Kindness Pt. 2


Tell us what you thought about the April 2005 issue!

Moderator: Editors

User avatar

Senior Editor

Posts: 1081

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Northeast Georgia, USA

Post April 14, 2005, 11:08:29 AM

Kindness Pt. 2

This is amazing. Most especally the scenes with Emit, but overall a wonderful piece of work. I have greatly enjoyed this story, from beginning to end.<br>Dan<br>
"Extremely difficult- Virtually impossible- However, it should only take me ten minutes or so..."
Brice Linch - Max Headroom
User avatar

Commenter

Posts: 18

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Connecticut, USA

Post April 24, 2005, 06:10:28 AM

The Kindness of Strangers By Jeff Williams

I’m a newbie to Aphelion so this is both my first story to post upon and introduction to the Nightwatch series. I really enjoyed parts I & II of this story. This second part had all the dramatic conflicts: Man against Man (Litchfield vs. Whitey and his crew), Man against Nature (Litchfield vs. time travel changes in known history), and Man vs. Himself (Litchfield vs. what he had to do to prevent any further temporal alterations). The story’s conclusion neatly wrapped them up in one exciting event.<br><br>I liked the bit about the train station and Karl Emmit in part I, but I only saw it as a Twilight Zone-ish interlude in the action. I was delighted by Williams’s critical use of it to resolve the story. As Chekhov is credited with saying, if a pistol is put on a mantle in act I, it must be used by the end of act II. <br><br>Pastor Harrigan was a well-drawn character -- unlikable, a little bit pathetic, and seemingly realistic to the time period. Also I’m a sucker for any tale where effect precedes cause! <br>
'Beowulf's dragon, if one wishes really to criticize, is not to be blamed for being a dragon, but rather for not being dragon enough, plain pure fairy-tale dragon.'
J.R.R. Tolkien, 1936.
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post April 25, 2005, 08:55:36 PM

Re: Kindness Pt. 2

I complimented as well as worked Jeff over a dozen times while he was drafting this, so he's heard a lot from me about it. (And he's still speaking to me, believe it or not.)<br><br>But I will second the motion on Al Harrigan. I thought he was a very pleasant surprise the first time I read this. He was interesting and well characterized. A joy to read.<br><br>I say Jeff did an excellent job on the first part, don't get me wrong, but I was not expecting a performance like his to start off the second part when I finished the first. To me it implied a time delay, one in which Simon became acclimated to the period he was in. I guessed it would start the next morning in the boarding house, but this was a better choice.<br><br>When I first read his intent for the ending, I told him that was so good it gave me goose bumps, and that he shouldn't change that no matter what. I glad he didn't. It brought the whole thing full circle, and I hope he's damn proud of his ending.<br><br>Behind the scenes, Nightwatch writers are a wildly passionate bunch, helping each other with their stories. It is my heartfelt hope that (1), that devotion comes through, and (2), more of you writers want to try this next year. These are great characters, and they're fun to write.<br><br>There's plenty left worth talking about in this one. What do the rest of you think?<br><br>Nate
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 550

