I was looking for something to read on the fly and so I clicked on this thing. This has everything I have ever wanted to see on the Citadel. It is written with a consistent perspective, and it builds its world subtlety around characters. This might be the best thing I have ever read on the Citadel. It certainly has a lot of the qualities I have aspired to and experimented with, I truly admire this piece. Forget those banal self-important distinctions of whether or not this is “useful” or the content ascribes to my biases or preferences regarding genre; I love what this represents in as much as it has the ambition to be a completely immersive piece. The bar at the Citadel keeps getting raised (which may shrink and change depending on the community), and I believe that you have raised the bar. I would say this is transcendent: You have character driven world building and story-telling in a speculative fiction genre (with a big bit of wish fulfillment thrown in). This is well-realized character and world, and you get some much of it in one narrative here. Thank you.
As for the content, I just want to note that I respect every choice you made in writing this.
The author/narrator clearly has a lot of respect and almost adoration for his subject. Only when noting that she may not have resented being so positively features in the documentary does he ever dig into his subject. It would be an interesting experiment and very telling of the conflicts in your world to hear about the events allude to and described from the opposition's perspective. Could you paint a sympathetic picture of one your villains or antagonistic characters?
Another thing I found jarring, but not in a bad way per se, was your take on superheros here. The Silver Age fantasy of the superhero is some mild mannered or over looked person who can suddenly burst out and do something fantastic. The super powers become allegory for the overlooked potential, emotional turmoil, super-ego or inner life of the nerd or the put upon individual. Here your characters (including Silver’s) are Grammy winning artists, best selling authors and beautiful young people living hipster lives in NYC. In many many ways they are departures from the lifestyles of people who plan than their lives around live chatting RPGs on Saturday night. Are you really writing what you know?
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Finally there is one thing I just don’t buy. I don’t believe that this Juilliard educated woman in her 30s who is thoughtful and considerate of meaningful communication, AND born in 1988 or 1989 could reference Rocky III with esoteric precession and complete assurance that her reference would be caught and understood. Even if she was some how a fan of early 80s pulp cinema, it was incredulous that this New York Times author and his editor were both on the same page and felt no need to explain this reference to his audience. In that moment I saw the aging fanboy behind the text. (But I completely loved it.) This is not believable...unless your alternate history promotes Rocky III to the ranks of Pooh Bear, Shakespeare, and Star Wars in terms of Western pop culture allusions. If Rocky III is a universal classic in your world... then well done sir.