It is fine, I was wrong to suggest that it is little more than the idea. It is a fun useful idea with some plot ideas and 'possible' things tossed into to make this a tool as well as idea.
So well done.
However, The post-starts with a description of a village that one might find in a travel log in the world of Hairy trees. But you don't realize a village in the write up, and with no resolution, narrative or strong imagery (aside from the teaser) this write up doesn't paint a picture or tell a story. Thus you have a bit of false advertising with the title cause we don't get a village, we get the baby idea. It could be the apartment building of baby cabinets or the space station of baby bulkheads.
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But it is a FANTASTIC idea, this plot device could be used to explore issues of affection versus paternity, racism, maternal instincts, the right to have a child versus the ability to raise a child, the fear of being saddled with a family or the inexplicable nature of life itself. I would love to colab on a bigger write up.
There is lot of information presented in here. I love that we get a lot of the information through the backchannels of the piece and not in the direct delivery. We have natural born wizards, a constant battle between the will of men (or ten year old boys) and the will of nature that wants to burn up the citizens, and shadow beasts the make are agents of human sacrifice. We also have consistent voice in the piece.
You see the person telling us about the road and the city is same person who knows all the secrets. But that is unknown to us at the beginning of the pieces, because the speaker uses a very passive voice and asserts almost a second person perspective. He also tends to repeat himself and by repeat himself I mean say the same thing two different ways, like saying it twice or three times. You see this repetitive voice, it gives you the sense that there is a bit a folktale quality to story. You are a little more tolerant of uncertainty when your narrator is a little folksy.
But what is the narrator’s point? Why is he telling us this story? I am 100% behind writing game stuff like a writer first not a like a gamer. That demands consistent voice, considerations of perspective and bias. You have done that here, and I love it. But I don’t know what the narrator is getting at besides few cheap surprise moments (clean skeletons, the guy coming back after the event, or the boy blowing up his town). Using this narrator’s voice, you use twice as many words or more than you probably need to describe the town.
The use of voice would be even stronger if there was more back channel delivery of information and you might achieve this if we knew a little more about the narrator and his intentions.
How does the narrator know all this?
How can this narrator, who drops so may little “surprises” on by taking the round about way to get to his/her point and not end this story with climax or a hook? You have weak ending that does not fit the tone of the rest of the piece. The piece by its nature promises a reveal and it does not give us one.
Here is a plot idea:
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The people get sent back 500 years and rise to power: spreadout, conquer the world and all that. They then begin to actively support the human sacrifice in Litwell to maintain their defiance of the personified force of history you mention. Thus a plot may be to overthrow the tyrants, you have to stop the human sacrifice in the Litwell, this will pull the tryants ancestors out of time, burn them and eliminate the ruling class. Screw that Litwell return makes everything right idea. HOW CAN YOU HAVE A TIME TRAVEL STORY WITHOUT A PARADOX?
I think this is a smart concise dissection of the genre. Insightful is a good word for it. But I think two things are left out that are very common to the genre.
1) I have noticed in Lovecraftian fiction that there is often a strong emotional detachment in the tone pieces. The works are often use an academic or clinical dissection of the events. The most obvious case of this is the afore mentioned Mountains of Madness, but also The Lurking Fear, The Dunwhich Horror and even Rats in the Walls all sort of have strong emotional detachment. Consider in Rats in the Walls when the protagonist discusses his invalid son with an almost off hand matter of fact tone. In modern Lovecraftian fiction there is a clinical tone to it. Consider reading the "The Ugly Chickens" by Howard Waldrop and see if this does not strike you as having a Lovecraftian tone.
However, this tone may not be Lovecraftian and something more about the puritanical English approach to horror. Certainly true in Bram Stoker's Dracula (the book) was that Western Europeans could use reason, discipline and a scientific method to describe and thus defeat the vampire. In something like the Exorcist it is the failure of reasoning that is scary. I think that this scientific view or psuedo-scientific view that I believe runs through Lovecraftian fiction adds strongly to the next point.
2) I feel that the second essential part of Lovecraftian fiction is the corruption. Somebody may claim this is what was meant by total party kill or secrete societies but they would miss the point of this. Total Party Kill is a sad ending and secrete societies are part of that horror in our own backyard theme. Corruption is the idea that horror and destruction are contagious. Take the story "The Lurking Fear" for example here you have the corruption of the Dutch settlers as the primary conclusion of the piece and the realization of which disturbs the narrator. In Event Horizon or In the Mouth of Madness you have the "turning" of the reasonable hero. The Color Out of Space the farm is corrupted, Rats in the Walls the Virginian is corrupted, and in Shadow Over Innsmouth of course you have the *spoiler* the narrator finding out that he is part of that gold mining fish cult-so kind of corrupted.
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Thanks for driving this discussion.
This is really great, I kept asking questions about the history, the war and technology as I went and kept getting answers. This really well done (I have never played Bioshock) and has a lot of great ideas in it. This could be used as an Alien world, an alternate reality or just adapted for society in which everyone is told the surface is poisoned by the oppressive oligarchy. Yet this deserves more.
1) Visuals I would wager most readers picture a somewhat Victorian or Edwardian aesthetic in the place. However, that is never discussed. We don't get a clear visual of the people in this place and I loathe to use preconceived notions in such a fantastical setting. I would also wager that at least 25% (by word count not by topic) of all steam punk fiction is dedicated to fashion, so that seems missing from this, and it could be a fun addition.
2) Culture We also get an incomplete picture of the culture and day to day life. There are a lot of strong hints at an oligarchy of rich hereditary industrialists and an oppressed and tormented but educated underclass subjected to strict social planning. I think a government and economics section could be interesting and expansive. But perhaps you don't want to state the social economic relationship specifically, and that is fine, and I get it. But some more hints would give us a better feel for this place. What kind of people do these dome dwellers chose to celebrate? What sort of media (as extrapolation of the stage play musicals) do they consume? Are there population control issues? Do they smoke? I feel like this piece and this world would be better benefited by a direct discussion of these items or few more hints and details. (I like the hints at culture myself)
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