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ender.che.13's picture

The Gorund

By ender.che.13 in Teleport Us

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Once you have read this story, please make sure you rate it by clicking the thumbs above. Then take a few minutes to give the author a helpful critique! We're all here for fun but let's try to help each other too.


When the innerworkings of the world around us are left to their own devices, strange things begin to happen within the walls.



bri.marshall's picture
bri.marshall February 1, 2013 - 10:49pm

I like this story because it could be the direction our world is heading in. Where nobody really thinks about how things are getting done, and they just live there spoiled lives having a little Gorund take care of everything. 

You can really understand the character's position. For some reason, the work makes him kinda happy....even though nobody even knows how much he does. 

Gorund seems like he would be kinda scary looking, but he is a totally lovable character.


ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 1, 2013 - 11:02pm

I saw him as a bit scary in my mind as well. Rodent-like, which is an unappealing idea to us, but would make him perfectly suited to the work.

Matt Hebert's picture
Matt Hebert from Vermont, originally, now in Dublin February 2, 2013 - 10:52am

Great alien character, with real personality and style. Nicely done. :)  I was bracing myself for a Twilight Zone episode, but you deftly avoid too dark a theme, I guess mostly through showing us more of Gorund's attitude.  There's a nice blend of humor in there, but we can still take him seriously.  Nice.

You did well building up the world he lives in and letting us follow along.  I did have some trouble getting through some of the descriptions of what he was seeing, etc.  I had to read the opening several times to get an image that made any sense, and that was helped a lot by reading your description again.  The scene with the rat and the fans also needed increased attention, as I tried to visualize how it was all working. [Of course, this may just be me trying to get through too many stories in one night.]  I just mention it for what it's worth.

Overall, it's a strong story with a good character.  Well done. :)

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 2, 2013 - 12:01pm

Vermont to Dublin? Where do I sign up?

Anyway. Thanks very much for reading and the feedback. I had similar feelings about the scene in the elevator shaft, and the beginning as well, but parsimony of words prevented me from digging into them as much as I would have liked. Probably a beneficial restriction, as I do go on when permitted. 

Thanks again!

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Hit February 2, 2013 - 4:59pm

Very well written.  I enjoyed how thanklessly the Gorund went about his work.  It's a trait humans tend to lose as the years go on, but he carried it until the end. Even though he was far from human it seemed that he was capable of picking up on only the better parts of us and excused our shortcomings as just the way we are.

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 3, 2013 - 1:09pm

Thanks for reading. I'm glad that that aspect of his personality came through well. I like that he holds to high ideals while living a fairly primitive existence, following old fashioned morales that no longer really apply to the people whom he serves.

Again, thanks very much for taking the time!

Karen Danielle Torres's picture
Karen Danielle ... February 2, 2013 - 10:03pm

Great story.  It is very original and well written.  Even though there are lots and lots of little details, each revelation makes you want to know more, in contrast to how some writers just make me feel like I want them to get to the point.  You painted a familiar world from an unfamiliar point of view and made it eerily clear.  You also make the point of the humans' slovenly, disasterous ways without harping them.  We see it all through the eyes of the Gorund who seems so admirable... until he gets "smart".  Well done.

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. February 3, 2013 - 1:21pm

I liked this one a lot. You have amazing characterization and do a very good job describing Gorunds world. The scene with the fans really had me wondering if he was going to make it or not.

Good job!

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 4, 2013 - 1:43am

Thanks so much! Thank you for taking the time to read, and write a review. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Frank Chapel's picture
Frank Chapel from California is reading Thomas Ligotti's works February 4, 2013 - 9:23pm

This one reminded me of a Jim Henson production, the Gorund in its own little world carrying out duties concerning him while the human world is nearly oblivious to its existence. Then the revalation at the end that was dark but not overdone.

Some of the descriptions were hard to follow early on but it was an enjoyable read overall.

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 4, 2013 - 9:51pm

Ha! That's funny, but you're absolutely right; the image I personally had when writing this of Gorund was exactly on par with something from a Jim Henson production. 

I've been hearing that a lot about my descriptions, particularly toward the beginning. I really appreciate the feedback, and I'm so glad that you enjoyed the read.

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 5, 2013 - 12:33am

Thanks again guys!

