Wednesday, January 19, 2011

#14 January Secret Agent

TITLE: To Disturb the Universe
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Oak Ridge, Earth
December 2178

Her world was a sea of light and time. The data underlying the universe surged toward her in waves of patterns and chaos, pounding against the shore of her mind.

Somewhere far from her protospatial prison, her body was screaming. Yulie hoped she broke their eardrums, the bastards--

"Your mind is creating a schema. Do not--"


"--be alarmed."


"We can't do that. This is your job. Please do not interfere with the creation of the schema."

The barrage of nonsense assailing Yulie's mind resolved into input she could understand. All around her, a pale blue grid overlaying a vast darkness. Everywhere, bright points of light--the information-based particles called indicites--and quite close, the cluster of tiny stars that was the Renascent Andron.

"Simple, yet effective... well done. Schema complete. Begin transmission to the Aperture."

More raw data, then, clicking through her neurons like some kind of demented mathematical slideshow. She pushed back--NO STOP IT I WON'T DO IT--and the data started going a little slower, maybe...

Thirty-two volts of electricity, and she lost it.


The data turned binary. Mere petabytes--she could have held them in her hand--but when they crashed in, white flames at high tide, she was nothing but their conduit. She told her body to scream again. It didn't answer.

Deep within the Andron, she could feel a wormhole opening.


  1. This is potentially really interesting (and it's giving me thoughts of Song of Scarabaeus which might be completely off lol), but I'm a little too confused. I'm sure you intended it to be a bit nebulous (lol... nebulous *cough*) but I feel like it's WAY too detached and I get neither a sense of character OR scene. I'd like to have something to connect to and, for me at least, I couldn't find that.

  2. I started getting more confused than intrigued at the "barrage of nonsense" paragraph. At this point, there were too many references I didn't know. I would leave them out and stick with the sensations Yulie is feeling.

    Everything after is also a little too vague to connect with.

    I would stay with the feeling of the beginning - which was great. Keep us close to Yulie and the sensations she's feeling, and leave out the comlicated science stuff until the narrative is in a more grounded position.

  3. I had trouble following this. I was confused by some references and I felt out of place. I want to know a little more about Yulie before I'm shoved into this strange world.

  4. For me (and take this with a pinch of salt as I don't read much Sci-Fi) there were too many made-up or difficult words. I think you need to cut down on these or it's too much for the reader to take in at once. And as mentioned, I'd really like to know a bit more context - I have no idea who the MC is nor what's going on, other than perhaps some kind of brainwashing. Because of this, it doesn't make me want to read on, sorry.

  5. I love sci-fi and this has got me hooked... but i think you are bordering on too much new stuff introduced. I would read on but I'd not want too much more to make sense of in the paragraphs immediately following.

  6. Ah, you're gonna lose some readers at protospatial - but this shows promise, and I'd keep going.

  7. Ooooh, sci-fi stuffs. I love the beginning paragraph: absolutely beautiful simplicity.

    However, the more I read the more confused I became. Of course I am sure this is all explained later on, but it was hard keeping up with the dialogue and the scenario.

    Pretty good for sci-fi, which I usually dislike. I'm really not sure if I'd read on or not, but I probably would because of the "wormhole".

  8. I have to say that I have no clear idea of what's going on, but that I loved it regardless. Sure, there are a lot of terms coming at the reader, but the situation is clear: The MC is being forced to do something that she doesn't want to do, and that something is complicated. I'm willing to be lost in a text as long as the voice is strong and convinces me that it knows where it's going.

    For what it's worth, what I think is going on: Yulie is being used as a sort of organic computer to create wormholes (I'm picturing the navigators from Dune).

    I would cut "some kind of" from the slideshow line.

    I would definitely read on.

  9. I really like the writing and I'm completely drawn in.
    ...And I have to echo other comments to say I'm a little confused with the jargon.
    The tension holds the scene; the science may be interesting but is not necessary to include in these first paragraphs.

    I would definitely read this book :)

  10. I didn't get any of the science stuff and have no idea if it's real or made up, but as Andrew said, it's clear the MC is in trouble and is being forced to do whateve it is she is doing, and it's written in a compelling way that makes me want to read more. I'm hooked.

  11. I liked this, too. The writing is strong and draws me in. While I of course have questions about the world, nothing seemed illogical or really bumped me out.

    I didn't like this sentence. It's the first incomplete sentence, and I wondered at first if it was a mistake: "All around her, a pale blue grid overlaying a vast darkness."

    Also, do you want periods after "LET ME OUT"?

    Overall, I enjoyed this one.

  12. Overall, not hooked. There are enough context clues that I can piece together what's going on, but my brain has to work too hard to do it. I imagine if you queried a die-hard sci-fi agent, he or she might dig this, but I'm afraid too many are just going to say, "Uh, what?" and hit the reject button.

    Is there another place you could start this, or another way you could start this, somewhere or someway that's not so immersed in its own world and jargon?

  13. Oak Ridge is a town in the US, I believe, so wouldn't there be a state preceding Earth?

    Mostly confused by this and except for her anger at being controlled, I can't identify with the MC

    Maybe state with The barrage of nonsense paragraph and show your MC's emotions and reactions more?

  14. Hey, Secret Agent here! I think the writing here is vivid, but it’s missing, for me, the biggest pieces that I always look for: intention and motivation. What is she doing with this schema, what is her intention, and why?

  15. I love sci-fi and am accustomed to not always understand what is going on at first LOL. Great writing but despite knowing that the MC is being forced against her will I have no idea if she is a bad guy or a good guy? Or if this is for her own good? Assuming not, still it isn't clear.

    So hard with 250 words!

  16. Many thanks to Ms. Kole and everyone else for the kind words and helpful criticism. :)

  17. This one really sucked me in and I'd love to read more. However, I almost didn't make it past the first couple paragraphs. First of all, the location stamp seems at odds with the in-her-mind setting that we're starting out in. Second, the broad metaphor for what is happening seems a little too wishy washy, and waves are a type of pattern so "waves of patterns and chaos" really doesn't work for me. Is there a way you can be more specific and/or sensory to start out with? It's a tricky place. You don't want to start with a bunch of jargon, but the long metaphor seems way too calm. Maybe bursts of impressions? Once you get to the quasi-dialog it starts to really flow for me and get interesting, but I think the hook could be stronger. (yay for good sci-fi!)