" - I feel like soup is very tasty, hours d'oeuvre are very tasty, but this deserves a more revealing description. Is it alcoholic? (Presumably not.) Fruity? Savoury?

- "honor and propriety" - Eh? I'm confused. Did we take a right turn? I've lost the track. 

- "the color schemes involved" - redundant, IMO, and detracting from the impact of the statement (primacy and recency effect, also known as serial position effect, I gather).

(page 4)

- "and which also shared her name" - Not sure it shares her name. It has long prior claim, surely? She is named for it. Doesn't she share its name?

- "an art form" - Is a particular musical instrument an art form of its own? I'm not sure it is. Music is an art form, but I wouldn't say violin was an art form. I realise my assessment is based on human terms of reference. Maybe if I was Lob I would see it differently.

- "spoke slowly, though they often had insightful comments" - This is kind of pejorative, for me. Why would their comments not be insightful, just because they spoke slowly? Are slowly spoken comments less insightful than others, as a rule?

- "as the Ef would" - 'did', I think.

- "taking little account of other’s safety" - I don't see how his comment is worthy of this comment. He is only theorising, not proposing that anyone else goes up and touches one.

(page 5)

- "they could choose" - 'can choose', surely. They are still in existence, and a more present phrasing reminds us the threat still exists.

- "though at a creak" - awkward phrasing of this section, to get the sense of it at the start, IMO.

- "I am not as loose" - Ooooh, burn!! I don't recall seeing much bitterness in K before, so this shocked me slightly, but that it still perfectly realistic. Could easily be festering in him.

(page 6)

- "unknown horrible creature" - horrible, unknown creature, I think, but horrible seems a bit tame as a descriptor from R, who is full of anger.

- "surprisingly, cocked his head as if thinking" - Why is it surprising that he might be thinking at this point?

- "as if expounding on a philosophical matter" - missing word. And is it philosophical? Seems to me it's a matter of fact and practical experience, not philosophy.

(page 7)

- "I almost forgot about it" - Mmmmm. It seems to me this is almost tantamount to someone telling me my friend's daughter was a Martian. How likely am I to forget that, even given other stresses? Unsure, my first reaction was it seemed unlikely.

- "no extra mental capacity" - Surely her mental capacity is finite. I'm thinking maybe 'spare mental capacity '?

- "the twins' secrets" - possessive.

(page 8)

- "gloom..." - I thought it was just the name of the prison. It's not doubt my memory. I guess it's the name of a city as well? That seems odd, as it seems designed as the name of the prison. It would be like Hog Warts being the name of a city.

- "two portal transitions" - I don't follow the logic here. Surely someone else can open the portal back? They've all been to the imp, and at least O and R have been to gloom.

(page 9)

- "O’s suggestion" - but O was just repeating K suggestion. He says so in the previous line.

- "these extra additions" - tautology, IMO.

- "What do you all think?" - All this suggesting and agreeing and considering is very realistic, I'm sure, in a group that are theoretically all equal(?), the problem is it's quite repetitive and not great for momentum at the end of the chapter. Seems they have basically taken nine pages to decide where to go next. I know that's a bit unkind (sorry); there is some good tension and the Ar reveal, etc., but I'd be tempted to try and shorten this chapter if at all possible, just by making the text more efficient, and take a page out so it's smoother and gets us back to the action quicker.

Overall 

An enjoyable enough chapter, but I would not move this forward. The Man chapter has action in it, it has a death, and encounter with the enemy, tension, and the discovery of the incursion at the front line in the Imp. The S,En,In chapter is similar to this one; people talking, although there is the moment of En's almost attack. I would tend not to have that chapter sitting together with this one, due to their similarity. 

it's always easy enough to read about long familiar charters that I enjoy, but momentum is the thing here are the start, it seems to me, both in terms of chapter progression, but also within chapters, if that makes any sense.

Very interested to read the next one.

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On 08/01/2020 at 3:46 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

It was introduced in a much more gradual manner in Seeds.

Yeah, I think this is the problem for new readers, they have not had two novels and five novellas to parse all this world-building in a gradual manner, it's just all here in the first handful of chapters. It's a lot to take in. I think I'd be having similar problems to LB's if I was dropped in here.

