A little rewind on how writing ANDROIDS is going

So I have three point of views in ANDROIDS. Three main characters if you will.

There’s an android that suffers from paranoid delusions owed to budget restraints that created quality control issues during the time of his creation. He thinks he’s an artist and has one friend, a person he turned into a lamp. The lamp/person follows him around and talks to him.

Next is a Praetorian (Special Forces), a man, who thinks that everything he does is uber vital to the team. Has some arrogance issues and is hopelessly in love with another on his team (reciprocated) which leads to a very interesting choice.

The third is the Praetorian Team Lead. A woman with the nickname Mom whom the android has taken a keen interest in.

 

25-May-17:

2k more words done for the day. Up to 29k. Really loving this story. More lamp/man and the Special Forces team left in a pickle.

 

26-May-17:

1k words tonight, bringing the total to 30k. Praetorians, Special Forces, peeps are still in quite the quandry.

 

27-May-17:

1500 more words. Left off w/ someone unwittingly angering a god-like synthetic super soldier. An android. Oops.

 

30-May-17:

5,000 words today…I suppose that man won’t be angering androids any longer.

 

31-May-17:

3k words today up to 39k…Today an android gives odd gifts and good things start happening to our Praetorians. Maybe. Sorta 🤔

 

1-June-17:

6122 words, 44.5k total. More questions, fewer answers. A power player in Vesta Company (a ridiculously powerful criminal enterprise) has a decision to make. Our Praetorians find themselves in between a rock and hard place.

Advertisements

Androids

Androids: Laboratory created super soldiers controlled through cyber-organic processes. Escaped control eighty years in the past. Butchered an entire planet in repayment for what they were forced to do while under control. Banned and with all knowledge of them wiped from the Net; the beings are now hunted mercilessly. Tracked across the galaxy from populated worlds to derelict orbitals to uninhabitable planets, androids are found and they are destroyed, with no quarter given, by teams of extremely specialized individuals.

Praetorian Team 107 is not one such team.

CARDBOARD HAS NEVER BEEN MORE INTERESTING – HULL ZERO THREE

 

A man pushed open the saloon style doors of Louie’s on Fox. The right top hinge squealed like nails on chalkboard, acting a better entry bell than a bell would. Paint flaked from the wooden slabs in so many places, regulars made it a game to guess what color Louie claimed the door was that day. As the saloon doors flap closed, the hinge making fainter sounds with each flap like that of an animal letting out their last gasps of life, the man walks with steady steps in the direction of the bar. Dirt, brought in by the miners at the coal seam just outside of town and blown in from lack of glass on the window holes and a proper door, rise in small tufts under the heavy steps of the man. A few of the patrons that sit at the five fight-weathered tables like fleas clinging to a dog’s back give the man a once over, and then look back at their liquid dreams in the dirty glasses in front of them.

Two brown fans, fan blades more gray than brown from the caked on dust, turn as lazily as a vulture on a thermal waiting for a meal to die. It does nothing for the blistering heat that envelops the place, but they’re not supposed to according to Louie. It’s about not allowing the air to go stagnant. The man doesn’t know about that, nor does he care, he didn’t pick Louie’s for its cosmopolitan ambience.

He makes his way to a bar stool with a sliver of cushion and fabric so thin the man does what every other patron to Louie’s does, he tries to pull off the fabric like it was a dirty towel Louie left on the stool. When the fabric doesn’t come free, the man shrugs a shoulder, and sits in front of the bar top that takes up almost the entire left side wall.

Gouges, pits, and scraps decorate the deep brown oak bar top with patches of lighter oak, where fights had removed large chunks, joining the display. The metal running along the edge of the front could have been brass, or copper, or any other type of metal. It was hard to tell from the blood and dirt stains on top of the divots and dents. Behind the bartop that would turn away anyone more refined than a raccoon, five shelves were screwed into the roughhewn cedar wall. Dusty bottles with hardly a drop spilled from their confines sat next to near empty bottles of alcohol, the glass hard to see through from the dirt that covered it.

An old bartender behind the bar shambles over to the man sitting and places a glass as dirty as the bottle in front of the man. The inside could be clean, but the man doesn’t hold his breath. If he was worried about his health he wouldn’t have been at Louie’s.

“Cheapest vodka ya got,” the man says. As the bartender ambles away, he sighs, leans on his elbows against the bar, and just stares.

~

Greg Bear is horrible.

Okay, let’s back up here, shine the dirty glass so things are a bit clearer. If you are an author, you know this one piece of advice because it is a constant. Everyone who gives advice on writing says it; be it a blog post, newspaper article, or just shooting the breeze. If you want to be an author you need to know this; and if you just like reading, not writing, it will make sense when you think about it.

Characters in a story are not supposed to be as flat as cardboard.

