First of all I’d like to offer a warm welcome to our latest new member Truong Mellor. Thanks for your critiques. We’re looking forward to reading your sci-fi / crime fiction over the coming months.
Chilly meeting last night but we should be back at MadLab again for next month. There was actually some last minute confusion about whether we would be back there last night or not. To the doubters, yes, MadLab is a real place! (I think.) Keep an eye on the Facebook group or this website and I’ll confirm venues nearer the time.
On with the crits!
- Bronwyn presented the first chapter from her YA novel Green. Lots of compliments for the world-building in this piece as well as the unusual setting. A few people weren’t so sure about the quantity of back-story and others wanted to see additional speaker tags and some work on the formatting. Several people enjoyed the opening, especially the first paragraph, and the mention of the windows.
- Craig presented a short story called Jade Magpie. Several people enjoyed the world-building and the setting as well as the magpie (though a few were concerned about the quality of collision detection required as well as the less-than-stringent anti-virus). Calls for a more active protagonist and a less abrupt ending. Comparisons made with Neuromancer / Blade Runner (again).
- James presented the first chapter from his new novel Children of the Evolution. Several long-running members were pleased to see this pop into DropBox! Great world-building and a well-presented Gaian lowtech / hightech conflict. Some confusion over the robody concept, though most felt that they were soon up to speed. A few people not sure about the vernacular dialogue. Or the tour-like walkabout. Pastry nanites are always good.
- Chris presented a flash fiction piece called Peace For Our Time. Plenty of people enjoyed the tight pace in this piece and the mention of you-know-who without stating his name. A couple of people thought it was a little too short. Possibly no need for the occult mention (perhaps the wrong guy anyway). Good concept. Beware of flesh-eating literal metaphors in genre fiction.
- Rob presented a chapter from his novel In Service to Dangerous Men — a potential prologue. Plenty of compliments for the action in this piece with a few queries over pace, length, and the technicalities of using musket pistols. A few viewpoint shifts to omniscient. Several people suggested that this wasn’t a prologue and quite possibly not a first chapter either. Debate over Fraxis, and Eska’s representation as an independent woman. Calls for her to make a decisive strategic decision to turn the tide.
We ran out of time to discuss Eliza’s story — Kikinasai — which will be the first to be read at next month’s meeting.
Apologies again for disappearing straight after the meeting but I needed food and I hadn’t eaten before the meeting due to the Peter Kay induced traffic panic in Manchester. I will stay around a little longer after next month’s meeting.
Next month’s meeting (hopefully back at MadLab): Wednesday 11th March
See you there!