Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May Secret Agent Contest #7


My hovercycle engine pulsed underneath me like an extension of my own heartbeat: fast, erratic, and prone to skipping. I swerved around a lumbering transcycle. Hovers rocketed my bike forward as I turned down a narrow street. In my back pocket my EP, or handheld electropaper, buzzed a second before my earbuds relayed the caller’s voice.

           “Job,” my boss, Eiiji Minami said in a staccato voice. “Warehouse pick-up. In and out by 8 A.M.”

            I let out a long sigh as I slowed my bike. Another pickup, another job. A cycle I feared would repeat forever. The stale air of Kyoto in the summer sagged against my skin. The early morning sun peeked out from behind the mountains, but the closeness of the buildings meant most of the street remained draped in shadow. Above me the trails of airships marked the sky like giant kanji. Only a few weeks until the Oban Race and already the hotels were filling as spectators flocked to the bigger cities for the speedcycle races. I only had a few hours of freedom until I had to be at my next shift. I braked to a stop.

            “What’s the pickup?” I spoke into the mic on my EP.

            “Kosuke has the rest of the instructions,” Mr. Minami said.

            My stomach dropped. If Kosuke was involved this wasn’t a simple errand. Kosuke Minami hovered in the gray space between legal and illegal.


  1. I really like the world and mood your setting here, and I would totally read more of this! My only thought has to do with how you introduce the EP. As a reader, I knew right away that it was a handheld device of some sort, probably for communication as it connects him w his boss. Is it important to know that it is a "handheld electropaper" specifically? Think of whether your tech *needs* to be explained, and if it does, when it becomes imperitive to your story. Really great job!

  2. Pros: The conflict is clear. MC is going to be asked to do something illegal and they don't like it. Good job on this setup.
    -The title is not very attention grabbing. Yes titles do change by publication time, but for now, it didn't grab me.
    -The tense switching is jarring. 'I let out a long sigh' happening right now. But then there is 'sagged' and 'peeked' before going back to present. Why not sags and peeks?
    -Sadly, I am up to my ears with racing stuff due to all the racing movies and such. From this beginning, I can't tell yet just how different this story is from the rest of the racing ones. With so many YA books out there, I would pass it up and move to the next when choosing what to read. Again, just me. So, if there is something extra unique about your story, I would suggest immediately throwing it in these first words.
    Hope this helps.

  3. I'm not the best critic of SciFi as I just don't read a lot of it. I have to say though, I followed this MC down the "street" and I love the way the setting and the world-building melted into the narrative.

    I have a great sense of both character and conflict and the world is building around them.

    Great job!

    My one nagging thought is that this feels more adult to me than YA.

    Thank you for sharing!