Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Name That Genre: Critique Round #3

TITLE: Kitsune
GENRE: Science Fiction

I couldn't take another night of this. Stuck in this cheap-a* hotel room, listening in on the galaxy's latest in WMD technology.

The stench of ozone thickened in the hallway outside my room, burning my nostrils. Followed by the smell of deep-fried tofu and the light footsteps of someone trained to move silently. They weren't succeeding. But then, I had excellent hearing.

Had I f***** up that bad already? Of course if they were here to terminate me, they hadn't gotten the memo. I was immune to poison.

I placed a mini holo projector on the desk to hide the scattering of equipment that connected me to Buki Technologies' and Bogu Enterprises' communications networks and the minivid player that stored all the data I had collected on the development of House Aquarius' newest weapon of mass destruction. Then altered the primary display connected to my primary handheld so it looked like I was watching the early morning news, Wake Up with Gemini! And quickly covered any other traces of what I was actually doing there.

Just in case, I redid the illusion to hide my butterfly mask. Wouldn't want anyone to catch us in the act of being a Scorpio, now would we?

I felt my fingers, making sure each of my silkwire bands were ready as I slipped up to the door, one-wayed the plastiglass, and stared at the man standing in the dimly lit hallway outside my hotel room. It couldn't be. Still, I swear my heart stopped at the sight of my former assignment and secret desire.

Natsuke Leoni.

The Prince of House Leo looked a million times sexier than I remembered with his long brown hair pulled back into a neat ponytail and his goatee recently trimmed.


  1. I like the way you've introduced the key facets of your world here. There's also some immediate tension, knowing the protagonist needs to be sneaky.

    Personally, I found some of the juxtapositions a little jarring, starting with the title—the name of a fantastical Japanese creature—and genre, which suggests more of a focus on tech and futuristic ideas. Also, combining the (at least pseudo-) Japanese culture with the Western Zodiac felt very much at odds to me.

    That is, of course, my own reader bias, and may be something that other readers love best. I would certainly read on, just to see how you handle those combinations going forward. :)

  2. I really liked the voice on this one, but like Rachelle, I was overwhelmed by all of the world building going on. Nearly every sentence has an unusual word or phrase, which slows down reading speed in what should be a fast-paced action scene.

    I think if you simplify some of the language, your writing and plot will really be able to shine.

  3. Soo... by the end I was intrigued. I was expecting an assassin--some kind of hired thug--outside. It being her hottie hot-hot, former assignment was a cool and titillating surprise.

    I gotta say that while you definitely did some world building, there was maybe a little too much of it for me to follow. The fourth paragraph was especially overwhelming. I don't know that I need all that information before I have much of a clue who she is.

    Btw, is this page supposed to be full of astrological references; "House Aquarius," "Wake up with Gemini!" "being a Scorpio"...? I'm not sure I followed all that. It jarred with the Japanese references, somewhat.

    I thought her butterfly mask was neat. Is it a part of her that she can't just take off?

    It sounds like you've really done a lot of work on your setting; I just got a little lost in so much world building right up front.

  4. The tone and voice of this are great, straightforward and no nonsense.

    The only thing that hung me up was the abundance of tech details. You need a certain amount for world building and giving that sci-fi feel, but you might not need quite so much step-by-step description. By the time you got to butterfly masks and silverwire bands, I was a little worn out. Maybe you could scale back a little in the beginning and introduce some of the information later on.

    I love the hint that there's going to be romance (or at least sexual tension) in this story. It made me smile.

    Good job. I would keep reading.

  5. I agree with hlbrixey, the fourth paragraph is information overload. Personally, I would rather get to know the MC better and why people want her terminated. I won't remember Buki and Bogu because these names don't mean anything to me at this point in the story.

    Introducing a sexy character towards the end makes me think a little romance might be taking place. This is enough to hold my interest and keep me reading.

  6. I liked this a lot. Though I don't yet know what all this great tech stuff is or does, I'm interested to read on to find out.

    The one sentence that pulled me out of the story was the one about being a Scorpio. I liked the reason she did what she did, just not the way the line is structured. It's like she turned to the camera, said her line and winked. For me that felt like the author was intruding into the story. Consider changing 'us' to me and stop the sentence after Scorpio.

  7. I am also suffering from informational overload. I feel like I turned on a movie 20 minutes into it. I have no idea what's going on. It would be nice if we could get a better sense of who she is. I have no idea what she's doing. I have no idea what all that stuff is. There's just too much crazy tech crammed into such a short amount of space. This has a really strong sci-fi feel, you can stretch these things out a whole lot more without losing the overall tone.