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klahol's picture

Call Me Tim

By klahol in Teleport Us

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Description

A message to an old man almost destroys the world he shares with his grandson. A short, dark tale about the world we live in and the reality we choose. 

Comments

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 1, 2013 - 12:55pm

Well, I did enjoy the Litreactor worshop, but this challenge has so far given me a lot more than that four week, 400 dollar course did. 

Dino Parenti's picture
Dino Parenti from Los Angeles is reading Everything He Gets His Hands On March 1, 2013 - 6:46pm

I actually dug that you started it in a medieval setting. Part of me thought that this would end up being your dystopian future, but once I realized it's the world in his head being kept alive with this monstrous machinery, I really prefered where you took it. I did have to go over it twice to understand that Tim was Kathy's son. Upon my first reading, I thought Tim might've been her brother, and that their father was so destroyed over the loss of his son that he preferred a life hooked up to a simulator pretending to live out the missed adventures with his boy. That could've worked too I suppose, but the grandfather angle also works. It was poignant, and I really appreciated the subtle references of the his feet and legs in the last segment as he and Tim are about to take on the enemy.

My one note would be to just add a bit more about the present world. I have a vague understanding of who Carema are--more to the point, what they do--but how huge are they in your world? Is this a small company, or a massive conglomerate? Of course these are things you can augment later without the word-count restriction. But even then, I would keep it brief. You imply a lot here with the little you showed, and that works better than too much exposition. And you'd written it beautifully to boot, so bravo.

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 4, 2013 - 6:05am

Thanks for the feedback, Dino. 

I agree there are many, many areas where this story could improve. I wrote it from scratch for this competition based on a vague idea I had, and revised it with the help of the workshop as well as the excellent feedback on this forum. But it's still far, far from where I'd like it to be. 

Some of the storys that pop up here are just humbling in how they command the language and the structure. 

That said, I've toyed with the idea of writing a longer story based on this world and where I would develop it if I tried that. The worldbuilding part, only suggested at in this story, is definitely a part that needs a lot of work. 

I see Carema as just one of many companies that supply low-cost elderly care in the future, as indeed it is in reality. The core point of the dystopia is, I guess, that society is moving towards ruthless cost-efficiency, and spending al your days in front of a make-believe world is cheap. 

Mess_Jess's picture
Mess_Jess from Sydney, Australia, living in Toronto, Canada is reading Perfect by Rachael Joyce March 2, 2013 - 1:25pm

Hey Klas,

There was so much to enjoy about your story -- I loved your description of your part medieval, part technological world. It reminded me a little of Neal Stephenson, how he mixes the Victorian era with the steampunk genre. I liked your shifting tenses, too, which I didn't think was easy to do in a short story without being distracting, but I think you got the right balance with it. The concept of the Visors was fascinating, and it reminded me of VR stories and films prior to the Matrix. I would have liked you to focus in as intently on this part of your world as you did with the first couple of pages, the true horror of the situation could be really effective this way. 

The dystopian (or utopian???) theme could have been stronger, but for the purposes of submitting this story later on to publications, that won't really matter. I don't want to give away spoilers in here for anyone who hasn't read your story yet, but I really loved your ending. The possibility of losing a parent is just heart breaking!

Jess

Michael.Eric.Snyder's picture
Michael.Eric.Snyder March 2, 2013 - 6:14pm

This one hit home for me. I feel like I've spent all of the past 6 years in and out of assisted living/nursing homes taking care of my grandmother and her sister. Knowing intimately how it feels to be surrounded by the elderly, the dying elderly, on a regular basis, how it can affect one's psyche, well, like I said, this one hit home.

Of cours this gets a thumbs up, it's original and has a clever, poignant finish. The writing overall is good, although there are some awkward sentence structures and quite a few grammatical errors. 

This might have already been touched on (I haven't read other reviews), but the prologue (as I kind of think of it) is great in intention but feels too stilted, as if it's smothered by its own heavy handed medieval english, if that makes any sense. I'd tone it down a notch or two. It's a very effective opening technique for this story, but for this reader it's a bit off-putting. I'd write it more like a typical fantasy narrative, rather than strike a tone that almost seems like it's being orated from a giant scroll by a herald to a captive audience alternately listening and clinking cups of mead. :)

I don't mean to spend so much time on this, but I'm not sure how to quite get across what I'm saying. Hopefully that long-winded paragraph is enough.

