Captain America

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Bowler1

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Ok, this is the first time King appears in my WIP, so do I pull off the info dump well?
Am I over cooking the Ship thing? I have reasons for the hero idea that links into my ending, but even still, I feel I'm pushing my luck some.

Thank you all for any comments. I'll be running silent on the on crit postings for a while after this so all comments welcome.

# # #

Much to Captain King’s great frustration local space remained empty of any sort of spacecraft, not even the ever present robotic heavy lifters, just dead space between the jump gates. He’d been sure this junction between a series of gates would have landed his prey, but it’d been too long now. He’d guessed wrong again.

He was disturbed by a message icon which he answered, happy to set aside his planning for a moment. ‘Wilson,what is it?’

‘The Ship has had something forwarded to it that may be of interest,’ linked Wilson.

‘What something?’

‘It was a financial transaction coming through the gates.’

Hardly unusual, all sort of communications used the gates, it wasn’t just ships that could travel quickly between the stars. ‘What makes this transaction so different?’

‘It was for an environmental engineer, human, and from Ceptor space.’

Unusual, but hardly conclusive, yet it had his interest. ‘Wilson, can we have a conference?’ linked King, who had no means of talking, being little more than a brain encased in a Fast Picket Warship designed for high speed and high gee manoeuvers. A human body could never survive the forces combat in this ship would bring about, so he had no body.

‘Yes, sir, uploading now,’ Wilson linked back.

King found himself sitting next to a dark conference table with Wilson sitting at the other end, whole again. Wilson smiled and nodded hello, his bald plate reflecting the tasteful lighting in the simulated room.

‘Why don’t you ever give yourself hair,’ asked King, ‘why do you insist on staying bald?’

‘It wouldn’t be real hair, so why bother?’

King just shrugged his shoulders. ‘We’d better bring the Ship in on this meeting.’

‘Yes, sir,’ replied Wilson, and Ship appeared.

‘You called?’ Ship stood proud, a perfect Captain America.

‘Are you still on super heroes?’ asked Wilson, with a resigned tone.

‘I find the costumes artistic,’ replied Ship, ‘and a political statement of the times.’

‘We’ve spent billions on developing computer intelligence,’ said King, winking toward Wilson, ‘and all you want to do is wear tight underwear.’

‘I’d say it was money well spent,’ replied Ship, placing a star spangled shield on the conference table. ‘Bright colours suit me so well!’

King laughed, raising his hand to start the meeting as time was pressing. ‘Alright, why was this transaction flagged for our attention?’

‘It’s unusual for one,’ replied Ship, its tone masculine and super confident.‘We can also track the gates it used into human space.’ A detailed image flickered into life over the conference table with a flashing route marked out in the centre. ‘We could get to the last gate in human space in less than a week.’

‘And then what?’ demand King, turning the floating image around so he could study it better.

‘We’re left with three possible routes to choose from,’ replied Ship, lighting up the gates in question. ‘Two are Brown Dwarf stars and of little interest I’d say, but this sun is a GV Star, Earth like.’

‘Hhmm,’ replied King, looking toward Wilson who just shrugged his shoulders. ‘It’s not a whole lot to go on. How do we even know this destination is of any interest to us?’

‘We don’t,’ replied Ship, with a smile that could have melted teenage hearts. ‘The decision to jump into Ceptor space would have to be ratified, we’re not welcome there. Not advanced enough,’ scoffed ship, ‘as if… just look at me!’

‘Yeah… right,’ replied King, looking Ship up and down.

‘So, what do you think, sir?’ asked Wilson, now studying the route himself.

‘It’s a long shot, and permission to enter Ceptor space is unlikely to be given.’

‘Maybe,’ replied Wilson, ‘but positioning the ship while we wait for permission could be sensible.’

‘It could be seen as sensible,’ said King, ‘or be viewed as me upping the pressure and trying to get my way.’ Both Ship and Wilson waited; this decision would be his responsibility. All this could have been easier if the surveillance team hadn’t screwed up on New Hope, they might have been able to track the Spacers instead of all this guess work. ‘One last roll of the dice?’

‘Your permission to engage engines?’ asked Ship, smiling.

‘Yes, permission granted,’ replied King, sitting back and relaxing now his decision was made. ‘Signal command, Ship; let’s see if they back our decision.’

‘Already done, sir.’ Ship rose, picking up its shield and flashing a perfect smile ‘Keep flying, son,’ it said, and disappeared.

‘How very odd,’ said King, staring at the empty space where Ship had stood.

‘If we do stumble across any locals,’asked Wilson, smiling, ‘I wonder what they’ll think of us?’