Ben_Sharp's picture
Ben_Sharp from London February 6, 2013 - 4:56pm

I liked this one too. Cool character, nice twist, AND a happy (ish) ending. Nice work. :)

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 8, 2013 - 10:57am

Yeah, I suppose the happiness of the ending is a little ambiguous. But, he retired, so I guess it can't be too bad! At any rate, thanks for taking the time to read and to give your feedback. Spread the word!

Ethan Cooper's picture
Ethan Cooper from Longview, TX is reading The Kill Room, Heart-Shaped Box, Dr. Sleep February 9, 2013 - 12:41am

You are a talented writer, and this is a great little story. You can be proud. You have an interesting character, and good setup, conflict, and resolution. To me, it was a very satisfying ending! Everything makes sense.

It needs some general polish to clean up some grammer and to make certain sections clearer, but  generally, well done!

I sense that a maintenance bot revolution is coming...

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 10, 2013 - 9:19pm

If you have kids, you know the revolution can't come soon enough!

Thanks for the reading, and the honest feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

mattymillard's picture
mattymillard from Wolverhampton, England is reading Curse of the Wolf Girl - Martin Millar February 10, 2013 - 8:04pm


This is a great story, original and believable. I loved the characterisation and humanity of the gorund, and I thought the naming quirk was simple but really clever at the same time. Good job!


ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 11, 2013 - 1:37am

Thanks very much.

Yeah, I the original story idea was more fantasy, the Gorund being an almost Hobbit-like character -mystical forest, living underground, tralala-  but I adapted it into this for the contest. I think the original idea for the name came from a dyslexic rendering of the word "ground", which is ironic, because the first time my wife read the story, I think she made it to the third page before exclaiming that she had thought it said "ground" the whole time.

Thanks again!

Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb February 12, 2013 - 7:29pm

Wow! This definitely gets a thumbs up from me.

Honestly, I find it hard to criticise anything. I don't like doing flattering reviews but that's as close as I get, there's nothing I don't like on a first read. On the grounds that there's no story that's perfect I'm tempted to go for a second read and do an LBL, but first impressions tell me this is pretty damn good! Some observations:

Great way to create a sympathetic character by making him something of a born servant to human kind. (Co-incidently I read this after a really shit day at work so I get the feeling that character's situation is bound to resonate with just about anyone.)

I picked up your comment about how the Gorund is almost Hobbit-like, it's almost too bad you said it because when I came to post feedback I was already thinking your narrative is quite Tolkein-like in that you're using a 3rd person text but occasionally you address the reader as if to remind us that there's an author-narrator in the background. I've been re-reading The Hobit recently since I saw the film and that's exactly what I find a standout feature in Tolkien's writing.

Matt Hebert's comment about how certain descriptive passages are a little tricky to visualise I would almost agree with but for me that's actually a plus - I'm used to that issue even with the acclaimed sci-fi authors I read, part of the challenge of reading in the genre is that you get descriptions of things that are completely new to you, I find if I can't visualise something the limitation lies with me and not the author, so I try to think a little bigger. You got me to do it.

I like the play on words you finished off with, the 'Go-Around' and how he rearranged the letters for himself into new combinations, a great way to show the rediscovering of an identity.

I've little idea how the judges in these competitions work but I'll go as far as to say that if this isn't a potential winner then it certainly should be.

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 12, 2013 - 11:08pm

Well, thank you so much for the very in depth review. That's interesting about the narrative being Tolien-esque. I hadn't recognized that at all before you said it, but I see exactly what you mean. It's like a Ferris Bueller method of audience recapture. 

I work in a factory in the U.S., so I can definitely relate to your sentiments about the Gorund conundrum (if you happen to be a mathematician, by the way, Gorund Conundrum would make an excellent name for a proof). I think we all feel a little underappreciated at times, and that leads to egotism because you compensate psychologically for the lack,  or perceived lack, of positive reinforcement.

The play on words involving the name was an absolute accident, but no doubt a happy one.

I've seen a few of your posts on LitReactor, as well, and I can tell you're just as excited to have discovered the site as I was. The group of people who are drawn to this site are an excellent bunch, and I feel comfortable saying on behalf of everyone here: Welcome! And we're happy to have you on board!

Thank you again for the review, and I'm so happy you enjoyed the read!

JC Piech's picture
JC Piech from England is reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest February 15, 2013 - 1:32pm


I really enjoyed this story. I loved the imagery of the world within the walls, and the outside too. And I liked the character a lot, he was unique, likeable and well-rounded (excuse the pun!)

