Incomplete Cathedral by Daniel Nathan Horn


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Post November 01, 2013, 06:55:49 PM

Incomplete Cathedral by Daniel Nathan Horn

Hi, everyone,

I'm going to take a cue from I. Verse here and tell you a little about my story to kick things off.

Incomplete Cathedral was written about faith during a time when I don't particularly have any myself. The story came about during a time of reflection on the famed La Familia Sagrada by Gaudi. It's a fascinating place, made even more fascinating by Gaudi's devotion to his vision... and to his faith. As someone without that kind of belief, I was still struck with the power of the basilica's imagery, its scope, what it meant to Gaudi and what he in turn meant to it. The story of Gaudi's profound dedication affected me, an atheist, in a manner I wasn't quite expecting. There was a projection of his faith to which the artist in me felt deeply connected. And so Incomplete Cathedral is my humble ode to a man of faith enough for the both of us.

I hope you enjoy it, and I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

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Post November 02, 2013, 02:08:07 AM

Re: Incomplete Cathedral by Daniel Nathan Horn

DanielNHorn wrote:Hi, everyone,

I'm going to take a cue from I. Verse here and tell you a little about my story to kick things off.

Incomplete Cathedral was written about faith during a time when I don't particularly have any myself. The story came about during a time of reflection on the famed La Familia Sagrada by Gaudi. It's a fascinating place, made even more fascinating by Gaudi's devotion to his vision... and to his faith. As someone without that kind of belief, I was still struck with the power of the basilica's imagery, its scope, what it meant to Gaudi and what he in turn meant to it. The story of Gaudi's profound dedication affected me, an atheist, in a manner I wasn't quite expecting. There was a projection of his faith to which the artist in me felt deeply connected. And so Incomplete Cathedral is my humble ode to a man of faith enough for the both of us.

I hope you enjoy it, and I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Wow, this is the way to put yourself into your work and before the public. A creator's work benefits many others when they put their soul into it. I appreciate your dedication to your craft, to see beyond your own perspective and connect with something you may yourself not understand. And who in life understands faith...I know I don't. But people don't exist without it on some level...whether it be God or faith in one's self or in a friend who's got your back at a time when you can't manage alone.

I think placing a small demand on a writer to initiate promoting their work is a necessary part of being a writer or a creator. When others see a person who has faith in their own work, it draws them in.

This story is on my to read list also.

Mark
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Post November 11, 2013, 09:26:27 AM

Re: Incomplete Cathedral by Daniel Nathan Horn

I really liked this story. Lot's of great descriptions and lots of tension.

*** SPOILERS ***

Which is why I probably feel the need to now dump a lot of criticism on it (sorry).

1) Johansen
There's some early love-story sub plot stuff and the added tension of trying to find shelter before her shielding gives out but, ultimately, it doesn't go anywhere. The story makes it clear she's probably dead whether or not they find shelter in time, so her purpose in the plot is to add sentiment and character development for Saturday, her love interest.

This would be fine but
a) Saturday is also a minor character, so the love story sub-plot is not significant.
b) after they get to the Cathedral she disappears off to 'sick bay' and we never see her again and
b) she maybe/probably died when Stag and his crew blew the inner door lock (I also have a grip about that too)

You could remove her from the story entirely without affecting the plot and this would make it a tighter, albeit shorter, story.

2) Killing Saturday
This is really a little grumble. Saturday is an important but minor character to the story, his death is a crucial plot element. He has to die to show how ruthless and evil Stagg and his crew are. However, the manner of his death - tied to the Johansen love-interest - is what causes me issue. He isn't killed off quickly. Instead they destroy his suit's protection and also give him a super high dose of radiation. The last we see of him is that he tumbles down a dune, presumably to die an agonising death. As a reader, anyone who is wounded but not dead is expected to come back into the story at some point (e.g. like Johansen. who didn't!). Otherwise, kill that sucker off - you can do it as unpleasantly as you like but make sure they are gone, dead, pushing up the daisies, the bucket kicked, shuffled off the mortal coil, etc. Don't leave the reader hanging.

3) Virj's death
Kind of an ass pull on that one. He needed to be dead for the plot (like Saturday) but the manner of his death was very weak. Now this would have been a perfect opportunity to show how rash and evil Stagg was. If Stagg had gunned down Virj as he tried to escape through the tunnels with the Altar, it would have helped demonstrate he was a shoot first, ask questions later kind of guy.

4) " They were gone. Quirk, Stagg, Verj, Johansen, Saturday. All gone now."
Except Quirk and Stagg weren't, at that point, 'gone' in the same way as Verj, Johansen and Saturday, they were just lost, along with the MC, in the Cathedral's labyrinth.

5) Kamil Larson was a crap architect
What kind of architect designs a structure for a planet with a non-breathable atmosphere that doesn't have air tight bulkheads and doors in case the integrity is breached by unscrupulous space smugglers? Now to be fair, it was an unfinished structure or it could be the automatic mechanisms to shut bulk head doors could be inactive. Verj uses torches to light the way, so it kind of implied the whole place was un-powered APART from the airlock.


I hope the author takes these as constructive. My opinion is that addressing these issues would make the story more compelling and tighter but that's all it is, an opinion. I still really liked the story.
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Post November 13, 2013, 09:33:08 PM

Re: Incomplete Cathedral by Daniel Nathan Horn

I liked the story quite a bit, but I didn't have the same reactions to it.

For one thing, I didn't find much of a message of faith in it. Somehow Verj comes across to me as more of an obsessed crazy than someone who found religion. Or maybe it's that the religion he found had more to do with Larsen than anything else.

The random deaths didn't bother me; that seems to just be fitting with the overall setup, and it worked well for that. Johansen died of equipment failure, as they all would have if they'd stayed with the ship -- unless they got found and killed by their 'friends' first.

One detail I really appreciated was how it took some effort for Stagg's man to do damage with the rifle. A refreshing change from the usual zap-dead sort of thing.

I also liked how the MC found that he enjoyed working with his hands. To me, that seemed a stronger message and motivation than anything about faith, since it was physically direct and personal to him, rather than abstract.

The part I didn't care for was the wealth of esoteric names for the parts of the architecture; I hardly recognized any of them. Then again, I've never studied cathedrals, either, but that brings up the question of where a self-confessed smuggler learned all those terms.

I also had a problem with the building apparently having no power to any part of it except its airlock.
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Post November 17, 2013, 03:16:28 PM

Re: Incomplete Cathedral by Daniel Nathan Horn

Lester Curtis wrote:
The part I didn't care for was the wealth of esoteric names for the parts of the architecture; I hardly recognized any of them. Then again, I've never studied cathedrals, either, but that brings up the question of where a self-confessed smuggler learned all those terms.


Hi, Lester,

Thank you for the comments. I hope you'll consider this as an appropriate response to the above:

The characters make several references to the fact that there isn't work for them doing anything else. Our MC even alludes to being well-educated (note that even an engineer goes through a significant fine arts/gen ed curriculum). In this story "smuggler" is not equal to employment for knuckle-draggers but to employment in general.

As for the powerless cathedral, I don't suppose that was supposed to all that believable. It's just a tincture of the surreal, a pre-modern setting in the far future, alluding to the rawbone sensibilities of this particular religion.

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