Thursday, October 16, 2008

37 SECRET AGENT: Are You Hooked?

TITLE: Demands of Justice
GENRE: Science Fiction

No alarm trilled. That was a good. That meant no hull breach. No structural damage. No problems. So why was he lying on the floor? He lifted his head and hit against something metal with a clang.

“Hello? Someone alive in there?”

I’m here- He licked his lips, tasting blood, and tried again, “I’m here!”

“There’s a survivor!” Metal scrapped against metal. Someone cursed.. Light burst in, blinding him as the scavengers walked in reeking of human.

“I’m alive.” He let his head fall back. Pain knifed through his shoulder. He’d rather have seen his own kind here, but better humans than Finns.

The light shifted as the rescuer surveyed the damage. Jagged metal sliced his side. Blood pooled beside him. His legs were pinned under debris.

“It’s not bad. I’m Pantros, I’ll heal. Just get me out.” He’d seen worse and he knew, as long as he got help, this wasn’t fatal.

The rescuers hesitated.

“I’m Pantros.” Idiot. Maybe a human would die from a few scrapes and a little spilled blood, but not a Pantros.

Another human joined the first. The one closest to him tugged at a lock of greasy hair as he chewed his lip. “See, the problem here is money.”

“I’ll pay you.”

Lip-Chewer shook his head. “No, see, we need salvage. Nothing personal, just business.”

His chest burned, the light spun. “It’s yours. Limes, ice, hardware, just save me.”

“Nope, can’t do it.” Lip-Chewer shrugged, tapped a recorder. “Official record: pilot found dead…


  1. Yes, hooked. :)

    I remember an earlier version of this opening... this is greatly improved. Yay, you!

  2. Tension is high and our main character is obviously in grave peril. I did have trouble keeping track of who was talking. I thought at first the point of view had changed because the rescuer surveys the damage and then lists the injuries(which sounds like his point of view). Then I thought the rescuer spoke and said "It's not bad. I'm Pantros..." It wasn't till "I'll heal" that I realized it was Our Hero speaking. I'd definitely read further. Merliniana

  3. I liked it. But I it was harder to follow the rescuer than it needed to be.

    I would also try a little more description of the rescuer. A lip chewer with greazy hair is not quite enough for visualization.

  4. This is the first time I've read this, and I'm confused.

    This seems too involved for a start of a novel.

    You seem to introducing characters that we know nothing about, as though we've met them before.

    Also, I got a little lost with who was speaking what.

  5. I had no trouble following this and thought it worked very well. Science fiction/fantasy openings are hard to pull off because you're simultaneously world-building, introducing conflict and making us care about the MC. I thought you juggled these components skillfully. Well done!

  6. I don't like sci-fi. Normally. But this hooked me. I would definitely read on.

    I agree with Matt on adding a little more description of the rescuer. Just a little.

    And I agree with froget. It does seem involved. BUT, that's what hooked me. ;) So I'd have to read more to see if it really works or not.

  7. I, too, was a little confused as to who was surveying the damage. Other than that, I felt the tension was wonderful. I would definitely turn the page.

  8. I too got a little confused with who joined whom, etc. but other than that I think it's a good beginning and a solid start juggling a lot of things.

  9. This seems to be a great opening for a commercial sci fi novel. It has all the components that a book of this kind needs: immediate distress and a seemingly impossible dilemma. I like how this conveys information about the world and the narrator's species without a long winded explanation. Very good start.

  10. DEFINITELY liked this. Great voice and set up, great introduction of the setting and genre without hitting us over the head with it, and I love the twist at the end with the costs of saving someone. I'm not typically a scf-fi fan, but I would read this one!

  11. Woo! This is so much better. There's one paragraph that still reads too much like a list, and there's an extra word in the second sentence, but this is great! Good job :)

    (FTR, I know the author and have seen multiple drafts of this.)

  12. This pulled me into your science fiction world without overdoing the technical details. I love the sense of distress and how the rescuer refuses to help. I'd like to see what happens next. Hooked me much better than its previous incarnation.

  13. Wonderful. I'm longing to find out how the mc gets out of this one.

    It seems just a little tactless to name a non-human species Finns. Are they supposed to be related to actual Finns? And would that come off as offensive?

    I was slightly confused in the paragraph that starts "the light shifted" because I didn't figure out that "his" referred to the mc rather than the rescuer until nearly the end of the description of damage.

    Still, I'm hoooked.

  14. I'm hooked! Just the right mix of character, action and world to sink me into the story.

  15. I like the set up here but I thought the POV was shaky in places. I didn't feel enough sympathy for the narrator but maybe that was intentional. I di downder why you had used the word Finns - I immediately thought people from Finland. Maybe better to pick an original word?? I also don't get why they didn't resuce him when he offered to pay them? Whats the difference between getting money from him or from salvage?

  16. I actually thought starting with a version of the sixth sentence might have been better.

    "Why was he lying on the floor? he lifted his head..."

    I like science fiction, but when I see the same old terms I always see in the first couple of lines, I zone out. (Hull breach. Structural damage.) I don't know the character yet, so I don't care if there's hull damage.

    If you start with him realizing he's lying on the floor and banging his head...I can relate to that. Now that I have someone to identify with and I know he's hurt, I'm more interested in his predicament.

    I still wouldn't bother with the first few lines, though, because you're saying "hey, these things are okay." I want the person I'm identifying with to be in dire straits, to keep me reading. Someone shouting that there's a survivor (and going on from there) tells me that he's in bad straits, indeed.

    Hope that all makes sense and is a little helpful!

  17. At first I was confused reading this-- and then I realized I needed to look out for thoughts not in italics. After that it made perfect sense, and was a fast-moving scene. This would certainly be a good launching point for a story. I'd read on to find out what happens.

  18. I remember this entry. Much improved! Loved it. Would read on.

  19. I don't know how many times I've seen this, but since you know my take on the names :P I'm not going to rant about it again. ;)


    Good luck,


  20. Yes, I loved it. You've heard most of this before: lost a bit in the movement of the story.

    The tension is definitely there. It gives me a great example of how to move mine faster.

    Near perfect opening.