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Adam Soandso's picture


By Adam Soandso in Teleport Us

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In a society made up of all work and little play, there is still a need for outsourced freelancers to get the job done. Even if it means going offworld to a robot factory planet on the fritz.


Michael.Eric.Snyder's picture
Michael.Eric.Snyder March 1, 2013 - 8:20pm

Great story! This was an easy thumbs up! One of my favorite movies is 2001, and while this has nothing in common with it, for some reason 83's voice reminded of a sane, benevolent HAL. You nailed that voice. I could hear it in my head, not just read it. There were many parts of Jo that read very easily, very authentically.

In fact, the whole world felt believable. No real false notes. I kept getting a Ripley vibe, too, from Jo. 

Only the beginning was a little shaky for me. It took me two or three reads to really "get" that he was in an office setting. I'd probably add a mundane detail or change some wording, like mentioning paperwork or the sad face of a co-worker near the beginning so that the reader feels less disoriented. I can't imagine why anyone would thumbs-down this story, unless perhaps they couldn't figure out what was going on in the introduction. As soon as it picks up with Jo, it's a breeze. 

You could turn up the pathos a bit with revisions, and the judgment on us cruel humans, too.

Really enjoyed this.

Adam Soandso's picture
Adam Soandso from the streets of rage is reading graffiti on the bathroom wall March 1, 2013 - 9:34pm

Thanks a lot, Michael! I agree about the beginning. If I had more time, I would have definitely rewritten that entire part. It's the only bit I'm not satisfied with. 

Also, I couldn't be happier with your comparisons. Although not a conscious decision to pull from them, I absolutely love love love 2001 and Alien(s)

Thanks again!

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things March 3, 2013 - 2:39pm

Hi Adam,

I agree with Michael that the "frame" of the story is a bit shakier than the rest. It provides a nice contrast against Jo's story and is certainly salvagable, but in my opinion, the way it is now doesn't significantly contribute to the story in a way that couldn't be relayed through Jo's story alone. It opens up a lot of questions (ie, why is being unplugged so great?) that don't really get answered.

Jo's story was much smoother and easier to follow. I kind of wished that there was more focus on the moral issues surrounding the apparent robot intelligence and their behavioral evolution, because Jo seems to shift from disbelief to impassive action without too much trouble. I definitely pulled the "who's the unemotional robot now?" idea from it, but I think the contrast could be stronger if there was some idea as to how odd or difficult this issue was to solve. It makes Jo a rather unsympathetic character when the AI saves her life in order to try to solve things peacefully, and Jo reacts by killing it. I kind of found myself rooting for the robots, but not really sure whether I should be or not.

Overall, though, I thought the story played out well, and while I thought some themes and aspects could be fleshed out more fully, it's good enough to warrant a thumbs-up from me.

Chi's picture
Chi from Sydney, Australia is reading The back of the Milk Carton March 3, 2013 - 6:06pm

Hi Adam,

Okay, Grant's story is a nice throwback to the retro-future. It has the feel of the 30's and 40's with the hats and the coats. You don't have to explain this, but work on those little peices of jargon like "HUD". I know for people in certain fields, it is common knowledge. For me though, I had to google it and facepalm myself to realise it is the Head Up Display.

Also, make us empathise with Grant. Let us get inside his head and his longing for paradise. At the moment, paradise is this abstract concept of the ideal holiday. It took him 10 years to wait for paradise, so show us Grant's giddyness and his excitement.

On that point of excitement, I was expecting Grant to put up a fight against his boss. If you waited 10 years for something and your boss shot those plans down, I don't think you would just roll over and say "Yeah boss, I'll do the job.". I'm betting that you will put up a fight. 

For me, I would be tempted to scrap Grant's story from this piece. Your main protagonist here is Jo and why would we care what Grant thinks if he's sipping cocktails on a beach? We're emotionally invested in Jo and the shithouse job that she has just picked up.

Okay, with Jo, my first bone to pick is with the shoulder dislocation. Okay, having had 2 full shoulder reconstructions I can tell you that using the wall to bang it back in place is a myth. What happens is your shoulder is either in incredible amounts of pain or you are paralysed on that side of the body- You can't really move or swing the arm. To even move the arm slightly is amazingly painful. If you're lucky enough not to have nerve damage, the only feeling that you do have is in the fingers.

Depending on the direction of the dislocation (front or back) this is a method of popping the shoulder back in place: Shoulder relocation. Also, one thing to realise is that after you dislocate your shoulder 20-30 time, your shoulder becomes a real pain to relocate. In the greater than 20 times range, expect to spend lengthy amounts of time in emergency.

With Jo, I think you need to get under her skin more. What does she think? What does she feel emotionally about the situations and jobs that she has to work? At the moment, you tell us alot about her, but there is alot of sassiness and grit that you need to show us through her body language, her self-talk and emotional state.

Nice work man.

Please find more detailed comments in the lbl attached.


