Alpha Centauri 2
Community => Planet Tales => Topic started by: Buster's Uncle on March 23, 2016, 06:18:21 PM
The story is here (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=17686.0).
Keep in mind that I was only the second author on this (I wrote the first sentence, the romance scenes and many a short prompt in addition to editing the final project into good English, but ESB wrote nearly two-thirds - authors are bylined in order of how much they contributed), but I'll answer what questions I can...
Second editing pass on chapter two in progress...
I'm pretty happy about this: [url]http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=17686.0[/url] ([url]http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=17686.0[/url])
-Go have a look. There's some seriously sophomoric humor, 'cause this was a roundtable story done by a bunch of forum boyz, and of course there was some no-class humor - but we got serious about it, and I think it wound up making for a neat little pulpy space/time adventure with a little romance. (I mostly wrote the romance.) Good dumb fun - and we really fell for the love interest...
Posting chapter 1 has gotten me off my dead butt and finally doing something I've put off for nearly seven years - finishing editing the thing into credible English. The primary author was a 19 year-old German who had immaculate grammar, sober, but not so much for a lot of the story.
I'm doing my second editing pass on chapter two right now. It's gonna be a relief to get this off my chest.
Chapter Two finished - that was the point I stopped editing as we went, 'cause big creative disagreement, and by the time it was resolved satisfactorily, too much work had piled up.
Chapter Three begins slightly over halfway through, and I recall resuming editing towards the end; I'm probably about half done, now, which is real progress.
Thinking I'll pace out posting new installments one a day...
I've made an effort to get word to the other authors - and found a long post I made, full of ideas that didn't get used --- there's enough for a sequel, I think...
Read the first two chapters. About how many chapters is this? I only ask because it seems to become increasingly complicated.
Chapter Three wraps it up.
I spent a lot of time yesterday refreshing my memory of the composition process at the forum where it took place, and didn't get my first pass through the remainder of the story done before bedtime. I'm almost finished with that, now - and want to take a second pass (I always find more bits to polish) before I post. -Today, I promise.
...Then I need to edit the two previous posts for consistency on a name problem I'd never fixed. And go through some very old saved PM files to see if there's anything important I discussed with eastsidebagel and don't recall. There were some PMs...
I'm well into the second, polishing, pass, now - I think I'm doing a somewhat hasty ending a lot of good.
I'd be fine with any actual comments about the actual story...
Correction: had to break the rest into two chapters - it was over the 40,000 character post limit. Sorry.
Chapter Four, A Girl-Fight on the Moon -and the conclusion- should go up about noon tomorrow...
...Makes me want to do sequels...
I've attached the Word document to the last chapter.
I read the first 3 chapters. It flowed well, no editing errors did I notice. It was a lot to absorb. I'm out of practice with time travel stories. I intend to finish it on Easter if I have time. Probably a complete re-read next week.
With and eye towards possibly writing more Adventures of Melinda Madison and her pet husband Dave in the future, here's some thoughts ESB cajoled out of me roughly halfway through the writing of the story (before the good/toaster Melinda stuff was cleared up) about -what was going on, really, more than where it was going- that I thought would at least be amusing if I shared:
[I hate to ruin the surprize, A lot of the charm of this collabaration is that you guys surprize me. I don't know what's going on, and as long as it's fun and makes sense in the end, I don't always need to.-In fact, almost all of this could (or not) actually still be true, with the Vergoploxes more pawns of the Etherials/Overlords...
This will ruin a lot if you guys like it, but here goes.
What I had in mind is that, get this, the Etherials of the of the Outer Deeps of Space (an elder race; sort of Guardians of the Universe figures- or Ariasians, if you're up on your E.E. Smith, but more mysterious and morally unfathomable) know there's something cosmically important going on, of which the predicted solar ****-up is only a symptom, but maybe a central piece of the cosmic thingy, as are the Martians and their powers. There are many pieces on the board, and most of them and the bigger game never come onstage in this story, I think.