Although I really like it, I do think you could tighten it a bit more. As an example:

"It was dark, of course, in the walls, but his huge black pupils showed him more than any of the humans he served could ever have seen. There were a lot of things he could do that they couldn’t."

You could cut that to:

"It was dark in the walls, but his huge black pupils showed him more than any of the humans he served could ever see. He could do lots of things they couldn't."

And "He’d probably saved lives" could become "He'd saved lives."

So I think with a bit of tightening you could turn this really good story into a great one! :)

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 15, 2013 - 8:17pm

Hey, there! Well, I'm glad that you enjoyed the story. At the end of the day that's what really counts, and I just hope you enjoyed enough to read my future submissions, and let mea earn that "Thumbs-up"!

I would argue that while you're critiques would be gramatically and technically more effective, they would drain some of the voice from the prose. That is to say, Moby Dick could have begun with the line "I'm Ishmael," but it would have been boring. I particularly apply this to the second example you give above. I feel like the lack of certainty in the statement plays better to the fact that his entire existence, his world, is seen only through his eyes, without verification from others (or criticisms, lucky fella!)

The first example, however, I actually rather agree with your critique. Something about the ring of that sentence never felt right to me, and your suggestion was one that I toyed with as well. Now, though, hindsight being what it is, I think the best form -for my tastes, at least- would have been, "He could do many things which they could not."

Oh, well. Se la vie. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your honest feedback. We can't all like the same things, but there's a pleasure in sharing our differences of opinion that I think a lot of people are missing these days.

Thanks again!

Baal Dagon's picture
Baal Dagon February 15, 2013 - 8:07pm

WOW! What a wonderful short story and it defiantly kept me reading.

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 15, 2013 - 10:37pm

Thanks very much!

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon February 18, 2013 - 4:36am

This story was the first published, and I am glad i didnt read it, because im not sure i would have dared enter this competition otherwise. 

Having read it now, this takes the top spot in all stories i've read so far, and i've read some good ones. I love this story. 

I think what i love most is how you write your story like someones telling it. Most stories, mine included, has a cold, factual style in their storytelling. This feels like sitting in the lap of a master storyteller. Reminds me of Wind In The Willows, one of my all time favorites. 

I must try to write a story with this tone of voice.  It will be nowhere near this story, but now you've given me a lofty goal to aim for.

Thank you. </GUSHING>

GG_Silverman's picture
GG_Silverman from Seattle February 18, 2013 - 5:14pm

I thought the concept was great, and what a fun surprise at the end. My only feedback: I found the descriptions a bit complex and had to re-read several times to orient myself in the story. With some tightening, this would be excellent.

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 18, 2013 - 8:38pm

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed this. Yes, that seems to be my singular sticking point. Too bad I can't draw, or that level of detail would really come in handy! :)

GG_Silverman's picture
GG_Silverman from Seattle February 18, 2013 - 9:04pm

Definitely. :) I do think you were clever in trying to describe the world in ways a non-human would. Kudos for the creativity there. 

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 19, 2013 - 3:18am

I like your hair.

GG_Silverman's picture
GG_Silverman from Seattle February 19, 2013 - 3:42pm

Thanks! It's a Halloween wig!

dufrescm's picture
dufrescm from Wisconsin is reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep February 18, 2013 - 6:04pm

I enjoyed this.  It was well-written, and has a good bit of excitement and dramatic tension, and the characterization was well-handled.


A few notes for revisions:

  • The opening scene was really hard for me to picture, even on second read.  I'd spend some time focusing heavily on that section, since it's your hook, and really make sure it gives the visual you want. 
  • The scene where Gorund was shot into the sky and then came back down had good pacing, but I found the action hard to visualize (though the scenery is well-described).  Especially when he comes back down - I thought he landed on his own building at first, and was a little confused until I realized that he "arced" and landed on another building.  It's an important scene, so I'd focus on making sure the action carries as much weight as the visuals.
  • This sentence is really awkward: "And if they hadn’t have had him around, well!"  Maybe "And if he hadn't been around, well!" would read more smoothly.

I agree with JC about tightening up some of the lines.  Otherwise, I don't have much else.  


Good work :)



ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 18, 2013 - 8:40pm

Thank you very much. Yes, actually, every point you touched on were areas that I had very similar feelings about (teach me to trust my instincts more).