On 08/01/2020 at 4:24 AM, Silk said:

I think that artificially having the Net streamline this into a gender binary would actually undermine a lot of the worldbuilding that's been done.

Exactly, but I do have sympathy with anyone trying to parse this level of world-building without some 1,500 pages (wild guesstimate) of background and development.

On 08/01/2020 at 2:48 PM, Mandamon said:

I need to do a little more reintroduction in the first few chapters

I'd be really cautious about that. There is a lot of reintroduction and not a great deal of 'action' in these first chapters. I'm not connived more introduction is going to help with engagement and forward momentum, that's a real challenge, but we do not do this because it is easy, right? (Apologies to, JFK).

On 08/01/2020 at 6:26 AM, shatteredsmooth said:

I almost equate it with exchanging names, not defining gender identity or characteristics.

Good way of thinking about it.

On 08/01/2020 at 5:20 AM, kais said:

So the reason there are so many is that each is indicating a unique gender, not necessarily a 'one nonbinary label to rule them all' that is the same across all species (please do correct me if I am wrong, @Mandamon).

Yeah, I think that can be communicated quite easily, without a lot of extra world-building (reprise) up front in this book.

On 08/01/2020 at 3:14 PM, Mandamon said:

As to their romance, they are definitely back on after book 1. I need to put some more indicators in book 2. I've tried to make it stronger in book 3, so let me know if it lands right.

I'm fine with it now, and I do remember R having a lot of doubts and swaying in Book 2, whereas in Book 1 it was in the past. I'm fine with it.

On 08/01/2020 at 3:14 PM, Mandamon said:

It is sort of a sequel to the cliffhanger of the last book.

I think you could play that up a lot more as they come through the portal. You could do a lot more to make is feel that they are bleeding, that they have come off the battlefield and are shocked, distraught at the loss of a dear comrade, etc. There's not enough emotion, depth of feeling, blood and tears, on that first page or two, IMO.

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Thanks @Robinski!

10 hours ago, Robinski said:

audible range of human hearing is 20Hz to 20,000Hz, whereas the (again human) visible spectrum is 430-770THz. As Tera is 10^12, these ranges are sooooo far apart at their closest point (21.5x10^9 times) that I feel this conclusion, very elegant as it is, can't be right.

Yes, there's a little handwavium involved. It's also what the Lob experience as music vs. what the actual wavelength is. I'm hoping this falls under the "rule of cool."

10 hours ago, Robinski said:

Oh, wait. Referring back to my first comment, I'm perfectly willing to accept that there is some sort of conversion factor or universal constant that 'translates' sound into (equivalent) colour. I mean, of course there is, the symphony does that already, but I just think in the epigraph it needs to be acknowledged that the translation from sound (frequency) to colour (frequent) is not a direct translation, but is factored in some way. (Oooh, oh, the crystal perhaps results in some sort of diffraction or refraction (more likely) of the waves such that they are suitably translated.

This is why I leave it to others smarter than myself to figure out my magic system ;-)

10 hours ago, Robinski said:

I maintain that O is the most consistent, and most consistently entertaining character in your entire oeuvre. (Egg joke completely intentional.)

Ha!

10 hours ago, Robinski said:

I have developed an mnemonic for the E

Glad someone has! I rely heavily on spellcheck. On a side note, dictation is wonderful for strange names, because if you spell it once and train the word, you never have to think about saying it!

10 hours ago, Robinski said:

This is kind of pejorative, for me. Why would their comments not be insightful, just because they spoke slowly? Are slowly spoken comments less insightful than others, as a rule?

Ah, thanks for the catch on this. I think I skipped a step. Meaning to imply that R gets kind of annoyed that C takes forever to get their point across.

10 hours ago, Robinski said:

An enjoyable enough chapter, but I would not move this forward. The Man chapter has action in it, it has a death, and encounter with the enemy, tension, and the discovery of the incursion at the front line in the Imp.

Good comment. I think I agree at this point. Going to also tighten this up, as several have suggested, and put in some more tension.

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

I'd be really cautious about that. There is a lot of reintroduction and not a great deal of 'action' in these first chapters. I'm not connived more introduction is going to help with engagement and forward momentum, that's a real challenge, but we do not do this because it is easy, right? (Apologies to, JFK).