‘We’ll be ok…,’ replied King, ‘as long as they like tights.’
 
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alchemist

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Sorry I missed your n,000th, but I have a chance to redeem myself! (congrats, btw)

Ok, this is the first time King appears in my WIP, so do I pull off the info dump well?
Am I over cooking the Ship thing? I have reasons for the hero idea that links into my ending, but even still, I feel I'm pushing my luck some.

Thank you all for any comments. I'll be running silent on the on crit postings for a while after this so all comments welcome.

# # #

Much to Captain King’s great don't think you need the "great". It doesn't add frustration local space remained empty of any sort of spacecraft, not even the ever present robotic heavy lifters, think this needs to be a semi, or you could use dashes just dead space between the jump gates. He’d been sure this junction between quick repeat of BETWEEN a series of gates would have landed his prey, but it’d been too long now. He’d guessed wrong again. so far, so good!

He was disturbed by a message icon which he answered, happy to set aside his planning for a moment. think it'd be better to mention the icon first, then the disturbance‘Wilson,what is it?’

‘The Ship has had something forwarded to it cut that may be of interest,’ linked Wilson.

‘What something?’

It was cut a financial transaction coming through the gates.’

Hardly unusual, all sort of communications used the gates, more than a comma it wasn’t just ships that could travel quickly between the stars. ‘What makes this transaction so different?’

‘It was for an environmental engineer, human, and from Ceptor space.’

Unusual, needs a little more. Why would Ceptors be so unlikely to request a human? but hardly conclusive, yet it had his interest. ‘Wilson, can we have a conference?’ linked King, who had no means of talking, being little more than a brain encased in a Fast Picket Warship designed for high speed and high gee manoeuvers brains are fragile things outside their skulls. In Iain M Banks fashion, it needs a little more, like being encased in gel or fluid for protection . A human body could never survive the forces combat in this ship would bring about, ...could never survive combat forces... might be simpler so he had no body.

‘Yes, sir, uploading now,’ Wilson linked back.

King found himself sitting next to a dark conference table with Wilson sitting cut at the other end, whole again. Wilson smiled and nodded hello, his bald plate pate reflecting the tasteful lighting in the simulated room.

‘Why don’t you ever give yourself hair,’ asked King, full stop and capital ‘why do you insist on staying bald?’

‘It wouldn’t be real hair, so why bother?’

King just shrugged his shoulders. ‘We’d better bring the Ship in on this meeting.’

‘Yes, sir,’ replied Wilson, and Ship appeared not needed .

‘You called?’ Ship stood proud, a perfect Captain America.nice

‘Are you still on super heroes?’ asked Wilson, drop comma with a resigned tone.

‘I find the costumes artistic,’ replied Ship, ‘and a political statement of the times.’

‘We’ve spent billions on developing computer intelligence,’ said King, winking toward Wilson, ‘and all you want to do is wear tight underwear.’

‘I’d say it was money well spent,’ replied Ship, placing a star spangled shield on the conference table nice detail . ‘Bright colours suit me so well!’

King laughed, raising his hand to start the meeting as time was pressing. ‘Alright, why was this transaction flagged for our attention?’

‘It’s unusual for one,’ why?!? replied Ship, its tone masculine and super confident.‘We can also track the gates it used into human space.’ A detailed image flickered into life over the conference table with a flashing route marked out in the centre. ‘We could get to the last gate in human space in less than a week. not sure of the relevance of this

‘And then what?’ demand King, turning the floating image around so he could study it better.

‘We’re left with three possible routes to choose from,’ replied Ship, lighting up the gates in question. ‘Two are Brown Dwarf stars and of little interest I’d say, but this sun is a GV Star, Earth like.’ sun like, really

‘Hhmm,’ replied not a reply, strictly speaking. How about ..."Hmm." King looked towards Wilson, who ... King, looking toward Wilson who just shrugged his shoulders. ‘It’s not a whole lot to go on. How do we even know this destination is of any interest to us?’

‘We don’t,’ replied Ship, with a smile that could have melted teenage hearts. ‘The decision to jump into Ceptor space would have to be ratified, more than a comma we’re not welcome there. Not advanced enough,’ scoffed ship, ‘as if… just look at me!’

‘Yeah… right,’ replied King, looking Ship up and down.

‘So, what do you think, sir?’ asked Wilson, now studying the route himself.

‘It’s a long shot, and permission to enter Ceptor space is unlikely to be given.’

‘Maybe,’ replied Wilson, ‘but positioning the ship while we wait for permission could be sensible.’

