The Freshman By Timothy Maguire


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Post August 09, 2005, 11:07:52 AM

The Freshman By Timothy Maguire

This was delightful.<br>Think the Coach will have a different opinion of Alex now? LOL!<br>I particularly liked the visual aspect of the fight. That was nicely described. A fight scene like that is easy to mess up. You didn't mess it up.<br>I'm going to steal a line from Nate here and say that I think a throwaway line or two about the smoke making people on the ground cough, or the scent of the grass on the ballfield while Alex and Josh talked in the bleachers (Before it was burned, obviously) would have added another nice touch.<br>Dan<br><br>
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Post August 20, 2005, 05:58:05 PM

Re: The Freshman By Timothy Maguire

I guess it's progress when others can pick out what I'm going to find in a story before I do. <br><br>Dan's suggestion of the smell of grass (presumably wet grass clippings) on the ball field would be exactly the sort of touch I'd recommend. It adds a concrete sense of reality, and when done right, adds to the mood.<br><br>On character, I assume the author was building sympathy, and that was why we met Linda and Josh. I believe we are meant to see that Alex is capable of being just like everyone else, gaining friends (maybe even a girlfriend), and that this is what he'll lose after the fight and, presumably, can't go back to school there. However, I didn't get that sense of loss at the end. Josh & Linda were first to rush to him, so they seem like they were onboard with Alex despite his abilities. Plus, Alex clearly spent a lot of time protecting the school, so his willingness to save his schoolmates couldn't go entirely unnoticed. That he would be kicked out of school is not clearly indicated.<br><br>Letting reality slip in, of course he would be. There'd be a parent riot if he stayed, thinking their children were in danger (when clearly they are, considering the Devourers).<br><br>On plot, I liked the superhero meets Highlander fusion (with maybe a shade of Dragonball-Z), but wondered if the kills add to the power of the victor, can they ever really act as good guys? Doesn't the "in the end there can be only one" theory ultimately prohibit the creation of the SuperFriends at Metahuman Inc.?<br><br>Also, there were a few points that did not seem to be properly explained (or that I just didn't understand). First, Alex can fly because his skateboard (laminated piece of wood) was changed. Why did he have a skateboard in class? If he didn't, were did it come from? Why was it changed, precisely? Next, he squishes a mote into a blade shape, and then suddenly an attack happens to the rear of his enemy. Was there a throw missing? Finally, how does bringing two motes together kill his enemy? The physics of this were completely lost on me.<br><br>The dialogue went ok, and the kids sounded like teenagers to me.<br><br>I thought this was an interesting universe, but one that needed more development. I'd like to have understood the "touched by God" reality and how it came to be called that. Also, I wished the kids would have been more developed so that his forced departure at the end would have had more impact. Finally, a little more explanation of the battle scene would have helped me follow it.<br><br>Nate
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Post August 21, 2005, 09:34:35 PM

Re: The Freshman By Timothy Maguire

Now this is odd.<br>I had quite a different take on the ending than Nate did. Owing to our differing points of view as individuals, Nate saw that the villian was dead and Alex forced to leave the new school. I, however, read into the story that the villian was simply KOed and out cold. And Alex was calling for not only an MIB-sort-of clean-up crew, but another metahuman to deal with the devourer if it woke up again- 'Cause Alex couldn't beat him again so soon if he were to wake up before the containment unit got there. And further, that Alex was choosing to try and stay at the new school despite being outed by the devourer. As if he were tired of being relocated and wanted to tough it out for once and stay where he was. Only Tim Maguire can tell us which one got closer to his intent. LOL! I just love the way that people see things differently from one another.<br>OK, I do agree with Nate that some more background material on this universe would be nice. (Perhaps an expanded version with this somewhere in the middle?) And a little more detail on the powers- not a lot, just enough to make them a little easier for the reader to accept. (How they hapened, what lead up to Alex's birth, what makes him special as a person.) Perhaps a scene with the school nurse, remarking on how different his physiology was, and how he'd have to make adjustments for his new classmates being softer and more easily injured. Dunno, you decide, Tim.<br>Nate, as for predicting your desire to comment on adding more senses to the writer's palate, I can only say that I've learned a lot from your critiques and agree with you nearly 90% of the time when you comment in the Lettercol on someone's stories. The other 10% is like now, when we see things differently. (Way cool! There's stuff to learn here about how different readers interpret one's story differently.)<br>OK, who else wants to wade in here? What did You think of this story?<br>Dan<br>
Last edited by Vila on August 21, 2005, 09:38:21 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post August 28, 2005, 04:55:17 AM

The Freshman By Timothy Maguire

clearly the best aspect of this story was the school, as it felt quite authentic and convincing. the various characters were all well laid out, including their appearance and other physical attributes, which in this case was a justified extra, especially seeing as Timothy avoided the lure of stereotyping (i think he even included a stab at that early on in the tale).<br><br>and although he also poked fun at himself by referencing Buffy/Angel, i didn't enjoy the ending. it was too over the top and x men-like for my taste. Nate's right, there were a few moments when the plot lost me, like where that shot came from to strike the devourer on the back of the head, or what happened to Joshua's mom (a self-evident question to ask if there ever was one).<br>i tend to side with Dan on interpreting the conclusion though, the villain didn't die. this was a PG piece, and i guess we'll meet the merry cast again in one of the sequels.<br><br>Lee<br>
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Post August 28, 2005, 11:06:03 AM

Re: The Freshman By Timothy Maguire

Yeah, ok. I missed that he was unconscious and not dead.<br><br>The line, "Worse, the Devourer had probably killed before and had the power of at least two of the Touched under his belt." got me assuming that this was like Highlander.<br><br>However, I still say that his school wouldn't have him back for sequels, not without a big lawsuit. His presence turned the football field into a big crater & a section of the school's wall was smashed. Even though he's a good egg, he'd represent a clear and present danger to the other students (or at the least to the school district's insurance carrier).<br><br>Nate
Last edited by kailhofer on August 28, 2005, 11:07:02 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post October 03, 2005, 09:52:44 PM

Re: The Freshman By Timothy Maguire

There was a bit too much unexplained for me to thoroughly enjoy this story. It did seem to be inspired by the anime genre, which could explain the way the plot unfolds. That’s not a dig at the genre. It’s just how in anime cartoons seem to function where offbeat and convenient plot devices are a common occurrence.<br><br>I’m not a big fan on using the term ‘stereotypical’ (and to a lesser extent, ‘atypical’) which is used twice in this story. Not for politically correct reasons, but for the fact that it’s lazy writing. Instead of describing something, the writer says it’s “stereotypical”. Why not spend a few moments to add some description and allow the reader to decide whether or not it’s stereotypical?<br><br> A few occurrences of infodumps also hurt the pacing. The characters’ histories need to be better integrated into the story instead of a dialogue segue.<br>
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