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Microwave

PostPosted: October 30, 2012, 10:36:39 AM
by Verse
Microwave by P. C. Van Slyke

An interesting take on the Imported Alien Phlebotinum trope, although in this case, it was delivered by the wonderful intermediary of Ebay - genius.

However, the story structure as a wall of dialogue with so much exposition made it quite hard going at times.

Re: Microwave

PostPosted: October 30, 2012, 11:42:58 AM
by Robert_Moriyama
The story reminded me a bit of the recent Doctor Who episode in which millions of mysterious black cubes appear all over the world -- and do nothing for months, until people accept them and take them into their homes. I asked the author (if I recall correctly) what the triggering mechanism might be for the devices NOT in the basement workshops of part-time inventors -- surely not everybody would rig a microwave source and aim it at the device...

Re: Microwave

PostPosted: November 06, 2012, 01:50:05 AM
by Lester Curtis
Kind of a fun story, but the dialog wasn't very good, not very natural sounding. Should have had more contractions.

And we never got to find out what the HW/WM marking meant. Maybe the author is saving that for a sequel.

Re: Microwave

PostPosted: November 06, 2012, 03:20:14 PM
by TaoPhoenix
Lester Curtis wrote:Kind of a fun story, but the dialog wasn't very good, not very natural sounding. Should have had more contractions.

And we never got to find out what the HW/WM marking meant. Maybe the author is saving that for a sequel.


I'll start a discussion here, and say I didn't see very many places for contractions. "Naturalness" of dialogue is a bit of a tricky subject for me. Dialogue doesn't need to be "representative of 60% of Americans with Basement Laboratories", it just needs to describe one set of characters. So in a way that puts more responsibility on the writer to make sure he's not just borrowing "tropes" for dialogue, but that he's aware of parts of tone etc. For myself, it just felt a lot like old-school Campbellian pre-Golden Age style, ... which is fine if you like that sort of thing. Sometimes a writer becomes what he reads, so if he grew up reading all that stuff, that's how he's gonna write.

For trivia, "no one" is named P. C. Van Slyke. (Percival Charles? Paul Conrad?) So again it harkens me to an era when someone pen-named A. E. Van Vogt was writing.

Re: Microwave

PostPosted: November 06, 2012, 03:27:08 PM
by Lester Curtis
I forgot to mention earlier, but it seemed to me that all the characters in the story had the same personality, too. They were all perky, cheerful, hard-working, good folks. I think there's a chance that the author did this intentionally, though.

Re: Microwave

PostPosted: November 06, 2012, 03:41:44 PM
by TaoPhoenix
Lester Curtis wrote:I forgot to mention earlier, but it seemed to me that all the characters in the story had the same personality, too. They were all perky, cheerful, hard-working, good folks. I think there's a chance that the author did this intentionally, though.


That's some of what I meant about that "old school style" - tons of those early SF stories featured that whole thing of "good hard working simple folks" getting themselves into stuff. In some places it was criticized as "thin character development". The big push to "complex characters" didn't really get going until some time about the mid fifties, and really got boosted in the explicit complex-character attempts in the 1960's, until some of that settled down a little back into a balance.

And heh thank you Lester for being fast on the draw, it's fun to get at least 2 levels of a topic going without having to wait for days. : )