‘It could be seen as sensible,’ said King, ‘or be viewed as me upping the pressure and trying to get my way.’ Both Ship and Wilson waited; this decision would be his responsibility. All this could have been easier if the surveillance team hadn’t screwed up on New Hope, they might have been able to track the Spacers instead of all this guess work. ‘One last roll of the dice?’

‘Your permission to engage engines?’ asked Ship, smiling.

‘Yes, permission granted,’ replied King, sitting back and relaxing now his decision was made. ‘Signal command, Ship; let’s see if they back our decision.’

‘Already done, sir.’ Ship rose, picking up its shield and flashing a perfect smile ‘Keep flying, son,’ I laughed it said, and disappeared.

‘How very odd,’ said King, staring at the empty space where Ship had stood.

‘If we do stumble across any locals,’asked Wilson, smiling, ‘I wonder what they’ll think of us?’

‘We’ll be ok…,’ replied


The quote seems to have cut off there. I just wonder if Ship really will appear as CA. Just on its name, if there are more than one sentient ship, won't they have individual names , like the Keep Flying, Son? (more Banks references)


Anyway, I liked it. I think your writing has come on well. The Cap'n America stuff is funny, but does take way the gravitas a little, which isn't a problem if the funny stuff is spread throughout the story.

Any infodumping was sprinkled and not that noticeable.
 

Bowler1

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A very detailed and fair review thank you, mate. I'm a little comma happy still, Chrispy will be making a voodoo doll of me and sticking me with pins. Some I Banks touches here, I do like his stuff a lot and will miss his work. Mine is earlier to the Culture where machine intelligence is not used everywhere, humans can still be human. So Ships are not common, but this ship is called the USF Camel, it just wasn't needed here (The Ship has a Judge Dredd moment with a name badge as it goes off to make an arrest. What can I say, another day and another uniform!). I'm not reinventing the RAY GUN, just new characters that are all mine. Anyway, cheers buddy.
 

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
I, too, come with a shame-faced non arrival at your 2000th, (congrats on that) and will atone for my great naughtiness... I haven't read Alc's crit, so apologies if I repeat.

Much to Captain King’s great frustration local space remained empty of any sort of spacecraft, not even the ever presentever-present, I think, and it jarred because they're evidently not ever-present if they're absent robotic heavy lifters, just dead space between the jump gates. He’d been sure this junction between a series of gates would have landed his prey, but it’d been too long now. He’d guessed wrong again.

He was disturbed by a message icon which he answered, happy to set aside his planning for a moment.To me, this is telling. Instead of this sentence, I'd prefer to see the action eg.
A message icon flashed, and he turned to it, happy to set aside his planning. "Wilson, what is it?"

One carries me with the action, one lifts me out, if that makes sense?

‘Wilson,what is it?’


‘The Ship has had something forwarded to itdrop to it that may be of interest,’ linked interesting concept. Wilson.

‘What something?’

‘It was a financial transaction coming through the gates.’

Hardly unusual, all sort of communications used the gates, it wasn’t just ships that could travel quickly between the starsAgain, a bit telling for me, can you show this in the dialogue? ‘What makes this transaction so different?’

‘It was for an environmental engineer, human, and from Ceptor space.’

Unusual, but hardly conclusive, yet it had his interest. I'd take a new paragraph here‘Wilson, can we have a conference?’ linked King, who had no means of talking, being little more than a brain encased in a Fast Picket Warship designed for high speed and high gee manoeuvers. A human body could never survive the forces combat in this ship would bring about, so he had no body.Okay, I'd have wanted this information right at the beginning, for a couple of reasons
1. I'm now having to totally re-imagine your mc
2. it's quite hooky, the idea of a brain in space
3. It reads like an info dump here, whereas earlier I think it could have been smoother.

Also, are brains especially strong? Does it need some sort of protection?

‘Yes, sir, uploading now,’ Wilson linked back.

King found himself sitting next to a dark conference table with Wilson sitting at the other end, whole again. Wilson smiled and nodded hello, his bald plate reflecting the tasteful lighting in the simulated room. I'm struggling. I kind of get what you're doing, but definitely need a bit more of a set up. The harder sci fi guys might be very happy with it, though.

‘Why don’t you ever give yourself hair,?’ asked King,.Wwhy do you insist on staying bald?’

‘It wouldn’t be real hair, so why bother?’

King justI'd drop this -- he also talks, so it's not just shrugging his shoulders shrugged his shoulders. ‘We’d better bring the Ship in on this meeting.’

‘Yes, sir,’ replied Wilson, and Ship appeared.

