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  1. #1
    Nellie Vrolyk

    Let me have it - crit that is!

    This is the first half of the first chapter of one of my WIPs - 1,457 words.

    Chapter 1: Jay’s Story: Birth

    I became aware after the first of my six brains formed and I was linked to the library. One of the many librarians allowed me access to but a tiny part of the vast database. Small as the area was I delighted in all the knowledge I found there. Into my dark, silent world came light in a rainbow of colours, and sounds in a range of tones. I learned of others things I needed to know about when the day came for me to leave the gestation tank in which my body took form. It would be a long time before that would happen. In the meanwhile, I played in my part of the library.

    At last I lay in my gestation tank waiting to be born. After an indeterminate period of time, the top slid aside and a blurry red-lit world revealed itself. Two pairs of hands helped me to a standing position, and the owners of the hands wiped the clear birth fluids from my body, making certain most the the jelly-like substance fell back into the tank. One pair of hands raised my right leg, cleaned off the foot and the ankle above it, and placed it on the floor outside the tank. In a similar way my left foot was put onto the surface beside the tank. Fully born, I leaned into the supporting hands.

    The red light gave way to a brighter illumination, and the blurriness resolved into nebulous shapes. One of these forms, golden in colour, took my hands and led me forward to a square blob raised up from the floor. Once there the hands moved my body around until I stood with my back to the block, and pushed me down till my rear parts made contact. The larger of the golden shapes took hold of my right hand and holding it palm up, pressed its own hand against it. I felt its connector pins slide into my receptors and lock into place. We were now linked and could pass information to each other. In this case it would be a one-way process, for I had little to share in the form of knowledge.

    A strange sensation passed through me. My sight cleared. Nebulous forms became walls, a door, and a clear area in one wall, which looked out over a large space filled with rows of gestation tanks. I sat on a square block made out of the same material as the floor. In front of me, slightly bent over because of its height, stood what I assumed to be a fellow synth. Behind it and to the side was a smaller synth.

    The buzzing in my ears became sounds, mainly the hums and clicks of the machinery surrounding the small room we occupied. I made an attempt to speak because I wanted to hear my own voice, but that part of me had not been activated yet and no sound came forth.

    “Patience, you will be fully activated in a short time,” said the synth before me. “I am the Birth Master, and behind me stands one of my aides.”

    When all my sensory organs were activated and calibrated to work at their optimum, I was given my voice. I repeated the words and phrases the Birth Master gave me to say, and thought my voice to be of a pleasant nature. It had a smooth and mellow timbre.

    The Birth Master had not finished with me yet. Now he taught me how to move. I wiggled fingers and toes, picked up objects both large and small that the aide brought and placed in front of me. I raised my arms above my head and then down to my side. Once assured I could move all parts of me with no problem, the Birth Master pulled me to my feet. It was time for me to learn to walk.

    The little golden aide paced in front of me, and the motions of walking appeared to be so simple. Yet I found the whole process to be more difficult than expected. I fell a number of times, sitting down abruptly on my hind parts. Lucky for me these parts with their large muscles seemed perfect for falling on, and caused but little pain. I persevered, and soon walked alongside of the Birth Master as we made a circuit of the room. After many such rounds he led me back to the block and had me sit down again.

    The first of the Teachers came, and I learned about the basic physical aspects of the artificial habitats I would find in the sphere-ships I travelled to in my career as Guardian of the Memory. The Teacher linked with me and transferred the knowledge I needed into one of my memory crystals. She showed me trees, shrubs, flowering plants, grasses, and many other types of plants too numerous to mention. I learned of animals, birds, reptiles, and insects.

    A second Teacher taught me about humans and their domiciles. They lived in everything from tents made from varied materials, to wooden wagons, and houses made from wood or stone. Humans wore clothing, but there seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to which of the sexes wore what type. Sometimes males wore an item of clothing called trousers, and females wore skirts. Other times it was the opposite. I thought it would be difficult to know the sex of a human unless it were naked. Not that I would ever be in contact with humans.

    Three more teachers shared their knowledge with me, and when they had gone on their way, the Birth Master allowed me some time to practice my walking and movement skills. On my fourth round of the room, I bumped into a naked human who at that same moment stepped in through the open door. He stopped me from falling by placing his hands firmly on my shoulders and pulling me forward, as I reeled backward from the collision.

