Date: 27 Sep 2013 19:54 Title: The Conspiracy
Ooo, so dangerous.
Conspiracies seem to be the norm in the MU, always people trying to do what they can to not get caught before they can undermine those above them. With everyone out to drive a knife in the back of everyone else, it's no wonder you have to be so secretive about your doings. Especially with a large group of people involved; the more people, the more risk you take getting caught. And what a bold plan, too. Trying to not only get away from the Empress, but to take the children they sired as well? That's definitely going to be a huge blow to her reign and her legacy.
And that is a LOT of children in a short amount of time. I mean...wow. I feel bad enough for my own wife, and we had two 17 months apart. This just seems...I mean, yeah, she's bat shit nuts, but come on. I'm sure Trojan is still a thing in the 22nd century, lol. C'mon Hoshi...now you're just really crazy.
Once again, a great addition to the lore, and definitely a neat jumping off point to see how this conspiracy affects the Empire.
Well, she started late, so she wants to make up for that. It's her plan - lots of kids, someone's bound to be her successor.
But in later years, well, let's just say this is not kind to her body.
Thanks for the review!
Date: 27 Sep 2013 19:48 Title: Brown
Ok, whoever added the picture of the mouse at the bottom...great sense of humor.
And that was hilarious. I like it started comparing both Hoshi and the mouse...and then just following the mouse on it's own little adventure in the background of your MU universe. And, I know there's that saying about a woman's scorn...but I love how Aidan and Chip get back at her in such a devious, passive, silent way. That was pretty awesome; high fives all around!
Aw, thank you!
The mouse family exists at least as long as Hoshi does, at least in my fanon. Every now and then in the MU stories, there's someone or other stepping over a mouse, or some shadow skitters by.
Thanks for reading.
Date: 27 Sep 2013 19:19 Title: Detached Curiosity & Idle Speculation
Ah, the trouble with meeting your descendants, and getting a glimpse of things to come. Time can be rewritten; that seems to be a favorite phrase in Doctor Who right now, and it does hold very true. This, however, seems to be taking the future by the horns and going "ok, enough with beating around the bush."
So glad that I keep stumbling on these stories with very real homosexual characters. There is nothing that stunning about either of them, nothing that sets them apart, and that's awesome. And I like how the MACO lets his feelings out - something those silent warriors seemed never to do - and express his own insecurities about the guy he had his eye on. And the ending is very touching, and I know many of us have been in that position with the people we've crushed on and waited on...certainly speculating, certainly thinking...but in the end, hoping that they'd want to be with us, too.
Anyway...maybe going too far with it. Either way, I really liked this. I wonder if these guys survived the rest of the Xindi mission to see their relationship through?
They do! They got sequeled (sounds dirty) in The Way to a Man's Heart.
Thanks for reading! :)
Date: 17 Sep 2013 02:06 Title: The High Cost of Dissidence
Now I'm very very depressed and sad. Thanks for that. Uggh...and a picture. Very very very depressed and sad.
What a completely hopeless life you present us with in the MU. The things we take for granted as rights today are the very things the empire would limit or downright deny, and you presented it wonderfully (if I can even use that word in this context). Hate hate hate that they had to round the family up when Lilli came home (was it from school or a visit someplace else?) - maybe she would have been spared and raised someplace better if it hadn't happened that way. Or she would have grown up in an orphanage and...yeah...all the miserable horrors her parents were fearing for her would have come true.
That one final act of defiance against the empire though...I'm seeing a very large trend in a lot of you MU writers. We like to try and hold on to what makes US in our universe good, and show people in the MU trying desperately to hold on to those same ideals. Even in this hopeless situation, they went out together, and didn't give the executioner his satisfaction.
But an incredibly hopeless place to live in, if death is better than "living."
I am here to depress you.
No, wait, that didn't come out right.
I think the MU isn't much better than Nazi Germany. I see it as a place where the lower classes will often get this sort of a knock on the door. Or they might report someone like this. Or they might be the ones to do the knocking.
That kind of intimidation is how and why a totalitarian regime can stay in business, as it were.
Charlotte (Lili's counterpart, of course) is home from boarding school. Much like Doug in Paving Stones, she's being schooled apart from her family. Unlike him, though, she also takes the big test but she scores as artistic. I write artists as being elites in the MU (along with politicians and physicians and a few other small groups), so she could have had a very good life if her father had kept his mouth shut. But what Pete did is so small, and the punishment so large, that he and Marie Helêne know that they'll never see him again.
