Gone to Abaddon by McCamy Taylor


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Post December 13, 2010, 10:31:52 PM

Gone to Abaddon by McCamy Taylor

I've never been much into this kind of fantasy, with elves and fairies and such, but this was a very affecting story, and I enjoyed it. I guess the opening line pulled me in; I don't see hooks that good very often these days (except on my kitty).

I spotted a few typos, but aside from that I have no complaints. Very nicely done.
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Post December 23, 2010, 09:19:18 AM

Stories with elves and fairies and gremlins can really open up creative juices. And this one used fantasy character to set a story not unlike immigrants with different cultures settling in a new country.

The story conveys emotions and feelings about life lived as a non-human surrounded by humans living in a Victorian society, England. Some parts reminded me of the novel God is an Englishman.

The elemental transformation of an Elvish--something like an elf I believe-- was interesting. Some to water and others to fire, and maybe others to another state. The question of spontaneous combustions is integrated and answered somewhat within this story. A nice foreshadowing directing our minds towards science which is introduced and used later.

What’s interesting is the ending: Science is used to save an Elvish. The ice-box, the brother-in-law-- a chemist--and the end result in which Uncle Aden became stable with the help of iron derivatives, is a twist that one would not have expected in the beginning of the story.

I had trouble with Uncle Aden’s gender during parts of the story. I thought him a girl at some points, but the word Uncle always popped up. At times I thought he had feminine characteristics or might even be a transvestite elivsh. Yet when I re-read the passages about prostitution I became convinced that Aden was a female! Or possibly an elivsh can change its gender! I don’t know about this and would like the opinion of another’s critique on this matter. Probably just me missing or adding what’s not there which can happen when one reads for symbolism or too much depth. We all can read much more into a story than the author intended, and I often fall into that mind-set.



Liked it
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Post December 23, 2010, 11:28:33 AM

I had trouble with Uncle Aden’s gender during parts of the story.
I had forgotten to mention it, but that bothered me, too . . . that feminine character impression was very strong, but I can't exactly say why. I think it would have been the same even without the mention of prostitution. Maybe that 'mothering' behavior/attitude.
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Post December 26, 2010, 01:08:33 PM

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This story had me thinking of a modern variation of Genesis 6:4. I had been thinking about it for a year or so but this is way better than my idea. Mine was too space operaish.

This is a really cool, down to earth personal manner to take the myth and twist it and re-formulate.

Just my take.

RT
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Post January 05, 2011, 01:31:29 AM

Wonderful atmosphere and characters in this story. It really sucked me into the story.
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Post January 15, 2011, 11:30:06 PM

I liked how despite they were these magical beings, they lived in poverty, living on the bottom of victorian society. The overall tone was very sorrowful, but it was excellent in regards to the overall theme of hope and survival in strange land. Excellent as always McCamy.

The only flaw was the confusion over the main character's gender. I thought he was a she for most of the tale. Other then that, loved it. :D
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Post January 19, 2011, 01:34:50 PM

I just finally got around to reading this one. Busy with other projects.

As usual with McCamy’s stuff, I liked it, a lot. There is an awful lot of world building in this, and it seems it may be a part of a larger work. This kind of verisimilitude takes a fair amount of research, and it’s almost a shame to put that much effort into an ~7k story. There is real potential in this plot line, and I’d like to see more of it.

This story has everything it needs. There is real danger, real conflict, well-developed characters and society and true growth by all of the major players.

Great story, and not an ending that I anticipated.

I didn’t notice any of the typographical problems that Lester noted. McCamy’s work rarely contains those kinds of problems. I’m not sure the two The End’s at the last were written as such by the author, though it’s an easy thing to overlook.


Megawatts wrote:Yet when I re-read the passages about prostitution I became convinced that Aden was a female! Or possibly an elivsh can change its gender! I don’t know about this and would like the opinion of another’s critique on this matter.



I admit that I assumed a female character for Aden until it became apparent that it was not so. But Megawatts—really—does the above question still stand?

IOW, have you figgered-it-out, yet? D’ya need Papa to explain it to you?

