Serial: Vivian and the Dust By Ken Kraus

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Post August 04, 2010, 09:18:24 PM

Serial: Vivian and the Dust By Ken Kraus

First Contact and Nanites!


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Post August 05, 2010, 03:40:55 AM

Oooh, it's so much more than just that. There's the question of what makes life - is it just a biochemical process, or is there more to it than that? There's the idea that the alien's life force was somehow transferred to the nanites, enabling them to use Jennifer's body.

What I particularly liked about this story is [spoiler]that the first part of the story is done in first person - by the nanites, not Vivian, and because the nanites haven't yet realised they're not Vivian, neither does the reader.[/spoiler]

This was an excellent story, indeed; the villain was also very well realised, charismatic and charming even as he places Vivian exactly where he wants her, and with very plausible reasons for doing what he did.
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Post August 11, 2010, 12:21:25 AM

Outstanding story; it's just got so much going on, what with a manipulative Mad Scientist, smuggling, conspiracies, alien intelligence(s) and a touch of the supernatural, with auras and astral projection. It all works very well together, too, which is a bit surprising to me.

Excellent. I didn't see any indication that this is indeed part of a serial, but if it is, I'll certainly relish the rest of it.

I think Mr. Kraus needs to work on his story titles, though . . . "Abc and the Xyz" is a title form that I think a lot of people associate with juvenile fiction, if not outright rubbish. Maybe it's just me, but I think this deserves better.
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Post August 12, 2010, 12:27:01 PM

Oddly, I found myself rooting for the nanites. Fascinating, well written and highly original. A wonderful story.
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Post September 14, 2010, 02:35:21 PM

Serial: Vivian and the Dust By Ken Kraus

I liked almost every aspect of this story. The pacing and characterization were very well done. I also respect the fact that Vivian’s drug problem was unrelated to the nanites swimming around in her brain. It would have been both tempting and plausible if all the unethical tomfoolery that the doctor was perpetrating had caused it. It’s a critical flaw in the Vivian character, and it makes her more real. Good job.

The story moved at a clip, and it certainly kept me engaged, throughout. It also seemed to slow just enough in a few places that I found myself grateful for the time to mentally catch-up with all the events unfolding. If this was intentional, it was masterfully done.

The plot was a little iffy on the mad scientist/drug runner angle. I can’t figure-out why in the world they would set-up Vivian as the smuggler, she would seem to have been too important to the doctor, and didn’t seem to be suspicious about what was going on.

Some of the science needed a little tweaking, as well. For one thing, when the doctor took 20 cc’s of brain fluid, he somehow got all the nanites out of her brain. Did he call them out and have them cluster? The brain has between 135 and 150 cc’s of fluid at any given time, so sitting and puzzling this ‘took me out of the story.’ Not a good thing.

The biggie though, was:

Ken Kraus wrote:They kept a moving chart about how far the transmission of 1932 Orson Wells's "War of the Worlds" radio show had now reached into space. At least seven full galaxies would have received it by now.

To my knowledge, the closest galaxy to Earth is The Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy which is actually inside the Milky Way, and it's 25,000 light years away. The next closest is called the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy, which is 75,000 light years away.

To get to seven galaxies, the radio waves will have been propagated for well over two million years. So just exactly when does this story take place? Is it really two million plus years in the future?

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume this wasn’t an intentional hint from the author to tell the reader that neither one of these folks was a mental giant, and were in fact, nearly illiterate.

And what was the purpose of the whole passage? What did it do for the story that was important enough to make readers wonder what was going on? I couldn’t see any value to the passage that would equal losing even one reader to distraction.

I could ask the same question with the 20 cc’s of cerebrospinal fluid. Why name a number at all? It seems that there are enough pitfalls for stories to encounter without creating more that add no value to the tale.

Bill Wolfe
"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."

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