Enjoyed!

One Tunguska Story

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 2, 2013 - 11:25pm

Hey! Glad the story affected you. The core of the idea is the realization I once had that given the choice of staring out the window at the misery and loneliness that is todays elderly care or playing world of warcraft 24/7 i'd personally choose the latter. And chances are it would let me hang out with the grandkids more. 

I agree the opening feels stilted. This is because I'm new to writing fiction but in this instance also   Intentional. In WoW, the setting of the game colors the dialogue of characters, computer generated and real. I wanted folks to immediately suspect there was something else behind the fantasy. The reader that reviewed my story after you did not get that and stopped reading after page one. He complained about the story not being dystopia. 

Thanks so much for the feedback! 

 

Michael.Eric.Snyder's picture
Michael.Eric.Snyder March 2, 2013 - 11:38pm

No no, for the most part you're writing doesn't feel stilted. Just that opening, which I knew was deliberate, but maybe poured on a bit thick. :)

You kind of crack me up, klahol -- Elderly Care or WoW. Hmmph.I played WoW for a while, not that you'd care to know that. I mean, who hasn't played WoW at least for a little while? At least among us creative types?

I'm new to the fiction writing too. I was sooo psyched about my story and it just recently got hammered in our workshop. Oh well. :)

To me, this definitely qualifies as dystopia. I mean sure, it's his decision to be Platinum immersed (which reminds me of an old MUD I used to play), but just the idea of hooking people up to an IV to get them out of society's way is, well, dystopic. Oppressive. Wrong. As if your painting of the facility the Mom was in wasn't enough to determine that. 

Anyway, I'm bored. Reading, listening to music on Spotify, and trolling Lit Reactor.

Ain't life grand?

Steven Zore's picture
Steven Zore from Brooklyn, New York March 2, 2013 - 7:26pm

I thought it was long winded. The opening description of the king was great. But how is this a sci/fi story and where is the utopia/dystopia theme?

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 2, 2013 - 11:12pm

Thanks for the feedback. Out of curiosity, did you manage to read the whole story through? 

Steven Zore's picture
Steven Zore from Brooklyn, New York March 3, 2013 - 2:38am

He is in the hospital and he doesnt have the right coverage and he is going to loose his legs. Is that the gist?

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 3, 2013 - 3:10am

Sure. It just sounded on your feedback as if I'd managed to bore you out of reading before the "fantasy" part in the beginning. Sorry you didn't like it, thanks for the feedback. 

Steven Zore's picture
Steven Zore from Brooklyn, New York March 3, 2013 - 3:23am

I felt your medieval part was inspired and exciting and perhaps i was expecting an "Excalibur" type story. Do you have any medieval stories i could read? I thought the king descriptions were top notch i mean, i wAs all set to follow him into battle!

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 3, 2013 - 8:31am

Sorry, have no fantasy stories as yet. If they announce a fantasy challenge you can rely on me jumping on it. I love fantasy and would really like to try my hand at it. But here it was just a lead-in to the sci-fi part of the story. 

Steven Zore's picture
Steven Zore from Brooklyn, New York March 4, 2013 - 1:44pm

I have to say your story hit me in the gut and brought my mothers death back to me in a horrific way. The scene walking through the hall just made me furious as i remembered my mother in a coma for a week and the emotions i felt visiting her every and feeling guilty be ause i hated it and it made just want to run away. It took me a couple of days to process it and it made reading the rest of the story an unpleasent e perience. I was in denial at first but this a profound and wonderful work.

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon May 4, 2013 - 12:51pm

Late reply to your reply, but first off, sorry about your loss, and secondly, I was really moved that my story affected you. Did not anticipate anyone reacting in that way, and it was humbling. I just realised i failed to tell you this. Thank you again for reading and giving the story a second chance. 

12thkey's picture
12thkey from Richmond, VA is reading Cards as Weapons by Ricky Jay March 3, 2013 - 10:10am

I liked the story, especially the twist (keeping mind of course that a reader uninvolved in the the contest wouldn't know that the story must contain a non-human character). 

