To read this story or to participate in this writing event, you only need a free account.
You can Login with Facebook or create regular account
To find out what this event is about click here

Linda's picture

The Sea Came

By Linda in Teleport Us

How It Rates

Voting for this event has ended
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.


Weather manipulation was meant to save humanity. Instead, it forced the vast lakes of inner earth to the surface, flooding the earth. Now, the night tide haunts those who have yet to die. Asra is one of them.


klahol's picture
klahol from Stockholm, Sweden is reading Black Moon February 20, 2013 - 1:53pm

Man. Oh, man, what a story. 

There's been a bunch of Cormac McCarthy The Road clones here, but this story was wholly original and an altogether different breed of animal. I loved it! 

I really have nothing negative to say about this story, other than it made me want more. And that while not feeling like the unfinished first chapter of a longer story. 

Spot on dystopia and the very best kind of science fiction. Loved it.

One thing: I formatted my doc the same as yours (PDF with double-spaced Courier) in my first two revisions. I think .doc format works better, since the PDF scales to full page width which makes it really uncomfortable to read if you're browsing from a full screen browser on a high res screen. .doc has the added benefit of the occasional kind soul making an actual LBL of your document. Just a tip. 

Now I'm off to the forum to tip other people off about your supercool story. 

Great work! 

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries February 20, 2013 - 10:25pm

Thank you! This was god way to start the day, I'm really glad you liked it.

I use .doc in the workshop exactly because I myself think it's a pain to comment on .pdf files, so I see what you're saying. I have beta version of open office though and sometimes saved files don't play well with other software. Still, I'll consider swapping the .pdf.

Laura Keating's picture
Laura Keating from Canada is reading The Aleph and Other Stories February 22, 2013 - 5:37am

Loved the descriptions of the creature (you could practically smell it!) and I felt that you did a very nice job of quickly helping the reader understand the world your characters were living in. Really easy to get swept away in the story. 
My only other thought was that I was left wanting more - which is never a bad thing!


Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries February 22, 2013 - 7:17am

Thank you for those kind words Laura, and I really appreciate you taking the time to read my story.

Have a good weekend!

courtshipofthemonsters's picture
courtshipofthem... from Seattle, Washington is reading Mansfield Park by Jane Austen February 26, 2013 - 12:09am

I'm really glad I got the chance to read this... It definitely gives me something to aspire to! You are massively talented, thanks for sharing.

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries February 26, 2013 - 11:55am

You put a stupid smile on my face. Thank you, and thank you for reading!

FreakyLemon's picture
FreakyLemon from East Anglia, UK is reading Your Deceptive Mind - A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking February 26, 2013 - 2:38am

Great story - this is clearly not your first attempt!  Nice use of language and a very readable story.  I'd agree with the earlier comment regarding PDFs - they don't show-up well on my Kindle, wheras DPC, RTF, TXT etc auto-format smoothly.  Thanks for sharing; looking forward to more.


Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries February 26, 2013 - 11:58am

Thank you! It's been through the workshop which always helps.

Would a good old .doc work? I wish I knew which format would work best for a majority of readers.

FreakyLemon's picture
FreakyLemon from East Anglia, UK is reading Your Deceptive Mind - A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking February 27, 2013 - 2:18am

Yes, .doc works fine on Kindle at least - I typo'd DOC with DPC in my prior comment (that's what I get for posting in a tea break!).  I found that .txt works with all readers, but loses any formatting.

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries February 28, 2013 - 10:55am

Right, thanks. It's now .doc:ed.

Cipherscribe's picture
Cipherscribe from Michigan, but all my exes live in Texas. is reading Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight February 28, 2013 - 3:39pm

That was badass story. I love the imagery when Asra is on the creature's back and things are falling off and she's slipping and doens't know where to grab. I don't have anything bad to say about it. Great story. Thanks for posting!

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries February 28, 2013 - 10:19pm

Thank you for the kind words, and thank you for reading!

