Atraxes the bold


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Post May 19, 2005, 06:55:31 AM

Atraxes the bold

Hi everybody!<br><br>Let me know what you thought of ATB. Its a little different so I hope you like it...

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Post May 21, 2005, 12:03:40 AM

Re: Atraxes the bold

Al right! Here's what I think of ATB. I enjoyed the story very much, and I especially liked the surprise ending. I never saw it coming!<br><br>The story was written in a fairy tale style, but in an adult kind of way. Does that make sense? While reading the story, I thought that a better description of Leviathon could have improved the story. But in the end, we found out exactly what he looked like, didn't we?<br><br>One small quibble: I thought the POV could have been handled a trifle better. POV switched around among the characters, and was also omniscient at times. IMO, Atraxes would have made the ideal POV, with an omniscient POV near the end.<br><br>All in all, a real good story.<br><br>Donald
Last edited by dsullivan on May 21, 2005, 10:56:42 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post May 24, 2005, 04:10:34 PM

Re: Atraxes the bold

I had a few comments but then they were all swept away by the ending.  An interesting blend of SF and F.  Kids are so troublesome!<br><br>The last sentence prods at us, leaves us wondering are they or are they not human?  Was the first 3/4 of the story a metaphorical representation of arthropod culture or a de facto medievalish realm?  A few anachronisms did bother me though like "neurotoxin."  What's this pegan sorcery you speak of??<br><br>By the way, I read in a certain submission guideline that you're NOT supposed to have a story which can be figured out if you were physically there.  This is one of those stories that proves there are no rules in writing.
Last edited by DT on May 24, 2005, 04:11:27 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post May 25, 2005, 01:47:59 AM

Re: Atraxes the bold

Hi,<br><br>Thanks for the comments.<br><br>I never read a rule like that. Was it an Aphelion rule??<br><br>Regarding the first 3/4s of the story, it can be anything that you want it to be really. I know what it is in my head, but if you interpret it a different way I'm not going to stop you.... ;)

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Post May 25, 2005, 11:26:24 AM

Re: Atraxes the bold


By the way, I read in a certain submission guideline that you're NOT supposed to have a story which can be figured out if you were physically there. This is one of those stories that proves there are no rules in writing.
<br><br>I never heard of this particular guideline, either. Anyhoo, it doesn't make sense to me--but then I'm easily confused.<br><br>As to there being no rules for writing, lots of successful writers have said that. Trouble is, you've gotta be successful before you can ignore all the rules. Til then, watch out for the rule police!!<br><br>Donald<br>
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Post May 25, 2005, 06:08:45 PM

Re: Atraxes the bold


I never heard of this particular guideline, either.  
<br>It was from Strange Horizons.  Farsector also has a strong set of guidelines. Atraxes the Bold broke rules 9a and 9c.  LOL.<br><br><br>http://www.farsector.com/about.htm#submissions1<br><br>http://www.strangehorizons.com/guidelines/fiction-common.shtml
Last edited by DT on May 25, 2005, 06:10:47 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post May 25, 2005, 09:05:10 PM

Re: Atraxes the bold

It was from Strange Horizons. Farsector also has a strong set of guidelines. Atraxes the Bold broke rules 9a and 9c. LOL.
l
<br><br>It also broke rule 9b. LOL Still a really good story, though. <br><br>Rules, schmules!! If it's a good story, who cares?<br><br>Donald
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Post May 26, 2005, 06:16:40 PM

Re: Atraxes the bold

Think this story is humorous and has a lot of potential, but it suffers from the same thing that bothered me about this author's piece, EXILE. I think what we have here is a strong story still in development. <br><br>Like others, I found the POV shifts troubling.<br><br>Fundamentally, I was left with the sense that the author rushed the story to get to the money shot. I think the payoff would be far more satisfying if there was some real attention to world-building and characterization in the story's first section. Draw us in to a compelling world where a realm is plagued by this Leviathan (I agree some kind of description of the beast from the perspective[s] of our main characters would've been nice), then hit us with the surprise ending. <br><br>And I agree that the last sentence works cuz we are left wondering about what exactly the little boy stumbled across.<br><br>A little tweaking and this story will be a ton o' fun.<br><br>Dan E.
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Post May 26, 2005, 07:26:15 PM

Re: Atraxes the bold

... I agree some kind of description of the beast from the perspective[s] of our main characters would've been nice...