Wendy Hammer's picture
Wendy Hammer from Indiana is reading One Night in Sixes March 5, 2013 - 7:36pm

I liked a lot about this story.  I could connect with Grant's longing for Paradise and the temptation of Outsourcing his work.  I thought Jo's adventure was interesting as well.  There were some lines and observations that I enjoyed quite a bit: the quip about the laudromat corp and "the joke's on you" parts, stood out, in particular.  

I thought it was a bit difficult to follow at times.  A little clarification about events in Jo's section, could help bring things home.  Solidifying the connections between frame and story could help too.

 Is there a tense problem in the first paragraph? ". . . wishing that he didn't turn his HUD clock back on"  should be past tense, shouldn't it?  It jars right there at the start. 

Once you get going on the world building, though, the story moves right along.  It drew me in and I'm glad I read it. 

IrishMak's picture
IrishMak from NH March 9, 2013 - 4:09pm

Nice story. Maybe a little quicker getting into Jo's part, since the beginning is really a set up for the rest. Once it gets going, it's nicely done. I do like the ending, also.



dufrescm's picture
dufrescm from Wisconsin is reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep March 11, 2013 - 1:57pm

Adam - 

Good concept. I gave this a thumbs up, because it's got a lot of potential!  I really like the "revenge of the self-aware automoton" story.  I feel like the pacing was off, though, and it could use a little attention in the "show don't tell" department".  Also, character-wise, I'm not sure I believed Jo's reactions to some situations. 

I've attached an LBL with some suggestions, comments, questions, etc. Turn on "review panel" and "track changes" if you can't see my notes.  Any of the deletions or addtions can be treated as "maybe try this", unless I added a note to explain why it would need to be changed (those are usually grammar-related issues anyway).  

My biggest suggestion, though, is to lose the bookends with Grant's story. This is really Jolene's story, and Grant is just the excuse to get her into the Box. You can show us this by maybe showing us the message that goes along with his "job request", rather than show us his predicament. 

As with everything else, these are just my opinions. Feel free to use what you can, and ignore what you can't. 

Good story, and happy revisions!


Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations March 13, 2013 - 4:35pm

Hi there,

This one needs a polish - a basic edit, because in the second sentence "didn't turn" should be "hadn't turned" and in the third, "He made it" should be "He'd made it". These distract, more than they should; polishing prevents that.

The basic story is good, if not wildly original, but I think you miss some opportunities. Your initial narrator isn't particularly active in the story - he just passes the task to another, so while that allows you to construct the shape of the story it doesn't quite glue it together. He has too easy a life..

Similarly, we get Jo's struggle to switch off the system, and she's an interesting, hard boiled character, (that we'd like to see more of, because that's were your inventiveness has played out!) but I think we want to know why it is her doing this sort of job, and why she is quite so trigger happy. (I'd accept some sixth sense telling her to blow the receptionist away, but not the automatic response...)

The system itself, is also interesting, and novel, but you reboot or kill it without a second thought, and again, without (say) explaining if / what happened to any human operators in the factory, nor how this malfunction happened, and is it likely to happen again, and does Jo feel any real remorse, for killing a sentient (but rather dangerous) factory?

I didn't "get" the shape of the universe either - multiple planets, only a few hours (or less) apart? A whole planet on which only the robot facility exists? The ability to "telecom" to a planet presumably light years away, and fix things remotely? I think you could easily condense the whole thing down to one planet, or at most two, but in same solar system, and buy a bit of extra credibility...

So some good elements, but you need to decide whether the two narrators actually helps, and work a little bit more on the "Do I pull the plug/Do I get paid - bad reviews for this job" dilemma. That, I think, ultimately is where Jo's conflict lies. (Think of things like some of her fee vanishing when she shoots (damages) the receptionist, have a money meter running through her HUD, rather than just time, driving her on... )

Keep at it!




Wonder Woman's picture
Wonder Woman from RI is reading 20th Century Ghosts March 15, 2013 - 8:30pm

I thought this was a very interesting story with a lot of potential. I, too, felt like Jolene was reminiscent of Ripley, and even a bit Han Soloish ("Never tell me the odds" / "Never tell me the reviews.") 

I have to go against the grain here and say that I liked the bookends of the office and Grant's desk job lifestyle vs. Jo's gritty, hands-on way of life. I liked Jo's badassery of making hard decisions and slamming her own shoulder back in place. Grant is more concerned with going on vacation and Jo is doing what she must to survive. I love the contrast and think with a little polishing you'll have a gem! Nice work. 

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) March 28, 2013 - 5:59am

There are some really good bits in here. The characters are strong, the setting is interesting. The contrasts are well handled but I can completely understand why some would call for the bookend sections to go. I'm intruiged as to how Grant would have dealt with the situation had the outsourcing not been an option. From the action, I can't quite envisage how he would have managed from his desk. It's a solid thumbs up from me though.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. March 30, 2013 - 6:52pm

Smooth and fun to read!  A solid thumbs up from me!  I blew through that before I realized I was on the last page.  Jolene sounds like an interesting character, do you have plans for her in other stories as well?

Excellent work!