Friday, June 08, 2007

New Beginning 289

Albie yawned - stasis was taking forever. In his heyday, the bubble wrap pop of adrenaline fizzing through his veins would keep him awake till the last anaesthetised gasp, but at 2178, he'd run out of juice for riding the tedium. And he probably should have gone for one last piss.

He ran a finger over the fabric lining his sarc, his careworn smirk undetected by the life support sensors grafted to every skin pore. Nothing had changed for centuries. Sure, teleporters no longer ignited clothing and memory downloads were a thing of the past, but the inside of everything from a humble asteroid hopper to the toilet cubicles on Sthenno 3 still squealed with enough bobbled nylon trim to gift wrap every last wyrm a hundred times over.

Blinking the mission brief onto his retina, he double-checked his supplies another last time. Food: plenty. Fuel: plenty. Ammo: in abundance - and thanks to a deal the Corp struck up with EZ Leegz, a million miscellaneous sports socks piled high in the cargo bay. He figured on wearing these in odd pairs as he straddled the cannons. Or unpicking them if there was fuck all to do.

“Hi, Albie. How are you feeling today?”

“OK. But this stasis is cramping my wrap zing whiz on the commode pod cubicles of Sthenno 3 and the squealing nylon is about to wrack my neuron cavity wyrm.”

“Did the nurse explain everything to you, Albie?”

“Yeah, yeah, something about the contents of my bowels aren't flowing normally,” Albie said, feeling his skin ignite like a million flash bulbs burning inside a sweat sock. “But what about all these life-support sensors? They’re blocking my cybernetic epidermis boof from locking jiz wag into my protective waxing hopalong.”

“Roll over on your side, Albie, so I can give you your injection.”

Albie rolled over and when his hospital sarc parted, he felt the hyper-ozone hospital O2 drop a cold zephyr down his butt groove. “Damn, that shot hurt worse than yesterday,” he said, rubbing his trebleworn digits over the bulbous nip of his gluteus porcine anus.

“There, Albie, just close your eyes and rest until dinner. Were having your favorite today: Salmon, mashed potatoes and--”

“Yeah, yeah,” Albie said, staring at the ceiling and strategizing his manic condor until it zapped like puppy poop on a rolling blazer. “And another thing, as if there was fuck all to do in the first place. What about the scoutshacker transporter; who's gonna straddle the cannons? I bet you’re the one who struck a deal with the EZ Leegz in the uno placenta. And what about the cargo pit of the asteroid hopper . . .

Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: circus boy


Unknown said...

Circus boy -- great job on the continuation.

i have one question for the author:


i really didn't get half of what you wrote. i have no way of commenting on it further since i wouldn't know what i was commenting on.

circus boy, however, your continuation was perfectly clear -- you're on drugs. please share.

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on, Dave. Fess up.

Dave Fragments said...

WOW an opening and continuation written just for today's news - the three ring circus of Paris Hilton summoned to court - surreal, man, surreal!

I liked this opening. It is "out there" like maybe the orbit of the defunct planet Pluto and it should only be out there as far as Mars.

The tone has to come down to Earth a little and not present such a shock to the reader in the first paragraphs. This is too much "In Your Face" oddness unless you can carry on this tone for 90,000 words. I can think of two recent novels with "in your face" voice and tone. Ooops, three novels. I just checked my stacks.

Another point, this opening is so close to the "dream" opening - the character wakes up from a dream and ponders the world - that it is a dangerous path. It's much like tightrope walking over Niagara Falls. If it succeeds, you're a hero. If not, they search for you below the rapids.

Anonymous said...

Now you said it, anon. Here comes a 2000 word denial post.

writtenwyrdd said...

Author, I read SF and fantasy predominantly, so I could sort of follow this. I even liked a lot of the terminology and how you used it, with the exception that you about half the time do not place your world's terms into a context where the reader is certain what you meant. I had to guess your meaning, not infer from context. And I guessed based on all the previous reading I've done, not on what you wrote.