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Atlanta, GA

Post April 27, 2005, 10:27:02 AM

Re: Kindness Pt. 2

Ah, I didn't get a chance to critique Jeff's second part of Kindness. So I was eagerly anticipating the sequel. I wasn't disappointed.<br><br>First off, I enjoy Jeff's writing style. It's well-polished and the pacing is spot on. He also does a very good job with dialogue. The way he captures the dialects of his various characters speaks highly of his skill. In addition, he knows how to insert the right amount of description to really add depth to a scene. For example:<br>
Harrigan, his green-brown eyes twinkling with delight, turned round to look at Simon. The strands of the pastor's comb-over flapped gaily in the light breeze.
<br>He describes the character and the environment in one fell swoop. Good work here and elsewhere.<br><br>Time-travel is tricky to write. I commend Jeff for tackling that beast. He didn't choose a simple topic. Some quibbles will inevitably arise due to the topic. You always have to address paradoxes and philosophical discussions when time-travel is involved. One question that may be asked is why John Nance Garner was allowed to survive. Potentially, he could have had a much larger impact on history than Eddie. As the VP, he might have made a possible Presidential candidate.<br><br>From a physics standpoint, some purists may object to mixing time-travel with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. I've always thought of time-travel as being under the purview of Relativity, while the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is a quantum mechanics concept. As far as I know, those two theories are incompatible with each other. Then again, this is science fiction. I’m not a purist or a quantum physicist, so this comment is more from a curiosity’s standpoint and whether there is a way to mix the two.<br><br>One other item were Simon's "intuitive leaps". I enjoyed seeing him use this ability (and I will certainly leverage this later on... *evil grin*), but I think another subtle clue or two would have made it a bit easier for the reader to accept Simon's deciphering of "Emit".<br><br>This is a great story from beginning to end. It certainly raises the bar. Nicely done, Jeff!<br>
"Even the straight arrow needs a crooked bow."
- Samani


jaimie l. elliott

[b:2o4dvkjg]Check out my website:[/b:2o4dvkjg]
http://www.jaimie.org/

Senior Critic

Posts: 417

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: St. Augustine, FL

Post May 08, 2005, 12:35:20 AM

Re: Kindness Pt. 2

Hope this is not too late to reach Lettercol before the nexr issue!<br><br>I first started reading this one just before my PC troubles started. But I had read enough to be hooked, and couldn’t wait to read the rest of the story. <br><br>A great story it was! I greatly enjoyed the read. It had just about everything a reader could ask for: action, adventure, suspense, and drama. It was well written, easy to follow, and had a satisfying ending.<br><br>As one who lived through that era, the descriptions of that time period seemed authentic to me. I remember the hobos, the wandering preachers, the trains, etc.<br><br>My only complaint was Dr. Litchfield’s desire to save Robert McNamara. I’ve always had a very low opinion of the man--lower than whale poop, actually. <br><br>All said and done, I found this story a delight to read.<br><br>Donald <br>
A really good story can compensate for less-than-brilliant writing, but brilliant writing will not save a bad story.

Senior Critic

Posts: 387

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Somewhere outside San Diego

Post May 09, 2005, 05:32:27 PM

Re: Kindness Pt. 2

Nice finish.<br><br>It would've been pretty interesting to have Simon speculate on some of the possible outcomes of a McNamara-less world. Then maybe have Simon weigh his options. How compelling, tho maybe out of character, if he had chosen to let the accident occur.<br><br>One question: how old is Simon now? I seem to remember him being 70-something in Dan's piece, and isn't he 50-something in Kindness? Am I wrong (again)?<br><br>Dan E.
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post May 09, 2005, 06:51:21 PM

Re: Kindness Pt. 2

Nice finish.

It would've been pretty interesting to have Simon speculate on some of the possible outcomes of a McNamara-less world. Then maybe have Simon weigh his options. How compelling, tho maybe out of character, if he had chosen to let the accident occur.

One question: how old is Simon now? I seem to remember him being 70-something in Dan's piece, and isn't he 50-something in Kindness? Am I wrong (again)?

Dan E.
<br>Simon was stuck with the old Time Traveler's dilemma: if you make a significant change in your own past, you can never return to the 'future' you came from. Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder" gives the 'chaos theory' version of this (where stepping on an insect changed the course of evolution, not just history).<br><br>As for Simon's age, the Nightwatch 'bible' indicates that he is in his 50's (although I can't remember if it's early, middle,or late 50's). I think it was Tom Darby that was in his 70's in Dan's Nightwatch story.<br><br>Robert M.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)

Senior Critic

Posts: 387

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Somewhere outside San Diego

Post May 09, 2005, 07:06:27 PM

Re: Kindness Pt. 2

Simon says he's no proponent of the butterfly effect, which is one reason why I started wondering about this.<br><br>Anyway, I was really more interested in seeing Jeff take a shot at presenting an alternative historical trajectory. That would've been as fascinating to me as was his knowledge of trains.<br><br>I recall Tom and Simon hitting it off as contemporaries, basically peas in a pod, so for I guess I decided they were the same age.<br><br>
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post May 09, 2005, 08:35:55 PM

Re: Kindness Pt. 2

...I recall Tom and Simon hitting it off as contemporaries, basically peas in a pod, so for I guess I decided they were the same age.