And of course the final, desperate act of defiance.
I had written this fic because I established a long time ago that the prime universe Lili loses her parents to a house fire at age 9 (same day), and I got to wondering about how the comparable act had occurred in the MU, and decided it would be interesting to explore it as a political act.
Thank you for reading.
Date: 17 Sep 2013 01:11 Title: An Announcement
Wow...That's rough. I can certainly appreciate you showing that, despite whatever societal evolutions we might go through as a race, there will always be hold-outs keeping strong (or at least trying to) with the old moral codes. I'm impressed at his very quick growth to try and accept things, but I wonder if that's more because the wife was laying it on with the look (*shudder* the look...). It's also interesting that despite how old his daughter is, Dino is still convinced it's "just a phase." That's cute.
Loved the interaction with her brothers; that was very typical of a guy to say to another guy, so kinda funny to hear it said to her by her brother; apparently they a) know more than daddy is willing to accept and b) accepted a long time ago their sister was gay. A nice little contrast within the family - accepting siblings, disapproving parent. And then, of course, the peacekeeper - momma bear. I almost wonder if she is having a difficult time with it all as well, but can look past it enough to remember that she's still her daughter, no matter who she brings home to meet the parents.
Belinda kind of knows what it's like to be an outsider - the only non-Italian, the only non-Catholic and so it had to have been difficult to be accepted by Dino's family in the beginning. But, well, you have a baby and suddenly a lot of those objections don't seem so important. But she's right to insist that they not wait that long.
And Dino is old school and he represents, I suppose, the opposing viewpoint. I think those attitudes won't, totally, go away. At least not overnight. And this is not to say that he'll come around when he meets Melissa, either. But yeah - the look - you know that's powerful.
Thanks for reading!
Date: 21 Aug 2013 20:24 Title: Equilibrium
I read this one on the forums, but still like it. Decent atmospheric work. Ah, Doug, trying to explain the entanglements of adults really isn't gonna work on a little boy who just wants his mother. And again, I like that they give him this. It's easy to get caught up in the flow of life and forget that our children need us so much, especially as they get older and more independent.
I want their happy ending to not just be about them as a couple, but to be, also, about them as parents. It's so easy to just write the sex and all, but there are responsibilities, too, with happily ever after. And to write a little boy's perfect dream, that was irresistible. Thank you.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 20:19 Title: The Gift
Too spare, here. I'd recommend more atmospheric work, and expressiveness. It's a pretty big moment, and yet, it's mainly done in dialogue and the dialogue alone falls sort of flat. It has a ton of potential with some fleshing out, though.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 20:12 Title: Friday Visit
Fascinating little tale. I haven't gotten to know the Calafans yet, but I like what I see here. Lili's kind of adorable when she babbles, and that's one heck of a gift to give. Naturally, I know by now that she does have a third, but here on the first, there's plenty of breathless anticipation and wonder.
It's got to be overwhelming. And their lives there are just so new, they are confused and suddenly they're being told, hey, there will be two more, watch out. Oh, and by the way, here's something priceless.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 20:04 Title: Brown
Ha! I love the mouse's point of view. Pretty good descriptive work here. I like that she survived, and that it was Sato's own ego that basically gave her and her offspring the chance to, since she pissed off the men she sent to do it, too.
In response to your teacher who taught you to cut until it bleeds... no. One of my favorite quotes about editing is this, from Plotnik: "You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke."
Given that we're our own editors often, we end up putting on both hats or neither hat. But the basic idea is the same: Write to communicate, write to show me what it is I need to see. And edit enough that the picture becomes clear. I'm definitely a fan of lean prose, but lean and sparse are two different beasts. Maclean is the ultimate master of lean prose, but his is lean like poetry, not lean like having been bled out.
Well ... this particular teacher taught me other things. I don't to throw the baby out. But I do understand what you mean.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 09:16 Title: The Tribe
Show. Show. Show.
However, I also really loved the little message here, as well as the way their lives all intersected and then split again, converging and diverging. Long after this, they'll all remember this one moment in time even if they never see one another again.
I think contextually, the pattern starts to get clearer, of the things I need to work on. I know I can do characters and dialogue well. Scene settings can be done well, too, but when I rush them, they can often go off the rails.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 09:08 Title: Gainful
I've already said all I can about showing v. telling for the moment, though I'll reiterate it for this chapter as well. But otherwise, I really loved Mary's impressions of what's going on around her and the delightful sort of ending there. Plenty of potential for humor, in this job, too. And, obviously, poignancy.