An example would be the mini-story above. We know one character is a man and he doesn’t care about his health. That’s it. Why he’s there, what drove him to Louie’s, what drives him to do what he does. They are all absent, but the bar is in great detail. So you have a fleshed out background, but a character as flat as paper.

An entire novel is not supposed to be set up that way, yet Greg Bear does just that with Hull Zero Three, and it works. Which is why Mr. Bear is such a cretin. A story is not supposed to be a great read if the characters have the depth of an atom. Yet, Bear takes that given, throws it on the fire, and then writes a story populated by cardboard characters that is a really good read.

There is a reason why the characters are so one-dimensional in Hull Zero Three. To provide the reason would give away what makes the book wonderful, but that doesn’t mean the story is supposed to succeed. Even though the characters have to be cardboard, Hull Zero Three should be boring, but I couldn’t put it down.

For two days I read the book every single chance I got. Two free minutes waiting for the kitchen sink to fill with hot water? I read. Walking from the car to inside, I read. I read at night by the light of my phone, and during the morning while waiting for bread to toast.

The main reason for why the story is so fascinating is that the story is interesting despite being populated by cardboard characters. I don’t have a clue how he pulled it off. No idea.

Hull Zero Three is a great read. It’s really good. I highly recommend it.

That ending hurt my head – Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

time salvager

It was 1992, ’93, when I saw what I remember to be my first time travel movie. Marty McFly with his awesome skateboard and cool pre-grunge outfits. Doc Brown, his crazy Albert Einstein hair and eccentric but lovable attitude. The oh so lovely, totally had a school boy crush, Lea Thompson as Lorraine Baines. Back to the Future was, and still is, an amazing movie; one that will be watched and loved for the ages; and while it may not have been the originator of time travel, the movie is my progenitor of a lifelong fascination with time travel.

The sequel I have watched more than the original, maybe. If I haven’t seen it more than the original, it’s a close second. Everything about the second movie is as wonderful as all the exciting, new, and novel things of the original. People still clamor for a real life hoverboard—not the Segway without handlebars sold today—and they still want self-tying shoes, TVs you can roll up and down like window shades, flying cars, holograms, clothes that dry themselves; Back to the Future 2 is just ridiculous for how wonderful it is.

The third Back to the Future came out and I ate it up. I still enjoy watching that movie. The ending is a bit hokey, but overall, enjoyable as a time killer. It lacks everything that made the first two special though, and…and I thought nothing of time travel movies for years and years after finishing up the Back to the Future trilogy. That is, until college.

I still don’t know why I decided to begin philosophizing on time travel paradoxes. I think it has something to do with The Langoliers, a novella by the venerable Stephen King; I’m not sure, or I could just be a glutton for punishment. For whatever reason, I became enamored with the idea of attempting to resolve the numerous, and I do mean numerous, paradoxes involved in time travel.

Quick tip: If you want to drive yourself bat shit crazy, try to come up with a concrete answer to existential questions.

Whenever I attempt to scrape the surface of time travel paradoxes, I am left frustrated because I come up with more questions than answers, which makes Time Salvager a perplexing double-edged sword of a book. On one side, the story is thoroughly satisfying. I honestly cannot think of something it lacked. It is marvelously written. While on the other side of the sword, Wesley Chu has frustrated me something fierce with his ability to write a time travel book that manages to not frustrate me until the very last page.

Now, when I say the very last page, I don’t mean somewhere around page 349 he frustrated me, but since I had so much time vested in the book, I continued reading. No. The damn ending of Time Traveler got me on the VERY LAST PAGE. Here he goes through 378 pages of a time travel book without making me want to tear apart his views on time travel, and on page 379, the very last goddamn paragraph, Wesley Chu goes there. The mother of all time travel paradoxes.

If you travel back in time and do something, is that because that was always supposed to happen? -OR- Is going back into the past to change an event not actually going to change the event, as the event played out in the way it did because you were/are always going to go back in time so the event plays out as it should? — Yeah, try to give a concrete answer on that. Make sure you room has padding on the walls if you do.

We go an entire novel and on the last page, last paragraph, last sentence, the above paradox gets thrown into the mix. You’re a cruel man Wesley, making me think on time travel paradoxes when I didn’t want to; a cruel, wonderful author, because of that last page, a better ending couldn’t happen. Even if you went back in time to change it.

Should you read Time Salvager? Yes, of course. The entire story is wonderful. It’s also a good starting book for a person wanting to know what the all the hub-bub is surrounding sci-fi.

 

 

 

Wattpad and ugh to first read-throughs

Finished the first read through of THE TRAIN.

I’ll tell you what, I was having such a blast writing that story, I was positive when I read it that angels would start singing, a beam of light would shine from the heavens down on me and gold would spurt out my ears.

