Nightwatch: Kindness of Strangers by Jeff Williams


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Post March 14, 2005, 06:59:38 PM

Nightwatch: Kindness of Strangers by Jeff Williams

I’d like to say that Jeff’s written a great part one here, and this story makes a fabulous introduction to Season Two of Nightwatch. If you liked the first year, hang on to your hat!<br> <br>I had opportunities to see early drafts of this, and I think Jeff made very good choices, even if he didn’t always listen to me. :) (When I make suggestions, I’m sure I’m a real pain in the ass.) I’ve had a peek at part of the conclusion, and he’s taking this story somewhere great.<br> <br>One thing I missed the first two times through that I have to congratulate Jeff on is the Vice President Garner thing. When I first read that bit, I thought, “Wow. How is Simon going to fix that?”<br> <br>The way Jeff wrote it, I just believed that this VP was actually killed, and this was straight out of a history book. I took it for granted that it was the truth, because it sounded so real. That was superbly done, and took a Google search about “Cactus Jack” Garner to know any different.<br> <br>Nicely done, and just wait until you see part two!<br><br>Nate
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Post March 29, 2005, 01:42:33 PM

Re: Nightwatch: Kindness of Strangers by Jeff Will

... Also, this sort of strong, self-contained characterization is lost entirely in the flashback to the laboratory where Simon comes across as a bit, well, hysterical in his reaction to the egg. He's wandering around the room busting up equipment while coolly carrying on a dialogue. This struck me as problematic as I assumed this equipment had something to do with running the time machine and now he'd gone and trashed at least some if it. The other characters' response to this wanton destruction was next to nil. Then Simon agrees to use the machine and no one is concerned about the implications of all the gear he broke (least of all him). The scene was uneven and, despite your efforts had camoflauge, read a bit like a the sort of infodump that is often criticized here (others might not agree with this assessment).
<br>Well, Eckert was pulling spares out of storage cabinets even as Simon was tearing things up ... Aside from the Egg itself (introduced in the first Nightwatch tale, 'Dragon's Egg'), there probably wasn't much in the lab that couldn't be rebuilt or replaced. Simon's reaction to the whole idea of time travel wouldn't seem so wild if you had read 'Cardenio' and 'Dimension's Gate', where Simon has seen first hand the risks involved in tampering with time. Simon probably finds it especially worrisome that Callow seems to be in control of a time-manipulation device.<br>
... The fact that they discerned a mysterious vascillation in time w/no reason identified troubled me in that they gave no indication of having exhausted any research sources.
<br>My suspicion would be that (a) the changes were so minor that they would not even show up in written or computer-accessible records (manifesting themselves only as peculiar instrument readings?), and/or (b) if the changes affected things that would show up in written / computer-accessible records, it would be impossible to tell. From the 2010 observers' standpoint, the changed history would be the ONLY history. When Simon travels back in time, however, he has memories of the veep's fate that were formed BEFORE history shifted, so he is able to see that major weirdness is afoot.<br>
...Has Simon always used a .44 mag? Strikes me as the wrong kind of weapon for an experienced field agent. I would think something less unwieldy. A modified 9mm of some kind, a .40 cal maybe. Something easier to handle with good stopping power. I imagine the ballistic technology available these days is fairly elaborate.
<br>Simon is a pragmatist and probably uses whatever is appropriate. Whatever mission he was on that required that he carry lethal armaments, presumably stealth and subtlety were not the major concerns (i.e., no need for a Bond-style teensy automatic that doesn't affect the way your tuxedo jacket drapes). On other missions, he frequently uses non-lethal weapons (gas grenades, tasers, etc.), or just beats the crap out of whoever is in the way.<br>
... Did you revise the story already to address the massive tip that Don brought up?
<br>The massive tip was Jeff's way of showing that Simon hadn't adjusted to the economic milieu of 1939. He was expecting a 2010-level bill, for which two dollars would have been an adequate, but hardly exorbitant, gratuity. He got a 1939 bill, which turned his 10-15% into 500%. Hence I would be surprised if Jeff ever changes this bit.<br><br>Robert M.
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Post March 29, 2005, 03:22:46 PM

Re: Nightwatch: Kindness of Strangers by Jeff Will

...I wonder what work ever requires a .44 mag?
<br><br>I guess you weren't aware of Nightwatch's role in the business of wildlife control (specifically rogue cyborg elephants, rhinoceri, and the like). The .44 magnum would be the backup weapon in case the anti-tank rocket launcher jams.<br><br>Robert (wondering what you get for 1000 posts) M.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)

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