Originally this was part of the 4th sub, but I split it up to keep word count down to a shorter level for those with less time to read lengthy subs, and aye, you're right it likely could be cut with minimal impact.
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As for Ellen, I figured it will become apparent the complex nature of that relationship in time. ;)
The scene in which she throws herself at Sarah Voltaire only to conclude that she didn’t want to seem obvious…that was funny. I particularly thought this line rang true.
I smiled, unable to resist the urge to show off my knowledge just a little. "For example, they now think raptors used their wings for stability and flapping to stay on top of their prey while hanging on with their hooked claws and eating it alive." I paused and blushed slightly, suddenly embarrassed at sounding like some kind of Dino geek in front of the girl.
This sounds like every undergraduate science major I’ve met (ahem…or maybe use to be). Those kids are ready to drop knowledge at absurdly inappropriate moments, and without any real understanding of what they are talking about. Eve may have the ability to understand Velociraptor mongoliensis in a way that guys scratching at fossils cannot, but I am sure she does not understand the research she is talking about. This is a brave (internet brave) choice having your narrator be flawed and a little unreliable. Brave because I know that uncertainty turns off some readers. But I really like and enjoy what you are doing with her voice. It adds a layer of realism.
However, the story within the story was a little rough. I think a little more imagery and making the language a little more explicit would help communicate Sarah Voltaire’s story as the narrarator and thus the world understands it, and would keep the flow of the story going. For example
As soon as the professor begins speaking she sat up, yanked out her ear buds, and whipped off her shades. That’s when, while the professor made introductions, I recognized Sarah Voltaire. Here you have three events: Girl in green shirt removes shade Professor starts talking Eve recognizes Sarah Voltaire.
The events are explicitly connected. For all we know that moment Sarah Voltaire could have materialized behind the professor, or the professor is Sarah Voltaire in man form, or the girl in the green shirt is Sarah Voltaire.
You could tighten up the sentence a bit by adding
I recognized the girl in the green shirt was Sarah Voltaire aka Quantum.
Then as you go through the flashes of images things get vague and unclear. I know it is easy to expect the readers of genre fiction to fill in the gaps. (Of course my genre bias tells me warhammer was a supervillian, but it wouldn't hurt to tell us that. Or tell us Eve's opinion of Warhammer versus the media's opinion. Eve is telling us this in retrospect so she could reflect more on these flashesthan she did at the time)
But you leave a lot of gaps in that story of Voltaire, it kills the flow of this piece and there is no reason to do it.
You should add another clause or sentence to each to specific memory Eve has regarding Voltaire. These should help to connect things temporally and draw out the details.
I know they are supposed to be just short flashes, but the flashes are very vivid and important images in Eve’s mind and you should paint vivid pictures with your words.
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Lastly, undergraduate paleontology is really pushing my suspension of disbelief. I know the details don’t really matter, she just need to learn about dinosaurs so she can shape shift and may be there can be so allegory for evolution and extinction with Delta humans and normal humans. But you could show the field a little more respect. Paleontology is a sub-discipline of what they call “Earth Science” these days (actually they have called in Earth Science since the 80s, and not deep enough into the field to tease out the symantics of the different Earth Science disciplines. She would either be in either a geology, biology or anthropology program depending on what department the university dumped its paleontologists. Would be Paleontologists focusing on dinosaurs would likely be studying biology or geology. I am sure there are Paleo 101 classes out there, but they would be survey classes for non-majors. Eve should talk to her academic advisor and dump that useless class. I know I am being silly here, but hey science deserves respect.
The points come through, I was just suggesting the language get tightened up a bit and be a bit more illustrative. It is a minor thing. However, I don't think it was a problem with not knowing Sarah Voltaire, we have to know Eve's understanding of Sarah, even if its wrong. But it reads much clearer now. These are just prose details and I still think it is an interesting and well conceived story thus far.
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I am still not quite sure what Eve thinks happened with the sniper. Statue was another super, she and Quantum got shot but Statue died?
Lol aye, the gender vagueness was a deliberate choice, since the beginning was more to hook the reader, and challenge any preconceptions not long after. (which will prove to be an underlying theme as things develop.)
There's a lot of character building in the first few parts, with the action bits coming later, It's 60kish words so far, (and not finished yet) so lots of stuff still coming.
Oh and to answer your tongue in cheek questions becuse it's 2am and I'm bored: :P
You'll have to wait an see, although as far as controversial/disturbing subs, that one would perhaps out do my sub about the reverse abortion of an undead fetus. Okay maybe not that disturbing...
You'll just have to read on and see if she's pregnant :P
Unstable sub spatial molecular transference. When she shifts to a smaller form a portion of the extra mass is transferred into energy and released as a flash of light, the rest is bled into sub space.
What part in Romeo and Juilet?
Update: Edited to include the paragraph describing the characters human appearance.
(And for those who don't want to reread the first chapter just to find that one paragraph here's a quick reprint.
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I remember pausing, finding my dark African American skin oddly foreign looking after seeing myself clothed in feathers, my black hair a tangle mess. years later people would say I looked a lot like Kandyse Mcclure in my human form, but at the time I was just geeky, and developed enough in the right places to get embarrassing stares from the boys in my class.