15 December 2008

first Page Entry

I've lost count by now, but I still have a few in the queue. Thanks for those who have played along with us. I've seen some minor publicity on various blogs, so thanks for that and keep 'em coming. I'll keep playing until we run out. And now for the latest...

Like Icarus on Lustrous Wings

“Captain, District is on the line for you. Urgent orders, Sir.”

The message came to me from Combat Information Center, and yes, “Combat” is a joke on a satellite tender. Unlike the beauties of the Royal Fleet, out practicing their war games, our tender was little more than a janitor ship. To us, urgent orders meant that a recreational pilot had probably bumped a private corporation's satellite out of orbit or knocked off a transceiver.

I left the bridge, where I was observing my deck crew replacing a gold-foil sheet on a nav satellite’s solar panel, and headed below to receive the call in my cabin.

“Captain Hurd,” I said into the handset.

A voice said, “Please hold for the Admiral, Captain.”

Then, an older man’s voice came through. “Hurd, Admiral Asanzy.”

Asanzy headed up District command out of Station Loy. Loy was over seventy years old, the oldest space station still in service--no new gear for this under-funded and over-worked Orbit Guard.

“Go ahead, Admiral.”

Asanzy said, “We have intelligence that a Neoplastian tug is en route. We expect it to cross into our air-space in the next twenty-four hours. I need you to intercept and detain.”

“You sure we’re the best resource for that, Admiral?”

Not really a lot to say on this one. Using a very serviceable writing style, the author sets the scene, jumps into action, and we have what I think must be the story problem--an under-equiped maintenance ship going up against a baddie of some sort. I caught on to the unfamiliar lingo via the narrative. No idea what a Neoplatian tug actually is, but hopefully we'll find out quickly. I'm assuming it's bad, though by the Captain's reaction, it might not be too bad. It might be nice to have an internal right before that laast line of dialogue to clue the reader into tension levels. Or, maybe the guy is ho-hum about it at first and then finds himself in doo-doo. That might work in a novel, and it might even work here, but it can be risky gambit in the short form where tension is paramount.

Even so, I would definitely read on.


lesleylsmith said...

Thanks for playing author! The writing is nice here. Kudos. :)
Personally, I enjoy space opera. There seems to be some good humor here also.
I have to say, however, starting a story with a phone call is a cliche. If I'm being honest I've done this myself. :) But it's better to cut the scene and begin closer to the real action. For example, what happens when the satellite tender and the Neoplastian tug approach each other?

I thought the phrase "Combat" is a joke on a satellite tender was more confusing than it needed to be. At this point in the story, we don't know if a satellite tender is a person or a machine or what. Also does joke on mean someone's playing a joke on them? or they consider it to be a joke?

Finally, an editorial note: We like original stuff, so generally we would not publish a straight space opera. (It's been done to death.) We would prefer space opera with something else, e.g.really strong internal character arc(s), or some kind of fantasy element(s), or maybe it's a farce/spoof?

This is actually related to Editor Betsy's theory "the big bang of writing" in which multiple story devices/elements collide in the end to create something wonderful.

Thanks for letting us read this, author. :)

David E. Hughes said...

I agree that this is a strong entry, but the opening could be stronger. The key dialogue is "I need you to intercept and detain", so having a bit less set up prior to that may give the opening more punch. I also agree with Lesley that the "joke on the satellite tender" through me off. You might think of a word other than "tender", since the word can have two meanings.

Nice work overall.

writtenwyrdd said...

I liked this, too, Author! Still might be tightened up a very little bit, but I'd have read on as well.