Dan E.
<br><br>"Turning around, Atraxes saw the enormous figure of the creature, its massive frame blocking out the sun.<br><br>I must move quickly, the lone warrior thought as he moved forward.<br><br>The creature's hide seemed tough and cratered. It was so high that Atraxes could not see its visage clearly. It did not seem to be moving however, so running swiftly and keeping in the shadows, Atraxes approached the Leviathan.<br><br>Must make this count! He readied the toxin-filled lance and charged. Luck was with him, and he reached the Leviathan unnoticed. Climbing onto the creature's appendage, walking now on its clammy, dirt covered skin, Atraxes plunged the toxin deep into the Leviathan's hide."<br><br>Lessee now -- from Atraxes's viewpoint, the Leviathan was a enormous, backlit thing, so big that its upper end was a blur. The parts he could see had hide that seemed 'tough and cratered'. In other words, the Leviathan was so big to Atraxes that it verged on being a PLACE rather than a creature. The Leviathan was many times larger (relative to Atraxes's size) than Godzilla would be to a human. Hence we get the 'elephant described by blind men' scenario -- Atraxes couldn't describe the Leviathan in a meaningful way because he was by nature incapable of perceiving it as a whole.<br><br>Robert M.
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Post May 27, 2005, 01:17:07 AM

Re: Atraxes the bold

Spoilers.....<br><br><br>Those are some visuals, Robert, but ants have highly developed senses of smell (and taste) that they tend to rely more on (and yes, there is the possibility that we are dealing with something other than ants).<br><br>What might the Leviathan smell like? Clammy and dirty as it was. <br><br>What might the Leviathan sound like? What might the aimless murmelings of a lone child exploring his backyard sound like to an ant?<br><br>That's what I was suggesting.<br><br>Dan E.
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Post May 27, 2005, 09:44:22 AM

Re: Atraxes the bold

Spoilers.....


Those are some visuals, Robert, but ants have highly developed senses of smell (and taste) that they tend to rely more on (and yes, there is the possibility that we are dealing with something other than ants).

What might the Leviathan smell like? Clammy and dirty as it was.

What might the Leviathan sound like? What might the aimless murmelings of a lone child exploring his backyard sound like to an ant?

That's what I was suggesting.

Dan E.
<br>Hmm. Your point re: insects' chemical / tactile senses are very interesting. I'm pretty sure that ants can see (certainly light vs. dark, probably shapes and motion; dunno how detailed an image they could process, particularly for Really Enormous Things), but they probably rely more on chemical traces and vibration for both communication and perception of their environment. Dunno about 'sound' per se; 'Mothra' and 'Them' and 'The Giant Mantis' aside, I can't recall hearing much about their, er, hearing.<br><br>Would an ant-sized creature (allowing for the possibility that Atraxes and his fellow City-dwellers aren't actually ants) experience a human voice as sound, or as vibration / pressure waves? Certainly human movement would generate microtremors in the ground ... causing dust to fall like powdered sugar on a Queen who would be Not Amused, for example.<br><br>Sohrab, time to Google some insect research before rewriting this for other markets (there's some threshold -- minimum of 20% in new/different content? -- to qualify something as 'previously unpublished' ...)<br><br>Robert M.
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Post May 27, 2005, 09:01:05 PM

Re: Atraxes the bold

Those are some visuals, Robert, but ants have highly developed senses of smell (and taste) that they tend to rely more on (and yes, there is the possibility that we are dealing with something other than ants).

What might the Leviathan smell like? Clammy and dirty as it was.

What might the Leviathan sound like? What might the aimless murmelings of a lone child exploring his backyard sound like to an ant?
<br>Careful. They'll start calling you Me Jr. (Mini-Me?) if you keep talking like that. :)<br><br><br>Unless I miss my guess, the vibe I get from the other critiques is that people like this story, but there's something not quite right about it, something no one has been able to put their finger on yet.<br><br>Generally, people seem to see this as a fairy tale, because it has a lot of those elements. The blurb sells it as a tale of Atraxes, and his bid to have history notice him--but that's not really what it's about. It begins then as if this were a legend, perhaps being retold about Atraxes. As a fairy tale, it really would be about Atraxes and his bid for glory, but it would follow him throughout. We'd see his weakness that the has to overcome or his folly that would be his downfall, ala a morality play.<br><br>Instead of a fairy tale, I say this is a long flash piece. That is, in a good flash piece (at least, to my way of thinking) the author sets up a situation, then reveals a surprise twist ending which causes the reader to reach a sudden realization wherein he or she connects the underlying, often hidden details of the text, with the new reality at the end. For example, suddenly we know why the dust is falling all around the throne room. Billy is stomping around the ant hill. We know why the Leviathan was so big, and why it wouldn't leave them alone for long.<br><br>I say if you view this tale from that perspective, it's a better story than not. It does the twist well--suddenly, the tumblers click in our minds, and we get it.<br><br>Setting is difficult in a flash piece. You can't say too much, or the audience guesses the ending. In this regard, it's hard to know when to apply more or less of the sensory input I love and Dan E. called for in his message. I think the best rule in this kind of story is to use those kind of descriptives mostly to show character or establish mood.<br><br>In terms of characterization, I'd have started with Atraxes failing to stand out in some attempt to do so, and not have centered on the political interplay between the general & prime minister. They're secondary to the goal of getting Atraxes out against the Leviathan. Plus, you establish sympathy for the hero so that when he is facing the "monster", the audience feels for him. You want them to be rooting for Atraxes, worried that he might die, and hopeful that history will remember him. The only way I know to do this is by establishing a rapport by showing the main character's flaws and other endearing traits early on.<br><br>The plot is ok. Nameless guard tries to break out of anonymity by volunteering when the rest of the court is playing games and currying favor, then the monster turns out to be as it was. It works, save that I thought the first part should have centered on Atraxes.<br><br>Like others, I thought the POV jumped all over the place instead of staying with a logical lead character.<br><br>I thought dialogue worked. The different characters sounded like themselves: the blustery general, the quick-witted politician, the crackpot inventor, timid guard, small child and annoyed mother. However, DT's note on neurotoxin was spot on. You have to match the lexicon to the source.<br><br>So, in general, I thought it was much better than Exile, but that there was still room for improvement.<br><br>Nate
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Post May 27, 2005, 09:52:07 PM

