Wednesday, September 9, 2009

22 Secret Agent

TITLE: Down into Darkness
GENRE: Science Fiction

“He’s a smart kid; it’ll be a shame to lose him.”

“He could make it, sir.”

“Not likely.”

“He’s a soldier, sir. Even if he doesn’t know it.”

“Isn’t that true. Amani, I don’t know what we need most, justification for war with the damn colony, or sufficient intelligence about the little devils to know what the devil’s going on.”

“It’s in God’s hands now.”

Jason grinned nervously only because he was still alive. “I’ve just been turned away from the gates of the Kingdom of God. In fact, Peter told me to go to hell, though in a few more words…” he paused at the irony, “…which of course is just what I intend to do.”

Jason sucked at his mug of coffee, which soothed, though he hardly needed the caffeine. Out of habit he set the mug by the console. Immediately it began to wander, drifting slowly upward through the air. Grabbing it again, he snapped it into its holder away from the control panel.
He took a breath, feeling his flippancy fade to thinly-veiled anger.

He’d failed, but the failure wasn’t his. He’d always known it would fail. Maja! Earth could be as bad as Mars sometimes. He’d known it would fail, but he tried anyway. Because of Ruth.

He resumed his downlink to Earth. “Admiral Amani, I hope the Defense Arm is content with the results of GASSEC’s drive-by solicitation of a colony neither spoken with nor witnessed by a single Earthan during the 250 years of its hostile existence.”


  1. Call it a weakness, I am hooked.

    Starting with dialog is tricky. It works here. I want to read more.

  2. I'd honestly cut the part in italics, because I don't think you need it.

    The snippet aside from that is interesting - though it doesn't totally sound like YA (these are all supposed to be YA, right?).

  3. I think "hell" should be capitalized, "Hell". I could be wrong.

    I really don't know what to think. It didn't really hook me, but maybe the secret agent will feel differently.

  4. Too many "devils" in the italicized section. The two sections seemed too disconnected to me, too.

    Sorry, I wasn't hooked.

  5. I'm confused. I don't get what's going on. But my experience with Sci-fi is that I usually don't get what's going on until I get into it a bit, so based on that, I'd read more, but I'd have to catch on quickly because there's really nothing here that catches my attention. (except for this vague feeling that the little devils might really be devils - because of the talk about St Pter and going to hell. But then that would make this fantasy, not Sci-fi. lol)

  6. The italicized opening confused me a bit, as did Jason's sudden change in emotion. There are a lot of fails/failure in the third paragraph, and the downlink to Earth dialogue is a lot to digest in one sentence.

    But, SF is definitely not my genre.

    I really liked the coffee mug floating off of the console though, that made me smile.

  7. I am confused, but at the same time, science fiction really isn't the genre for me. And like Barbara said, usually in sci-fi i don't get it right away. = ) I also don't think that you need the italics stuff, but I haven't read the rest of the book, either. I like how it's the whole Heaven/Hell thing. Cool idea. I also really like the title. = )
    Good luck!

  8. I am an avid sci fi fan but I am also absolutely, totally confused.

  9. I'm confused so far, particularly with the last paragraph. Is he communicating with Amani or is he listening to a download? Because the conversation in the beginning is italicized and the remark in the last paragraph isn't.

    To be honest, the only sentence that really peaked my interest was 'Because of Ruth.' I'd like to know more about the woman that got him into this position to begin with.

  10. I like everything after the dialogue. I reckon starting with "Jason grinned nervously..." would be a great start.

  11. Moderately hooked.

    I liked the beginning--which I'm assuming is a short prologue.

    I got the general idea of what was going on, but I felt like I was getting too much new information at once. Also I think if you replaced a couple of the "it" with the noun, it would make the snippet clearer--or at any rate quicker to read.

    Perhaps, some of the confusion people are having is because it isn't clear that he is in the middle of a downlink to Earth when you say he 'resumed' it.

  12. I'm confused enough to want to read on. :D Is that good?

  13. I'm confused too. I think it's because there's such a disconnect between the first and second parts. I get that in a book these might be separated by pages, making it clear they're not connected, but here it was just confusing. I agree that two devils in one sentence is too many.

    Having said all that, it sounds like a really interesting world, and 250 words probably isn't enough to do it justice.

  14. I'm also in the "interested but confused" camp. I'd read more, but only if I became less confused as the narrative went along.

  15. The first part confuses me as well. I'd probably start with the second part and cut the first.

  16. Hi everyone,

    Thanks so much for your feedback. I'm writing in case this helps you guide your feedback for me.

    The first Italicized part of my entry is meant as a chapter intro. (there's one for each chapter) It's very separate from the non-italicized part. I realize now I should probably put it in a different font.

    knowing this, what should I do to make this less confusing and more compelling?

  17. I'd lose the first part totally. There's not enough there to explain what / who they are talking about, unless you make it a whole scene.

    I need some setting. Just a sentence or two, to ground me.

    Second part, he's just talking to someone. It sounds like interesting talk, but I really don't know what they are talking about, yet. Keep the part, just don't start the story with it in this form.

  18. Hooked! And not confused - although if that many people are, you should still probably tweak a few things. However, I strongly disliked the italicized chapter intro; as soon as I saw it, I thought, "Oh, no, ENDER'S GAME ripoff." Actually reading it only entrenched the feeling (the dialogue itself is practically identical to one of the chapter intros in that book).

  19. I like the feel of the MC. Perhaps breaking up the last sentence to the Captain would help with the confusion response.

    I'm ok with the chapter intro, but agree that it's been done before and if not done in a unique way, could give the impression of "seen that before, next."

    Hooked, though. I'd like to read more.

  20. I'm confused--where, exactly, is this taking place? How did Jason hear these voices? What's going on? Not hooked.