Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #21

TITLE: Borrowed Time
GENRE: Adult Science Fiction

            What is my name?

            The slash of a longsword accompanied each unspoken word, as if the question’s answer lay behind the morning mists. Exhausted, frustrated, defeated, the unarmored knight drove the blade into the dirt at his feet, panting and glaring at the sun-drenched leaves all around. Had it been this difficult before? Was remembering his name so problematic yesterday? He couldn’t remember that either. “Yesterday” was already fading away. Disgusted, he turned, spotting his shield where he’d left it propped against a tree trunk. He spun the metal triangle around, letting the concave inner surface show him his reflection. Longish blond hair, intelligent blue eyes, scruff of beard on chin and cheeks—precisely the young man he knew would greet him when he woke earlier.

            But it wasn’t his face. Nor was yesterday’s. Nor would tomorrow’s be.

            And the name… the name eluded him. Immersing himself in today’s vocation hadn’t helped draw it out of his tangled mind, even after the other shards of knighthood had fallen into place. The two-day carriage ride from his home in Dunham Massey to Stamford Castle. Arriving too late last night to greet his host, Baron Fitzwalter. Collapsing on a straw mat in his dark chambers. It all happened, the memories crystal clear in his mind. It just hadn’t happened to him. He couldn’t even be certain he was present for the recurring nightmare that woke him mere hours ago.


  1. I wasn't immediately oriented in this story--the first two lines made me think a fight was going on, then it turned out not to be, and I still wasn't clearly seeing what was happening.

    That said, this is an interesting premise that made me want to know more.

  2. It's very hard to critique this one because it's a little confusing, but it's the confusion which would lead me to continue reading, because I'd want to know what's going on. I like the voice. I like the concept. Interesting. Different.

  3. This sounds like the MC is time and body hopping, which sounds very interesting. I'm definitely curious to learn more.

    I think these lines: "But it wasn't his face. Nor was yesterday's. Nor would tomorrow's be." are very important, but don't quite say exactly what I think you want them to. Or at least, maybe it would be clearer this way: "It wasn't his face, nor was it yesterday's, and would be different again, yet, tomorrow.(paragraph break) It was never his face."

    Just a thought.

    Strong start!

  4. Interesting premise. There are hints of something cool here. I think it might be buried in the immediate confusion the reader feels. I re-read this over and over trying to make sense of it and normally I wouldn't give a book that many chances. I'd suggest grounding the reader in some concrete details (for instance I got confused when you said it was both misty and sunny) and then let them feel the same waves of confusion over identity that the MC suffers. That way the reader is invested in the most important thing, and not lost in extraneous details.

    Also, it's generally obvious when you read an adult SF that it is SF. This read a lot like fantasy to me.

    Good luck!

  5. The story sounded interesting as I kept reading. At first, I didn’t really understand what was happening and the use of “yesterday” kept confusing me and pulling me out of the story. I also thought it was better to describe his facial features by showing it rather than having him look at something and describing it.

    However, that lone sentence after the first paragraph was really good and made me really interested in the fact that he’s not just some knight but one that keeps changing identities. So I suggest reworking that first paragraph to make it stronger and really capture the readers’ attention like that one line did for me.

    Thanks for entering.