Maria Stanislav's picture
Maria Stanislav from the UK is reading ALL the submissions! March 1, 2013 - 9:01am

I loved the world-building you've done in this piece. It was scattered throughout the story very organically, without a single long chunk of exposition. All of the descriptions worked very well, too. The intrigue of Asra's son being the inventor of the well-intended but ultimately doomsday device comes with just the right amount of surprise - from what you've mentioned earlier, the reader can't see it coming right away, but neither does it come out nowhere.

The ending is sharp and powerful. At the same time, it read slightly abrupt to me. I think I connected to Asra throughout the story more than I did at the end. It could just be me, of course.

Overall a great read, thanks for posting it!

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 1, 2013 - 11:33am

Thank you for the feeback, Maria. I get what you're saying about the ending, but I couldn't think of anything worthwhile to add in the context.

Thank you for reading!

scifiwriterguy's picture
scifiwriterguy from Chicago, IL is reading Iscariot by Tosca Lee March 2, 2013 - 8:52pm

A lovely story in every way. Thanks for sharing--I look forward to seeing this one published somwhere in the not-so-distant future.

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 3, 2013 - 12:40am

Thank you! And I certainly hope your prediction will hold.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland March 3, 2013 - 12:27pm

Bravo! Linda, you managed to address my concerns from when I first read this in the workshop, and you were still able to get that info in there through the action and dialouge without having to dump it in in chunks, which is extremely difficult and you executed it quite well.

This is a nice polished piece, well written with good world building, pace, and character development.

I don't think you'll have too hard a time finding a home for this lovely story.

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 3, 2013 - 9:53pm

Thank you Jonathan!

Kate Bosco's picture
Kate Bosco from Natick, MA is reading The Passage by Justin Cronin March 4, 2013 - 5:33am

I don't feel as if I can say anything that hasn't been said by anyone else on here. Superb! The imagery was so intense and well-written that once I came to the hostile, I was feeling a little ill. That's some powerful prose, ma'am.

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 5, 2013 - 12:24pm

I love to think I managed to wrangle a physical emotion out of someone. Thank you!

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. March 5, 2013 - 8:44pm

There are parts of this story that worked for me and parts of this story that did't work out so well. I found it easy enough to build a mental picture of your world, especially the "hostile" creature robbing Harris's grave.  That monstrosity has to be one of the more original non-humans in the challenge. (Excellent work on it!)  The Iris itself fits into the rest of your story nicely as well, especially with Harris's fate.

There were two main things that bothered me.  First, the scene form the cairn at the very beginning confused me right off the bat.  Was Harris dead or inhabited by one of the "hostiles"?  Some careful word changes or a little more description is all that's needed here.

Second, I never developed an emotional attachment to Asra.  I think the main reason for this is that there wasn't enough of her reaction to her environment.  She's definitely brave and stubborn, but ultimately came across as callous and almost flat.  With just short of another 1200 words you should be able to ramp up her responses.

Particularly that ending sequence with the scrap metal.  It just happened.  One moment she's sitting there with a piece of metal in her hands and the next the lights go out.  Bleeding out like that is going to take some time.  Not a much, but enough for her to think for a bit.  Did she have any regrets?  Did she look forward to being back with her Husband and Son?  Maybe a final smirk of victory at the "hostile"'s death.  The same goes for the scene where she first meets the creature.  She falls an breaks her leg. I don't get a sense of that pain or the fear she should be feeling there.

You did very well tying everything together. It just needs a little more to make it really shine ;) Still, this get's an up-vote.  Definitely keep at it!  Good Work and Good Luck!

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 5, 2013 - 10:33pm

Thank you for the extensive feedback, I really appreciate it and will take your thoughts into consideration if I continue revising once the challenge is over.

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 7, 2013 - 1:56pm

Thumbs up! I thought the idea of living in a world devastated with water chilling and the creature's description was perfect; surprising, disturbing, evocative. 

I felt like ArlaneEnalra regarding the hand coming out of Harris' crain, I thought a hostile was in it, but wasn't so sure I got it right afterwards. I was also intrigued by the David Bowie reference, not in a good nor a bad way, it just popped out and stayed with me for a while.

