Read Iapetus Shift free

Hi friends. I’ve begun publishing my first sci fi novella for free on Wattpad, the first 2 chapters are up and you can read them here:

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

All the chapters will eventually be posted for free, over the next weeks.

I’d appreciate likes and follows on that site, as I’m fairly new to it. And check out my other stories I’ve been posting there too ūüôā

Thanks!

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What pad?

As some of you may know, I write short stories. I’ve got quite a few that no one has read, and they just sit around doing nothing. So, I’ve decided to start posting some of them somewhere they might actually get read. Maybe…

Wattpad is a social writing site? Or something? All the youth are using it, and it looks to be a fairly active writing community–which is terribly hard to find in itself.

It may(read: will) all likely come to nothing, and after I get no views and am still posting stories into a silent void, I’ll probably delete the profile. But for now, it’s here:

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

There is one story there now, but I’ll be adding some others over time.

Check it out!

The Warrior’s Apprentice

I finished this today on audible, and though it had some fun, clever action and witty, likable characters, I never really got into it enough to care about what was happening.

As mentioned in previous posts, I was at a loss for the main character’s motivation. He sometimes seems to ¬†want to impress his father by being soldierly, but other times wants desperately for his father to never find out anything he’s doing and to escape it all. He Doesn’t seem to be after adventure or money, he is somewhat after love but nothing he is doing could ever be seen to be bringing him closer to that goal.

What does Miles want? After the end of the book I’m still not sure. I think it is ‘to be a soldier’ but any reference to these desires throughout the story seem to have been forgotten.

Miles is the perfect character for an adventure story: a proactive one. He solves problems, he takes action, he is against the odds but still tries for a solution. These are all great attributes that are missing in too many adventure stories. But all this is kind of deflated by the fact that I have no idea what the character is putting himself in danger for, what he is trying to live for, other than the banal reason of simply not dying.

Without an overall objective that is clear to the reader throughout, even the most proactive character is still going to come across as a passive one with things just happening to them.

 

Action scenes: blegh

I hate writing them, and dislike reading them mostly, unless something is being revealed either about the story, or about the characters. Otherwise, whether it’s ‘exciting’ or not, it’s just getting in the way of my need to find out what happens next.

So, consequently, I try to make my action scenes either end as quickly as possible, or, have the action be showing us some new fact about the world, or some new fact about the characters, or some new fact about the plot. If it’s not doing any of these things, what is the point of it?

Tension for tension’s sake is annoying. If nothing has changed or been learned after the action scene is over, then what was the point of it other than to fill space?

The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey

girl

I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me talk about this book in all my posts, so you should be glad to know that this is the last post about it! I finished it! And although it was creative, exciting, with well developed characters, interesting ideas and great prose–it also irritated me quite a bit.

Along with the other things that bothered me (scientist looking for the cure is the villain, zombies in general) one of the main characters was so annoying to me, that I was hoping for her to die or be injured for most of the book. Not because I disliked her or she was an awful person, but because she was so careless, and disrespectful of the danger around her and made such rash decisions that consistently had no consequence for her, that I found myself wanting her to learn a lesson.

Here are some of the things Miss J, a schoolteacher, does with no consequence (spoilers, etc):

