View Full Version : Story: 'The Key to Heaven's Gate.'
Okay guys, this is my first uploaded story. I wrote this a while ago, and had high hopes, but it's been rejected by several editors of the type who normally accept my work. It's only the second Science Fiction story I've ever written - it's not a genre I'm at my best with - so I'd appreciate some tough feedback, if anyone would be kind enough to rip it to pieces for me.
The key to Heaven's Gate. (http://sheffieldwriters.ath.cx/SFStoryArchive/1173176054.doc)
Darren I had to read this in three separate sessions,with it being so long. Im overawed by it, but am not qualified enough to comment on it, but I thought it was wonderful. Im not a Sci-Fi fan but loved this. It draws you in from the beginning of the story. You are a very clever writer,Im sure Mantaspook will love it.
I have the same reaction upon reading this as the one expressed by pattricia.
I too find it quite awesome, and is a very impressive piece of writing.
This is the genre of my choice when it comes to reading, and I would say this short story is good enough to gain publication.
I haven't read it yet but just had a quick scan and yes I think it looks brilliant. I will look at it properly when I have more time digest it without having to rush.:)
I'm not into science fiction , but what i read impressed me .You obviously know your subject matter ,as for publishers I'm on my 100th and somthing .
Guys. If someone uses the word "awesome" to describe my work... well, I don't really know what to say. I'm gobsmacked. I was kind of hoping for feedback telling me what was wrong with the story. The feedback so far has restored a bit of my confidence in my ability, which - to be bluntly honest - has been on the floor recently. Thanks very much.
SPOILER ALERT – PLEASE READ DARRENS STORY FIRST
Here is some detailed feedback for you, but first of all Well done for attempting a story that is both ambitious and thought provoking.
The story was a little bit like a curate’s egg, good in places, bad in others, I think that with a bit of rewriting you could turn this into a story the publishers would be interested in.
Some main points that need attention:
1. Opening line – lacks punch, I would have started with something more dramatic like: “Sixteen Astronauts had died before me, maybe I had died and hadn’t realised it yet…”
2. Dramatic tension – was unfortunately lacking, particularly regarding whether the astronaut would survive the journey or not. Your third line (“But it was a trauma-free resurrection.”) Gave the game away far too early.
3. Logical storyline – A Sci-fi reader is quite prepared to suspend disbelief, especially regarding technology but probably less so regarding human motivation, some things that did not appear logical was the “gung ho” attitude of the AetherCom scientists, the deaths of Jones & Adams in the previous week should have triggered a shutdown to examine all the data, instead, Marc is strapped into the still warm couch just 45 minutes after Adams’s death.
This made me wonder about Marc and his adopted father’s motivation, OK, the father may be acting under duress, he hints the company could be nasty (“I came across something I probably shouldn’t have, and if they knew, I doubt I'd live very long.”)
and maybe Marc is highly motivated (“But I had committed to this project, and I would not back down from that commitment.”)
But bearing in mind he had just found out that Aethercom had effectively caused the deaths of both his natural parents – wouldn’t it have been more natural for him to get angry, have doubts etc, especially as he had just found out his fiancée was pregnant.
4. The entity paradox. – Basically how could the entity, which is an amalgam of the dead astronauts, send a signal back to earth to arrive many years before they set off – OK, I know really, but the time travel bit needed emphasising at that point.
5. Story timeline – it hops about too much, we’re in the resurrection lab on page 1, 17 19 and 21, the story may benefit from a more linear format, starting with his fiancée’s pregnancy, a brief outline of the overpopulation crisis & the social conditions, i.e. the child tax laws (that bit was VERY well done by the way) then he goes to work and discovers Adams died yesterday, his launch MUST go ahead or his adopted father as director of the project will be murdered… you get the idea.
6. The Aethercom paradox – On page 15 the narrator states “A revolution in AetherCom technology had resulted in the detection of a signal from outer space, originating in the Andromeda galaxy. The company were naturally very wary, considering the Project Respond debacle, years earlier.” – Then on page 16 we learn that Aethercom engineered the debacle- So why were they wary?
7. The good bits - The Clone minds journey around the Planet was perfect – don’t touch that bit! (Arthur C. Clarke did a similar thing in “2010” when the dust motes were gathered to form the entity of Dave Bowman.) I also liked the section on mind cloning.
Incidentally, I wrote a similar story last year about computer minds. (See "The Soul Cages")
8. The ending – This is a difficult one but I would have tweaked the entity’s identity to make the reader think that Marc was been shown around the planet by God, then alter the last line to reveal what it really was.
Suggested alternative ending.
“Is there life on Eden?”
Could the entity be called life? A dying, damaged amalgam that consisted of the clone-intelligences of Adams, Jones, and the other astronauts? – He owed it to them and to the human race, to give them the catalyst of hope of a new Eden, a thousand new Edens….
Marc smiled and replied: “Yes, There is life out there..”
And on a personal note please don’t be disheartened by your lack of confidence, your story has enormous potential. - The quote you have as your signature says it all – clever bloke that Mr Wilde.
Mantaspook - thanks for that. I really appreciate the objectivity check. Plenty to mull over there. I'm going to revise this story (heavily, probably) after I've finished the first draft of the piece I'm currently working on. Cheers.
Nice one Darren :thumbsup:
As people have said before me, I don’t consider myself qualified to comment.
But it is far better than anything I could write, I did enjoy it.
Take heed Mantas comments, though some are only his opinion I do find he is worth his weight in gold, well, silver at least.
Aw, cheers Coyleys.
My wife says I’m priceless. (BTW, does anyone know why she always rolls her eyes when she says this?)