Handy Dandy Gets His Candy by Frederick Rustam


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Post February 17, 2006, 10:31:38 AM

Handy Dandy Gets His Candy by Frederick Rustam

I liked the beginning of this story. It sucked me right in so that I was through the first section before I realized it. Unfortunately, after the strong start, I felt like the narrative lost focus. Despite the title, it was hard to zero in on who/what the tale was really about. <br><br>As always, I created this critique as I moved through the story, adding a few overarching comments later. <br><br>Warning: If you haven't read this story (Do the author a favor and GO READ IT!) you might not want to go on; I've made no attempt to hide spoilers.<br><br><br>A Good Place for Murder<br><br>1st Paragraph: Over explained. Zeegee didn't need any explanation from the previous section -- great word by the way. Also, most sci-fi readers know the Asteroid Belt. Just felt a little forced.<br><br>Following paragraphs felt like an info-dump. I think a lot of this information could have been slipped into the story.<br><br><br>Conference<br><br>Projector attendance seems a little too Star Wars-esque. <br><br>". . . angry hands" makes me think of Mr. Potatohead in Toy Story. <br><br>Investigation<br> <br>I like the sensory details about Handy Dandy -- his color, his bow tie, his size -- but you stopped the story to give these details. Even though they are well written, they distract from the investigation. This is a whodunit, and I want to know who did it. *I think it was the robot on Tally's command at this point in the story.*<br><br>Heh, Asimovian? So Handy is "three rules safe?"<br><br>Hahaha, I loved this line:<br>"You showed me how it was done, sir."<br><br>Anxiety<br><br>Did you mean to give away everything here? I had suspected it was the robot working under Tally's command to kill Hales, but now I have no doubt. I know how the story ends already, I just wonder if Tally will make some desperate attempt on Carlyn's life before his is arrested.<br><br>Evidence<br>"You'll recall that the Fleet rejected corridor-monitoring CCTV cameras in this vessel. My only recourse now is the polygraph."<br>Try working this into the story without pulling the reader aside like a stolen watch dealer on the street corner -- "Hey bub, have a look at this."<br><br>Vargas scoffed at this startling accusation. He viewed the ship's robot as beyond suspicion. "You can't be serious, Doc. You know Handy can't kill anybody."<br>It's redundant to tell me "he viewed the ship's robot as beyond suspicion."<br><br>"Si, Handy obeys the First Law of Robotics. 'No robot may harm a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm,'" recalled the Captain with certainty. He added, "Robots don't kill people."<br>These books have been written; these movies have been made. You should come up with your own reasons why robots can't kill<br><br>"No, I didn't ask him, Doctor. I'd have felt like two cents if I'd done that."<br>Why? In such a small, closed society shouldn't everyone (-thing) be considered a suspect? This seems forced.<br><br><br>The Innocent<br><br>"Handy, did you kill Sonny Hales?"<br><br>Handy answered the question, simply and directly. His impassive metallic face could not display his feelings -- if he could be said to have any.<br><br>"Yes, sir."<br><br>This exchange would be harder-hitting if you took out the extra narration and jumped to the, "Yes, sir."<br><br><br><br>The Guilty<br><br>"Yes." considered McCadden.<br>"Consider" isn't a verb of expression. You might try: "Yes," said McCadden thoughtfully.<br><br>"Angus, didn't you tell me that Handy has always wanted to get in some extravehicular time?"<br>Why would Handy desire to go outside? You've established that is has no curiosity or feelings. This feels too much like forced plotting<br><br>Reward<br><br>This was interesting, but it leaves me wondering what the story was really about. It started out as a murder mystery, but a lot of time and verbiage has been spent on the robot and Asomovian law.<br><br>Apotheosis<br><br>What happened to the real mastermind behind the murder?<br><br><br><br>
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Post February 17, 2006, 02:29:22 PM

Re: Handy Dandy Gets His Candy by Frederick Rustam

The best title I've seen for a long while. HDGHC is a glib cool story with a lot of pizazz. <br> nice job with the poignant ending too<br>

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Post March 01, 2006, 08:37:09 PM