C Patrick Neagle's picture
C Patrick Neagle from Hood River, Oregon is reading words, words, words February 21, 2013 - 6:59am

Once Gorund goes for the rat, the read was fast and engaging. However, the description of the Gorund early on slows the pace down too much on the way to the rat hunt. You might consider seeding that information throughout the rest of the story--a detail here, a detail there, as Gorund uses various body parts.

What I most liked toward the end was Gorund's reaction to the Other. It was unexpected, shocking--and just right for what happens when someone discovers/remembers the truth of their existence.

A couple of small bits: instead of Gorund's or his building's "people", go with "humans." When I first read "Gorund's people" I thought, of course, of other Gorunds. Also, although he speculates on the existence of other Gorunds, he seems shocked to encounter one. The alien-ness of that encounter is muted if he even suspects--at least seriously and not just in dreams--that there are others like him.

Here's a VERY small one: For some reason, I really want it to be "his sudden measurable fragility," instead of "immesurable." Because now his fragility is quite measurable: measurable in distance to the ground and impact speed.

Oh, and I liked the repetition of "--Gorund--" every time he thought of it. For that reason, I think you should just go with pronouns until he pats the stitched on letters of the name. We learn it at the same time he looks at it.

Also, dunno if it's what you meant to happen, but I thought that Gorund fighting with the fan grate was quite funny.

That's what I've got. I enjoyed the read.

PS (post reading the comments above): I agree with those who said that the opening was hard to visualize (also the fan grate and the flight). That opening has to haul the reader in (and it's a writing sin I often commit myself).  I also agree with JC's comments on tightening up some of the language--especially early on. You can still get the effect from the Gorund's voice that you're looking for, methinks.

voodoo_em's picture
voodoo_em from England is reading All the Rage by Courtney Summers February 21, 2013 - 2:00pm

I really enjoyed this ~ I pictured the Gorund as a kind of cross between a rat and the gruffalo wearing an old fashioned housewives apron. He is an easily relatable and sympathetic character and his journey is nicely paced and enchanting.

My only nit-pick come in the form of questions that popped into my head regarding the story as a whole:

~ Gorund is a robot but mentions having the senses of smell and taste. He is fearful of pain and also mentions a heartbeat. These aren't so much issue as this story works well to create suspended belief and, well this is the future and anythings possible with technology, I guess I'm just curious about why manufacturers would add these things.

~ Gorund makes reference to religion (God knows and Amen) and again I'm curious about whether this is something programmed into him, or if robots have their own "heaven" ("No silicon heaven'? Where would all of the calculators go?" ~Kryton from Red Dwarf)

Anyway, like I said not really issues, more just curiosities. And the Jim Henson comments made me think of Fraggle Rock, so I can totally see that :)

Great work.


Juice Ica's picture
Juice Ica from Rhode Island is reading The Twelve by Justin Cronin & Beautiful Creatures February 28, 2013 - 4:15pm

Since its the last day of the contest Im not giving people bad reviews in any way. Not that that matters in your case because this is a great story! I love the character of Gorund. To me he isnt scary, I dont know why but I saw him as adorable. Yep. Thats the world that came to mind, adorable. I wanted him to win out in the end because he worked so hard and did SUCH a good job so I was pleased with the happy ending (Im calling it a happy ending).

One thing I would say was that I had to re-read the scene where Gorund gets ejected from his building more than once to make heads or tails of it. But that could just be me trying to read stories at work and getting distracted.

Again, great story. I want a Gorund!!!

klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon February 28, 2013 - 5:00pm

This is the first day of the contest. Its just the last day of submitting stories. 

Juice Ica's picture
Juice Ica from Rhode Island is reading The Twelve by Justin Cronin & Beautiful Creatures February 28, 2013 - 5:11pm

Yes, I realized my error and was coming back to edit my feedback to reflect that when I saw your comment. Thanks for editing my feedback :) 

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett February 28, 2013 - 9:07pm

Ha. As long as you don't revise your vote!

Thanks for the read. The fact that you found him cute is a compliment, because it means that I struck the balance I was going for between his alien qualities and his endearing ones.

Juice Ica's picture
Juice Ica from Rhode Island is reading The Twelve by Justin Cronin & Beautiful Creatures March 1, 2013 - 12:44pm

No way, I may be confused about the contest rules but I wasnt confused about how much Iiked this story! You did a great job with his qualities, its hard to strike the balance but I feel like you totally nailed it. Again, great work!

Steven Zore's picture
Steven Zore from Brooklyn, New York March 2, 2013 - 9:36am

I liked it, well written and a good story. Thumbs up.

