Field Trip by E. S. Strout


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Post June 16, 2005, 11:03:08 PM

Field Trip by E. S. Strout

A cautionary tale about what could happen if we anger those smarter than we are... especially if they don't care about the consequences.<br><br>In my opinion, this is a good story, but with a few flaws.<br><br>There was very little provided in terms of setting, and I tend to have a problem with that in stories. I like the world-building to be described using all the senses, so that even someone with the limited wattage in my head can picture it all. Dr. Lynch could almost have been in a dirt-floored chamber resembling Frankenstein's lab (but with a phone and a computer), for all the details that were provided. Lynch had tangled locks of hair of some color, and she herself was of some age. She did have gray-green eyes, though. Dr. Leonard was described a bit more, but certainly not enough that we could pick him out of a lineup or anything.<br><br>I thought it might have been nice to have moved the setting to Leonard's lab, rather than just experience Hell breaking loose by her hearing it over the phone. Imagine the beads of sweat on Leonard's brow, the banging of the guards trying to break into the room, the expressions on those working there... the tension, the worry and frustration. I think those things are implied in the text, but are illustrated much less than I thought they could have been.<br><br>A main character has to be engaging, and Paula Lynch is definitely that. However, I do have to say she certainly had a lot more personality than the half-dozen professors of physics I've known. While those profs were more than willing to set decorum aside during a really good party, (that was a cool Halloween night, let me tell you) not one of them could muster half as much personality as Paula Lynch exudes. I will say, though, that the excess zeal lead well into her becoming the villain, and she transitioned into the part slowly. With skill on Gene Strout's part, I might add.<br><br>I don't know much about physics outside of universities, but I couldn't shoot any holes into this plot, save Dr. Leonard "slipping through the cracks" on owning his research--the money men always find a way to own things and not miss anyone. Other than that, I couldn't see any reason why the events couldn't happen. Few people really know what goes on in colliders and other such projects, so I found it more than conceivable. <br><br>Paula's dialogue struck me as a bit off. Why call Leonard "Prof" instead of Doctor? She's a doctor herself, and I didn't get the feeling she would put up with it if someone spoke to her in such a manner. She was bound to talk to other doctorates all day long. Just by osmosis, I think she would have absorbed a little formality.<br><br><br>As I said, a good story, but with just a few flaws.<br><br>Nate
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Post June 21, 2005, 11:32:22 AM

Re: Field Trip by E. S. Strout

Hi Nate<br><br>Thanks much for your comments on Field Trip. Such critiques are welcome and valuable to one who writes only as an avocation. They serve as a learning experience.<br><br>I have much experience wity academia. Residents and postgraduate fellows address faculty as Doctor, while faculty address is usually on a first name basis.<br><br>I also know some of the workings of Brookaven, having taken a nuclear safety course there when I was in the Navy.<br><br>Thanks again,<br><br>Gene

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Post June 28, 2005, 10:30:03 PM

Re: Field Trip by E. S. Strout

I think the style of this story worked pretty well. The exchange between the two characters held my attention enough that the near nonexistent setting didn't matter. And while I generally prefer being in the middle of the action, I think having the payoff take place over the phone played out well. <br><br>And it hardly mattered that I understood none of the physics. <br><br>Dan E.

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Post June 30, 2005, 01:00:04 AM

Re: Field Trip by E. S. Strout

The story held my interest even with too many particles bumping into one another. A theoretical physics helping out an experimental physics reminded me that dynamics must the studied on a mathematical model before that experiment is initiated! Especially in particle physics!<br><br>Dr. Paula J. Lynch had to be the theoretical physics and Fred an experiment physics.<br><br>Paula might have been brilliant but her speech reminded me of a female studio wrestler! However, I heard many doctors in various disciplines speak as if they just came from a Hells Angle party so her speech could be believable. Fred, who was one dimensional, sounded like a typical professor.<br><br>The story needed more sensory input and description. Too much science terminoloy muddled up the story and gave one the feeling that "forced technical terms" will act as an adjective! That's not so, but even with the terminology pushing the story, I did enjoy it and that is what counts in a story!<br><br>I would like to read another story by this author and I hope he continues to write and grow with Aphelion!<br><br>
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