The Etherials don't like to take overt action; they seem to tend to prefer teaching a man to fish over giving him a fish. They saw that there was a earth man who could fix the local element of the problem should all the pieces needed be in place. The human in question was not available at the space-time coordinates needed, being dead, and for some reason, probably the mini-nuke tht killed him, cannot be retrived at any point in the timeline when he has the needed skills, so-
Here comes the part really, really I don't want to give in about. They made a clone of his beloved wife- with improvements designed to enable her to protect him, and some fuzzy memories derived from the original, which cause her to tend to forget that she's an enhanced clone made for a mission.
Her situation is further complicated by enhancements made to her natural affection for a young punk version of her "husband". In short, to ensure her devotion to kid David and his protection, they gave her a bad case of the screamin' drawers for his pimply frame. But the original Melinda had had some issues with with her sexuality- and Agent-Melinda remembers that it hurt when the original lost her virginity. She's expriencing lot of ambivilence about having her way with the kid.
Whatever is going on with the unplanned time-shift to the moon and the Vergs and Jack and everything, it was really partly set up by the Etherials to put David through experiences that would prepare him for whatever he's supposed to do.
The situation is complicated by the fact that the Etherials' antimatter universe interdimensional counterparts, the Overlords of the Outer Dark of Space, -somewhat sinster sorts, naturally- did the same thing with an android that was given a nearly identical power-set. This Earth-Two Melinda, Specimen-M, swaps places with Agent+M at times. She's not out to kill David, but -Melinda's goals are different than +Melinda's, and killing him may be necessary.
Sweetening the plot twist/complcations, she has the same insanely intense warmth for David's pathetic form as Melinda+. And she's a really well-made fembot, if you follow me; nudge-nudge, wink-wink.
Very little of this should come out any time soon, and a lot about the Etherials may not ever become known to the protagonists (the Melindas probably don't know much about who made them or even the why of their missions) at all but I think it should provide a canvas upon which we can paint in/fit our vague intentions for the story.
For myself, I want Melinda to be real, and the robot **** made me very, very unhappy as a reader, and indeed, probably gave me editor's block. This gives us back a biological Mel without contradicting anything, and the swapping situation is open-ended. All I know is that it was M+ for sure on the vacation/butt-rubbing night. It could maybe have been M- who kissed him, and she may or may not have been totally honest with him then; I dunno. M+ is in love with the little punk, though, and M- fighting it, maybe.
David has a child's obsession with his first love, whoever she is at any given moment.
At some point, I see M+ getting a bloody nose and confuusing the heck outta the boys.
A few sober pargraphs about the Etherials' place in the universe could be inserted at the beginning/serve as a prologue that seems to have nothing to do with David's story at first...]
Well, I don't blame the kid for being more interested in getting acquainted with his wife that a surreal situation in which he's out of his depth. Especially with all of the mixed messages. It seems like he's being asked to persuade/kill/stop his Uncle at all costs in order to prevent the extermination of the colony on Mars, OR help his Uncle to destroy the people on Mars in order to save the Earth, almost all at once! How does he even know it's his wife if she doesn't behave convincingly? How can he believe or trust anything else?
There were limits to how ruthlessly I felt comfortable editing without being able to consult the other authors. I recall wanting to make the introduction a lot shorter back then, and bagel said no. Fixing up problem bits, yes - the others encouraged me to make what was there better - expunging much entirely, I'm not quite willing.
You're right that she tells him two different things in not many more breaths when they met. -For that matter, she advances a claim about teleportation tech early that later seems odd when she turns out to have teleportation powers built into her enhancements.
I'd tone down the worst of the vulgar arousal jokes a bit, too, if I had my druthers and it was all my own work - but they're a central theme, and that would be drastic...
And nobody's ever mentioned but this is totally a tale of underage love - David is not as much as 18, obviously, and get this: Melinda isn't any older than four.
I did collaborate in a forum story once, but it is kinda dependent on people taking their turns. Otherwise the plot twists and hints become pointless when they don't follow through. So I can appreciate that challenge.
This is strangely similar to a detective story I recently read, in which I didn't really like the main character, and was less than enthused about the others, but I was rooting for him to prevail as the mistreated underdog trying to find justice for somebody else. That was the redeeming nobility in the stories.
