Friday, April 28, 2017

New Beginning 1064

Five years ago, the semi-automated, MoonMax class freighter Magellan2050 launched from the Space Station at Lagrange Four. MoonMax class freighter required two maintenance men for it’s fifteen year flight.

“I dreamed of the beach and sunbathing again last night,” Cordell said.

“You dream? I’m still in the thrall of learning tapes,” Nate chuckled.

“Comparative philosophies again?

“A boring professor droning on about Man and Superman, Ego and Id, Situation Ethics, rational individualism, and best of all, Existentialism… A miasma of doubt black enough that no sky leaks through. Clearly, I’m not destined to be a philosopher.”

“What diseased social planner thought a philosopher required on Centauri B?” Cordell always searched for reason. He was disappointed many times. If he had been in his human body, Nate would have shrugged but this mechanical body didn’t shrug.

“They never studied philosophy. They just think it’s needed.”

“It’s all so ghastly, a douce-bag full of god swill.” Cordell laughed, venomously. Nate didn’t want to discuss comparative dis-illusionary ontology. They wrestled a new door into place for Cargo Hold 237. The old door was damaged by a pea-sized chunk of rock. Such impacts were rare. Finished, they transferred their minds to their flesh and blood bodies and slept.

Hundreds of hollow-eyed students followed Nate, mumbling 'Jungian, Freudian, Kantian' as they raised their hungry heads to him. Patchouli, pot and port mixed together in an unholy swill. And still they chanted, desperate, seeking truth--Nate jolted awake. It was coming true, as he'd always feared: being TA to old Philosophy professor Grange had come back to haunt him.

Opening: Dave Fragments.....Continuation: Khazar-khum


P1: Comma not needed. Hyphen needed between Moonmax and class. No need to capitalize space station. Station name would probably use 4 or IV, not Four. Its, not it's. Hyphen between fifteen and year. The second sentence is referring to this specific flight, not flights in general, so should use the ship's name instead of repeating "Moonmax-class freighter." Better yet, repeat neither; say, "Aboard for the fifteen-year flight were two maintenance men.

P6: I might go with "needed" instead of "required," which sounds more like it's a regulation, in which case there'd already be a philosopher there. 

P8: Douchebag.

So is maintenance man Nate studying philosophy because he's to become the resident philosopher on Centauri B? Maybe it would be easier to train a philosopher to do maintenance than the other way around. Although they both sound more like philosophers than maintenance men.

This flight has ten years to go. Let's hope something more interesting than conversation will happen soon.


Anonymous said...

It's a little philosophical for an opening. Use chapter 1 to introduce us to the strange, cool details of your new world and the interesting people in it, and move this stuff to the second chapter. At the earliest.

There are a lot of Proper Nouns in Sentence One that make for some Difficult Reading (unless you're German, I guess).

InevitablePlotTwist said...

I think the dialogue​ needs​ to be cleaned up a little. For example:

"A boring professor droning on about Man and Superman, Ego and Id, Situation Ethics, rational individualism, and best of all, Existentialism… A miasma of doubt black enough that no sky leaks through."

To me, that sentence sounds nothing like how people actually speak. Try reading your dialogue​ out loud. That should help you understand where it works and where it doesn't.

Anonymous said...

There were two errors in the second sentence and I was done.

davefragments said...

Nate would have shrugged, but this mechanical body didn’t shrug

Apparently, that line isn't as obvious as I wanted it to be.
And he's studying philosophy because it keeps him sane when while he is out of his body and existing in a mechanical body.

My fault.

Anonymous said...

From this opening, I would guess this is a man drama about the relationship between these two characters. I probably wouldn't read on unless the title (or blurb if this is a novel and not a short story) indicated it was a different type of story.

I'm not quite sure what's on this ship that would need an actual human (or two) to keep it company. No decent AIs in this universe?

davefragments said...

This A.I. is not omniscient and it doesn't anticipate certain events. For instance, meteors traveling at 90 degrees to the flight path or local gravitational waves that push it off course. Most spaceflight I read about either is two-dimensional or gravitationally locked into its final outcome. Think of driving a car for the former and riding a bumper car at an amusement park. This spaceship is traveling 4+ light years under power and without a map. The only example I can remember is that final submarine battle in HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER between three submarines.

The company building it solved the problem by putting two men into deep hibernation and enabling their minds to control repair robots. The danger in that is that the person slowly loses contact with reality and goes crazy. The corporate mentality considered the dangers of deep hibernation less than conscious humans with their requirements for food, water, disease, etc...

Mister Furkles said...

KK: Great continuation.

Author: If you start a novel or short story with dialogue, it must be compelling. Two guys talking to hear themselves talk is boring. Your opening has no hook.

Even if you take all the suggestions here--and you should--the opening is boring. Even if the reader reads all of page one, she won't read page two.

On page one, you need to supply suspense not curiosity.

davefragments said...

Thanks, I know where the revision will take me now.

Anonymous said...

I'd read on; I remember Davefragments story about a guy turning into fruit, as well as some very good input he provided others... If you give up reading that fast, most books don't stand a chance. Sometimes, just a little patience pays off... And Gl Dave. I really root for your stuff on the shelves.