Thursday, April 12, 2007

New Beginning 258

The First Mate led Lieutenant Buck to the boiler room of Dreadnought Apollo. They talked as they passed through narrow stairs and tight corridors.

"Many people forget that regardless of all the electronics, plasma weapons, quantum rockets and sophisticated electronic instrumentation installed on a dreadnought, we still use heavy water shields and superheated steam to run turbines and generate electricity,"

"Steam? Aren't dreadnought class ships nuclear powered?" asked Lieutenant Buck,

"Not directly, too much radiation."

"And if you have a crew that doesn't need shielded?"

"Half the mass, twice the power. From what the Ambassador said, you convert radiation to energy rather than eat human food? Can you convert radiation to energy and feed it into a power grid?"

"I dunno, never asked Jemnar or tried to convert energy. I've been keeping fifty metallic marines under control."

"Now that's a scary thought," the First Mate laughed.

"Yanno, Ambassador Templeton and I once shot alcoholic flames like dragons."


* If Lieutenant Buck should consult Jemnar, turn to page 128.

* If Lieutenant Buck should shoot alcoholic flames, turn to page 92.

* If Lieutenant Buck should try human food, turn to page 63.

* If Lieutenant Buck and the First Mate should read up on the fundamentals of nuclear power, spaceflight, and physics in general before discussing them, purchase Buck: The Scientific Edition with foreword by Stephen Hawking and apology from Gene Roddenberry.

Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: Rei

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great continuation.

As a youth, "Car Wars" provided me with hours of entertainment (no video games except "Pong" in those days -and who could afford it?). That role-playing book required the use of ones imagination.

If this is going to be a spoof like "Spaceballs" it could be fun, I guess. -V95

Bernita said...

Isn't it a little redundant to tell us "they talked" when it's followed immediately by dialogue?

foggidawn said...

Rei, I just have to say how much I LOVE this continuation!

bunnygirl said...

This isn't my genre, so I could be way off base, but isn't there a more exciting place to start this story than with a discussion of ship mechanics?

This passage also feels very "As you know, Bob." If there's a reason for all this explanation, let's have it. Perhaps someone's being given a tour?

I do hope you'll consider starting someplace else, though. Whether this is intended to be straight or a spoof, there's got to be another way to start. It doesn't have to include explosions and bodies, but propulsion mechanics? Even Plato's Republic opened with more thrills.

If you have the imagination for a space epic, I know you've got the imagination for a better opening. Good luck with it!

Dave said...

I'm going to kick this author's ass around for a bit. This is a great example of falling in love with your words and not seeing the problems.

The First Mate led Lieutenant Buck to the boiler room of Dreadnought Apollo. They talked as they passed through narrow stairs and tight corridors. {Too many words - The First Mate is getting to know his military counterpart, the navy Lieutenant, as they go to the Boiler Room. These are leaders of men, not buddies rapping about girls. This is a get acquainted talk between two men who have to lead other men and achieve a goal. Their path is only important in that it gives them time to talk.}

“Many people forget that regardless of all the electronics, plasma weapons, quantum rockets and sophisticated electronic instrumentation installed on a dreadnought, we still use heavy water shields and superheated steam to run turbines and generate electricity,” {Part of the technical story, too many words. I Can drop everything before "we still"}

“Steam? Aren't dreadnought class ships nuclear powered?" asked Lieutenant Buck,

“Not directly, too much radiation."

"And if you have a crew that doesn't need shielded?" {To much technical story, Too impersonal... not enough personal reveal. No one cares about this tech crap, dude. It's the personal struggle that's going to be important.}

"Half the mass, twice the power. From what the Ambassador said, you convert radiation to energy rather than eat human food? Can you convert radiation to energy and feed it into a power grid?" {too many people, this is a dialog between only two people} {oooh, nore garbage tech stuff - radiation for food - ugly metaphor, find better}

"I dunno, never asked Jemnar or tried to convert energy. {oh no, stupid - he's going to talk about breathing fire and throwing plasma in a few paragraphs. He can't say this now} I've been keeping fifty metallic marines under control." {It's his job - to lead men, not little boys - and First Mate's job... that's the point}

Just in case you think I'm being hard on the writer, I am. I had my friends read this over Easter when I was away and they really said nasty stuff (vulgarities to my face - but what are friends for?). Not the kind things I wanted to hear.

Dave said...

To respond to the comments:

REI, your continuation was fun. I always want to see what sort of wildness my writing can inspire.

Bernita, AHA! Foisted on my own petard. Yes, it is redundant.

Bunnygirl, you are so right. This opening isn't about the trip or the walk to the boiler room, it's about two military commanders, a marine lieutenant and a first mate (soon to be captain), trying to determine what problems they are going to have with discipline and control of their charges. All the technical stuff is window dressing for their struggle to come.

batgirl said...

Brilliant continuation!
Should 'shielded' be 'shielding'? And passing 'through' staircases is an odd image. And um, the tight corridors are kinda subtexty.
-Barbara

Dave said...

"Shielded" was a leftover from a much longer sentence and more technical detail about Sieverts and the metal Lieutenant's sensitivity to radiation.

One question I have to answer is how bad is the Marine Lieutenant's English compared to the others. The First Mate has to drag him into a new role of major or general or some-sort-of commander of the non-navy personnel. Buck Intuitively commands men while First Mate knows how to command from training and knowledge.

But yes, shielded is wrong. Thanks for helping, big time thanks.

Kanani said...

This is called using dialog as a packmule for information. It's telling me a lot more info than I need to know for a beginning. These things can be parsed out over time.

I know you see it just like a movie, but writing a novel is much different. In other words, I'm not really sure where he is or why he's there? I'd like to know how Buck feels about what he's seeing or his mission.

Try it again. Dispense with the long passages of technical information. Get me to some basics that show me who Lt. Buck is, and what he thinks and how he responds.