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett March 3, 2013 - 2:07am

Love that Brooklyn brevity. Thanks for the read.

Wendy Hammer's picture
Wendy Hammer from Indiana is reading The Three Body Problem March 5, 2013 - 8:58pm

Good story!  I really liked the POV character.  It was an interesting idea and you made the Gorund likeable.  That made the ending seem all the more satisfying. 

Like other readers, I found the beginning a little hard to visualize.  I think it has something to do with all those long, complex sentences.  Dividing some of them up into shorter sentences would give the paragraph some more variety, a new rhythm, and might allow us to pause to process the details.  I especially liked the distinctions between the blues.  That is too cool to get buried. 

You could also break up some of the longer paragraphs (like the initial description of the Gorund) to add emphasis and control the pace.  

Really, overall, this worked for me.  Nicely done! 

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett March 5, 2013 - 10:24pm

I think that's an excellent idea. I often utilize commas, periods, and other punctuation for just that purpose, though I hadn't thought to use it here. Thank you for the insightful input.

Thanks for the read!

SamaLamaWama's picture
SamaLamaWama from Dallas is reading Something Wicked This Way Comes March 11, 2013 - 1:37pm

Great story, I really ended up caring for the little dude. I agree with Whammer. You need to break up those paragraphs in smaller bites. When there is a paragraph break, the reader takes that time to process the information you've just given them and visualize the story. You are a great story teller. You just need to work on the white space a little more. Overall it was fun. I cared about Gorund. I loved the different names for a little bot. You did great work here. ~Sam   

Mess_Jess's picture
Mess_Jess from Sydney, Australia, living in Toronto, Canada is reading Perfect by Rachael Joyce March 12, 2013 - 9:07pm

Mr Marshall,

You have no idea how long I've had this story on my To Do List (I'm serious, every day I've had a "read ender's story" in my calendar and kept moving it back because hospital visits have been consuming our days). I'm finally getting around to it after having read all of your posts in the TU discussion thread!

I noticed that you don't have any LBLs on The Gorund, so I hope you don't mind that I've taken the liberty of doing one for the first four pages (I would have liked to have done more, but I've been reading slush all day and honestly my eyes are starting to hurt!). For some reason I couldn't edit your document, so I copied and pasted it into another word document and made comments and some suggested edits in tracked changes. The LBL is quite nitpicky so I just wanted you to know the things I loved about your story before you read it (so you don't get dishearented and think I didn't enjoy your story!):

* Your hook is great -- it sounds so creepy and fascinating. I was immediately in, wanting to know who Gorund was, who the humans were, and why they were watching a projection of 3D humans for their fantasies.

* Though your prose can be dense in places, it works wonderfully with the fantasy/sci-fi world you've created. It helps give a sense of place to this story, and I feel I can picture the world and your characters vividly. There was a lot of description on page 2 of Gorund, but I really liked what it did for establishing a connection between me as the reader and Gorund, he's an endearing little thing.

* You have some really great lines throughout this story -- a couple of my favourites were:"They sat not three feet from Gorund, without any idea that he was there, that he even existed, or how miserable their lives would be without him", and "His little body, only eighteen inches high (though, nearly as many wide, if one were being honest)".

* The Gorund is a partcularly cool character. He's like a creepy yet endearing mix between a gimp and Gollum! The more I read about him, the more attached to him I felt.

Generally, aside from the comments in my LBL, I wondered why Gorund was doing these things for the humans and why he'd always been in the building. This kicked in around page 3 after the history of the maintenance men with the building. If you could put in a bit of foreshadowing here, I think that would work well, because the ultimate explanation is so much fun, as is the reveal -- but you want your reader thinking they're clever enough to get this a bit sooner! And the dystopian element isn't hugely strong -- if you're interested I left some comments in Michael Snyder's story on what makes a dystopia.

If you have a few minutes to spare and read my story, I'd be ever so grateful.



Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland March 12, 2013 - 11:15pm

While there are many great lines in the introduction, I feel like you could start the story where you did with the title without losing much.  You can sprinkle Ground’s descriptions into the action. The scene in the shaft with the rat would be a good place to show his height, and other features or just how he generally moves about in the walls. I think a scene with him watching over people is a necesity, just not sure if you should spend so much time with exposition early, because there is alot of it in the next scene as well. Perhaps you could combine and condense, what I'm reffering to as your two opening scenes.