Edit so that you have fewer new terms and give us the setting more clearly.

This sounds interesting. I'd like to see a revision and read that.

Rei said...

`Twas brillig, and the anaesthetised gasp
Did gyre and gimble in the teleporter:
All mimsy were the nylon's wrap!
And the mome raths' asteroid hopper.

Come on, anonymous, admit it. You're Stephen Colbert, and this is the opening to Alpha Squad 7. :)

Anonymous said...

I was kind of enjoying the ride there. Trying to figure out what everything meant. Alas, another 100 words of this, though, and I would have checked out. The reader needs a few familiar words to hang on to and keep from brainfry.

You know, there are cautions on every writing-related blog about starting a story with a character waking up. Snoozefest. But starting a story with a character going to sleep? Hmmm...

"Careworn smirk" didn't resonate with me. Too traditional sounding in this piece. And "sensors grafted to every skin pore" -- well, skin's gotta breathe. The "every" part just seems hyperbolic. Otherwise, I really do like what's going on here. It's fun. It's different. You seem to be in perfect control of the writing and descriptions. I just couldn't handle too much more of it.

GutterBall said...

Rei, you rule. Only you could space up the Jabberwock.

Anonymous said...

Are there any gay cowboys in the next 150 or so words?

Dave Fragments said...

Alpha Squad 7 is taking pictures of Paris Hilton without benefit of clothing. {wink, wink, nudge, nudge}

BTW - The opening isn't mine. I wish it was.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that the author is pulling our appendage here.

Anonymous said...

Definitely needs a werewolf.

Anonymous said...

I felt like I was reading Tom Robbins on crack and Draino while he was being force-fed via brain probes every episode of Star Trek, X-Files, and Outer Limits simultaneously.

Other than having no idea what was going on, I rather liked it. Besides, I don’t think that good writing necessarily needs to bow down to clarity. Think about Annie Proulx! And William Gass! And Jabberwocky!

the bubble wrap pop of adrenaline fizzing through his veins

I could see that line in a Tom Robbins novel. Wait a minute! I have seen that line in a Tom Robbins novel.

Chris Eldin said...

After finding out that Leanan Sidhe was a real character (and by the way I still like that opening and wasn't too confused about the pronouns) I was going to keep my mouth shut. Thinking all you sci/fi and fantasy writers live in a secret world with all these codes and such.

That, and I didn't feel like googling words.

Circus boy, I laughed out loud. That was funny!

Author, I liked the first paragraph. Do you have a nurse or doctor entering the scene anytime soon? Perhaps some dialogue after the first paragraph will ground us some more. Good luck.


Beth said...

Too much jargon and odd word choices. I had a hard time making sense of it. One strange word or concept in a 150-word opening is plenty; when you pile it on like this, your reader just gets lost in the bobbled nylon trim.

The first paragraph is fine and interesting (well, save for the "bubble wrap pop of adrenaline" reference, which I had to read over several times and I'm still not sure what it's saying), but after that, it's just a lot of description and internals about things we have no context for. I'm still not clear whether he's been awake during his entire stasis, is just getting ready to drift off to stasis-sleep, or is just waking up. I hope the latter, because that's when the story probably begins.

IOW, after paragraph one, something needs to happen.

Introduce weirdness gradually, with plenty of context to explain it. No need to forcefeed concepts to the reader.

PJD said...

What is up with the comments today? Is it a full moon or what?

Anyway, I agree with most that it's too much jargon too fast, and I didn't get half of it, but I didn't really care. I thought reading this was like watching someone with adult ADHD and way too much hi-test coffee. I'm not sure I could stand the pace and jargon for a full novel, but I definitely got a strong sense of the character. And I learned there was going to be some shoot-em-up some time soon with the overabundance of ammo.

I dunno, I kinda liked it. Over the top, yeah, but I thought it worked.

AmyB said...

Since I read a fair bit of science fiction, I didn't have much trouble with this and liked it overall. The writing flows well, and I like the voice.