Re: Atraxes the bold

I could only aspire to be nano-Nate...<br><br>And I might add that what makes Aphelion so cool is that Sohrab lives in Dubai and is able to share his work with us. <br><br>Dan E.<br><br>

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Post May 27, 2005, 11:32:33 PM

Re: Atraxes the bold

Sohrab, time to Google some insect research before rewriting this for other markets (there's some threshold -- minimum of 20% in new/different content? -- to qualify something as 'previously unpublished' ...)

Robert M.
<br><br>I once googled on what can pass as unpublished, but that was long ago and I don't remember what it was now. Seems like it was well over twenty percent of the story that had to be revised/rewritten, though. I wonder how one would go about figuring the percentage that has been revised. I imagine it would have to be an estimate.<br><br> I have revised or rewritten several of my stories and submitted them to several publications. However, they were all submitted to pubs that accept reprints anyway. At least 30-40% of my stories have been published in more than one publication.<br><br> Sohrab can still submit his story--even unchanged--to many other publications, as there are many pubs who will accept reprints. Even some of the prozines accept reprints, but you must indicate on your submission that it is being submitted as a reprint. Some pubs pay less for reprints than they do for unpublished work.<br><br>Aphelion will accept reprints, but you must query first. There are several other pubs with the same rule.<br><br>When submitting a reprint, though, make sure that all rights have reverted to you from the previous publication.<br><br>Donald<br><br><br>
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Post May 28, 2005, 02:14:35 AM

Re: Atraxes the bold

Hi everybody,<br><br>I have to say I was really glad to read all of your comments. A lot of it did make sense though I would like to add something.<br><br>The city dwellers were described as vaguely as they were on purpose. I really set out to keep the reader in the dark as to their real identities for as long as possible. I suppose maybe I might have gone overboard and should have coloured them out a little better. <br><br>The comments on the POV, especially Kailhofer's, also made alot of sense to me. Thanks for that. I will keep that in mind for later on.<br><br>Re-submit the story somewhere else? I don't think I will actually. I could expand the story and send it elsewhere but I think I'll leave it the way it is for the time being...<br><br>Maybe Atraxes won't be remembered in a hundred years, but at least for now people are talking about him... ;)<br><br>Thanks guys.<br><br>

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Post May 28, 2005, 01:22:39 PM

Re: Atraxes the bold

The city dwellers were described as vaguely as they were on purpose. I really set out to keep the reader in the dark as to their real identities for as long as possible. I suppose maybe I might have gone overboard and should have coloured them out a little better.
<br><br>The story was calculated to surprise the reader--that was the main thrust of the story. I think that any more description might have given away the ending, thus spoiling the whole story. If you should decide to rewrite any of the story, I hope you won't change the description too much.<br><br>
The comments on the POV, especially Kailhofer's, also made alot of sense to me. Thanks for that. I will keep that in mind for later on.
<br><br>Yes, Kailhofer's comments on the POV as well as his comments in other areas stand out as clear and informative. He has been of great help to many of us on Lettercol. <br><br>
Re-submit the story somewhere else? I don't think I will actually. I could expand the story and send it elsewhere but I think I'll leave it the way it is for the time being...
<br><br>If you shoud decide to resubmit, I don't think you'll have a problem finding a market.<br><br>Donald
Last edited by dsullivan on June 13, 2005, 11:49:49 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post June 05, 2005, 11:11:50 AM

Re: Atraxes the bold

<br> As with most stories published here, this one<br> was enjoyable. The ending surprised me and I was <br> lost for a few seconds. That's a nice touch! The author<br> made you think! <br><br> If a story is enjoyable, that's what counts! The time<br> spend reading must pass in limbo in which time<br> does exist for the reader. That is the mark of<br> excellence in story telling.<br> <br> <br><br>
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Post June 06, 2005, 02:13:45 AM

Re: Atraxes the bold

Thanks George....<br><br>I'm glad you enjoyed it. I should polish the style a little but I think I got the desired effect....

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