And although I like the way you twist and manipulate the classic sword-and-sorcery tropes and the Matrix meme, I'm a concerned about the hackneyed phrases -- 'short-cropped steel gray beard,' 'gleaming mail and sharp spears,' 'smouldering corpses' etc.. I know they are necessary and intentional.  They work because they speak to the unreality of the Carema experience. 

That said, I fear that some readers and editors, based on the first couple of hundred words, might be put off.  And we don't want that because the pay off is so good! 

Well done.

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 3, 2013 - 10:19am

I'm so glad you liked it. Yeah, the first part of the narrative is a bit stilted. As Elmore Leonard would put it, 'there's a lot of writing going on'. I'm trying to channel someone living in a persistent on-line fantasy game. That's why I used ham-handed phrases like "stout praetorians". But to be honest, I'm not a hundred percent happy with how the first part feels reading. I would have liked to capture the relationship between Tim and his grandfather in a more personal, realistic, way. I kind of blame it that in reality I'm describing a synthetic being. But a lot of writers here have managed to do that and breathe way more life into their characters than I managed to do with Tim. 

 

 

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett March 4, 2013 - 8:10pm

The shift in italics was a little confusing at the beginning, and I did have a similar issue with understanding the POV here and there, but nothing devastating.

I love the concept. The descriptions are great, punchy yet haunting. Frankly, the execution was heartbreaking and perfectly done, the entire story carried through with exactly the cadence that was necessary for the full impact of the final reveal. The way the conclusion was stated was a little mottled and indirect, but I think that was the best way to do it; one of those things that if you understand it, you do, and if you don't, then you probably never will.

 

The three things that will survive the apocolypse: Rats; Cockroaches; Crocs.

I can't remember why I know the word suka, either.

-Salut

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland March 4, 2013 - 11:22pm

I like this story a lot. The world you create is good and I love the introduction/description to the “Home.” This kind of reminded me of that scene in inception where all the old people are addicted to that drug and just lying around withering away while there minds are off in dream land. Great scene in that movie, and great scene here.

I'll echo the compliments of the other reviewers and my minor complaints if any have been addressed by the other readers too so I won’t be redundant. I’ll let my LBL do most of the talking. It’s mostly nitpicky stuff that I feel could tighten it up a bit. Please take what you feel is helpful and discard the rest. I look forward to reading more of your work.


Thanks for sharing.

--JR--
 

Just noticed this is in the workshop so I'm going to post my lbl there too, if you don't mind.

That sucks, my lbl has vanished and that sucker took me two hours. It's late now but I'll do my best to get you all my thoughts later this week. I really did enjoy the story. I loved the varrying worlds and the first person pov switch that bookended Katherines section. 

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 5, 2013 - 1:25am

Hey JR,

was looking forward to your thoughts on my story in a big way. I vow to hunt down the miscreant electron that smote your LBL, yea, unto the very ends of the world. He shall have my just and swift vengeance and burn in electronic hell henceforth. Two hours of your time invested in a LBL would be something I had looked forward to.

I loved Inception, but the scene you refer to I don't remember. When I saw Inception I wanted to write a storward to your thoughts on my story in a big way. I vow to hunt down the miscreant electron that smote your LBL, yea, unto the very ends of the world. He shall have my just and swift vengeance and burn in electronic hell henceforth. Two hours of your time invested in a LBL would be something I had looked forward to.

I loved Inception, but the scene you refer to I don't remember. When I saw Inception I wanted to write a story that is bouncing around in my head about zero-g.

Hope you find your LBL or have the time to give me a bit of your feedback. It would mean a lot to me. Thanks! !

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 5, 2013 - 1:27am

Duplicated my feedback. Cleaning up. Nothing to see here. Move on. Move on. 

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland March 5, 2013 - 7:46pm

Here you go.

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 11, 2013 - 5:31pm

Jonathan,

I hope you realise that I havent replied to your feedback as yet because of pure, unadulturated flabbergastedness. You, sir, rock. As in Elvis. 

What I'm gonna do, is rewrite my story based on your LBL. Thank you for your stellar feedback.

 

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 21, 2013 - 2:17pm

My concern here, since I’ve already read it, is how long has he been in? Does the V.R. version of Timmy age? Or is the world such that you wouldn’t notice that sort of thing. I guess not, you can probably look however you would like. And would he not realistically think his grandson would grow out of the game? Or is it such that the mind deteriorates and can’t process that sort of reasoning?