‘You called?’ Ship stood proud, a perfect Captain Americanice.

‘Are you still on super heroes?’ asked Wilson, with a resigned tone.

‘I find the costumes artistic,’ replied Ship, ‘and a political statement of the times.’

‘We’ve spent billions on developing computer intelligence,’ said King, winking toward Wilson, ‘and all you want to do is wear tight underwear.’

‘I’d say it was money well spent,’ replied Ship, placing a star spangled shield on the conference table. ‘Bright colours suit me so well!’

King laughed, raising his hand to start the meeting as time was pressingdrop the last four lines - telling where you've already shown?. ‘Alright, why was this transaction flagged for our attention?’

Sorry, a brief stop for thought from me. What's the point of this meeting? They can link through the interface anyway, so why bring them together. It's quite cool, but I can't see a purpose for it, which makes me feel that the author is wanting to show off his cool idea... can you make the story reasons for why this can't be carried out over the link-comms shown at the beginning a little stronger?

‘It’s unusual for one,’ replied Ship, its tone masculine and super confident.‘We can also track the gates it used into human space.’ A detailed image flickered into life over the conference table with a flashing route marked out in the centre. ‘We could get to the last gate in human space in less than a week.’What has the positioning of the gate got to do with a financial message? Where is the link? This confusion carries on for me. We're told it's unusual, and that it tracks gates, but they already know about gates? So what is unusual about the message? Is it from a new gate? If so, can this be made clearer?

‘And then what?’ demanded King, turning the floating image around so he could study it better.

‘We’re left with three possible routes to choose from,’ replied Ship, lighting up the gates in question. ‘Two are Brown Dwarf stars and of little interest I’d say, but this sun is a GV Star, Earth like.’

‘Hhmm,’ replied King, looking toward Wilson who just shrugged his shoulderssomeone did this earlier. ‘It’s not a whole lot to go on. How do we even know this destination is of any interest to us?’

‘We don’t,’ replied Ship, with a smile that could have melted teenage hearts. ‘The decision to jump into Ceptor space would have to be ratified, we’re not welcome there. Not advanced enough,’ scoffed ship, ‘as if… just look at me!’

‘Yeah… right,’ replied King, looking Ship up and down.

‘So, what do you think, sir?’ asked Wilson, now studying the route himself.

‘It’s a long shot, and permission to enter Ceptor space is unlikely to be given.’

‘Maybe,’ replied Wilson, ‘but positioning the ship while we wait for permission could be sensible.’

‘It could be seen as sensible,’ said King, ‘or be viewed as me upping the pressure and trying to get my way.’ Both Ship and Wilson waited; this decision would be his responsibility. All this could have been easier if the surveillance team hadn’t screwed up on New Hope, they might have been able to track the Spacers instead of all this guess work. ‘One last roll of the dice?’

‘Your permission to engage engines?’ asked Ship, smiling.

‘Yes, permission granted,’ replied King, sitting back and relaxing now his decision was made. ‘Signal command, Ship; let’s see if they back our decision.’

‘Already done, sir.’ Ship rose, picking up its shield and flashing a perfect smile. ‘Keep flying, son,’ it said, and disappeared.

‘How very odd,’ said King, staring at the empty space where Ship had stood.

‘If we do stumble across any locals,’asked Wilson, smiling, ‘I wonder what they’ll think of us?’

‘We’ll be ok…,’ replied King, ‘as long as they like tights.’[/QUOTE]


Okay, had a quick look at Alc's crit. I haven't read Bank's culture stuff (it's somewhere in my tbr pile), so I might be missing a set up that other sci fi readers are very comfortable with. However, I think an assumption that that's the case might be dangerous. As it is, I liked much of it, the brain idea, the Ship as Captain America (although there were a couple too many witticisms about it in there for my taste), but I got left behind in terms of what was actually happening - why the message got their thinking to where it was, what the message actually was, why they had to meet etc. I think, maybe, slowing it a little and unpacking some of that info might have helped me. But I'm not a hard sci fi reader, more fluffy bunny-like spaceships as you know. (With dinky ears that act as direction-finders.)
 

Bowler1

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This is a slow spaceship chase across the vast depths of space taking weeks and weeks as we’re just new to space, but to be fair with just this section it’s not 100% clear. Some aspects of jump gates had been covered before this but this is the info dump bit to finally nail the concept, and I’ve been too tight on details I guess. Fluffy bunny eared pilots are the pilots I need to hear from, and if you’re not getting it then I need to review – so your review is gold to me. I wouldn’t mind a go in one of your spaceships by the way, they sound like fun!

