”God Tears” - Milos Dumbraci


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Post March 05, 2018, 12:00:54 PM

”God Tears” - Milos Dumbraci

Hello, everyone! I am excited to join the Aphelion scifi crowd for the first time as a writer and not just a reader!
I will be happy to receive some feed-back from you, be it good or bad, since the story is quite a mix: written by a Romanian (we are Latin-European, similar in language and behaviour to the Italians), about a Muslim Kazah in a (Slav Orthodox) Russian space expedition, for an American public :)
Also, I would like to see what message the story managed to provide about its mistery - I had at least two different possibilities in mind and am very curious which one got through.
Thank you!

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Post March 05, 2018, 01:41:45 PM

Re: ”God Tears” - Milos Dumbraci

Thanks for joining. Aphelion's a great site, and the critiques are always helpful.
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Post March 05, 2018, 03:48:25 PM

Re: ”God Tears” - Milos Dumbraci

Welcome, Milos, and thanks again.

First off, I'll say that the overall feeling of the story reminded me of the work of brothers Boris and Arkady Strugatsky. For those unfamiliar with their work, they (now both deceased) were two Soviet-era Russian SF authors who managed to produce critiques of the Party and the State and sneak them past the censors as literature. Their work is well respected, but it isn't cheerful.

The only aspect of the story that caused me hesitation was in the way the second-person narrator would abruptly switch the object of his remarks between the other characters. I wasn't confused, since the addressee was always properly identified; it just seemed unusual to me for him to be talking to, say, Fairy, and then switch suddenly to address Aleksei. It helps to keep in mind that he's dictating a recording--and that he's drunk.

I may have more to say on this later, but it's quite well done.
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Post March 05, 2018, 05:47:25 PM

Re: ”God Tears” - Milos Dumbraci

WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD>
I imagined the recording scene as Bek being drunk and somewhat confused himself, actually talking to Aleksei's corpse (watching it the whole time) - as drunks tend to do, talk even to objects - and being surrounded by the AI's constant whining in an alien language, repeatedly distracting him now and then. Also, Russians do tend to adress each other by name (and patronimic) in conversations much more often than the English speaking people (or us Romanians, we never use names in conversations, just ”you”, but they do that a lot. I forgot to mention I speak some Russian, too).
But I must admit I did not think it might be felt as un-natural by the readers and I will remember that next time - the confusion was intended to mimic his flow of thoughts, the unusual-ness not so much and therefore a flaw in a scifi trying to be realistic.
As for the Strugatski comparison (a flattering one, they are masters) - I never thought of that, but it is surprisingly accurate - they were also mostly writing about the impossibility of comprehension/communication with beings more evolved than us. And, if I may say, there was actually nothing cheerfull for real in a Communist dictatorship (I lived through one) - any smile seen was either fake/propaganda, or belonging to the nomenklatura (the Red ”arristocracy”).
Not even the scifi.
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Post March 06, 2018, 12:37:34 AM

Re: ”God Tears” - Milos Dumbraci

But I must admit I did not think it might be felt as un-natural by the readers and I will remember that next time - the confusion was intended to mimic his flow of thoughts, the unusual-ness not so much and therefore a flaw in a scifi trying to be realistic.

It didn't feel unnatural; it was just an unusual way of portraying action and dialog. You did very well at making second-person PoV work, especially in a piece of this length. Second-person PoV is known for its difficulties, to the extent that new writers are advised not to try it. I think you did a good job with it. The story would not have been as effective in first-person. All that added to the fact that English isn't your first language.
Also, I would like to see what message the story managed to provide about its mistery - I had at least two different possibilities in mind and am very curious which one got through.

Are you referring to the ending? It left me with a kind of nervous ambiguity; Bek hasn't destroyed the AI yet and it's letting him get drunk. So, either he followed through on that and saved Earth, or we're doomed, but he stops the recording before we get to find out. Nicely done.
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Post March 06, 2018, 02:30:15 AM

Re: ”God Tears” - Milos Dumbraci

Thank you!
WARNING SPOILER AHEAD
”Are you referring to the ending?” - no, I meant which theory about what is the thing in the sea: is it the Devil (and therefore the end a possession, and the rain drops are souls) or an alien AI (and therefore the end a malware attack, and the rain drops are a library of alien knowledge).
The ending (did Bek do it or not) - even I do not know. The recording is obviously listened to by someone else who found it, but where? A new expedition on Flood and the risk of going through it all over again? Or the Earth orbit after arrival, and already too late? And is Bek dead or still prowling, crazed and hidden somewhere in the Ark? I do not know, but the one who found the recording is about to find out...
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Post March 06, 2018, 12:57:02 PM

Re: ”God Tears” - Milos Dumbraci

Ah, that ... yeah, that was a little fuzzy to me. I suppose it's up the the reader to decide.
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