  1. Refuses to see zombie children as threats: In this story, zombies roam the earth, but for some reason the children are able to think and learn, although they still chase down people and gorge on their flesh like any other zombie. Miss J. teaches a class of these children which have been captured, as a way to study how well they are able to learn (she’s not the one doing the studying, she’s just a teacher, others study the results of her teaching.) The children are tied up in restraints during the class, because if they smell human pheromones they go berserk and have to eat it. Miss J seems to disbelieve this, and touches the zombies¬†as if they are normal children, despite the soldiers’ shocked horror and warning for her not to. Several times later in the book, she tells soldiers “don’t shoot them they’re children!” even as the ‘children’ are attacking and eating other characters in the group. She herself is never injured by any of the ‘children’ though, which would have been very satisfying to me.
  2. Attacks a scientist for trying to do experiments on child zombies: In a military base, the sole purpose of which is to research zombies for a cure, Miss J–whose¬†entire purpose for being on this base is to help gather data about the zombie children, for the purpose of researching a cure–finds out that her favorite zombie child is about to be dissected. So she breaks into the lab and physically attacks the scientist in order to stop it, not giving any thought that this is necessary for learning of a cure, not giving any thought that she is on a military base, attacking another person, and will surely be locked up, and the experiment will continue anyway while she is locked in a cell. But once again, she experiences no consequences for her actions, because at just the right time the base is overrun by zombies and everyone has to flee.
  3. Shoots a flare up in the middle of a zombie infested city street, while also being pursued by human enemies:¬†Miss J’s favorite zombie child, which she’s brought along with the group (another crazy decision she forced on the group with no consequences, but that is kind of the whole story so I’ll let that one slide) has gone off into the night to search for food to eat, so that she wont have such a hard time resisting the urge to eat the other people in the group. Miss J gets worried that the zombie child is¬†lost, and even though they are surrounded by other zombies that are attracted to sounds and lights, and also are being pursued by another group of humans who want to kill them, decides that it is worth it to risk the lives of the entire group and shoot up a flare so that her favorite zombie child can find her way back. This time, the soldier in the group pulls his gun and actually thinks about shooting Miss J¬†to stop her–this is how emphatically it is explained to her that this is a bad idea. She shoots the flare anyway, while basically daring the soldier to kill her. No one finds them due to the flare. There is no consequences for this action.

All of the above is to explain that, as I read the story, and these instances piled up (there were many more, smaller ones that I won’t take the time to mention) I more and more found myself wanting bad things to happen to Miss J–one of the main characters of the story, who I presume I should have been rooting for.

Instead, the only time I found myself cheering was when doctor Caldwell, the ‘evil’scientist who cuts up zombie children, and who the other characters treat like shit for the entire book, finally lost it and took off in the tank-like vehicle they’d been traveling in, leaving the others behind to die. This was very satisfying to me because it was finally a consequence for Miss J’s actions. She was a real horrible person to Caldwell, and finally something happened because of it. Even though I got the impression I was supposed to dislike Caldwell, she was my favorite character in the story.

In the end, though, Miss J is the only one left alive. This was no surprise to me, as by this point I had got the picture that she was the writer’s pet and would never come to any real harm.

I’m doing a lot of complaining because this was actually a fun, exciting, interesting, and well written book. And when you are enjoying something so much, the things you dislike stand out even more. It’s an exciting zombie apocalypse story, where the science of the zombies is explained in a way I’d never heard before. Even though the scientist explaining it has to be a villain for some reason I can never understand.

Creative, thrilling and fun, give it a try!

Will the undead ever die?

zombie

I for one, am quite tired of this genre. Zombies, vampires, ghosts, and so on. They never go away. Even the current book I’m reading, ‘The Girl with all the Gifts’, turned out to be a zombie story– although they put a small twist on it. The story is good in spite of the zombies, not because of them.

Maybe I’m alone in wishing for new monsters. People do seem to be more comfortable with the familiar, in general, but I’m really just worn out by it. Zombies, dystopias, the ragtag group of survivors trekking through a broke-down world. When will the public tire of it? Will they¬†ever? It’s been 60+ years of telling the same stories over and over and it hasn’t so, who knows.

Maybe this is why I almost exclusively read sci fi. It’s where the new ideas are. Stuff that hasn’t been worn so thin you can see right through it to the other side of the story before you even open to the first page.

I wonder what the next fresh idea to be ground to dust, pressed back together, and ground away again will be…

New experiences = New ideas

If you read the same books, watch the same shows, go to the same places, eat the same foods, do the same things every day–it stands to reason you’re going to think the same thoughts every day.

Thoughts are products¬†of our experiences, a rearranging of things we already know. So if you want some new ideas, you’d do good to throw some new ingredients into the pot. Your characters, worlds and plots are always going to be narrowed to your limited experience of reality, no matter how good your imagination is.

In the 2015 film Room, we see some of the world through the eyes of a boy who’s lived his entire live trapped in a single room. Even with the best mind in the world, being hindered by such a lack of experience would guarantee that any story he imagined would pale in comparison to the reality he has no idea of.

We all live in ‘rooms’ of our own making who’s walls are are the length and width of our experiences. Your characters can never enjoy a dish you’ve never heard of, climb a mountain you don’t know exists, or feel a feeling that you can’t comprehend.

Push your walls back whenever you can. Every new thing, whether you personally enjoy it or not, is an opportunity to expand your capability for imagination.