Wednesday, February 10, 2010

45 Secret Agent

TITLE: The Sunlands

Loranya Vershtul Quandirr became aware of the soft beeps and hisses from the surrounding machines. Like a dying creature stumling across the desert dunes, her mind slowly emerged from the lethargy stasis invoked.

She hated stasis. The term stasis sounded so tame. So innocuous. As if the body were just locked in place like a piece of luggage for transfer. It wasn’t like that at all. No. Organic bodies were too delicate to make it through the warp jumps intact. So they had to do… things… to them. Things that changed their density, their ability to withstand pressure.

The procedure was administered by experts and highly specialized machines in every corner of the universe, from the Integrated Planetary Alliance’s united worlds to the Scarl’s martial colonies. Even the worthless Antagors used it.

But it was her body, the only one she had. What if they jacked it up? What if they couldn’t return her body to its pre-stasis condition? With her body frozen in temporary paralysis, her mind drifted as identity, personality and memory slowly reformed.

Her thoughts skipped to something about a man - her brother - and a humanoid woman with pale, pale sea green skin. A… what were they? Ah, yes – a Corline. But that made no sense. Her brother would never take up with such a tenuous ally as a Corline.

She caught another snippet of memory. This trip across sectors to Isiris-Five, home system of her native Andiri had promised six day-cycles of numbness. Of not thinking. Of not mourning. Not mourning whom?


  1. I like the idea of being in stasis, with the mind wandering. There are many bits of information here, but I find them intriguing rather that disjointed. You also present a lively voice, even in a state of stasis. I’d read on to find out if ‘they’ screwed up the procedure, and who or what Loranya is mourning.

  2. I am not a scifi girl, but I really like this and I'd read more. I love the descriptions and it works well even though there isn't a great deal of 'action' taking place.

    The only thing that bothered me was the mc's name. I like Loranya. But Vershtul sort of sticks in my mouth, and Quandirr reminds me of quandry. I read fantasy all the time and I love unusual names, so if the names here have a certain meaning, that's fine. Just make sure I, as the reader, know that reason.

  3. I like this but I do have a few quibbles :). I like the start with statis even though folks often complain about starting with someone waking up. Could we get a sense of what she feels as she comes out of statis? Does her body tingle? Burn? Hurt? The paragrapgh with "But it was her body" probably isn't needed. The two about thoughts might be stronger if we get the idea that she's fighting to get her memories intact- other wise it could be her just laying there thinking.

    But nice start :)

  4. There was a lot to process in this opening, but it wasn't overly dense. I did wonder at the little snippets of memory (her brother, the trip to Isiris-Five). The ties to her current situation are not apparent.

    Although it was well-written, there's not a lot that grabbed me in the opening to convince me to read on.

  5. I liked this very much and would read on. It has a cool factor to it and it is easy to understand what's happening. I'm curious about what is happening and like the main character.

  6. Not hooked. The first line seemed a little lifeless and clunky to me (surely there's a better verb to start off a book with than "became aware"), and there were too many proper nouns in these few paragraphs for me to wrap my mind around each one of them.

    Also, she TELLS us stasis is debilitating almost right away, but then she SHOWS us just the opposite with her complex thought structure and reasoning ability in the succeeding paragraphs. I'd like her to feel more out of sorts as she comes back to full consciousness.

    Finally, I think James Cameron stole a bit of your thunder. There's something very AVATAR-ish about this...

  7. I liked it but I'm not entirely hooked. I'd give it a few more pages to see where it's going. So far, I haven't got a sense of what the main character is like, she's still too "unconnected" to get a feeling for her. So I might like her or not. That depends on the next few pages.

  8. I liked your first three paragraphs. The next two lost me, I really wasn't hooked. I skim-read the last one, and it was only when I re-read it that I realised there was some interesting stuff in there. Who is she mourning? So my recommendation would be to chop the fourth and fifth paragraphs. The backstory about the brother etc can come a bit later.

  9. I wasn't hooked, and it has a lot to do with the character's name. To me, it sounds very sci-fi, as if I'd stuck my name in a "Here's Your Sci-Fi Name" generator, and that's what came out. It threw me off from the beginning, and I could never quite recover.

  10. I think you could cut down her name to just the first, because I stumbled through reading it and I don't think that's what you want in the first sentence.

    I love sci-fi, so I am intrigued by the "things" they do to make humans survive stasis. There are other bits that I found intriguing but they felt disjointed and too much right here at teh beginning.

    I like the mention of mourning someone but not remembering who, suggesting the stasis has hampered her memory somewhat. But I don't think the mention of her brother & the Corline is necessasry at this point.

    I would probably read on based on the interesting bits, but the extraneous stuff would make me even more impatient with the story.

  11. I like this. I have no problems with stories starting slowly and with fragments of meaning slowly building into a coherent picture.

    The process of entering and leaving statis is a nice departure from the norm. It's good to see some serious difficulties introduced into space travel so it doesn't feel mundane, like hopping into a car.

    And there is a hint of something big just on the edge of awareness, that I'm intriged to find out more about.

    Good start.

  12. I liked the statis start and I was hooked until the third paragraph. That one seemed like info we didn't need right away.

    The tension of not knowing if her body would recover was good, but then, after all her clear thought in the opening, we're told she only has snipets of memories that are coming together. The discrepancy was enough to make me lose interest.

  13. This didn't work for me, primarily because there was just too much info in too short a time and no reason to care about the protag. Waking up from stasis seems to me to be another form of waking up from sleep and doesn't really work all that well as an opening for me. It feels too confusing. Perhaps start when your protag is sitting drinking a cup of whatever passes for java, adjusting to being awake, coughing out the last of the tank gel, or something similar, thinking about what lays ahead. I also felt the description of stumbling across dunes as a simile for waking from stasis didn't work since in one you seem to be regaining consciousness while in the other you might be losing it. A lot of infodumping, which is common in SF but perhaps a bit too much to keep track of so soon. Spend more time just in the moment so we can orient ourselves to this new world and new character. Not so many names, etc. More about the character and not everything else.

  14. I'm not hooked. For me, this moves too slowly. It get better at the end as her memory slowly came back, because then you started slowly feeding me info I felt was useful in the story. The rest felt like backstory to me.

    If you're slowly feeding me info, I should feel teased that I'm not getting it all and what it, not like there's nothing there I need to pay attention to and can easily walk away.

  15. I found the opening line a bit awkward. It's fine for a character to just hear beeps and hisses rather than having them "become aware" of them. Then I didn't quite grasp the metaphor in the second sentence. I think the writing needs quite a bit of work.