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Grant Piercy's picture

A Black Tie Affair

By Grant Piercy in Teleport Us

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An obsessive android engineer infiltrates a socialite party to be close his creation. During the party, he finds himself entangled in a game he doesn't entirely understand, and that could find him on the run from the authorities...


irennie's picture
irennie from All over. Currently in Cambridge, England. is reading the Target Doctor Who novelizations February 9, 2013 - 3:21pm

I liked this a lot.  A consistent, obsessive character voice, and a world well envisioned in subtle strokes.  Your main character is a beautifully doomed obsessive, and right from the start I was sure things weren't going to end well for him.

You have a good eye for small details that make things believable: the choice of drinks, the policewoman's eyeglasses, the continued motif of characters' eye colour.  You have a consistent and interesting style that made this very easy to read.

My only concern in the ending.  A lot happens, and I get that it's confusing and disorienting for the character, but even after two or three reads, I'm not entirely sure of the sequence of events.  It slightly muted what should have been the big payoff.

With that said, I found this to be one of the most enjoyable stories I've read on here.  Very well done.

Naomi Mesbur's picture
Naomi Mesbur from Toronto, Ontario, Canada is reading Burn Baby Burn Baby by Kevin T. Craig February 9, 2013 - 9:18pm

Your file name says "edit". Was there a previous version? Not that it matters - I LOVED this story! I liked the chaos - that drew me into his mind and really emphasized his one goal for the party, showing how out-of-place he was. Wonderful stuff! Thank you. 

Grant Piercy's picture
Grant Piercy from Ohio is reading Nothing at the moment, but recently Don DeLillo's Libra February 10, 2013 - 10:03am

the _edit on the filename was just to denote the second draft of the story. It needed some tweaking from the rough draft, mostly very basic things -- a sentence here and a sentence there. The story remained the same through the multiple drafts. Also, thank you so much for reading and for the kind comments... very much appreciated!

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon February 10, 2013 - 4:34am

Masterfully written, and well rounded to boot. Easily the best story I've read here so far. I might have wanted a bit more info of what erasure really means. Motivates me to do an edit of my own story to be worthy of competing in this league. Good show! 

Grant Piercy's picture
Grant Piercy from Ohio is reading Nothing at the moment, but recently Don DeLillo's Libra February 10, 2013 - 10:06am

With the "black-bagging" and "erased" stuff -- the setting of this story was kind of in a dystopia I'd already created for a book I'd self-published. I go into a lot more detail about what being erased entails there, but just wanted to use it as a plot device here for a standalone story. Thanks for reading!

timbarzyk's picture
timbarzyk from Earth February 10, 2013 - 8:06am

I liked how the character was developed. He showed definite motivation to be there to spy around looking for his sim. 

The progression of events struck me as a little disjointed, and I admit to being lost at times, but not in a jarring way, so was able to keep up with the story through the end. 

Some things that caught me as being confusing on the first read-through: why was the security guard so on top of this guy right away; why was he invited to the party in the first place (I know he made the sim, but he didn't really seem like Shields' friend, so did he actually sneak in?); and then the sequence of events -- first he's in a lab, then a ballroom, then standing on a toilet (?), then has handcuffs, then is taken away. And his notes -- did Shields' know why he was there, and planted those notes on him? My suspension of disbelief waned at the thought that the notes were sheer coincidence to his actual motives.

I think some segues would have helped -- he walked out of the ballroom and into the bathroom to splash some cold water on his face and shock himself into calmness -- or something like that. 

Maybe I'd catch these things on a second or third pass, but I like to give feedback on first impressions too. Overall, though, while the paragraph above might seem long, these are minor critiques, and the story was captivating. Your character was real and well-developed, and the plot sung true. The action and progression of events made sense and kept moving despite a bit of disorientation.


ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 10, 2013 - 1:39pm

Yup, this is another wow! You have amazing skill as a writer. This is easily one of the most polished and well written stories in the event. I really liked your characterization and they way you conveyed Neil's emotion. I kept wondering if he was human or not. The way your world is setup, he could easily be just as artificial as Charolette.

Great Job!

GG_Silverman's picture
GG_Silverman from Seattle February 21, 2013 - 3:54pm

Wow, this story was pure genius. The writing was smooth, concept clever, dialogue believable and engaging, and the sense of stakes rising made this feel like a futuristic thriller movie. Thumbs up!

Ethan Cooper's picture
Ethan Cooper from Longview, TX is reading The Kill Room, Heart-Shaped Box, Dr. Sleep March 1, 2013 - 11:04am

Very well written, and very engaging! You carried me all the way through, and the end hit me before I was ready. It didn't feel like 3,600 words! It read so smoothly.

I really like the love of the creator for his creation. Forbidden, but completely relatable. And the rich playing games with others was fun--a theme that pops up in my own story. I think your approach worked extremely well.

There are a couple of instances where you slip into past tense, but very few. The only other comment I have is the last sentence may be telling us too much. I think we know what's going to happen since you brought up erasure earlier. I don't know there's a need to mention it there. End with him being dragged away, but maybe something that references Charlie again--perhaps that he's been dragged away from her, which is the final tragedy here.

So well done. Bravo.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) March 2, 2013 - 8:52am

I wasn't keen on this when I read it a couple of weeks ago, but I enjoyed it the second time round.  The idea of this game for the rich using pawns in this way is a good one.  I'd have liked the game to have had more prominence, but that would have meant sacrificing from the beginning, and you needed to set up the obsession.  The piece raises questions - is he human?  Is he doing this against his will?  How did they know what he was going to do?  I like that not all the questions have easy answers.