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MrBF1V3
August 9th, 2006, 12:48 AM
I guess it's been a while since I posted a whole story in the community section. (I've been busy trying to write 500 words or less for Flashspec--go figure.) Here it is;

http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1788p0.html

It's, I think, an interesting little story which grew out of a simple question, for your convenience, I included the question.

What do you think? Engaging? Interesting? Too rough? Not enough women? (well....) Too fast? Too slow? What were you thinking?

Okay, you know what you look for in a story. I am open for comments, really.

B5

Dawnstorm
August 9th, 2006, 07:28 AM
What do you think? Engaging? Interesting? Too rough?

Yes. Yes. No.


Not enough women? (well....)

I don't know. How many (parts of) women did the men contain?


Too fast? Too slow?

I liked the pacing.


What were you thinking?

Wondering about the culture, and how crafting works. Names are vaguely Viking-esque, which makes me wonder about the name "Sagas".

I wondered about how to wire four brains into one body. (I tend to think that's a rumour; imagine if they all - on account of different synapses - wanted to react differently to a given situation. The body would be paralysed. The person would be *very* vulnerable while the brains would be trying to learn to come to terms with each other - and strange nerves. And if one tends to gravitate towards self-doubt?)

***

Stylistic comment about the beginning:


Sagas was running as quietly as he could, holding his father's sword close to his side. The other men were running as well, silent and swiftly.

When I realised it was Sagas' first time, I had to re-adjust. I'd turn this on its head:


The men were running, silent and swift. Sagas was running as well, as quietly as he could. He held...

(I'm not sure how the "father's sword" would fit in with a re-arrangement, though, so it might not be a good idea after all. (The swords important for setting and the father's important for characterisation; very neat word-econmy there.))

***

Interesting concept. Keep writing. :)

MrBF1V3
August 10th, 2006, 12:05 AM
Did you know that 20% of the human genome is copyrighted?

Isn't copyrighting for authors?

Okay, not really related, but ...

DS, glad you liked it, I actually started with a viking like setting, but later considered that this could be the future. The scary part is, I think, we could come up with a reasonable explanation for the technology. If late night TV is any indication, we'd best be watching our scalps.

I had a definite image of the Queen in mind (no pun intended), and it was an immobile image. A table top around her head to hold the extra mind power, and a body wasting away because of immobility. She would, of course, pick the greatest minds available to her. It could be an interesing form of multiple personality disorder. her trusted advisors would have to be really trusted.

For the beginning sentence, the point is taken. I will look at a way to introduce the hesitancy, or anxiety of Sagas. When I came up with the name, I was looking at the index of a book about Vikings, Sagas may be a Anglo intrusion. (I didn't really look up the context of each name, I just remembered the ones I liked.)

I really thought I was bringing the story to an end with Sagas caring more about the rules he'd been taught than anything else. But I'm thinking there could be more to this story.

Thanks for the observations,

B5

Dawnstorm
August 10th, 2006, 05:34 AM
Did you know that 20% of the human genome is copyrighted?

Isn't copyrighting for authors?

So do we violate copyright laws by living or by having children? ;)

20 % seems a lot, considering only about 5 % separates us from chimps, and there's a worm of some kind that shares about 60 % with us (I think it was a worm).

Or is it 20 % of possible variations of a specific constellation within the DNA patterns?

Hm...


DS, glad you liked it, I actually started with a viking like setting, but later considered that this could be the future. The scary part is, I think, we could come up with a reasonable explanation for the technology. If late night TV is any indication, we'd best be watching our scalps.

I must say I don't find this any scarier than, say, the black market for human organs, or things like that. Frankly, after they've taken my beating heart, I don't really care if they take my hair, too.


I had a definite image of the Queen in mind (no pun intended), and it was an immobile image. A table top around her head to hold the extra mind power, and a body wasting away because of immobility. She would, of course, pick the greatest minds available to her. It could be an interesing form of multiple personality disorder. her trusted advisors would have to be really trusted.

Hehe... How about some pheromone emitters to biochemically subdue certain followers (perhaps also altered to be receptive...).


When I came up with the name, I was looking at the index of a book about Vikings, Sagas may be a Anglo intrusion. (I didn't really look up the context of each name, I just remembered the ones I liked.)

Well, actually I was thinking of the Sagas. You know, the collection of Viking Mythologies. As in Three Hundred Viking Names from the Sagas (http://thescholarsgarret.com/opusculi/viking_names/).


I really thought I was bringing the story to an end with Sagas caring more about the rules he'd been taught than anything else. But I'm thinking there could be more to this story.