I hope you'll expand this world and the story, I feel there's still a lot that can come out of it. 

Kudos and thanks for sharing your work!


Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 8, 2013 - 12:33am

Thank you for the feedback Nathalie. I will try to think of a way to clarify that no hostile was in the actual cairn, just Harris's bones. And I'm sorry I threw you off with the Bowie reference, might be a certain writer was listening to it, found it fitting and couldn't resist.

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 8, 2013 - 7:04am

haha, no need to be sorry, that's an interesting choice (it would have been quite awesome if you had guessed a title of the new album before it was released and put it in your story... I'm digressing)

I'll had that I really liked the "New Chamonix" touch. Do you know around what time it's taking place?

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 8, 2013 - 9:08am

Assuming that anyone besides myself would remember the story when it happened, that would be pretty cool. I had to look up the most common words in album titles to see what my chances would be, it appears that 'love' is the noun to go with if you want to play it safe.

Thank you! I put some thought into what cities might survive the longest, and altitude-wise Chamonix has among the best locations in Europe. It seems probable that such cities would continue to grow upwards as water levels rise and new people come in from flooded land areas, and keeping old names give people a sense of normality. I tried to estimate an approximate date, but decided to leave it unsaid in the story. I'm thinking maybe a hundred years from now or so.

Nathalie's picture
Nathalie from France March 8, 2013 - 1:02pm

ok at every comment I realize I have one more question for you so I'm going to stop and wait for you to develop it and for me to discover more of your universe! (hoping you are planning to do so of course)

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) March 9, 2013 - 3:31am

This is certainly one of the best written pieces in the contest.  You are a talented writer, and manage to convey so much in such a few words.  There are no embellishments in your writing - it is simple story telling.  I enjoyed the flow and the tone of your piece, and the sense of place was very strong.  I particularly liked the religious elements at the end.  You have the courage not to over-explain everything, or drown the reader in exposition.  Details are drip fed through the piece, and I loved that.  It left me wanted to read more of this world, though not necessarily with these characters.  I liked Asra, she's very much an archetype - stubborn old women surviving against the odds and the elements.  Her ending seems a little incongruous with the story - it's a tad abrupt.  I'm not sure either why she takes care of her husband's cairn, but leaves her son dangling where he hung himself.  It could be a little clearer what is happening at the end.  This is all nit-picking though because this is a very good story.

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 10, 2013 - 10:31am

Thank you for those very kind words, it pleases me to no end that you picked up on my efforts to keep the style straightforward, and that you think it works even though I'm holding back on a lot of information. There seems to be consensus around the ending being too abrupt, and I will work on fleshing it out just a bit after the challenge is over. Finally, I'm not even sure Asra knows why she left him hanging, might explore it further though.  

Mbella's picture
Mbella March 9, 2013 - 1:32pm

Well written, enjoyed the story!

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 10, 2013 - 10:32am

Thank you, and thank you for taking the time to read it!

SamaLamaWama's picture
SamaLamaWama from Dallas is reading Something Wicked This Way Comes March 15, 2013 - 7:51pm

Great story. Very original. You did a great job creating a very Cormac-worthy world there. I wish  I could deliver my comments in an LBL, but I'm working from home tonight and the Mac conversion always goes wonky for me.

First things first, there were a few words that I was not familiar with: cairn, chthonic, mesocosm. That might just be me though.  :)

Second, the first paragraph is wonderful, but I don't know what's going on. I had to read your story twice to understand that it was Harris' grave. I'd work to clear that up a little. The first time around, I thought she was a grave robber, because in the second paragraph you mention a ring finger. This would also be a great place to do some world building. What does it smell/sound/feel like. If there are no animals, is their absence jarring? What is the humidity doing to her body and the environment?

The spots where she talked aloud seemed a little strange. I'd clarify that she was talking to her dead husband. It's a great detail to show that she's losing it. I'm even wondering if you could add a 'Wilson' (Cast Away) to her walking stick or something like that could even represent him.  