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Post January 21, 2011, 10:15:18 PM

Re research

Re: research, Google makes the life of a speculative fiction writer so much easier. My current project is a long piece about the future when humans have been genetically modified to live in the ocean. I have been watching Netflix ocean documentaries and reading Wiki almost round the clock to get ideas. The biology of the ocean--especially the deep ocean---is so wierd it is almost sci-fi.
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Post January 22, 2011, 09:24:18 PM

Re: Re research

McCamy_Taylor wrote:Re: research, Google makes the life of a speculative fiction writer so much easier. My current project is a long piece about the future when humans have been genetically modified to live in the ocean. I have been watching Netflix ocean documentaries and reading Wiki almost round the clock to get ideas. The biology of the ocean--especially the deep ocean---is so wierd it is almost sci-fi.



McCamy,

Don't forget oxygen demand. How will you get enough oxygen from the miniscule amount avialable in simple water to support a human-like (or better) brain?

Think of microgams O[sub]2[/sub]/ml ratio available in normal seawater and what your ratio must be to make this happen. Or else: Perhaps top breathers? Like maybe dolpins and orcas?

Just something to consider.

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Post January 22, 2011, 09:52:21 PM

McCamy,

Don't forget oxygen demand. How will you get enough oxygen from the miniscule amount avialable in simple water to support a human-like (or better) brain?

Think of microgams O2/ml ratio available in normal seawater and what your ratio must be to make this happen. Or else: Perhaps top breathers? Like maybe dolpins and orcas?

Just something to consider.

Bill Wolfe
Stranger things have happened, Bill -- especially in the seas. Take the octopi, for example -- amazingly clever little beasties, especially seeing that they only live for about a year. Also, their hemoglobin is copper-based, instead of iron-based. The result being that, even though they're quite strong, they have very little stamina.
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Post January 23, 2011, 01:33:20 PM

Lester Curtis wrote:The result being that, even though they're quite strong, they have very little stamina.



Okay Lester,

Now think about what kind of energy it takes to run the only truly sentient brain we know. . .

Where does that leave you?

Just the crap I have to consider when I make a critique.

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Post January 23, 2011, 05:43:33 PM

Now think about what kind of energy it takes to run the only truly sentient brain we know. . .
I think I saw it given somewhere as about ten watts.

That still doesn't mean much to me. For a long time, nobody could understand how crows and ravens could be so smart (one crow named Betty has been known to exhibit tool-making behavior, modifying an existing object to a specific application). After all, they looked at birds' brains and said, "There's nothing there." They just had to look more closely and realize that the structure was different.

I'll grant that there might need to be some minimum number of neurons required before a light goes on, but structure is important too -- and it can take forms we don't yet recognize. Also, I don't doubt that other factors come into play that we haven't figured out yet either.
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Post January 24, 2011, 04:56:33 PM

To say nothing of conductivity / efficiency considerations

If the life form in question is composed of materials that become more conductive under certain conditions (low temperatures -- say in a liquid methane ocean?), one would expect that it would require less energy to transmit neural signals (at least the electrical component) due to reduced resistance. (On the other hand, low temperatures also imply slower movement of particles, so the chemical component of neural activity would be, well, slower...)

But remember Deep Thought, the Hitchhiker's Guide supercomputer, that took thousands of years to come up with the answer to the ultimate question (although it took another supercomputer -- the planet Earth, complete with all its life forms -- to figure out what that question was). The speed at which thought takes place is not the only (and perhaps not the most important) measure of intelligence.

Um, what story were we discussing here before we got sidetracked?
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Post January 24, 2011, 05:24:37 PM

The speed at which thought takes place is not the only (and perhaps not the most important) measure of intelligence.
The speed of thought -- maybe not -- but, it will be tied to the speed of other neural processes which do have to be fast to avoid accidents or predation, or to capture prey.