I do think it would be improved by cutting down somewhat on the jargon, and just making it a little more accessible. I, too, stumbled over "bubble wrap pop of adrenaline." I get it, after thinking about it (and I do often experience adrenaline as popping and fizzing)--but I think just "the adrenaline fizzing through his veins" is plenty evocative. "Fizzing" is wonderful.

Didn't like "careworn smirk"--I can't quite juxtapose those words.

Overall, I liked it. I think it'd be even stronger if the jargon was toned down a bit.

Oh, and I loved the continuation!

pacatrue said...

I'm one of the "I liked it overall but tone down the jargon a bit" minions. I also got hung up on the date. 2178, but nothing had changed for centuries, hinting that Michaelangelo also hung out in space. I think it's a fixer up and keep going.

none said...

In his heyday, the bubble wrap pop of adrenaline fizzing through his veins would keep him awake till the last anaesthetised gasp, but at 2178, he'd run out of juice for riding the tedium.

Is this intended to refer to the future? If so, I wonder how he knows....

Anonymous said...

I take 2178 to be the guy's age, in that Einsteinian, relativistic way... or in that stasis-between-the-stars-without-hyperdrive way.

Anonymous said...

Blinking the mission brief onto his retina, he double-checked his supplies another last time.

How many last times does Albie check his supplies?
(sorry, I couldn't resist)

I liked the tone, but I got lost at the socks and cannon riding.

the bubble wrap pop of adrenaline fizzing through his veins
I thought that worked

And I also thought 2178 was his age.

Anonymous said...

who's gonna straddle the cannons?
Dr. Strangelove, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

That was hilarous. Sort of a puzzling stumper of an overambitious opening, suddenly made all coherent and life size in the continuation. Great job. Don't generally read techno fiction so I can't help ya, author, but it does seem to be sort of maximally psychadili-jargonized.

McKoala said...

Too hard for me, but not my genre.

pacatrue said...

2178 was his age, not the year. Doh.

Anonymous said...

"the bubble wrap pop of adrenaline fizzing through his veins"

I agree - that worked well.


Anonymous said...

But why is the machine giving him adrenaline if it's trying to get him to go to sleep?

Anonymous said...

Margaret, what I understand is that when Albie was younger, going into stasis before a mission was pretty exciting to him. He'd be so hopped up on his natural adrenaline that it took every bit of stasis anesthetic to knock him down for the count.

Now the missions and the thought of stasis no longer excite him that same way. They've become old hat, routine, and the adrenaline rush is no longer there. This time he's simply settling in waiting for the drugs to take effect.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for all the comments, dudes - and sorry to disappoint the gay cowboy and werewolf buffs amongst you. Quite how you burst out of a sequinned poncho is beyond me.

I appreciate that the overall style is both ‘in yer face’ and OTT at the same time, but that’s precisely what I’m after (in a variety of degrees) for 90,000 words or so. Crack-drenched coffee, hurled by an ADHD adult, is never going to be everyone’s cup of tea - but for those of you who were happy to go along with this 195 word snippet, I’m heartened that you can’t put your finger on why.

As for the jargon - I’m with all of you on that one. Tis more of a pain in the arse than the spines of yon Jabberwock, forcefully thrust. Luckily - it’s not a sci-fi novel so the jargon gets jettisoned almost immediately along with the carapace, the pod and the ship’s hamster.

I’m grateful for the attention you’ve given to individual concoctions of usage. Again, not everything will - or should - be immediately accessible (even if it’s ‘in yer face’) but all the threads dangle neatly from your combined fine-toothed combs, so it’s evidently all witnessable. That there Phoenix, especially, is sharp as a button. When I wrote ‘careworn smirk’ I was thinking of my miserable next door neighbour rather than Albie, and as for falling for the dream routine - I must have been half asleep.

Thanks also to Evil Editor for providing me with the opportunity of exposing my bared buttocks to the rigorous swishing of your pooled lash.