Finally got around to making an update, and as you can see, I mostly followed your fantastic points to the letter. Thank you again. 

As to your question above, the way I envision it, a system like this could adapt to the users needs as they are made obvious by how he plays. Like what made the game create Timmy. It would also adapt to whatever mindstate he was in, Hell, it could probably adapt to someone with alzheimers, switching to whatever reality the user thought they were in at the time. If I ever try to write a longer story about this, that is one aspect of the technology I think I would explore. What is chilling to me is how plausible, how unaviodable this scenario is. Just look at the Oculus Rift goggles they are releasing now. I'd rather wear those than look out at the empty corridor of the nursing home, waiting for relatives that never visit. 

One inspiration for this story is a passage from The Diamond Age where the Primer meets the little girl Nell for the first time. The Primer is intended for a girl twice Nells age, but as soon as she interacts with it it senses her level of comperhension and seamlessly adapts. That is a masterful passage. That, and the subsequent scene involving a screwdriver. Oh man, i must reread that book. 

One last question. Does the simulated Timmy exist when his King is not plugged-in? Why is this being told in the A.I.’s perspective? I assume he was created to keep the old man playing and collect all the insurance money they can. But now his existence is dependent on rather or not the king plays, so it is also in his best interest to keep him playing, to stay “alive” That’s what I gather and I like that a lot.

Leads to the question about what an AI really is and how such a being would work. I have no idea. It is a bit like time travel, in that while I love the concept, the actual mechanics of it don't bear thinking too hard about. My theory is that an AI would need to be made to be as close to a real human being in every respect as possible. My Tim is only dimly aware that he is not the real Tim, and he doesnt care about the distinction. He does not need to. He cannot. 

As to wether he exists when the King is not plugged in - I guess he would be, some of the time. The world he exists in I wanted to portray as a MMPORG like World of Warcraft. That is, a world filled with other players, live and computer generated. The old man is king from years and years of hard work. Tim has one main purpose and this is to be the reason the old man plays the game. Tim and the old man have an unspoken agreement to play in character, to not break the illusion by discussing real life. I think the old man believes that Tim, having all the time to play with his granddad, might be in as bad a situation as he himself is in reality.  Unemployed, or sick, or both. Which is why not breaking character means so much to him. He thinks he needs to keep being the king for his grandson. 

Thanks again for your comments. Hope the updated story wins your approval. 

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland March 21, 2013 - 2:35pm

Hey Klas,

I meant to respond to your last response but I got busy and it slipped my mind. I was really glad you found my lbl helpful. Was a little worried I used too much red ink. And don't worry about winning my apporval. I highly approved of the first draft. ;) I was just offering information that I thought could help tidy it up a bit and elevate it to a more refined stage.

Thanks for answering my questions too. That's pretty much what I figured and I'm not sure how much of that needs to be in your story, but I think it's important for the author to know the answers to those kinds of questions because it can help them write the rest of the story the best way possible. So they were things I was kind of thinking about and just thought you may want to give them a ponder, or answer them for me(if you knew the answers). Glad you did.

I'd love to read your latest draft. Did you repost it on T.U. or in the workshop?

 

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 21, 2013 - 3:15pm

Should be here on TU. It's marked revision 4.  But I'm gonna update the workshop version as well. 

And thanks again for the feedback. Extremely inspiring stuff.

I totally agree with it being important to know why your story is what it is. To me, that's what is most fun in writing. To make the characters come alive in your mind and then choose what needs to be in the story. 

Wendy Hammer's picture
Wendy Hammer from Indiana is reading One Night in Sixes March 5, 2013 - 11:41am

I liked your story a lot.  The framing sections were particularly good, both in style, and in the genre blending.  I love that sort of thing.  You had fun tropes in there but I could already see the emotional core.  

The use of repetitions (especially in the beginning) were great--quite poetic. It takes a deft hand to pull that off. 

I followed the POV shifts without difficulty and I was invested in each of the characters.  