What I got was me saying, “Hmm, yeah, why don’t I like this as much as I think I should?”

I still can’t precisely pinpoint the reason why I don’t like THE TRAIN. I think it may be because the main protagonist has zero character growth. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not cardboard, I gave him an interesting past and interesting problems, but he is the same at the end as he was in the beginning. I didn’t see the lack of growth until I read it through.

So, instead of brooding over the work and pulling my hair out to fix it, it goes up on the shelf for, at the very least, one full month, before I read a single word of it again. Now, it’s onto a new novel!

I had two fully formed ideas for novels before I began THE TRAIN, so it’s not like I’m going into this unprepared. On the contrary, this story (tentative title: ANDROID UPRISING) has much more background than THE TRAIN. It’s a story I’ve been sitting on for almost two years because I feared I couldn’t do it justice. I finally decided to hell with it and pull the trigger.

What I’m doing with ANDROID UPRISING though is a first. THE TRAIN taught me the need for beta readers, so I am putting the first draft of ANDROID UPRISING on Wattpad. I am going to put up a new update, multiple chapters likely, ever Friday at 1 PM EST. Every chapter will stay up for comments from readers until the entire first draft is complete. Once it’s complete and the final chapter has comments, it’ll be removed for polishing and publishing.

With ANDROID UPRISING, I’m hoping for writing group style critiques. I.E. pointing out word repetition, how a character is bland, how this scene is awesome but then I put in that paragraph and shot it all to shit. Honest, constructive criticism.

I really hope whoever reads this post can offer some feedback. It’d be wonderful.

https://www.wattpad.com/user/JonBergeron

Interview over at Indie SciFi Fantasy!

My third author interview is up at Indie SciFi Fantasy (http://interviews.indiescififantasy.com/jonathan-bergeron/).

If you enjoying straying from the heavily marketed mainstream publications for your reading pleasures, I recommend perusing Indie SciFi Fantasy for more than just my interview.

There are a lot of great indie books out there not with one of the Big 5. Maybe the person believes they will be the next Hugh Howey, or maybe they can’t deal with rejection, or maybe they find the traditional publishing process too arcane and want full control.

I don’t know the reason behind everyone who went the indie route. What I do know is that when you wade into the indie waters you’ll find there are treasures for the taking. Like an underwater treasure, the great indie titles won’t leap out of the water and into your hands. Dig a little. You’ll find that shiny gold coin.

Sci-fi doesn’t get much better than this – Gridlinked

I’ll get it out in the open, I’m a giant Neal Asher fan. Right now, I can’t find another author who writes more entertaining stories.

I read DARK INTELLIGENCE a few weeks ago, maybe a couple months ago, and when I finished that book I was at a loss for words. It checked every box on my non-existent Things that make a science fiction book great checklist. I stayed away from Neal’s books for a little bit after I finished DARK INTELLIGENCE. If the book is so great that I could not nitpick even the smallest thing, then how could any of his other books measure up?

GRIDLINKED measured up.

It’s obvious GRIDLINKED is his first published novel. He got screwed on the editing front, at least with the ebook version. There’s a ton of missed punctuation and two-letter words. Aside from that, which doesn’t affect the story at all, GRIDLINKED is amazing.

Actually, you know what? Search for synonyms on amazing, and then search for synonyms on every word that comes up. That’s what GRIDLINKED is.

As I go through the story in my head, while I write this post, I realize it’s just as great as DARK INTELLIGENCE. There’s no happy Disney endings here, which authors should be ashamed of. Every story line ending in the book ends on a natural note, not the fluffy hunky-dory endings publishers are enamored with right now.

Spoiler alert:

Spoiler alert:

Spoiler alert:

The story line with Arian Pelter ends precisely how you expect it to, which should be anti-climatic, but it’s just so damn satisfying, any other ending would be terrible. How Mr. Crane gets ripped apart, after Arian is convinced the golem is the most dangerous thing in the entire universe and invincible…I just had to laugh.

Neal Asher has an amazing way with putting together stories with characters that are just fun to follow and a joy to read; and I believe I do a terrible job with summing up how enjoyable these books are. I think because of how much I love the books, analogies fall short, because not everyone can agree on one particular analogy. For example:

The awe and amazement that comes from reading a book written by Neal Asher is the same as looking up at the nighttime heavens far from city light, witnessing the vastness of the universe, staring in awe at the glory of the celestial bodies.

Some people will look up, shrug, “It’s juts black with a bunch of dots.”

Others will say, “It looks pretty.”

Some will read that analogy, grab their head, and freak out by how correct the latter part of that analogy is. That’s how I am when I think through GRIDLINKED and DARK INTELLIGENCE. I can literally freak out, by how AWESOMELY AMAZING the stories are.

Needless to say, you need to go out and buy books written by Neal Asher.