Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July Secret Agent #26

TITLE: Generation Zero
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

I hear the voices even before the MagLev Transit comes to a complete stop. "Science Deck Sector One," the computer announces as the door slides open.

Two Gen2s in the light-blue Science uniforms step into the MaLT, too engrossed in their conversation to notice me. But I recognize them. They transitioned from Commune two years ago with the twins.

"We're still jettisoning bodies?" the girl, Kendall, says.

"While we're still in orbit, there's no other way to get rid of the corpses," says the boy. I think he’s called Aryan.

I maneuver around them and hop out into the lobby. Just as the MaLT door seals behind me, Aryan says, "Hey, Kyra, see you at Assembly...and congratulations."

"Er, thanks," I mumble to no one in particular as the MaLT whisks them away to Shuttle Bay Four. They're probably headed down to watch the disposal. I wonder which poor crewmember has succumbed to the Defect today.

Standing in the silence of the Science lobby, I tug on the collar of my ceremonial uniform. Last day as a juvenile crewmember. Finally. Everything would be perfect if there weren’t an actual transitioning ritual to endure. All those people watching me.

I practice the relaxation breathing my tutor taught me. It only makes me dizzy. Resting my forehead against the wall, I run my fingers over the raised etchings on the cool surface. I jerk upright. I’ve just used our most sacred memorial as support for my frayed nerves. The Chief would so not approve.


  1. For some reason, I kind of get a "Giver" vibe from this. I'm curious about what is expected of a regular crew member and what will happen at the assembly later. My only constructive criticism is the "Two Gen2s" on the MaLT. I thought it a bit strange that they were too busy to notice the protagonist, but then soon spoke to her. Maybe she's being watched without her knowledge?

  2. There are an awful lot of details about your world in this short section - I'm wondering if they couldn't be spread out a bit. You have a ton of capitalized entries that have yet to be defined - Gen2, MaLT, Commune, Assembly, Defect.

    Choosing the name "Aryan" for your character jolted me a bit - if it's not an intentional historical allusion it would still make your reader think it was, and if it is, it might come across a little heavy-handed.

    I understand the overheard conversation is to convey information to the reader, but it almost seems a bit too transparent - i.e., wouldn't Kendall know the reasons for jettisoning the bodies, and wouldn't she know they were still in orbit?

    Anyways, all that is just my random opinion, take it or leave it as you will. Thanks for sharing! :-)

  3. I like a lot about your setup, including that it begins with your protagonist on the MagLev. (Can you just call it that -- do you need the word "transit?") But I'm not crazy about the first part of your first sentence. Even in the future, would someone be able to hear voices outside a closed vehicle? Also, I think there's a POV issue in the paragraph beginning "Er, thanks." Unless the MaLT goes only to Shuttle Bay Four from there -- and I'd think it would have some other stops too -- Krya wouldn't know where they're going. How about, " the MaLT whisks them away. They're probably headed to Shuttle Bay Four to watch the disposal." I like the final paragraph a lot.

  4. I really liked the use of tech within the opening lines; I felt like the context gave them meaning without having to point out a bunch of definitions. Readers are smart and can figure out what they mean if the rest of the sentence lends to an understanding. Nice work.

    To A.M. re: Aryan as a name: I knew a girl in college named Arian. I can't believe people name their kids that, but I guess they do! I agree though, if this story has hints of genocide or genetic engineering, the Aryan race tie-in might be too obvious.

  5. Excellent writing - very polished. I feel immediately pulled into the world. However, I'm with Stephsco (again!) on one point - the name "Aryan" threw me for a loop. The first thing I thought of was that family that had their children taken away from them after coming to the attention of the national media for naming them "Hitler" and "Aryan Nation". If the name is not significant, I'd change it.

  6. The writing is strong, but I found all of the different names confusing. I agree with the comment about spreading details out.

  7. Yeah I agree about changing Aryan, if possible. It has brutal history behind it.

    I think this could benefit from being stripped down and streamlined a bit, but I liked it.

    I like the last paragraph, it had some nice voice in it.

  8. I agree with one of the others who commented about the overheard conversation. It feels like it's put in there just so the reader knows about the bodies being jettisoned. Is there a more organic way to get this across or is it even needed now instead of later on?

    I also agree with the comment about the details with Gen2s, MaLT, Commune, and such. Is there a fluid way to explain a tiny bit so the reader isn't confused &/or can you cut down on some, save some for later?

    Other than that, I liked this. I'm interested in seeing what the ceremony is and all.

  9. All the different, new names didn't bug me. I was able to follow along with them fine, but do agree that Aryan may need to be changed. Also agree that the overheard conversation was for the reader and would like to see the information come across more organically.

  10. Granted, I'm reading all these entries in a row, one after the other. But this beginning seems boring to me.

    START WITH YOUR LAST PARAGRAPH! That's where I'm hooked. That's the story I want to read. The rest is utilitarian; stuff you can work in by back-telling as it's needed.

  11. There were a little too many new words for me as a reader in the first few lines. I wasn't confused, but so many in such a short time slowed the flow of reading down for me.

    (The name doesn't bother me)

    And I didn't get a feel for the MC until later in the story. It wasn't until the last two paragraphs that I felt your MC's voice and became invested in reading more.

    Hope that helps. Love SciFi! Thanks for sharing.

  12. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to comment on my own work, so I left it anonymous. I wanted to clear up one thing which i guess I should have thought about first.

    Aryan is an Indian name.

    But I guess it gets read as something else, which I now realize. I'll change it.
    Thanks so much for commenting!

  13. Great voice, great mc, seems like there will be a good cast of characters and plenty of intrigue. Your writing is solid and tight. I love that last line, adds a bit of humour.

    I like the idea of having to jettison bodies while in orbit. Very creepy. I hope this amount of chill runs throughout the ms.