1. Adam Kalauz

    Adam Kalauz Member

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    Query Critique sought

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Adam Kalauz, Feb 6, 2017.

    Hey All

    Open request for feedback on my query. Critique, nit-pick, send to the vomitorium! Even just a yes/no to the usual read pages? question...

    Artificial Intelligence was supposed to be impossible, but that’s scant comfort for Gem Sveto.


    Gem’s biggest worry in life is avoiding placing last in his exams while actively speaking out against the (absurd) galactic cold war. When the Navy arrests him for hacking and treason, he’s more confused than worried. After all, he knows he’s innocent.


    Interred in a military shuttle, it must be the worst possible time to start hearing voices. Disturbingly, Gem discovers it’s coming from one of his internal sub-routines. It appears to be intelligent, and proves the point by slinging the shuttle half way across the galaxy, breaking a few laws of physics along the way.


    He finds himself in enemy territory where he’s captured by Packu, the jovial captain of a decrepit dreadnaught. Appearing out of nowhere raises questions. If Packu figures out the answers Gem’s certain he’ll be sequestered for medical experiments. His only hope lies in persuading Packu to help, but that means working with the AI.
     
  2. Adam Kalauz

    Adam Kalauz Member

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    (*adding sought to the list of words I can't spell...)
     
  3. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    @Commandante Lemming and @Cave Troll - aren't you two Sci-Fi readers? @KaTrian - Solus is this space-military novel, right? I know it's not sci-fi per se but maybe you could help with the query?

    I had a read but I can't say I understand any of it, so that's not much use to you, Adam. I'm not a sci-fi reader and other than Dune, I've never read a single Sci-Fi novel, so I'm not your target. So maybe it's just my lack of familiarity with science and the genre?

    Anyway, yeah... I understood none of it. Internal sub-routine, dreadnaught (I looked it up on the OED just in case it was some word I didn't know, but nothing showed up), and AI - what AI? Packu is Artificial intelligence - so he's a robot?

    Also, Gem as a boy's name struck me as very odd. I thought it was a girl. I still think it's a girl. Gem, being well, gem like gemstones, jewels - you see where I'm going. It's also not uncommon to shorten "Gemma" to "Gem". I'd see what your beta readers' reaction is to the name - if the vast majority of people associate it with a girl, it might be worth doing a name change.

    And is "avoiding placing last" some Irish English construction? I'm certain it should be "avoiding being placed last"...

    And I corrected the thread title for you :)
     
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  4. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    @Mckk Dreadnaught is a military class warship (typically in space), and usually pretty big with big weapons.

    An AI (artificial intelligence) does not necessarily in a robot, but can be contained to a computer (Like Hal 9000 2001 Space Odyssey),
    or in an engineered synthetic 'brain'. But yes it can be in a robot as well, but it depends as there is not enough info in the query (or lack
    there of), to really know if it is a program in a computer or in a mobile machine. :)
     
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  5. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I like the way you gave the query some "voice", but it was a bit too choppy for me. I'm not sure how things tie in - I guess Gem isn't an AI, but then maybe he is, because it's his internal sub-routines that are talking to him...?

    I feel like the first line needs a bit more, as well - something to tie Gem into the AI scene. "Artificial Intelligence was supposed to be impossible, but that’s scant comfort for Gem Sveto when he finds himself kidnapped by a sentient spaceship," or something? And I'd say "is" rather than "was", I think...
     
  6. Dnaiel

    Dnaiel Senior Member

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    Gem, a male, was one of the bank robbers in The Town by Chuck Hogan. But yeah, it's unusual. It had a slight explanation in this novel...

    ''I'm sorry," said Claire, "did you say your name was Jim, or Gem?"

    "Ah, both actually. A combination. You might think it's because of the family jewels. These ones up here." He pointed out the grinning blue-white marbles of his eyes. "But the truth is-Duggy knows this-truth is, that's what the teachers would say when they passed me off to each other, shuttling me around by the scruff of my neck. 'Here's this one, he's a real gem.' And Jimmy, Gem, it kinda sticked."


    Such names can be done, but it helps to have an explanation somewhere.
     
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  7. Dnaiel

    Dnaiel Senior Member

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    Why? It already exists everywhere. I think you're talking about artificial general intelligence (or strong A.I., true A.I., full A.I.). And this would mean, in your story, that someone at some point somehow came up with such a proof (that it's impossible). Which is now disproven according to the plot in your query. That alone would be extremely significant to both computer science and neurology.

    As for the rest, I'm having trouble linking the parts of your description. Each part seems very loosely connected, and the consequences don't interest me. I don't actually know what the consequences are supposed to be.
    This, for example, doesn't help me understand the risk, assuming it's a risk. Does working with the AI mean anything serious? Does this mean it has human characteristics, such as malignant intentions? Or is it just dangerous out of its own nature?
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
  8. Adam Kalauz

    Adam Kalauz Member

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    @Mckk If you read it and didn't get it, that's immensely useful.

    @Cave Troll, @Dnaiel , thanks both! It seems like I'm still trying to cram too much into the query.

    @BayView I'll try and maybe keep the voice. I guess I need to make the query even more focused.

    My take aways:

    - too choppy, make it more focused
    - not enough information, (because it's too broad) so needs at least a little bit of background.
    - Name-check (there is a reason for Gem's name, but it seems like the name is the least important part of everything. I maybe add a little segment in the book to explain it.
    - Bring consequences more to the fore.
    - Perhaps re-name artificial intelligence to artificial sentience - think i-Robot or Iain M Banks.

    THANK YOU!

    Now to revise, re-write, re-send
     
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  9. Niki

    Niki New Member

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    I know this is old, apologies if you don't want the feedback anymore.

    Who is your MC?
    What do they want?
    What do they do to get it?
    What stands in their way?
    What happens if they fail?
     
  10. Dnaiel

    Dnaiel Senior Member

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    Niki is basically posting the same thing over and over in this subforum.
     
  11. Niki

    Niki New Member

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    Yes but I make line by line notes in each of the original queries. Is that not acceptable?
     
  12. Dnaiel

    Dnaiel Senior Member

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    I don't know. I started to suspect you were a bot.
     
  13. Niki

    Niki New Member

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    Can a bot post personal line by line comments? I realize they were all old posts, but I've heard the best way to learn to write a query was to read ones others share.
    I'm curious what part of what I did was not ok. Reviving forgotten threads. Taking the time to read things people ask for help on? Was it the line by line? Or that I noticed a lot of them were missing similar elements? Not one of my posts is word for word the same, so I'm curious exactly what I did to warrant being called out when I was being active.
     
  14. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think it was just a misunderstanding.

    Let it go - and welcome to the site!
     
  15. Niki

    Niki New Member

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    Well if I broke some form of etiquette, please tell me. That's all I'm asking. I did pm him to ask what about my post was wrong but he posted here. I don't know anything about bots or how they work, so if what I'm posting looks like one, I'm asking how to fix it.
     
  16. Dnaiel

    Dnaiel Senior Member

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    I'm sending you a PM.
     

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