1. Robert Musil

    Robert Musil Comparativist Contributor

    Sep 23, 2015
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    Critique Exchange Looking to exchange beta reads, if my eco/climate/scifi thing sounds interesting to you

    Discussion in 'Collaboration' started by Robert Musil, Sep 7, 2022.

    The setting: It's 9000 years in the future. Climate change has thawed out Antarctica enough to make it marginally habitable. Over the millenia waves of refugees have washed up on its shores, established societies and forgotten where they came from. They've also lost any semblance of advanced technology, so consider this scifi more in the "from cataclysm to myth" vein of A Canticle for Liebowitz.

    The characters: A family of nomadic caribou hunters. In such a harsh environment, your family is about the only thing you can count on. Of course any family (harsh environment or no) can be annoying, controlling, or just generally overbearing. The three main characters are a quiet young man who wants to be taken seriously, a brash young woman with big unspoken dreams, and a pragmatic matriarch who's just trying to hold it all together.

    The plot: A powerful entity leaves our characters with a pair of sacred artifacts. There's some disagreement among the family about what to do with them...and the shipwrecked, exotic trader who wanders into their camp has some curious ideas of his own.

    Sample passage, just to give you some idea of the style/voice:

    Ahead of them were clouds, many clouds that wandered left to right across her vision but never seemed to come any closer. And so much water–so many streams flowing down toward Wo out of the hills, which grew wider and deeper until it was as big as Old Mang. When she couldn’t see or hear it, she could still smell it everywhere. And flowers–she saw new colors in the flowers, colors she hadn’t even seen in artifacts. It was getting later in the day and the flowers were almost all withered; she wondered what they would look like in full bloom.

    The waters of Wo spread out again, forming a body of water so wide that it stretched across the entire floor of they valley. It was not the sea–it didn’t have the same white-topped waves as the sea–but they had to turn and follow a stream up into the hills to go around it. The highest peaks were now behind them, but the hills here still rose and fell steeply, and it was in this land, of sunny and shaded peaks and valleys, that Nin-ta first began to notice that the shadows were wrong. It was a very subtle wrongness, and it took a great deal of looking to discern exactly what it was, but she soon realized that they were growing long and short too quickly–as they did right before sunset. Was nightfall really that close?

    Word count:
    About 93k, but if yours is a bit longer than that I'm glad to call it even.

    What I can offer: I'm not a professional anything, but hopefully you can get some idea of how I approach beta reading/critique in some of my workshop posts around here. I do read widely and can appreciate most any genre or age group. Some genres I may not be much help with are romance/erotica, or anything religious or spiritual.

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