The main thing I wanted to get across was her getting there. But you're right; there's description that's missing here.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 09:00 Title: Apple
There's another one light on the depth. It's not that you don't have the framework; obviously, you do. But it rushes. Which is great in a battle, or a scene where you're actually covering ten different things at once, but not so much when you're trying to convey emotion or really nail home your message. It's good in terms of plot, but feels a bit more like I'm reading a newspaper, I guess? Than a story. My recommendations would be--
Wait. That's it. I figured it out. You're telling me what happens, Jes. But you need to show me. Drag me in, make me feel it.
I agree this one is very light. And, thank you - I tend to do description through speech. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 08:54 Title: An Announcement
I'm amazed that such bigotry still exists then, but that might just be my own wishful thinking there. Light on the description this time, and a bit of that frantic pace; it really does kind of make it harder to really grab hold of, though I'll allow that it might not be that way for other readers. But I'll offer the same suggestion that a poet gave my very favorite author, when he would pare things down so far as to be only the bare essentials:
"...she said (among other things) I was concentrating so on telling a story that I didn't take time to be a poet and express a little of the love I have for the earth as it goes by."
It lead, of course, to him writing what I consider to be a perfect novella. ;) But I also figure that the same applies not only to your environment, but also to your people, to their thoughts, and feelings.
Thank you for the advice. I was taught in school to cut it until it bleeds. It might have been bleeding a bit too much.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 07:46 Title: Bribery
Ohhhhhh, those poor sweethearts. Man, I dob't blame them at all for being upset, and they quite quickly put it together, too. Ouch. Well done.
This little time with Polloria is going to bite everyone in the ass later.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 07:13 Title: Demotion
Hm. Not sure how I feel about this one. Chang is a little over the top, given he's been serving how long? And plenty a jerk to have done so without being called on it prior. As to Jay, you don't get much here and what you do get seems to be missing some layers. I'd probably recommend fleshing this one out... no pun intended. ;)
Mike also thought this one was kind of slight. It was a free write about going AWOL. Hmm.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 07:06 Title: Penicillin
Hayes was a bit over the top early on there, more like he was reciting lines than saying them, but it smoothed out nicely by the end and I want Lili to make me some soup too, dangit.
This I do know how to make. :)
He remembers this at the end of his life.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 07:02 Title: Onions
See, I think he did a fine job. She wasn't forthcoming and given how recently they had been in battle, it could have been anything that had her going. I hope they manage to get some closer.
Her relationship with Will is a bit weird, and is often strained. He pretty goes after her in the E2 stories and she rebuffs him. Her excuse is that she can't see messing around with her boss, but the truth is, he's a pretty clumsy wooer, and she gets the impression (and ends up being right about that), that he's not interested in her at all; it's that he doesn't want to be alone.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 06:59 Title: The Mess
Poor Lili, but really f-ing amazing job showing the post-battle shock and shakiness here. It's something that often gets ignored by even some of the best authors, and honest to God, even trained soldiers and police get shaky after a fight, especially a fire fight. So big kudos.
Oh, I thank you!
And she is so not a killer. This does not define her.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 06:55 Title: Protocols
Very sweet. In more ways than one. I like that Lili had a nice, basic, common sense aporoach; it backs up the thought that chefs and engineers share some delightfully common traits between them. I also liked Archer melting a little over her using his name, too.
The Xindi arc is, in particular in the beginning, loaded with everyone screaming into a single purpose. And while they had a job to do, they stopped being people in a lot of ways. I mean, seriously, who still gets a big cake and whatnot for their birthday by the time they hit 40? At least, not on so much of a regular basis. So it's a little silly, but it's the silly stuff and the sweet stuff and the human stuff that they're actually fighting for.
Date: 21 Aug 2013 06:49 Title: Before the Fall
Ha! Go Lili! I don' t think Will is really all that deeply bothered, though. Maybe a little shell shocked. Someday, you need to cook for me. ;) I think I might die in good ways, if you and Lili share that in common.
I am ... okay. I am nowhere near as wonderful as she is. But I do love to cook. Truth is, I am not much of a baker; I botched badly my one and only attempt to make pumpkin pie. Eek, I better learn it!