Hmm. I don't honestly remember, but couldn't the same be said for Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever? It's been too many decades.
Covenant was utterly unlikeable, yes - but he made friends with people you'd want saved, and Lord Foul was a straight-up black evil bad guy who had to be stopped. -In short, I never had much more than zero interest in David, was actually lobbying to kill Jack off - but you could certainly sympathize with the loser having the perfect woman jump in his lap -- and we all LOVED HER.
(I meant to say before that I suppose we can write off the contradictory things Melinda said to programming problems - there was a lot she didn't know until she needed to know it. There may have been contradictory orders kicking in...)
Attached is a piece Mylochka did for a Melinda illustration - I had to spend a lot of time getting her hair dark enough, 'cause she'd had it brown. -Also, a certain performer who has a look in the ballpark in this shot...
I did collaborate in a forum story once, but it is kinda dependent on people taking their turns. Otherwise the plot twists and hints become pointless when they don't follow through. So I can appreciate that challenge....It's important to read the others' cues, absolutely.
Had you ever realized Carl Reiner's real contribution in The 2,000 Year-Old Man? When you're interviewing another comedian like that as the straight man -I've done this- you spend the whole time thinking of gags and trying to feed them to the joker with leading questions. I tend to do something similar participating in roundtable stories - a great deal of my running contribution to 2106 was posts adding only a sentence, sentence-and-a-half; I fed the others ideas and springboards...
Well, If I didn't love Melinda before, Mylochka made a convincing case.
And even though I didn't see 2,000 year old man except in clips, I take your point.
I also had to turn her eyes the proper blue - but that didn't take long.
The next story, BTW if it ever happens, is a hook I came up with twice - when I emailed ESB's brother trying to get in touch last week, I ended with something about wanting to do -
Book Two: The Venusian Menace
- and then when I later reviewed the old thread we composed it in, I found that back then, I'd suggested -
The Sirens of Venus
- ;lol It just stands to reason something Venus by the pulpy Buck Rodgers nature of the thing. Already been to the Moon and Mars, though the Space Nazis of the Dark Side of the Moon ought to have a tale in them later...
Oh - and it's good to hear that you actually liked something about the story. It's tough to be so down on people's pet characters and have one of your own who's charmed you - a sensible creator should be a bit nervous about that. We liked Melinda TOO much, really.
I fixed up the pic of the "movie" star to have the correct blue eyes and black -not dark brown- hair last night - just as well post the revision. I just wish I'd saved all the components I made the 2106 book cover out of; her face needs better resolution, and I'm at a loss for how to fix.
I would love to know what's so attractive to someone at Microsoft, presumably a bot, about this thread...
BTW, I tried pretty hard to contact all the other authors when I finally finished editing the story after years and posted it here - no dice. But someone clearly ESB posted the story here https://lichess.org/forum/team-cat-lovers/a-story-of-many-authors about a year before. I can easily spot occasional stylistic tics of lines I wrote or edited in that version. Without comparing directly to the version left in limbo 2/3rds unedited at WPC for years, I'd say he'd definitely edited the rest himself, to vast improvement. -My edit is far more fluid in native-speaker English, though, and I made some key additions to the end to deal with (or at least acknowledge and hint there was an explanation) contradictions and unresolved mysteries, and I actually implemented the fix we'd agreed on about the Hawksmoor surname logic problem; I believe if I could actually establish contact with eastsidebagel, he'd agree that my edit is the definitive one...
I've read the first two chapters but I'm not sure I'll read any more. Light-hearted/humorous fiction is not my speed at all. :(
[shrugs] Again, if it was solely mine, it wouldn't change fundamentally, but I'd plonk a lot of the entire first chapter setup, and tone Dave's flaws in general throughout way the heck down. That stuff's just awkward throughout, as adolescent boys are, but who wants to read that?
I just have no ethical right, esb explicitly, back in the day, rejecting my wish to throw out most of Chapter One for streamlining and being hella-weak.