March 22nd, 2012, 03:49 AM
Would you read this? Suggestions needed.
Here are the first 2 chapters to a story I'm writing called "Planet D." I'd appreciate it if anyone could read it and provide some feedback, specifically whether or not it got you interested enough to continue reading. Any constructive criticism is always welcome. Thanks!
EDIT: The formatting and pagination didn't transfer to the forums. Sorry, try to bare with it being cluttered like this.
Chapter 1 - 'Conception'
The cold war brought out many fears between our nations, but none as persistent as the fear of nuclear war. It helped us to believe that we were in a good versus evil struggle, but in reality it was just a pissing contest between the two toughest kids on the block. Each one standing on his own metaphorical street corner, poised and taunting each other to see who will make the first move. It makes you wonder that if God exists and we're his children, then where was our parent-child lecture about not being morons? We should have been sent to our rooms with a smack on the ass on day one. But nonetheless, we avoided nuclear war and, as Americans, came out ahead in one particular aspect of technological advancement.
It was called Project Liberty, and like so many other ideas of its nature it was imagined by none other than an elite group of nerds known as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA as most people refer to them. The project initially began as a result of the space race. After Apollo 11 successfully landed on the moon in 1969 we immediately began to dream bigger. That's when the powers that be decided we shouldn't just be the first to walk on the moon, but we also needed to be the first to colonize the moon. This idea sparked the start of Project Liberty, which was a project to design and implement a lunar base with the hope of colonizing the moon permanently. However, what began as a seemingly peaceful concept to land some astronauts on the lunar surface and see if they could live there was eventually adapted as a backup plan to preserve the American way of life. As the project advanced and the cold war progressed further, the Department of Defense decided to intervene in the development of the project.
Project Liberty survived from 1971 until 1979 under NASA control. It wasn't until the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR that the Department of Defense stepped in, and with orders from the Commander in Chief himself was able to put one of their newest agencies in charge of the project. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency was tasked with converting Project Liberty from a mere colonization of the moon into an actual weaponization. DARPA was ordered to not only continue our advancements in establishing a habitat on the lunar surface, but to arm it as well. The idea of launching missiles at Earth from the lunar surface was a little far-fetched at the time, but the idea of launching missiles from the lunar surface aimed at any non-American spacecraft was right up our alley.
The project continued on a steady course under DARPA control until late 1988. Finally, on January 17th, 1989 we finally reached the point to launch the stage one mission, codenamed Volt. Project Liberty was divided into separate missions, all designed to launch and assemble a particular, modular section of the Liberty base in space and land it on the lunar surface piece by piece. Volt would become the first mission for Project Liberty and its crew would be tasked with assembling and installing the first module of the base, the living quarters and command hub, as well as a defensive weapons system to protect it. The plan itself was simple and it was time to brief the Volt crew and prep for launch.
Chapter 2 - 'Gods Will Excuse'
'Break, wake up,' Larry said with a smirk as he tossed a balled up piece of paper at Break, hitting him squarely on the forehead. 'We're T-D in ten minutes. Get your game face on for the brass.'
Break moaned and yawned as he awoke on the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter that was transporting him and fellow engineer Larry Bralt to the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. Born as Richard Kurnes, Break received his nickname two years ago during an underwater assembly training exercise for the Volt mission. Just as he was exiting the tank, a six million gallon pool designed by NASA for astronauts to train in while receiving similar effects to weightlessness, he slipped as he was taking off his wet suit and fell backwards into a workbench breaking two of his ribs. The phrase, 'Hey Rick, nice break!' was quickly tossed around, but Larry was actually the first person to coin the nickname following the accident. Since then the name stuck and Rick is now affectionately called Break by his fellow crew members.
Break took a quick look out of the starboard window of the Seahawk. It was night time, precisely 2:24am and all that could be seen were lights from surrounding cities.
'Where are we?' Break said, after he put on his headset to speak to Larry, still looking groggy-eyed from his peaceful slumber.
'Pretty sure we're passing Orlando now.' Larry replied, while also looking out of the starboard window at the glow of city lights.
'Oh yea,' Break said with a cock-eyed smirk, suggesting that Larry has no idea what the hell he's talking about, 'how can you be so sure?'
Larry grinned back at Break. 'Lucky guess,' he said, not wanting to reveal the fact that he truly could identify Orlando from the sky, even at night. Larry was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, but has been visiting Orlando to see his grandparents since he was just a child. With over fifteen flights from Little Rock to Orlando under his belt, Larry was more than qualified to identify Orlando from the sky, and at night.
'Whatever,' Break replied as he rolled his eyes and peered out of his window again. 'So, are you ready for this,' he said, still looking out of his window, 'I mean, not the mission itself, but what the mission might bring?'