The only things I see to work on are mostly mechanical and nitpicky.  There are a lot of fragments.  A little more variety in sentence structure could help in places.  Then again, you do get a particular effect out of them....   The other thing is missing apostrophes: Timmy's, women's, today's, etc.  

Final bonus for me: Discovering that the MPython reference was intentional. It made me feel less guilty for getting the scene in my head. 

Well done! 

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 11, 2013 - 5:36pm

Final bonus for me: Discovering that the MPython reference was intentional. It made me feel less guilty for getting the scene in my head.

'-It's got huge, big... It can leap, about... WELL LOOK AT THE BONES!'

Thanks for reading and thanks for the feedback. Glad you liked the repetitions. I thought they were borderland kooky. Glad I pulled that off - sure was a close shave.

SamaLamaWama's picture
SamaLamaWama from Dallas is reading Something Wicked This Way Comes March 6, 2013 - 7:43am

Very creative story. I was wondering how the medieval theme was going to weave into a dystopian world and you did it seamlessly. Very good job. I could visualize both worlds and identify with all the characters. My only suggestion is the real emotional power of the ending gets lost a little. The fact that Timmy is not even there anymore is pretty profound, but it seems to get lost in the last two paragraphs. That’s it, that’s my only suggestion. Great reading, thanks for sharing. ~Sam    

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 11, 2013 - 5:39pm

Hey Sam,

thanks for reading and thanks for your feedback. I did struggle with the end and would have liked to make the reveal way more profound. I guess the key would be to somehow enhance the relationship between Tim and the grandfather. Next time. Thanks again for reading! 

Pär Daniel Östling's picture
Pär Daniel Östling March 8, 2013 - 10:09am

The starting page was a bit confusing to me at first, that is the relationship between these persons and how they interact with the institutionalised old man. Story truly touching at times (the fact that it comments on a present political scandal in Sweden is not necessary to know but it ads a layer of interpretation). Command of english is excellent. Keep writing!  //p

Pär Daniel Östling's picture
Pär Daniel Östling March 8, 2013 - 10:09am

The starting page was a bit confusing to me at first, that is the relationship between these persons and how they interact with the institutionalised old man. Story truly touching at times (the fact that it comments on a present political scandal in Sweden is not necessary to know but it ads a layer of interpretation). Command of english is excellent. Keep writing!  //p

Pär Daniel Östling's picture
Pär Daniel Östling March 8, 2013 - 10:11am

.

Kate Bosco's picture
Kate Bosco from Natick, MA is reading The Passage by Justin Cronin March 10, 2013 - 12:09pm

Great interpretation of the non-human character requirement! I didn't have any trouble getting past the high fantasy part, as I sort of assumed that's where the story was going, and switching POVs wasn't a problem. I don't think you need to use italics for Timothy's recollections of past battles. The change in tense is enough.

The scenes of other patients in the facility gave me the heebie-jeebies. This story doesn't help my fear of hospitals and nursing homes at all. It's also a good flipside to the utopia that the immersed people are experiencing.

I actually would like to know more about the virtual Timothy. Where does he go when the old man is away from his visor? Does he know what's happened to him in real life, and how does he know about the real Tim? The story doesn't suffer because these questions go unanswered; I'm just terribly curious :)

 

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 11, 2013 - 5:21pm

Hey Kate,

Thanks for takint the time to read and for your feedback. Very pleased I gave you a bit of heebie jeeebies. Exactly was I was looking for. 

As to Tim, I'm not really sure. I guess to build a believable A.I. you would need it to at least partly think it was actually sentient. At the same time, Tim is really Carema. Everything the company knows 'Tim' would know. At some time the real Tim lost interest, as kids do, and moved on to something else. Or he grew up and no longer had the time for MMPORGs. Or he died from cancer. In any case, the old man was alone and no longer had the motivation to continue living in his docile dreamland, only costing the company the price of nutrient IV and minimum wage labor to empty his stoma bags. 

My guess would be that Kathy was told about this and that the company, free of charge, would create an A.I. based on everything Tim had said, done and thought up to that point. This would keep the old man in the game. And out of Kathys hair and out of Kathys busy, busy life. 

Kathy knew. She might have told her dad the truth. But she chose the easy path instead. 