It works as a stand-alone, too. It's quite a plausible ending. I just thought there's a lot of potential in the setting; it has an intriguing anachronistic feel to it.

onions
August 10th, 2006, 07:08 AM
That's an intriguing story. The combination of what comes across as primitive society/advanced grafting is bizarre in a good way. It has something extremely brutal.

I found the end a trifle too understated. Like wha- hey? He wants to die? I dunno, it's understandable that he does and in character, but there was little explicit emotional buildup. At least for me.

I don't object to the brains so much (though really - more brains doesn't mean more intelligence. That'd really be some personality disorder. :D ). But why would anyone want a second pair of knees? Wouldn't that be...well, wouldn't it take a lot of getting used to walking that way? :D

Anyway, I liked it. :)

Hereford Eye
August 10th, 2006, 07:57 AM
Concur with Dawnstorm's comments and Onions'. The ending needs a little more set-up.
Fer instance: presumably, the rest of the clan is waiting at home for news of this battle; wouldn't the youngest member of the party be more inclined to get home?
And: What kind of add-ons does Sagas have? From the text, he seems pristine. But from the state of everyone else, he ought to be grafted with something, probably as a male initiation thing.
And: Why does he suddenly decide the whole thing was a suicide mission, that the rest of the men in his clan were bound to be killed attacking the fortress, so he might as well have a go at it himself? Why does a better grafter mean superiority in battle? Hell, they just won the skirmish, didn't they?

Oops! Forgot to say that I liked it despite wondering about these truly important issues.

Dazzlinkat
August 10th, 2006, 06:04 PM
Cool story.
It was engaging, interesting and not too rough. The lack of women isn't a factor. It was well paced. I was wondering what Sagas had grafted and why he felt it was a waste, and that he should die in such a pointless fashion?

MrBF1V3
August 11th, 2006, 12:40 AM
Understated, that's a good word. I didn't state enough.

I hurried the ending. I was right up to it before I changed what I had in mind and I should take some time to fit the story into the ending I have, not the one I was thinking of while I was working up to it.

And then there's the details I had in the text, edited out thinking I would use the information somewhere else, then I forgot to put it back in: (You know, the 3 things that start to happen as you get old, first you lose your memory ... . I can't remember what the other two are.)

Sagas has yet to be grafted, it's his first battle. It is taboo to take parts from other members of your clan. One wins these parts in battle, of course only in battle where the grafter is nearby, not like when you are part of a small flanking party. Maybe if I add a word or two about what part, or parts, Sagas is hoping to get, and some hint of why he hasn't had any yet.

DS, that's what I get for not looking up the "name" before I used it. Though I like the meaning anyway, maybe his father was a story teller. Then I can say I planned it that way.

Onions, a second pair of knees makes the guy about (hold on, let me measure) at least two feet taller, in the neighborhood of a meter. The height advantage can help in seeing the battle, and gives one a better shot with a bow. Yes, I understand more brains does not automatically mean more intelligence, but I am learning that young and quick does not always beat old and sneaky. Experience can count for a lot, and this Queen would have experience beyond her years.

In fact, H.E. I suspect having a better grafter could be an advantage. The soldiers would be better equipped, so to speak. However, it is not the only advantage possible. For example, a group of guys who have been fighting together for so long they don't need to make plans or shout orders during a battle. And, yes, they did technically win, but losing almost everyone in the fight isn't a grand victory.

I also think I can add a little survivor guilt into Sagas.

Again, thanks for the comments, and the support.

B5

Lowerprofile
August 19th, 2006, 07:21 PM
Sorry I'm a little late with my comments.

The exchange between the hero and Alfric was engaging for me. Especially the lines:

"I've not been trained," Sagas objected.

"They made that one up too," Alfric said. "Our bodies do most of the work. Now get that leg for me."

It made me think of primitive cultures, how they don't/didn't need hospitals or degreed doctors for childbirth and brain surgery. It's a hopeful statement, too, a metaphor that your hero can carry with him after Alfric's death.

The piece and ideas kept my interest. My only quibble was the sheer number of characters introduced. Can you space the characters out over a few scenes? Maybe it's just me. I was having a tough time latching on to a main character to root for.

When's the next section going to be done? haha

MrBF1V3
August 19th, 2006, 11:52 PM
I was hoping to aviod a next section, but I may return to it eventually. The setting/concept is ripe with possibilities. These grafted people may refuse to leave me alone.

Yes, I've heard (not here though) that I do jump in with a lot of characters in front. I've rewritten once, and still I think I have to either add spacing there, or consider less bodies. I may try a few different ways and see what I like.

Thanks for the comments.

B5