Pilgrimage by Robert Moriyama


Tell us what you thought of the August 2009 issue

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Post August 12, 2009, 03:25:22 PM

Pilgrimage by Robert Moriyama

What am I, chopped liver?

C'mon, no need to be afraid -- I'm ready to accept all your brutally honest wildly effusive praise! I promise not to be vindictive next time you submit a sotry*.



(*Sorry about the typo. Hard to type with my fingers crossed.)
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Post August 12, 2009, 04:58:42 PM

Moon Walk

Robert has brilliantly merged script writing with story narrative, so the word crafting includes subliminal production direction, focusing the audience's attention where he wants.

There is also a balance between the smallest of details and the larger picture as a whole, which paints the scene from a microscopic and a telescopic view simultaneously.

Robert Moriyama wrote:
Murasaki shook his head. The box-on-stilts Lunar Module descent stage left behind by Eagle almost sixty years ago would be there, unchanged except for a few more micrometeorite dings, even if they were ten years late, let alone a few minutes. But Morgenstern was supposed to be the on-site World Space Agency representative for a live video link commemorating the first manned lunar landing, and to him, punctuality was important.


You can tell right off that Murasaki felt that the bureaucrat Morgenstern was a big bother to begin with and his fear became founded when Morgenstern was hurt early into the space walk and the weght of his survival was on Murasaki's hands to get him back safely, if possible.

Well written, sounds good when read aloud, fun for the whole family...if the whole family enjoys sci fi...or is it sy fy now?

Mark

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Post August 12, 2009, 05:40:41 PM

Re: Pilgrimage by Robert Moriyama

Robert_Moriyama wrote:What am I, chopped liver?

C'mon, no need to be afraid -- I'm ready to accept all your brutally honest wildly effusive praise! I promise not to be vindictive next time you submit a sotry*.



(*Sorry about the typo. Hard to type with my fingers crossed.)


Awww. At morning's end I was about in the condition of Nate's characters. But I promise to save some effusive, wildly brutal ... er, ... I think Seanan is motioning something to me.
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Post August 13, 2009, 10:18:28 AM

Re: Moon Walk

Mark Edgemon wrote:Robert has brilliantly merged script writing with story narrative, so the word crafting includes subliminal production direction, focusing the audience's attention where he wants...

Well written, sounds good when read aloud, fun for the whole family...if the whole family enjoys sci fi...or is it sy fy now?

Mark


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Post August 14, 2009, 05:00:25 PM

Ok, Ok, Here are some comments....

Keep in mind that I read some really long stories now, as the Serials Editor, so...

The first thing I noted was the brevity of the piece. Having an 8000 word limit is possibly a good thing, since it encourages writers to jump right into the story, without the usual two or three paragraphs of exposition.

Style was excellent (as expected).

The only thing I would suggest is a little more emotion. This could be accomplished through character development (the bureaucrat could stand to be a bit nastier so that his tumble is more satisfying). Or maybe the nostalgia factor could be upped. A description of the heroic footsteps? Turn them into a character, of sorts, and the drama of the piece would increase.
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Post August 14, 2009, 06:47:48 PM

Re: Ok, Ok, Here are some comments....

McCamy_Taylor wrote:Keep in mind that I read some really long stories now, as the Serials Editor, so...

The first thing I noted was the brevity of the piece. Having an 8000 word limit is possibly a good thing, since it encourages writers to jump right into the story, without the usual two or three paragraphs of exposition.

Style was excellent (as expected).

The only thing I would suggest is a little more emotion. This could be accomplished through character development (the bureaucrat could stand to be a bit nastier so that his tumble is more satisfying). Or maybe the nostalgia factor could be upped. A description of the heroic footsteps? Turn them into a character, of sorts, and the drama of the piece would increase.


Heh. The story was written as my latest entry into the Toronto Star short story contest, which has a 2,500 word limit. While not quite as demanding as the 1,000 word limit for Nate's flash challenges, that does tend to make one a bit stingy on details. Unless, of course, you are writing a character piece, where ALL the action is internal conflict and personal growth (the kind of story that frequently wins said contest).
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Post August 14, 2009, 09:27:05 PM

Writing Concept!

Robert wrote:
Unless, of course, you are writing a character piece, where ALL the action is internal conflict and personal growth...


Now there's an idea that might make my latest story work! I'll have to try it.

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Post August 14, 2009, 10:54:57 PM

Ah. That explains why it felt as if the subject was bigger than the story. You were constrained to 2500 words. I will bet that all of us get used to thinking of stories that fit a certain word limit.

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Post August 15, 2009, 04:01:37 AM

Re: Serials!

McCamy_Taylor wrote:Keep in mind that I read some really long stories now, as the Serials Editor, so...



(Barely resists the challenge to submit "The Annotated Alternate Universal History of the World in 100,000 pages.")
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Post August 15, 2009, 01:14:49 PM

Pretty good, Robert.