Frank Chapel's picture
Frank Chapel from California is reading Thomas Ligotti's works March 11, 2013 - 4:17pm

Im glad i took the time to read this great story. I waz really wondering where it was going as we got to the parking lot. Very well structured, interesting thing you did by having Tim be the non-human.

Clever and fun to read. I hope u got my reply earlier about using that company name in your story.

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 11, 2013 - 5:26pm

Hi Frank,

Glad you liked the story. Yeah, that was some good feedback on the company name. Now I guess it is locked into the story. And frankly, we do not have a lawsuit-oriented judicial system in Sweden, happily. Were I a US citizen, I'd be very afraid indeed to mess with Big Medical. But now I'm just reisking it and giving this unpleasant company their just desserts. 

 

Frank Chapel's picture
Frank Chapel from California is reading Thomas Ligotti's works March 11, 2013 - 5:51pm

I did wonder why the daughter, Katherine, had to make the trip to tell her father about the condition. Couldnt one of the head nurses have told him?

That was the only thing i forgot to mention. It may just be me nitpicking.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things March 16, 2013 - 11:38am

Oh wow, this was good.

I really don't have much to say that hasn't already been said. I was impressed by your ability to mix POV and somehow make it work as well as you did. Great ending, too. Well done.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things March 16, 2013 - 11:41am

Double-posted...

Maria Stanislav's picture
Maria Stanislav from the UK is reading ALL the submissions! March 21, 2013 - 9:46am

[SPOILER ALERT]

You, sir, are an evil person.
(Some way to start a comment, huh?)

Seriously, though, with this story, you punched me in the stomach - twice. And here I am, thanking you for it. Just as I recovered from the sheer wave of FEELINGS of the scene where Tim's grandfather chooses to stay with him in the virtual world, no matter the cost, you turned around and smacked me with the second reveal. That was the point where I was expecting myself to feel betrayed as a reader - bitter, broken over the fact that the old man's sacrifice was for a lie and therefore in vain. But I didn't, because the way you wrote it, the sacrifice was not wasted. The regard with which AI!Tim speaks of 'the King' seals the deal. To the man himself, this wouldn't be enough to make up for the lie. To me as a reader, it is.

I don't think I can offer any specific criticisms - I'm too sold on the story to go back and dissect it searching for things to nitpick. There's one technical thing I'd like to point out, though. Do you speak Russian yourself, or were you advised by a native speaker? Your transliteration is immaculate, but I'd recommend a slight change in your word choice. The orderly's words translate to 'I don't know what you're saying', where 'don't know' indicates 'don't understand'. In Russian, the verb 'to know' sounds far too literal in this situation - and, plainly put, a Russian-speaking person would never say the phrase that you put there. If you intend the orderly to say 'I don't understand what you're saying', I'd recommend saying 'Ya ne ponimayu, chto ty govorish' or 'Ya tebya ne ponimayu' ('I don't understand you'). Also, I originally planned to suggest that you use a polite/official 'you' (like the German 'Sie' vs 'du'), but the subsequent comment of the woman about Katherine's indicates that she wouldn't necessarily be polite. (Should you wish to use that form after all, or rephrase things otherwise, I'll be happy to help.)

Now, with technicalities out of the way, let me reiterate my point:
Brilliant work. Thank you for posting it.

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 21, 2013 - 11:35am

First review for the better part of a week, but your kind words more than makes up for it. 

I'm so happy you liked the story. Well. No. Actually I'm happy you think I'm evil. Because it seems my feeble attempts at a dramatic reveal had the intended effect on you. Which has me skipping around the apartment giggling with glee, literally. 

THANK YOU for correcting my russian. As is probably obvious, what you're seeing is a straight translate with Google Translate. Having translated English phrases into Swedish, I knew the result was at best bad Russian and at worst complete gibberish. I was so hoping that someone who read my story could tell me how to phrase this. Thanks!!!

Tonight I'm doing a final revision on this story, and including your translation with pride. If you ever need a translation in Swedish for your stories, let me know. 

Thanks again. You rock. 

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations March 22, 2013 - 9:58am

Hi,

Wonderful work, and other than the last, my comments are all minor formatting type issues...

Those opening paragraphs don't need to be in italics, do they? :)

"is afforded very few". (is afforded to very few?)

Consider always Capitalising King. (Respect the monarchy, man!)