Re: Handy Dandy Gets His Candy by Frederick Rustam

The beginning could have been better, but it did draw me in. And the more I read the more interested I became. <br><br>“Star Trek” type stories always find a home with me. I love them and this had an average to good storyline behind it. <br><br>So many novels and movies about aliens and space flights have been written, that just about every situation that one can think-up has been told before, either in a novel or in a movie. I haven’t read any stories or seen any movies that are really new. Most of them re-hash ‘World of the World’ or one of the black and white movies from the fifties. It’s hard to find a new approach, but I’m sure there are many! <br><br>‘Romeo and Juliet’ has been played out so many times over the last centuries, that one would think it worn-out! It’s not. Just about every year a new movies or novel comes out using that theme. It’s the way the novel is written that makes it new, or the way the movie is directed. <br><br>The only problem I had with the story was the info dump, and some of the names. A little less info, and a little more care with the characters could make this a great story.<br><br>The story did have a nice ending!
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Post March 01, 2006, 10:23:26 PM

Re: Handy Dandy Gets His Candy by Frederick Rustam

I didn’t particularly enjoy this story. I thought Captain McFadden to be incredibly incompetent. First of all, on a military ship where death can be milliseconds away, I can’t comprehend the civil liberty issues of installing cameras to monitor corridors. He then prefers not to conduct polygraph tests, because he doesn’t want to upset his crew. They must be jittery because an unknown murderer is walking the hallways. Go figure. I have to assume that, in the future, military personnel are much more sensitive and demanding. The crew seems aware of his deficiencies, because they constantly criticize or question their Captain multiple times:<br>
"I'm approaching a dead end, Captain. I can't find any on-duty crewman who admits being near the Sensorium around the time of the murder, and there's no way to track those who were off-duty at the time." He added, "You'll recall that the Fleet rejected corridor-monitoring CCTV cameras in this vessel. My only recourse now is the polygraph."

The Captain ignored the implied criticism of his recommendation against the recording cameras. "I'd prefer not to order polygraph tests, Jerry. The crew won't like that."
<br>
With that assertion of responsibility, the master of the Rockrunner put his querulous subordinates at ease.
<br>
From his master control console, the Chief Engineer manually set both the ship's big engines alight. His hand trembled as he turned the key in the lockswitch. He genuinely liked Handy, and he resented the dirty job the Captain had given him.
<br><br>I’m also not sure why the section called Anxiety was inserted. It didn’t add to the plot or the tension. The mystery was solved relatively quickly afterwards. I recommend removing this entire section completely. I think the story reads better without it.<br><br>I thought the prose was fairly clean with a decent ending. However, given this is hard sci-fi, the logic is pretty important, and there were just a few too many moments of disbelief.<br>
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Post March 08, 2006, 02:01:15 AM

Handy Dandy Gets His Candy by Frederick Rustam

zeegee..sorry, but this particular bite of argot didn't work for me. zero grav's easier on the ear.<br><br>nice ship details, the rockrunner sounds like everything the nostromo should have been, especially with the polymers sealing breached compartments, useful for stopping leaky acid.<br><br>likewise, Handy was a very convincing character, and for a change veered clear of the shiny robot image.<br><br>now precogs...ever since the disturbing rendition samantha morton gave of one in minority report, i have had an aversion to them. tally was better i'm glad to say.<br><br>some good use of vocab: verdant eyes, gravid silence, electromechanical being...although i generally object to describing what characters look like (unless they're hot females), this was effective here.<br><br>still reading...<br><br>Lee<br><br><br><br>

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Post March 15, 2006, 06:34:55 PM

Handy Dandy Gets His Candy by Frederick Rustam

well, finished it...<br><br>didn't know whether to like the tension among crewmmwbers or not, it occasionally felt a bit forced, like every sentence they exchanged caused some minor flare up, but then that's to be expected from people stuck together.<br><br>however, the ending was pure knockout material! good job. my goodness, those last two lines left me moved and impressed quite nicely thank you!<br><br>Tally's fate was, i believe, purposefully ignored. they had no evidence against him, plus Handy made for an excellent scapegoat (hence his name, apparently).<br><br>and Nate, you must have loved the fact that in this one space was explicitly silent.<br><br>Lee
Last edited by neoadorable on March 15, 2006, 06:36:36 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post March 28, 2006, 09:35:46 AM

Re: Handy Dandy Gets His Candy by Frederick Rustam

The best title I've seen for a long while.
 
<br><br>The title reminded me of something that Cordwainer Smith might have written. BTW, if you haven't read anything by Cordwainer Smith, it's fairly obligatory in my opinion.<br><br>Gareth

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Post March 30, 2006, 03:32:08 AM

Handy Dandy Gets His Candy by Frederick Rustam

what's the style/themes etc?<br><br>Lee

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