Thanks for the alternate viewpoint! It's quite a challenge to get the level of reintroduction correct between people who've just finished the other books, people who haven't read the novellas, and people who stumbled on this for the first time!

9 hours ago, Robinski said:

I think you could play that up a lot more as they come through the portal. You could do a lot more to make is feel that they are bleeding, that they have come off the battlefield and are shocked, distraught at the loss of a dear comrade, etc. There's not enough emotion, depth of feeling, blood and tears, on that first page or two, IMO.

Great feedback. I think this is just what I need to spice up the front half of this.

 

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18 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Yes, there's a little handwavium involved. It's also what the Lob experience as music vs. what the actual wavelength is. I'm hoping this falls under the "rule of cool."

It does. I had been enjoying the glow of that line for a handful of seconds before my physics brain tapped my consciousness on the shoulder.

20 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

This is why I leave it to others smarter than myself to figure out my magic system ;-)

:lol: Lol. Very kind, although I don't agree with the premise of the comment, of course.

22 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

dictation is wonderful for strange names

I will try this at some point. Sounds excellent (in the right hands).

23 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Meaning to imply that R gets kind of annoyed that C takes forever to get their point across.

Mmm. Yes.

25 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

Great feedback. I think this is just what I need to spice up the front half of this.

The more I think about this, the more excited I get about it. It could almost be like the end of a book, feeling as if we'd been following them for 20 chapters to get to that point (which we kind of have, of course).

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48 minutes ago, Robinski said:

The more I think about this, the more excited I get about it. It could almost be like the end of a book, feeling as if we'd been following them for 20 chapters to get to that point (which we kind of have, of course).

I agree. In fact, doing this with all these introductory chapters might up the tension overall, while reminding the reader what happened, and bringing the two books together.

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Not as late as me, @Robinski!

I thought the characterization & dialogue in this chapter was much better than the previous three chapters. I actually started to get a hold of these aliens as opposed to chapter 3 where I couldn't picture anyone. The exception was the narrator, R, though I'm going to assume established readers get her already.

I enjoyed the descriptions as well. Finally we got a (very) not white box scene. Yay! I couldn't really picture what the servants were doing bringing in those cylinders though. Were they trying to make benches or just alter the physical landscape with shapes? I couldn't decide, but maybe that's the point--it's weird and based on some priority their species has that the rest don't.

I didn't think the discussion in this chapter was a problem. I would probably add more actions, but not action per say. If they have just escaped a stressful situation and haven't slept for two days, they might do more than stand around drinking pink drinks. I'm thinking food and rest. But that's just me. Also, you say the pink drink was tasty, but what did it taste like? Tastes are hard to describe, but it seems lame to just say "tasty."

When R first realizes she can't talk to HD, I was really confused since the Net had been translating for her two paragraphs before. A better explanation came two paragraphs later, but just know I was lost for a bit there.

The one thing I didn't understand in this scene was why K was so keen to find their apprentice. Presumably, everyone knows someone who is in danger from this threat; why care about this particular one? I also didn't understand why they thought they would find more information about what happened at the Spire. I was under the impression that the E that appeared were completely novel. What kind of info are they expecting to find? It seems that research is every chapter's answer to the problem so far, but I don't understand why people think this research exists. That said, this could be a new reader mistake.

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Thanks @lizbusby! It's great to have feedback from a new reader to see what pops out.

18 hours ago, lizbusby said:

The exception was the narrator, R,

Yeah, she's been in five books now (I think) so fairly well represented.

18 hours ago, lizbusby said:

they might do more than stand around drinking pink drinks. I'm thinking food and rest

This species only drinks--doesn't eat anything solid--so this would be the equivalent of a meal. Still, that does't mean I haven't gotten the point across fully, so I'll update!

18 hours ago, lizbusby said:

I was really confused since the Net had been translating for her two paragraphs before.

Yep, I've had some other confusion on this. Will clarify.

18 hours ago, lizbusby said:

It seems that research is every chapter's answer to the problem so far, but I don't understand why people think this research exists.

It's a valid point, and I know it's mentioned in several chapters. I think I just need to expand this term more in the vein of "more encounters with the creatures to figure out what's happening" rather than "research."

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