On the third page when the scientist said she was not qualified to answer that question-- I didn't get that. Why? Is there more story there? If not, it's strange that she couldn't/wouldn't venture to guess. I felt like that answer would come later, but it didn't. 

On the fourth page, it would be great to know where she was in relation to the hostile activity-- like she was right there, or that it was far away and that's why she wasn't worried. 

You mention the husband's name, but not the son. Is there a reason for that? I'd also follow up that premeditation comment a little. I know her son is the one who caused the flood, but I want to know more about that. How did people react? Did the government come? Did they leave her up there to die? Or did she refuse to leave? 

On the fifth page, I'd show what gets her attention and makes her think looter. Was it a sound or a smell or just a sixth sense? 

On page seven, the, "No no". Who says this? I'd also explain a little more about these hostiles. What makes them so special that the government can't stop them? How can they talk? Can they be reasoned with? Are they organized or only out for spare parts? 

Page ten, Asra's comment about moving through veins--this seems a little too writerly. You could point out that she hates going back since what happened there--and foreshadow the son's death. Just my opinion though. 

Is there a story behind the Nar-thex, and the slight upward inflection? Do these hostiles retain knowledge of the body parts they steal? 

How does she feel about being there. I know she's gone a little crazy--but she works hard to prevent her husband's bones, so she has sentimentality--seems she would have the same feeling about her son's body. 

I didn't get that she committed suicide in the end-- I just thought the water finally got to the controls and the lights went out. I'd make that a little clearer in your next pass. Also, work to give more internal longing from Asra. How does she feel about this new world? How does she feel being left alone? Does she want someone to come save her? What's her purpose in this world? 

OK, so I know this seems like a lot, but it's not. I was left asking a lot of questions and that's a good thing because it means your story resonated in me. There were sentences and paragraphs that I thought were brilliant. The yelp that cuts off is great, along with that whole paragraph. The hammock of seaweed is awesome, along with the transparent tissue. You nailed the hostile description--good job on that. 

Overall, it was a great read--two thumbs up. Thanks for sharing. Sorry I was so long. ~Sam 

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 17, 2013 - 8:29am

Thank you for the review Sam! You give me a lot to think about.

I'm curious though, why wouldn't you be able to do LBLs on a Mac? It seems it would become inconvenient if you can't work on documents from home. I have OpenOffice for Mac and it works fine (if not perfectly, but that's more to do with the software). 

SamaLamaWama's picture
SamaLamaWama from Dallas is reading Something Wicked This Way Comes March 17, 2013 - 11:52am

I have Pages and the conversion from Word always goes wrong. I've lost whole writing sessions to the damn thing not saving. Now, it's just too  much a headache. I love my Mac, but I hate the software. I've considered buying Word for Mac, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I'll look into the OpenOffice software you mentioned. ~Sam


Wendy Hammer's picture
Wendy Hammer from Indiana is reading One Night in Sixes March 25, 2013 - 10:42am

I don't know how much can add in terms of constructive criticism.  Anything I may have noticed has been already covered.  I think that for the most part this was quite polished.  It moves well, has some gorgeous phrasing (I particularly liked the one that begins "The sea always brings silence), and a strong point of view character. 

I like how you developed the play with past and present--in the contrasts between her now and when she was young. You drop in information very deftly and at just the right time.  I never felt frustrated, only curious. When you reveal big things, it seems quite believable, and enriches the experience. 

The ending was great! I love her last line. 

Really good story.  A pleasure to read. 

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 26, 2013 - 1:38pm

Thank you for the feedback, and for taking the time to read the story!

Liam Hogan's picture
Liam Hogan from Earth is reading Hugo Nominations April 23, 2013 - 8:14am

Hi Linda,

Congrats on winning an author review - and I'm also playing catchup on any winning entries I didn't get to read!

Be careful with time. She leaves the house at noon, and the cairn is 20 minutes away, why is the sun setting by the time they get back? 