I’m unclear as to rather or not Ground was built, or made. Is he an android or some sort of cloned genetic cocktail? My initial thought was that he was a robot that looked like a giant guinea pig or something. But you have a scene where he goes to sleep. And you mention him wanting to make a meal of the rats so that threw me. The advanced Ground pretty clearly is a robot that Ground eventually reprograms, so does Ground need to sleep? How does he sleep? Does he need to eat? How does he eat?

You mention a “fatal error” that doesn’t result in a fatality. I guess it is just figure of speech but I thought Ground was surely dead on page three (for a split second).

The ejection threw me as well. I wasn’t quite sure how he was expelled from his building.
For me the story was at its best during the stalking of the rat, (then a little confusion on exactly what that mistake was that sent him out of his building) then exploring the new world of the outdoors and the new building were all really well done and this is where your story flourished and had my interest peeked.

The encounter with the Go-Around 7 felt a little anti-climactic. There was more excitement in the scene with the rat and I expected a bit of a scuffle from the newer model, I thought it may be difficult for Ground to best him, but I supposed age and wisdom would be where he prevailed. But I blinked and the scene was over.

The ending was equally as strong as the middle. I like that he made his own Go-Around, and that he would eventually name it. The final lines are killer!!!

These are my thoughts, and after droning on, I’ll agree with the others. This is a very good story that I thoroughly enjoyed despite my few uncertainties. I love everything that Ground represents and while the humans have become so immersed in trivial things that they would let the world fall apart around them before they realized no one was there to clean up the mess, Ground dutiful works and once he’s gained all the control and decides to retire, he makes sure he has a replacement to look after us lazy humans. You did a great job with “heart authority” for your character, and I’d rather hang out with Ground rather than have him fix electrical problems, or leaky water heaters. 

With a little work you can get this one to the next level and start shopping out in the world. Let me know when and where it finds a home in print/or electronic journal form.

Thanks for sharing,


ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett March 17, 2013 - 10:41am

Thanks for the read and the in depth critique. In a way, I'm quite glad to see that everyone's criticisms are essentially the same; it gives me a clear point to work from and a clear idea of the story's weaknesses.

Thanks again!

Kate Bosco's picture
Kate Bosco from Natick, MA is reading The Passage by Justin Cronin March 14, 2013 - 8:06pm

I feel like there's not much I can say that hasn't already been said. I loved it! The Gorund might not be the nicest or most attractive of characters, but he's pretty darn compelling.


You lost me a bit with the description of him getting sucked through the fan and shot upwards. I really did not know what was going on until I read a couple other comments on here. But you convey a great sense of confusion, which is appropriate for the scene. Also, I may just need to brush up on my close reading skills.

Still a bit confused as to what Gorund actually *is*. He has sentience and emotions. He needs to eat and can taste. I got the sense that he wasn't just a robot like the Model 7, but some hybrid of mechanical and biological technology. It's not a question that needs to be answered in the story itself, but its something that I was left wondering.

ender.che.13's picture
ender.che.13 from Northwestern U.S. living in the southeast peach. is reading Ken Follett March 17, 2013 - 11:26am

I don't entirely know the answers myself, Kate!

I'm glad you enjoyed the read overrall.

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations March 17, 2013 - 11:15am

Very Wall-E ... Most likeable alien so far... :) A good, fun read.

It takes me a moment on the opening to work out what is being presented. Only a moment, but you might want to make it marginally less oblique.

"four fires every week" seems excessive... (Depends on the size of the building perhaps, but the bigger it is, the less likely he'd be there in time to put it out)

"bumbled from job to job" - the Gorund does not bumble. Scurry, perhaps. But bumble?

You're hard against the upper word limit, so I suspect you'd have liked to do more - there are perhaps some edits you can do to free up room, maybe the being ejected from the building was a bit over long.

Gorund eats rats - so what is he - cyborg? Kills rats, I get, but eats them, as a meal... decide if he is powered by (say) sleeping next to a power socket... :)

You may have to explain why the building he finds himself in is so rundown. I assume it's because they have only just got themselves their first Gorund. But maybe better if it's not so run down, but nor is it as well look after as the Gorunds - tricks he has learnt over time have not been learnt yet by the model 7. (Maybe there's even signs of pre-model 7 repairs...)

Is the Gorund happy in his retirement? I want him to be... but doesn't he fall into the "silly humans watching TV" category?

All very good, and fun. Nice work. Wish I had a Gorund of my own...