<br>It's the silver or white hair thing. They probably bonded because people have been assuming that they must be harmless because they look old (in both cases, I suspect the hair went gray long before strength and agility really started to decline). Simon, of course, has a very direct way of proving that he's not as decrepit as his hair might suggest: he beats the living crap out of them.<br><br>Robert M.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)
User avatar

Senior Editor

Posts: 1081

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Northeast Georgia, USA

Post May 09, 2005, 10:53:17 PM

Re: Kindness Pt. 2

And Tom Darby is old enough so that he either outsmarts his enemies, or shoots them. LOL<br>I had Darby at 72 looking at Simon at 50-something as the "new kid" just a little in Orion Affair. I thought Simon would benefit from being treated as if he were a youngster, for just this once. People tell me that the dialog worked, so I'm happy.<br>Jeff's story explored the humanity within Simon's character. After all, what would any of us readers do if thrown into such a situation? I only hope that *I* would be able to cope in such a case.<br>And as a final comment on the character of Emit: What everyone does not yet know is that Jeff has had that character and story fragment haunting him for decades. I am so happy that he finally found a place to write it all out. Emit and the train station are some of the most poetic story elements that Jeff has ever written. Brought a tear to my eye every time I re-read that section.<br>I also think that the way Jeff wove his alternate history and real history together is an example to us all of "how to do it the right way" when we attempt parallel timeline stories. Like Rob Wynne's Mare story "Yesterday's Glory", this one shows all of us how the thing *should* be done. And Jeff's effortless-to-read writing style is just icing on the cake.<br>This is one good read, folks. Rewarding on many levels. Check it out for yourselves.<br>Dan<br>
Last edited by Vila on May 10, 2005, 12:24:47 AM, edited 1 time in total.
"Extremely difficult- Virtually impossible- However, it should only take me ten minutes or so..."
Brice Linch - Max Headroom

Production Editor

Posts: 143

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post May 09, 2005, 11:30:34 PM

Re: Kindness Pt. 2

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has commented upon the story. "Kindness" was and is very dear to my heart even though writing it was one of the hardest things I've done in a long time. "Effortless to read" as Dan put it doesn't describe how labored the process was for me, as the Nightwatch Writers' Workshop can attest from the drafts they read. :) <br><br>Dan's also right about Emit; that part of the story has been haunting me for quite awhile.<br><br>A few mentioned the prospect of Simon simply allowing the accident to happen or at least strongly considering allowing the accident to happen. For awhile, that was indeed part of my plan since both McNamera and LeMay were such controversial, bloody figures. By the time I made it to those scenes, however, it no longer felt right to do so. Simon has already learned by that point the dangers inherent in mucking about with time. It became more of a matter of him sticking with the devil he knew.<br><br><br>Thanks,<br>Jeff
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post May 10, 2005, 12:45:42 AM

Re: Kindness Pt. 2

I see Dan had the same problem as I did -- when attempting to Post his message, he never got the normal display of the result. So he hit Post again -- and again. When I exited the browser and redisplayed, I found three (or more) copies of my post -- which I subsequently deleted.<br><br>Rob Wynne -- wha' hoppen, man? Problem must be intermittent, since not everybody is winding up with multiple copies of their posts (maybe Dan and I are the only two who keep clicking on 'Post' over and over again?)<br><br>Robert M.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)

Return to April 2005

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware.