Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima


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Post July 13, 2005, 07:06:48 AM

Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

Hi Everybody,<br><br>Pls. let me know what you thought of this effort. Its not as dramatic as my previous submission but I hope you like it all the same.
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Post July 13, 2005, 09:33:39 AM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

Yeah, c'mon. It's not often you see a police procedural yarn mixed with -- well, read the story.
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Post July 15, 2005, 02:58:29 PM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

This was one of the good ones.  The plot--once again--was a little familiar but the delivery was solid.  Almost this same plot was used on an episode of last season's Stargate SG-1.<br><br>I am a little unsure how this fellow was supposed to have ended up where he did (let's avoid some spoilers) but it sounded a little like he was transported from the New World to the Old by Atlantean slavers.<br><br>That's a bit of a leap, but it might explain why it wasn't something that came up, too often.  I mean, if this is the explanation for some of the Ambrose Bierce-type disappearances throughout history, it isn't too surprising that very few of them would have ended up in the historical record.<br><br>The glass eye was a nice plot device to make the poor fellow a little more interesting to the folks who ended up writing about him.<br><br>As a matter of fact, if the 'medical facility' would have purposely bought a foreign slave for the sole purpose of having him explain the technology or crafting of the glass eye, it might have made more sense.  I couldn't quite get why this fellow wasn't just sold as farm labor or salt mining.  <br><br>So the story had good structure and well-defined delivery but the plot was only clever the first four or five times it was used.  And don't forget, ancient Egyptians did not use a phonetic alphabet.  You couldn't write down even bad equivalents of foreign words.<br><br>Just something to think about for the next story.  <br><br>Bill<br>
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Post July 15, 2005, 03:14:05 PM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

...As a matter of fact, if the 'medical facility' would have purposely bought a foreign slave for the sole purpose of having him explain the technology or crafting of the glass eye, it might have made more sense.  I couldn't quite get why this fellow wasn't just sold as farm labor or salt mining.  
<br>Well ... it would be a lot more energy-efficient to just capture slaves locally (from another kingdom not too far away) than to haul one several millennia if all you wanted them for was cheap labor. I would assume that our missing person accidentally stepped through a 'wrinkle in (space)time', and then used his technological know-how to play 'Connecticut Yankee in Pharaoh's Court'.<br><br>The story didn't even say that the owner of the glass eye was the subject of the detective's original investigation -- but I suppose he should be, per Occam's Razor.<br><br>
...So the story had good structure and well-defined delivery but the plot was only clever the first four or five times it was used.  And don't forget, ancient Egyptians did not use a phonetic alphabet.  You couldn't write down even bad equivalents of foreign words...
<br>Actually, I think there was some sort of phoneme-hieroglyph correspondence that would allow a name to be 'spelled' by stringing together symbols for words that sounded roughly like the desired syllables. (The result would be utter nonsense in Egyptian, but them's the breaks. If there wasn't such a correspondence, how would Dr. Jackson know how to pronounce 'chappa' and 'kal-tesh' (or however it would be transliterated)?<br><br>Robert M.<br><br>Just something to think about for the next story.  <br><br>Bill<br>[/quote]<br>
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Post July 18, 2005, 12:28:26 PM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

. . ."but it sounded a little like he was transported from the New World to the Old by Atlantean slavers.


<br><br>Robert, <br> <br>I can see how this might have been misleading in the context of the story. <br> <br>By 'New World' I mean the Americas: I.E. That place that Christopher Columbus "Discovered." <br> <br>And 'Old World', of course, is Asia/Europe/Africa. <br> <br>One of the true sillies concerning time travel is the necessary plot device of having the time traveler maintain some spatial link with the geographic location of his/her temporal displacement. <br> <br>2,500 years ago, the 'spot' between floors of the building should have translated to somewhere between the solar systems. . .you could probably figure it out if you needed to. . .but that would destroy 99% of all time travel plots, so it is probably best if conveniently disregarded. <br> <br>But what I meant was that he seems to have survived in the wilds of ancient North America long enough to have been captured and sold to slavers from the land of 'Atla'. <br> <br>And as for the phonetic translation of Egyptian script, I don't think anyone has a decent idea of how this language actually sounded. But don't take my word for it, I looked it up here: <br><br>http://www.friesian.com/egypt.htm <br> <br>More stuff I didn't know but now I do. But the archaeologist in the story certainly would have known this. <br> <br>Food for thought. . . <br> <br>Bill<br>
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Post July 18, 2005, 01:01:49 PM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

... 2,500 years ago, the 'spot' between floors of the building should have translated to somewhere between the solar systems.  .  .you could probably figure it out if you needed to.  .  .but that would destroy 99% of all time travel plots, so it is probably best if conveniently disregarded. ...

Bill
<br>Hey, pick up Spider Robinson's 'Callahan's Con' for an interesting take on that very effect. Even if your time travel device can pin you to a location (compensate for all the rotational and orbital motion), it doesn't help if you forget to tell it to do so ...<br><br>Robert M.
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Post July 18, 2005, 07:52:07 PM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

I think this story suffered from not knowing what it wanted to be: a human story or one with a surprise ending.<br><br>I mean, not every story has to try and explore the depths and limits of the human experience, but more than was given here might have helped. Archaeologist uncovers evidence of modern man in a 2500 year old jar, then finds out that the police are looking for that same man, and fills in the blanks for the detective. That was pretty much it, except that suddenly the detective became a better man.<br><br>I thought there were some problems with logic that interfered with characterization & the flow of events:<br><br>Why did the detective have to come on the weekend? The professor puts him off until then, but I missed why it had to be that way, especially after making such a fuss about it. Plus, if it was his only lead, why would a detective allow it to take that long? Hernandez said he was concerned and that every day lessened the chances. For all he knew, Grover could have been the kidnapper, and after that many days, Preston could have been dead in some box in the ground.<br><br>Was it important that the professor's parents had met during the Korean War? This seemed an extraneous aside that drew away from the already slow and struggling dialog. Likewise for the spruce tree outside the window, and the background on the university and its founder. I like detail, but I prefer it to be about the place where the actions take place or about the characters in the story, and not as added asides.<br><br>Why, after finding a 2,500 year old credit card that Grover suspected was related Preston's disappearance, would an archeologist "throw" it out onto the table? It was clearly important enough to him to call the detective in the first place. Grover had to believe that it was really Preston's card, and that it wasn't a hoax. Plus, he's a man who made a living finding and preserving evidence. Why ruin it by tossing the brittle card across the desk?? It all seemed like it was contrary to his character.<br><br>Finally, why, if he did think it was the missing man's card, did a lecturer who talked all day, do such a poor job of explaning his own theory, and then just clam up, pushing the file over to the detective? I minored in anthropology, so I've listened to a LOT of archeology lectures. Those guys don't stop talking about their finds. They want you to know every excruciatingly boring detail.<br><br>On the plus side, I really enjoyed the bit where a different archeologist took all the credit for the find. That seemed very real.<br><br>In terms of pace, I thought it was a mad rush to get to the end, rather than careful development of character. I mean, it wasn't even a surprise ending, since Grover let us know what really happened. We don't know why Hernandez's life is all better now, and how it was influenced by the events in the opener. There wasn't enough character development for me to fully appreciate the change in the man, or why it should have been important to me. Harry didn't have a tragic flaw or anything like that I noticed that drew me to him, or that could have been resolved during the story's journey.<br><br>IMO a surprise ending should be surprising, but if it's not going to be, then a writer needs to take time to develop the character over a longer plotline so the reader can appreciate the human side of the story. I guess what I'm saying is hang in there a little longer, and find out the real yarn your characters are trying to tell, then do right by them.<br><br>Nate
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Post July 19, 2005, 03:39:16 AM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

Thanks guys. I really appreciate your insights.<br><br>I'm going to keep all your comments in mind for the next submission. I promise a longer and more detailed piece.<br><br>Can't bank on Aphelion accepting it though! :D <br><br>Mr. Moriyama...its not the one that I just sent you!!
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Post July 19, 2005, 09:25:53 AM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

Thanks guys. I really appreciate your insights.

I'm going to keep all your comments in mind for the next submission. I promise a longer and more detailed piece.

Can't bank on Aphelion accepting it though!  :D

Mr. Moriyama...its not the one that I just sent you!!
<br>Mister Moriyama ??<br><br>Why is he writing to Robert's Dad?? :)<br><br>Nate<br><br>(I've started padding my message total, sorry. I'll never catch Robert if I don't.)<br>
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Post July 20, 2005, 10:50:31 AM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

Well written story, and an interesting plot.<br><br>Someone who disappears then evidence of him is found in a sealed pot over 2000 years old would make any detective's eyebrows rise! <br><br>I like a better "closure" than the one giving, but the story worked for me.
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Post July 22, 2005, 01:02:15 PM

Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

<br>ah yes, those outta order copiers can be a serious hazard.<br><br>pros: excellent atmosphere and mystical/collegiate setup. universities and professors always work well within our chosen genres, from the guy on the hilltop campus analyzing atomic giant ants to the researcher helping Richard Gere in Mothman Prophecies. <br><br>good background info, especially about the university and its founder. <br><br>solid characters. only two, yes, but they were comprehensive enough and did their parts well.<br><br>loved how the translated excerpt tied many of the loose ends. Destroyed two towers of his king...not bad.<br><br>balanced and just the right length. good pacing, too.<br><br>Cons: Oriental? dude, that should read Asian. and why would we want to know that anyway, or how his parents met? i'm with Nate. Follow my rule: never describe characters' appearances to avoid prejudice/bias. unless they're 36DD hotties.<br><br>Harry was too impatient with Alan. i found that unlikely since the conversation was obviously going somewhere, was interesting, and not too long to begin with.<br><br>the ending! dating some geek from forensics? give us a break. ok, it's author's prerogative, of course, but i'd end it with Harry and Alan at a cool seaside coffee shop, poring over scrolls and finding out that Preston became a noble or something.<br><br>good read!<br><br>Lee<br><br>

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Post July 22, 2005, 08:00:08 PM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

The plot for this one is very good. Reminds me of Sci-Fi of the golden era -- Bradbury and the like, maybe even newer stuff like short fiction from Bova. <br><br>Unfortunately, the prose does not ring true. Much of the dialogue felt forced and the narrator's voice had an unnatural feel. This did not ruin the story, but stole some of the luster from the fine premise.<br><br>The ending didn't bother me too much, but the idea of having them sitting on the beach looking over scrolls was a good suggestion. <br><br>
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Post July 23, 2005, 01:32:04 AM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

;D<br><br>You guys made me laugh. Just to let you know, Alexandria has some wonderful beaches and it is more likely than not that Alan will come up north to visit Harry at his hotel which will most probably have a private beach! <br><br>On the "oriental", "Asian" thing, I do apologize if I offended anyone. I have a bad habit of writing in everything as I imagine it. In my head thats just what Dr. Grover looked like. And with the whole Korean war thing, I was really trying to establish his age.<br><br>Last thing. What geek from forensics? Are you telling me those hotties from CSI are geeks? ;)
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Post July 25, 2005, 06:14:29 PM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

I might have to reread this one as I'm a bit overworked and my brain is slush. But I'm having problems making the jump with the translation and the conclusions drawn from it:<br><br>1) How did the archeologist make the connection between "Prissa" and "Preston"? Even with the credit card, there wasn't enough information on it, just "Ro" and "431".<br><br>2) Before seeing the credit card, Detective Hernandez makes the statement that the case has been solved for him (albeit in a sarcastic tone). Did it seem to anyone else that the translation seemed a bit flimsy as evidence? To me, the clue at that point could have been chalked up to coincidence.<br><br>I did like the dialogue. It seemed to flow smoothly. I think there were too many plot holes even for a time-traveling piece.
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Post July 25, 2005, 10:02:04 PM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

In terms of pure writing, this was Sohrab's best effort so far for Aphelion. But just as the story was heating up, it ended. And oddly too, as others have noted. <br><br>One detail that others have not noted and that troubled me was this: I didn't buy the reason for the apparently extra pressure on the detective, ie, that Preston had a skeleton in his closet--I didn't get the impression that he was anyone of any importance or celebrity, so, really, who would care? <br><br>By the way, I liked the title.<br><br>Ultimately, there's a lot of promise in Sohrab's writing--easy style and generally likeable characters. I think he now needs to focus on delivering a fully realized story. <br><br>Dan E. <br><br><br><br>

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Post July 26, 2005, 12:39:53 AM

Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

<br>felt the translation and other clues worked well in resolving the plot, and didn't mind the fact that the missing person wasn't described as a celebrity etc., at least it made the cop seem genuine in his concern.<br><br>and dude, CSI hotties? ya gotta be kidding! i'm more of a Maxim/Stuff/Front/Gent Mag kinda guy, that's my crowd right there.<br><br>Lee

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Post July 26, 2005, 01:51:38 AM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

Guys, pls. do me a favor and re-read the first part of the story. I think it'll clarify a couple of things. <br><br>In answer to Jaime's questions though;<br><br>1) There was no connection. I hate to do this, but I'll explain. The good Dr. was sure that the character Hapu had written about was from the future. Only that much was gleaned from the translation and ofcourse the credit card. Using that information and a theory that was just plain ridiculous he kept his eyes and ears open. When he read about the story (if you remember the story was leaked to the press by Preston's co-workers) he knew this just might be the guy he was looking for. When he matched the mans first name with the "RO" on the credit card he was almost sure that he had his man.<br><br>2) Hernandez WAS being sarcastic. At that point he thought the Dr. was a loon. <br><br>I don't mean to be defensive, but their are no plot holes in this story. Ofcourse you'll have to believe in involuntary time travel, but other that , I made sure that it pretty much all falls together. Its not all explained though, but I know what every character was thinking. <br><br>Dan, thanks for that. I intend on submitting something a little meatier soon. <br><br>S.
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Post July 26, 2005, 05:33:01 PM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

Guys, pls. do me a favor and re-read the first part of the story. I think it'll clarify a couple of things.
<br><br>If you have to tell multiple readers to re-read your story to understand it, it might be a sign that you need to clarify some things in the narrative.
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Post July 26, 2005, 10:33:04 PM

Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

<br>gotta stand by the story and say it was clear to me. unless i too missed something? don't think so, and as for believability, this is after all an SF/fantasy/horror crowd, we go for quite the range so don't worry.<br><br>Lee

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Post July 27, 2005, 01:28:44 AM

Re: Pot 62 by Sohrab Koohpaima

Thanks Lee,<br><br>I'll try better next time.....
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