Ultimately, there is some mystery as to what the creature is, and whether it's interest in the weather modification might actually have presented a way for it to have stopped the tides. Is this the intent? This isn't a problem, but almost suggests Asra might have been better off listening to what the creature has to say...

Some questions also on why the tides are higher at night, and where the other people are - less room means every high spot would be occupied, she wouldn't perhaps have it all to herself, unless it was obviously about to go under?

Some small typo's that a closer proofread would remove :

"As a newlywed, she used to" - "she'd used to"  instead would tell us she is no longer a newly wed?

"with a pounding headache, and joints as sour as her mood" - this is a list, so no comma required?

Interesting story, LOVED the idea that the creatures might cloth themselves in human parts, but since you gave them a voice, I'd like to hear them more!


Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries April 23, 2013 - 9:26am

Thank you for the review Liam, you make some valid points. Regarding the timeline, I guess I thought it would take them a while because of the condition they're in, although I'll admit noon to sunset might've been pushing it.

The tide I have no real excuse for, except that I liked it that way, the sea being something scary that came at night. As to why Asra's alone on her mountain side, I reasoned most people are dead already from starvation and sickness or what have you, and the rest have set out for the cities.

I appreciate grammar pointers, wouldn't have caught those.

Again, thank you for reading!

Kat Howard's picture
Kat Howard May 1, 2013 - 6:22am

Hi Linda, 

I'm going to start by addressing how well your story fit with the contest prompts.

Explore a utopian/ dystopian theme:

Dystopia was definitely present. The rising waters, as well as the zombie-like creatures (the dead that unbury themselves) are both strong elements here. In terms of how they were integrated, I was fine not knowing exactly how the weather disaster happened (I wasn't sure if it was climate change, the Iris satellite somehow malfunctioning, or both, but it didn't bother me not to be certain) but I did want more information about the zombies. Did they always come back? Why do they rise?

Feature a technology that's scientifically plausible:

I wasn't quite sure where this was - the Iris satellite? Harris' weather-modification code? Whatever it was should be a little more obvious.

Feature a non-human character:

This would seem to be the zombies, or the creatures, as Asra calls them. The creature that pursues Asra is very creepy, but, as I said above, I'd like to have a bit more explanation around them.

I'm starting here because it's important, when writing to a prompt, to make sure that you have all of the elements of the prompt present and well-integrated. You mostly did this, but I think you could clarify a bit.

As to what worked and what didn't as a whole - I thought Asra was a fantastic character. She seems to be an older woman (based on her having a grown son), which is a type of character that is lacking in SF writing as a whole. But beyond that, she's smart, and capable. I can completely believe that she's survived - in what seems to be a fairly significant disaster - on her own. Very well done, there. Your prose is very strong, and you have great, visceral description and good detail.

The place where it seems like the story could be improved is on the level of explanation of the plot elements. I feel like you definitely know what went wrong with the weather, and what the creatures are, and why this one goes after Asra, and what she's doing by taking the creature into the narthex, but it doesn't quite translate to the reader. In the final scene (bottom of p. 9-the end), I was completely interested in what was going on, and read on the strength of your prose, but had no real idea what was actually happening - especially, why is her son's body still there? I can't tell if this is Asra escaping from one particular zombie, or if something more is going on - one choice isn't necessarily better than the other, I just want to know which it is. I was also puzzled by the final line, which felt more like a "to be continued" than a "the end" way to wrap up the story. 

But, as I said, this is strongly written, and I think very close to being ready to go out.

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries May 5, 2013 - 8:01am

Thank you for the review, Kat. You are, respectfully, a fine price. I'm really glad you liked Asra, she's one of my favorite characters, and I was a little worried about how she'd be received by a SF crowd. As a tourist in the English language, I'm still a bit amazed every time someone finds it readable, so it means a lot to me that you think my prose is strong.    

Clarifying some of the plot elements without force feeding information is going to be a challenge, but I completely agree with you (and many of the other reviewers in this thread). I do have a lot of background and will try to work some of it into the story. 

Again, thank you for the review and for taking the time to do this. It's been a great experience.