I have the brains twice now so a bit more there as well.
As to telling, we have a bit of a style divergence there, I do use telling here and there. However, all noted and I will ponder some more.
Thank you so much for making the time to review, it all helps.
Get on to I Banks, he is SciFi today and a great read.
 

I_Voyager

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I'd like to add a few things to Alchemists critique if I may. I largely agree with him, but for a couple things:

The paragraph which ends describing how the ship is controlled by a bodyless brain could be reorganized to express the information better. You're ordering as "Body killed by forces come from combat, so has no body." I'd rather "The forces which come from combat would kill body, so has no body". On this I also agree with Spring. It's possible to make a single statement along the effect of "his holographic senses" much earlier so that you don't have to re-write the whole order while making the "He's a brain in a jar" point is less disruptive.

The AI is obviously vain. I like this. But interrupting himself with his own vanity is a cognitive human failing which can be explained neurologically, such as with ADHD. It's fine that the AI is vain and justifies his vanity with the "political statement", but consider letting him finish his thought and THEN make a vain statement. A multi-billion dollar AI in even a hundred years will be very smart, and that intelligence will be reflected in its word order even if its programming permits for flashy vanity.

Further down, King is worried that moving his ship to a prepared state for jump is too pushy. While this re-enforces his critical personality, it also defeats it. Earlier he criticizes Wilsons lack of vanity and the Ships higher order of vanity. In each case he's perfectly comfortable to put pressure on these two to re-enforce his own critical view. He might not be too worried then about applying that same pressure in other situations.

I like the story though. I like the characters and their dynamics together. I like that they're holograms controlled by brains/computers in a jar. I like that AI has a human-equal (or superior) intelligence. I like the Captain America reference.
 

Bowler1

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Thank you for your well considered comments I Voyager. The brain in a jar and the lead in will be changed. I've been told three times, so I might start to listen about now. My wee woman might say three?!? ;)

Anyway, you've left me plenty to think about so I couldn't ask for more. I'm very grateful.
 

tinkerdan

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Hi Bowler1,

There were a lot of interesting elements in the writing that could and should be noted. Such as specific references to iconic things like Captain America and wearing tights. And there is that element of humor. Always a plus though sometimes subjectively.

Perhaps if I knew more about what all this was about I'd be able to key into what parts are so important that it was vital to have any of it. This seems like a rather stuffy piece that doesn't serve a purpose and that's not always a bad thing it's just that this type of forum for critique leaves the writer open to that when the limit is so small.

I think the critical parts here are the idea of the brains in jars and no true human physical presence which goes back way before Anne McCaffery and her Ships who sing.

I gather that King and crew are looking for something- the prey- there is a transaction for a human- might I assume a corporeal one and not a brain in a jar engineer. So perhaps a physical body is part of what the search is for. That might counterpoint from the lack of any-body aboard this ship.

It would seem that the notion of having a meeting that involves more than just conversations that go on in their head would either be something they do all the time - to alleviate that horrible feeling they are just talking heads. To seem more sociable in a context that is familiar. And the fact that it has to be planned either means that the power expense is too much to do this all the time or the whole experience is exhausting
and tedious to them now that they are talking heads.

Anyway as blasé as they are about it it would seem they do it a lot so perhaps the unusual would be that they talk in their heads. In fact perhaps it would only be suspicious if they didn't want to have a face to face. Either way one reason for the face to face would be for expressive body language- hence the he only shrugs that keep appearing. As such we seem to be missing out at this point with a proper proportion of body language in that once they go corporeal they suddenly seem to have more dialogue than anything.

But maybe that's a plot point here. Otherwise I'd expect a lot of body language hanging in here or there wouldn't be a lot of reason to throw in three projected bodies to represent the three voices in the conversation. Although I see the point in demonstrating the super hero thing and the balding head.

So perhaps this is merely a device to showcase those few things.

Hopefully this whole 'transaction' thing is what is moving the story along because it would be the only thing in all of this that catches my notice.
 

Bowler1

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The transaction is key as it allows King to track the spaceship he is after, so in a sense he gets lucky as another character was offered money etc. to carry on. One links to another, but sadly as you say not shown here in this small section. Your gut is right however, it is important.

Yeah, skipping body language is a trick I'm missing here. More so as King gets to use a body later and misses taste and other body functions. The brain in a jar and what makes us human is a mini theme here, not really part of the big plot but a little sub-thread. For me, you have a good eye for plot, tinkerdan and it's a pleasure to have your comments. A belated welcome to Chrons from me.
 
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