But what's with the Morgenstern thing? I kept expecting him to cast a spell and have Al Majius show up and fight him.

No kidding, it was a distraction from the story, the first time I read it. It's also the first time that's ever happened to me when a writer whose work I know fairly well recycled a character name to the point where it took me out of the story. You may well have invented a brand new way to do something you probably shouldn't do, as an author. That's pretty amazing, when you think about it.

Science-wise, this was really excellent. You got the physics 100% right, and the suit was entirely reasonable. Kudos, for that.

Not too sure about having the displays and controls for the space suit on the collar, though. You'd think they would have them someplace where the wearer could easily see them and be able to adjust them without having to do so, blind. I'm thinking it would be the wrist, or even a HUD inside the helmet with voice or eye-tracking commands.

Of course, that wouldn't mean there couldn't be a display someplace where others could see it, too.

I do think you captured some of the dissatisfaction and disappointment in the scientific community over the deplorable state of the Space Program. We had a heck of a start and then the politics just let it fizzle out. By not overstressing it with Murasaki's musings, you gave it a nagging background quality rather than a soapbox issue. That's been my experience, as well.

Overall, very enjoyable.

Bill Wolfe
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Post August 15, 2009, 08:35:55 PM

The true origins of the Morgenstern thing?

Bill_Wolfe wrote:Pretty good, Robert.

But what's with the Morgenstern thing? I kept expecting him to cast a spell and have Al Majius show up and fight him...

Bill Wolfe


The original audience (the judges for the Toronto Star contest) have almost certainly never read the Al Majius stories, so it wasn't a problem there. But why "Morgenstern"?

There was a Herman Wouk novel (later a movie starring Natalie Wood (whose birth name was Russian -- Gurevitch? Not sure.)) called "Marjorie Morningstar", about an actress born Marjorie Morgenstern whose name was Anglicized. (Morgenstern literally translated from the German is Morningstar.) This played into Aaron Morgenstern's egotistical self-naming as "The Morningstar" (which, if I remember correctly, is also one of the sobriquets for the angel Lucifer). So -- I could have called the U.N. official "Schmidt" or "Von Braun" (the latter having certain ironic connotations in this context), but the name Morgenstern was still stuck in my head.

People of German ancestry would probably object to my association of officiousness and obesity with Germans, but THAT probably stems from Sergeant Schultz of "Hogan's Heroes" fame, and any number of burgomeister types from popular fiction and movies.

So -- there you have it. I saw the character as German (definitely European, anyway -- I follow aviation news (part of my job) and am always astonished at some of the bizarre policies that seem designed to put airlines into bankruptcy implemented by the EU), and the name Morgenstern was stuck in my head as the first go-to name for a German character.

Sorry about that...

As for the telltale displays on the collar -- they may only have been there on suits designed for "tourists" who couldn't be trusted to interpret them. (That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it. I never said where the displays on Murasaki's suit were located -- although I'd guess they were holographic heads-up images activated by voice command or automatically in emergencies.)
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Post August 16, 2009, 09:00:40 PM

deja vu

I've read this before. I know I have.

Is this a reprint, or was there a link published to where it was in the Toronto Star contest maybe?

Regardless, I really liked the touch of having the other ship cover up the tracks. Very human.

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Post August 16, 2009, 11:30:46 PM

Re: deja vu

kailhofer wrote:I've read this before. I know I have.

Is this a reprint, or was there a link published to where it was in the Toronto Star contest maybe?

Regardless, I really liked the touch of having the other ship cover up the tracks. Very human.

Nate


I actually posted in here in the Forum (don't remember where, exactly), asking for comments back in (probably) early December. You're the only one who remembered! (So whatever else one might say about it, I guess it isn't the most memorable piece I've ever written...)
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Post August 21, 2009, 09:19:44 AM

Nice short one, and a good topic.

Everything seemed to balance well, couldn't really find anything to nitpick about and, like some others, thought that Morgenstern would save the moon from some alien that hide in the original lunar lander!

Nice short one! :D
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Post August 21, 2009, 12:34:57 PM

"Nice short one!" (Sigh)

Megawatts wrote:Nice short one, and a good topic.

Everything seemed to balance well, couldn't really find anything to nitpick about and, like some others, thought that Morgenstern would save the moon from some alien that hide in the original lunar lander!

Nice short one! :D


Reminds me of the song Olive Oyl sings in the "Popeye" movie (starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall): "And he's large..." (this being the only nice thing she can think of to say about her fiance, Bluto).

Fainting with damn praise...
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Post August 23, 2009, 10:43:46 AM

You're right, Robert! I've been rather passive with my critiques lately, and
yours was just a mere mention. I usually do point out the good things along with areas that might need impovement, or change.

I retired last year and thought that I'ed have much more time to write.
However, I've been so damned busy with things, that I'm thinking about going back down to the plant and 'beg' for my job back! It seems I had more time to write when I wasn't retired. How strange: Events often do not turn out the way they were planned.

You critiqued my critique! Now, thats a real critique!

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