Um, what story were we discussing here before we got sidetracked?
Classic case of 'topic drift,' isn't it?
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Post January 25, 2011, 08:26:50 AM

Re: To say nothing of conductivity / efficiency consideratio

Robert_Moriyama wrote:If the life form in question is composed of materials that become more conductive under certain conditions (low temperatures -- say in a liquid methane ocean?), one would expect that it would require less energy to transmit neural signals (at least the electrical component) due to reduced resistance. (On the other hand, low temperatures also imply slower movement of particles, so the chemical component of neural activity would be, well, slower...)


Robert,

Don't forget that nerve impulses aren't electricity. For one thing, they have a top speed of around 300 mph, regardless of temperature. Some nerve impulses are as slow as ten mph. (Not just Republican brain neurons, that goes for everyone!)

Nerves aren't wires. The frog leg and battery experiment should have been banned from 'science' classrooms at the turn of the Century--and I don't mean the last one. . .the one before!

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Post January 25, 2011, 01:05:31 PM

Bill_Wolfe wrote:
Megawatts wrote:Yet when I re-read the passages about prostitution I became convinced that Aden was a female! Or possibly an elivsh can change its gender! I don’t know about this and would like the opinion of another’s critique on this matter.


I admit that I assumed a female character for Aden until it became apparent that it was not so. But Megawatts—really—does the above question still stand?

IOW, have you figgered-it-out, yet? D’ya need Papa to explain it to you?


Well, I am not the person addressed, but, as for myself, I don't get it.
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Post January 25, 2011, 01:52:41 PM

Re: To say nothing of conductivity / efficiency consideratio

Bill_Wolfe wrote:
Robert_Moriyama wrote:If the life form in question is composed of materials that become more conductive under certain conditions (low temperatures -- say in a liquid methane ocean?), one would expect that it would require less energy to transmit neural signals (at least the electrical component) due to reduced resistance. (On the other hand, low temperatures also imply slower movement of particles, so the chemical component of neural activity would be, well, slower...)


Robert,

Don't forget that nerve impulses aren't electricity. For one thing, they have a top speed of around 300 mph, regardless of temperature. Some nerve impulses are as slow as ten mph. (Not just Republican brain neurons, that goes for everyone!)

Nerves aren't wires. The frog leg and battery experiment should have been banned from 'science' classrooms at the turn of the Century--and I don't mean the last one. . .the one before!

Bill Wolfe


Why, you grey jelly chauvinist! Would this apply to a silicon (instead of carbon) based lifeform with sorta-kinda semiconductor "nerves"?
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Post January 25, 2011, 04:47:40 PM

vates wrote:Well, I am not the person addressed, but, as for myself, I don't get it.


Vates,

My assumption is that Megawatts is asking how a prostitute with male clients can be a male, himself. Or perhaps it's just the concept that a male client would only seek a female courtesan.

'Tis almost a breath of fresh air to realize that in this jaded world, still can be found someone who thinks that male prostitues have predominantly female clients. And that things were any different in the Victorian era, doubly so.

Refreshing, really.

Bill Wolfe
Last edited by Bill_Wolfe on January 25, 2011, 04:56:21 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post January 25, 2011, 04:51:42 PM

Re: Re research

McCamy_Taylor wrote:My current project is a long piece about the future when humans have been genetically modified to live in the ocean.


Robert,

Don't forget the original post, by McCamy.

Genetically modified to grow wires instead of nerves? That's a lot of modification.

This greasy bag of ropey guts, would object.

Bill Wolfe
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Post January 25, 2011, 08:56:13 PM

Re: Re research

Bill_Wolfe wrote:
McCamy_Taylor wrote:My current project is a long piece about the future when humans have been genetically modified to live in the ocean.


Robert,

Don't forget the original post, by McCamy.

Genetically modified to grow wires instead of nerves? That's a lot of modification.

This greasy bag of ropey guts, would object.

Bill Wolfe


Oh, sure. NOW he wants to steer the discussion back toward the author, if not the story. I have half a mind to spritzle miqwarg in his general direction. (The other half is currently being detailed -- the chrome circuit pathways were getting a little dull.)
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Post January 27, 2011, 09:41:19 PM

That's a good point Bill. I'm going to re-read the story. I'll post my findings after another re-read.
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