The orderly section, put :

"...suka.”

on it's own line, to indicate it's something the orderly throws after her, and not actually (as you appear to have it) a section break and then something Kathy is thinking/repeating!

You have a similar Speech break between "Today. Right now.” and “Both legs." - not sure you want it there!

Okay, and on to the last! For this to work - for me - it is not enough for Tim to have been playing a game he tired off. That wouldn't make gramps quite so eager to be there for him. If Tim was under Carema care not because he was old but because he was ill, say, and if either the best or worst happens to him - he gets better or dies - then the AI Timmy takes over. Preferrably the got better - because that is more bitter sweet!

But that's it. That's the only gripe, excellent work otherwise!

Still undecided if this is a utopia or dystopia. Reminds me of Iain Banks Walking on Glass - the opt out by immersing into the head of others. I think it's a utopia, as long as the patients are choosing it themselves - and for the right reasons!

Liam

adrenokrome's picture
adrenokrome from United Kingdom is reading Altered Carbon March 27, 2013 - 3:59am

Klahol,

enjoyed your tale, elements of Brazil, Better than Life and Back to Reality - the idea of escaping / retreating from the real world. A few minor quibbles regarding time / manner / place and your sentence structure varies from a smooth rhythm to stilted, more so the former though, which is a very good thing (making for a mostly smooth ride!).

Do you read much fantasy? The intro was possibly the weakest part for me, it certainly sets the tone but it felt a little contrived, I kept waiting for somebody to shout WHAT HO, however, if the intention is tongue-in-cheek it works very well (it being an artificial environment). Don't get me wrong, just because I think its the weakest part doesnt mean I didnt enjoy.

This tale is a thumbs up because it is solid and unlike a lot of other tales I've read that deal with tragedy, it doesnt have that morose emo gob$hite revelling in its own self pity vibe, because you have a cool style.

Keep it up and happy writing!

All the best

Krome

 

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon March 27, 2013 - 10:27am

Hey Krome,

thanks so much for the feedback, and glad you liked the story. You are spot on with the fantasy. I have no defense, other than that I tried to create a mildly unrealistic WoW-vibe, because the fantasy world is fake and I wanted the reader to catch on to that. But no. To be honest, it's just that I'm taking baby steps in writing fiction altogether. Your 'WHAT HO' comment is spot on. Yea, verily! 

Do like fantasy, though. Loved the Belgariad by Eddings. Tolkien of course. And this summer i speed-read the Game of Thrones books (Damn you, HBO!)

 

adrenokrome's picture
adrenokrome from United Kingdom is reading Altered Carbon March 28, 2013 - 3:17am

Lol! Not long now, new season of Game of Thrones starts next week! WAHOO! If you enjoy those, I found the Thomas Cale trilogy by Paul Hoffman a good laugh, its both brutal and funny (very dry / black comedy).

lynnemthomas's picture
lynnemthomas April 30, 2013 - 8:09pm

Hi Klas,

I've been asked to review your story. You did a nice tidy job of delineating the dystopian world and the world that Granddad escapes to. The tech is indeed scientifically plausible, although I'm not certain whom the non-human character is supposed to be. Is it the construct of Timothy? That needs to be clarified, I think.

I thought that the POV shifts were pretty well done, and you captured Kathleen's voice nicely. I'm not a huge fan of the O. Henry-type ending, personally, with the grandfather's lost legs to stay immersed for a grandson who no longer exists, but I think that it still worked well within the confines of the story you were telling. 

Nice work. 

Warmly,

Lynne M. Thomas

Editor-in-Chief, Apex Magazine

(with apologies for the tardiness in supplying this critique).

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon May 1, 2013 - 2:52am

Hi Lynne! 

Thanks for taking the time to take a look at my story. Tim is indeed the non-human character, which is basically the point and the twist of the story. 

If you could elaborate a bit, what is an O. Henry-type ending? I mean, what story are you referring to? 

/K

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon May 1, 2013 - 3:10am

Nevermind about O. Henry, just googled him. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O._Henry

lynnemthomas's picture
lynnemthomas May 1, 2013 - 6:52am

*g* I was thinking specifically of "Gift of the Magi" if you were curious. It's the ending where both people "lose" by giving up something dearly held in sacrifice to the other.