Larry looked at Break for a second while trying to understand the question. 'Are you talking about the fact that we'll be the first country to inhabit the moon?' Larry responded with a concerned look. With Larry and Break being the two developmental engineers of the crew, they established a friendship early on when the crew first started training for the Volt mission four years ago in February of '85. Larry was always the more rational of the two and being a straight forward, "do as your told" type of guy, Larry often wondered why Break had to question the morality of everything they did. Break was also a Christian, which bothered Larry's Atheist sensibilities to a certain extent. Larry always thought religious people shouldn't qualify to become astronauts because of their affinity to use the "Gods will" excuse every time something happens that they don't understand or can't readily explain. Nonetheless, Larry understands that Break is an engineer, not a scientist, and he looks past his personal beliefs to the fact that Break is a good man and a good friend.
'Yeah,' Break replied, 'I mean, you know damn well we can't keep this whole thing a secret from the Soviets forever. We're in a perpetual spying game nowadays, and it wouldn't even surprise me if they already knew what we were up to.'
'So, what, you're worried about a retaliation from the Soviets against us here on Earth because of what we're doing up there?' Larry replied, holding his hand just above his head and pointing to the sky.
'Yeah, aren't you? I'm sure the government has certainly taken it into consideration.' Break said, crossing his arms to Larry.
'Not really, man,' Larry responded, 'I don't really think about **** like that. The truth is that this is all just a big competition. Sure, we're aiming to be the first to colonize the moon, but we'll never keep it for ourselves. Just like we do on Earth, everything will eventually be separated and if the Soviets can actually follow in our footsteps I'm sure we'll give them their fair share just to keep the peace and prevent more international bickering.'
'Buckle up, boys,' the pilot said over their headsets, interrupting their conversation, 'sixty seconds to LZ.'
Break and Larry both looked out of their windows. They could see the descent of the helicopter over Kennedy and spotted the lights of Launch Complex 39 in the distance.
'Look,' Larry said, pointing out of his starboard window, 'you can see the Volt Shuttle on the Crawler.' 'I know you're a man of God, so say a prayer that we make it back in that thing in one piece.' Larry added with a grin on his face, hoping Break wouldn't catch the sarcasm. But Break never responded, and just continued to look out the window as the Seahawk landed.
Last edited by RyanMC; March 22nd, 2012 at 03:52 AM.
March 24th, 2012, 04:48 PM
Author & Writer
Just some quick things after a cursory skim:
- 'As' is used too much.
- Verb tenses need some clean-up. (Most are past tense, some are present tense, all need to be in the correct tense.)
- Chapter 1 reads like a Prologue, so I'd call it "Prologue" instead of Chapter 1.
- Looks like single apostrophes were used for dialogue instead of quotes. Not sure if this is a formatting problem from copy/paste, though.
- 'Was' is used too much. Be mindful of the "to be" verb set.
- Several of the sentences should be tightened up. Some of them are a little convoluted and made my conscious mind pause (as if to take a breath) in the middle of them.
This is far from being a full critique, though.
March 24th, 2012, 05:04 PM
Personally, I'd start at 'Break took a quick look out of the starboard window of the Seahawk' and cut the rest. I skimmed over chapter 1 because I wanted to see some characters and find out what kind of trouble they were about to get into.
Originally Posted by Brian Kittrell
I also felt that some of the dialogue seemed like exposition for the reader and not something that people in that position would say. 'Are you talking about the fact that we'll be the first country to inhabit the moon?' for example; both of them should know that.
Otherwise the concept seems potentially interesting and I agree with Brian's other points about tense and tightening. Things like 'all that could be seen were lights from surrounding cities'; presumably Break is the one seeing them.
March 24th, 2012, 05:38 PM
Author & Writer
True about the chapter 1/prologue part. Cutting it would probably be better, and you could use some select bits for a piece of the back copy/blurb later.
Originally Posted by Edward M. Grant
March 25th, 2012, 01:22 AM
I agree with the previous comments. Some of the sentences definitely need to be tightened up. 'I know you're a man of God, so say a prayer that we make it back in that thing in one piece.' This sentence sounds a little clunky when read aloud, specifically "in that thing."
I also thought it was a little strange that Break experienced a "peaceful slumber" on a helicopter. I'm going to guess that you didn't think that one through. If that was on purpose, then perhaps it says something very interesting about the character.
Lastly, I feel you talked at the reader a little too much. In such a small amount of words, we're being told several different stories about the characters. It's the first chapter, spread it out a little. I don't need to know how Break got his nickname or that Larry can spot Orlando from the sky, even at night. On that note, why is that important at all. Perhaps I missed it somewhere, but you never reveal why Larry doesn't want that to be known. I suspect it does have some importance, but you make no mention as to what it is. If that's the case, just hint at the fact that he doesn't want to reveal it, then move on. In any case, you've made a promise to the reader that we're going to hear about Orlando again, so don't disappoint.