    The human turned out to be not human at all, but like myself he was a synth who duplicated a Zsaaran. With his pale skin and red hair done up in small braids hanging about his face, he resembled one of the Zsaara from the Northern Isles of Gwashen. His grey eyes twinkled as he introduced himself as the Sharer of Tales.

    “I have come to give you the tales of the Zsaara, which you will share with your fellow synths,” he said. We sat side by side on the metal block, facing each other. “I believe you will find these particular stories of great interest.”

    The Sharer of Tales linked with me, and shared all the many tales of the exodus from Gwashen. From the discovery made by Zsaaran and synth scientists, which led to the certain knowledge the sun would explode in less than a millennium, to the final moments of Gwashen and those who had chosen to remain on the planet as the sun expanded and blew in a cosmic fireworks display.

    In between the beginning of the end and the end came the tales of the creation of the sphere-ships. The first of these set out on journeys so long, the ones who found a new place to live would not be the ones who left on the journey. Over the years many such ships set out into the vastness of the universe. Then came the tales of the synths discovering No-Space, and how after a way was found to travel through this inexpicable copy of the universe – a copy and yet not a copy. It had distance and at the same time no distance at all. Time seemed to pass, but once past the confines of No-Space, time on a sphere-ship’s clocks would read the same as when the ship had entered No-Space.

    I thanked the Sharer of Tales when he left, and he wrapped his arms around me in a hug before passing out of my life.

    Only an hour had passed after my birth, when Metrophanes requested I visit him to discuss a matter of some importance. I thought this request strange, for never before, as far as I knew, had a Guardian of the Memory ever gone to speak with the Prime Guide. I hoped the discussion between us wouldn’t take long, since I was more than eager to begin my career as Guardian of the Memory, and to remind my fellow synths of their origins by telling them tales of the Zsaara, who created the first synths. Already I had the first of the tales picked out, and wanted nothing better than to be among an audience of synths, to tell it.

  2. #2
    Author Pendragin

    Re: Let me have it - crit that is!


    The biggest problem that I see is some awkward sentence structure. For instance, the very first sentence has a great hook, but I had to reread it a couple of times in order to understand it's meaning. I think this is any interesting story. On a side note, as well, in one sentence the MC leans into the hands of the person holding them, I think that wouldn't been possible if it hadn't learned how to move yet.

  3. #3
    Author Pendragin

    Re: Let me have it - crit that is!

    Oh crap, dumb typo. I mean, I think this is an interesting story. How many chapters have you written so far?

  4. #4
    Lea Zalas

    Re: Let me have it - crit that is!

    Nellie - just aan inconsistency that caught me. But it's an interesting story.

    In paragraph 8 you wrote this: It was time for me to learn to walk. But in paragraph 3 you wrote this: One of these forms, golden in colour, took my hands and led me forward to a square blob raised up from the floor. If he doesn't know how to walk, you need to have him carried, not led.


  5. #5
    Janice W-D

    Re: Let me have it - crit that is!


    Although I enjoy watching SF and fantasy movies, I rarely read the books. Kudos on pulling me into the story despite that. I was half-way through your excerpt before I realized that the entire thing amounted to an info dump. However, you made it so interesting I didn't mind.

    You did a good job of showing the Guardian of Memories grow from a thing into an almost human person with a burgeoning personality, as evidenced in:

    Already I had the first of the tales picked out, and wanted nothing better than to be among an audience of synths, to tell it.

    It needs a few tweaks but I'll leave that to the writers here more familiar with the genre.


  6. #6
    Nellie Vrolyk

    Re: Let me have it - crit that is!

    Thanks Author P for your comments. It's complete at 35 chapters, but I'm revising so the count may change.

  7. #7
    Nellie Vrolyk

    Re: Let me have it - crit that is!

    Thank you Lea for pointing out the thing about his being able to move before learning how.

  8. #8
    Nellie Vrolyk

    Re: Let me have it - crit that is!

    Thank you for your comments, Janice.

  9. #9
    Nellie Vrolyk

    Re: Let me have it - crit that is!

    Sorry for all the short messages but anything longer doesn't post.

  10. #10
    Henry Domke

    Re: Let me have it - crit that is!

    Strange, but interresting. Seems unique enough, though I don't read much Sci-Fi, so I can't say for certain.

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