Wednesday, September 9, 2009

31 Secret Agent

TITLE: Deep Black
GENRE: Science fiction

The computer alerted them to the engine’s power fluctuations and it was Edna’s turn to baby it. Maybe. Actually he wasn’t sure whose turn it was, but the ship’s temperature had been lowered for the night and the bed was warm. He pretended to be sleeping until Edna got up.

“You’re not fooling anyone,” she said.

A smile cracked across his face, spoiling the charade. He leaned forward, kissed her and fell back on the bed pretending to snore.

“I know those nightmares kept you awake all night, so I’ll let you get away with this.” She slipped on her shoes and just before heading out the door, said “But you owe me.”

He hadn’t realized that he had fallen asleep until he awoke with a jolt. Sirius pulled aside the pink flowered comforter, sat up and scanned the room. Paintings of a lighthouse and sunflowers, and a photo of earth from orbit were fastened to the walls. One of the closets was half open, but the cabin was quiet and still. Not even the air circulators were running, which was normal when the engine was being worked on. The cylindrical spaceship was small enough that the light blue ceramo-metallic wall curved slightly around the bedroom. He studied the surroundings for a few moments more, but the only noise was his breathing and the only movement his own.

Just as he closed his eyes, he jerked again.. That wasn’t me.

“ Sirius, get your butt down here.”


Keith Schroeder said...

I like SF and am biased. I think it needs more polish, however, I am hooked. Too much discription slows it down early, picking up at the end. I like the intensity.

Serenissima said...

I'm hooked! Love the relationship between Sirius and Edna. I also like the anomaly of this space-guy sleeping under a pink flowered comforter. You've got a nice juxtaposition between hi-tech sci-fi details and the description of a couple who are obviously in love. Nice job!

matril said...

I like the tone and the setup. There's a few phrasings that are a little clunky, which is common when describing the details of a new setting. I'd recommend reading it aloud; it's usually a helpful way of picking up on awkward phrasings.

I'd keep reading.

Sarah Erber said...

I'm not a SF person, but I think this is pretty good.

Sheila said...

Hooked. And I'm not really a SF reader. I read that first paragraph and thought - oh, yeah, this is good.

However, paragraph four needs some work. You are slipping out from the close 3rd person narration you established in the first paragraph with all those details.

If you were to wake with a jolt, would you sit up and remark in your head about the decor? I don't think so. You'd be concentrating on sounds and movement. What woke you up? Get into his body and see and think about what he would in that situation.

Close 3rd makes it more of a challenge to present your setting, because at that moment the main character wouldn't think of his spaceship as being cylindrical, or that the walls are light blue ceramo-metallic or that his comforter is pink. When you live somewhere, details like that recede from your consciousness. They only come up if they relate to something going on now.

You can't have it both ways, unfortunately. Either you are close 3rd or distant 3rd. You've got a great voice with the close 3rd, I think you just need to concentrate on maintaining it.

Good luck.

Chaotic_one said...

I'm hooked- but I think it does need some tightening. The paragraph with all the description slowed things down at a time we need to get running. I might suggest just a simple comment- the pink flowered comforter for instance- that lets us know it doesn't look like a normal spaceship.
The line "that wasn't me" was abit unclear- was he talking about the breathing? Movement? Something else?

But you have me hooked!

Lianne said...

Love the first paragraph - the best sci fi makes the sf stuff seem ordinary, comfortable like this.

I'd suggest calling Sirius by name earlier - he's 'he' for so long that I'm actually confused who Sirius might be when you use the name.

I'd also like it to be more clear what he's referring to when he thinks "that wasn't me." Mention the noise or what have you.

I'd read on, though.

Amy said...

I like the image of the pink comforter, too. I'm not totally drawn into the story, yet.

ajcastle said...

I like your character's relationships, but is this supposed to be YA? The characters seem too 'mature' for YA.

Jodi Meadows said...

Not working for me. This feels choppy and disjointed, and the transitions are awkward. I'm just not drawn in.

catspit said...

I love the mix of the everyday mundane, all set within a space ship. Flowered comforter, photos, even the relationship between the characters. This feels like realistic sci-fi, if that's not an oxymoron.

There are tons of unanswered questions that make me want to continue reading.

Chris said...

I felt as if it was older than YA too, but just checked the submissions announcement and SF/Fantasy is listed separately from YA.

SF isn't my thing, but this is a great start and I'd probably read on to see what's making the spaceship jerk.

Barbara said...

Ditto what Sheila said about the close and distant POV. It didn't pull me in though because I don't know what the point is.

Why are they in space? Why are there only two of them? Where are they going? What's their mission?

An answer to one of those questions would have satisfied me.

Catherine Kariaxi said...

I'm waffling... I had to read twice before I got the gist of this. On first read, it came across as choppy. 2nd time, it made a bit more sense and was hookier. They are a two-person crew and sharing 'keep this trashcan running' duties.

Devon Ashley said...

I'm on the fence. I would probably read a few more pages.

I didn't quite understand the 'that wasn't me' part. And I'm assuming the following sentence was said on an intercom?

Snazel said...

I loved the relationship and the girly room, and was nervous because of the silence at the end. I'm hooked!

Sara J. Henry said...

I'd skip the first four paragraphs entirely.

And then would keep reading.

Secret Agent said...

I am hooked. I'd keep reading.

catspit said...

Thanks Secret agent, it's very encouraging to know that a professional is interested to at least this point.

Now, I just don't know if I should be writing the sequel....or work on the new novel I just started.

Anonymous said...

While I'd continue to read, I was a bit confused at to what "that" referred in "That wasn't me."

The breathing? Movement? The photos on the wall?

I'm wanting to know what's going to happen.

Good job.