3rd SR Crapometer #17

Dear Miss Snark,

My science fiction novel, Emissary (100,000 words), is complete. It is set in the far future when mankind is exploring outer space. (uh...like 1968?)

Of the many alien races discovered by human explorers, the humanoids of Epsilon Orionis are unique. They can absorb and manipulate pure energy with their metallic bodies. Earth initiates a secret operation to obtain the technology. Eager to succeed, Ambassador Spanner Templeton, Captain Randall, Lieutenant Buck Owen and First Mate Milo Orrington secretly guide the crew of the Dreadnought Apollo and a cohort of marines through their conversion to metallic humans regardless of the consequences.

Each character, human or alien, is vividly drawn (don't tell me this--it makes me think you tell not show) as they struggle to adjust to new circumstances and unexpected changes both physical and mental. Humans and aliens alike have hidden agendas as they struggle to unite their bodies, minds and futures.(wtf?) Only a select few know the consequences of failure. A xenophobic cabal of humans has opened a gateway to another dimension. In a misguided effort to preserve the purity of the human race, the xenophobes will allow the inter-dimensional aliens enslave and isolate the human race, maintaining its purity. Only the metalized humans can prevent alien domination and enslavement. The personal and political struggles of the characters all lead to a final confrontation with the xenophobes and invaders.

I am a retired chemical engineer and unpublished author. I have another novel and a dozen short stories in the works. (do NOT NOT NOT tell me any of this)

Thank you for your consideration.


“…A world of energy populated by metallic humanoids. I’d give my right arm to be down there. But I’m not a politician. I’m a captain first, a sailor second and a politician never,” Captain Randall said. Even through the leaded glass, they could feel the energy radiating from the central white dwarf. (as you know Bob)

“This is so magnificent…” Spanner said unable to move his eyes away from the swirling energy fields.

“Besides, I fart and belch. Diplomats don’t do either. I think it’s a good place for a tan,” Captain Randall laughed heartily and smacked Spanner’s back.

“You’re a prince, Captain,” Spanner joked. Disgusted by the Captain’s humor, Fred Smith sneered. Randall noticed. (Miss Snark is beginning to think this is a put on)

“Aw Freddy, I know that you think that I’m prince of the pig people in your xenophobic little heart. That’s what you told my crewmen, didn’t you? That’s what I heard, Prince of the pig people, a nice name from a diplomat... Anyone who thinks that I don’t what is whispered on my ship is sadly mistaken. I bugged the entire ship. Once a year I playback the crew’s most private privates—everything from their farts and grunts to their love affairs and intimate sighs. We all laugh. It keeps the crew humble and subservient,” Captain Isaac Jefferson Randall was on a riff. He stoked Smith’s smoldering paranoia.

“They say you’re a stud mosquito but I dismiss that as unrequited love,” Captain Randall said. Fred Smith’s eyes narrowed with hatred. Spanner silently smiled as he imagined the scene when the weasel-like Fred confronted five-star generals with Randall’s fabrications or reported his behavior to the Earth-Firsters.

“Of course, Spanner here is going to make nicey-nicey with an alien species and I guess you’re here to make sure that doesn’t include cohabitation. Do oyu know what sailors call a kissy-bear, huggy-face assignment? Does cohabitation with aliens fill you with dread, Fred?”

“You impure idiot,” Fred Smith turned his back. Captain Randall ignored the snub.

“You don’t know loyalty or fear, young man. You only know betrayal. Why, when I was young and foolish like you, we just had rockets, shuttles and our own wits to survive. You have your prejudices and you hope those will sustain you… Have I ever told you about the time when I befriended the radical Fugitive Emissions from Betelgeuse 5, the red giant. It had a gas planet orbiting it that was ten times the size of Jupiter…” Randall paused. A klaxon sounded.

“Attention, diplomatic shuttle craft from Epsilon Orionis arriving NOW,” the communications officer snarked. Spanner made a note to reward him for interrupting. They joined the crew of the Dreadnought Apollo and Marine Platoon A.

The shuttle floated gently onto the deck. Most spacecraft were ugly. The Epsilon Orionis shuttle glistened like a diamond. Brilliant white light burst through the entryway. Three metalloids stood silhouetted, their bodies’ angular, sharp, all steely muscle and tendon, their skin reflecting the myriad lights of the space-dock.

“The men of Epsilon Orionis send you greetings. I, Algrica Ponti of Orionis, present my credentials.”

Miss Snark is retiring to the gin mill.
Not even a flask is enough.

If this is not a joke, please google "turkey city lexicon" and read carefully.

If this is a joke, Miss Snark is not amused.
Nor are the 359 people who didn't get a crack at the crapometer cause you sent this.


Anonymous said...

So Buck Owens died this year and became a lieutenant.

Anonymous said...

"Dive! Dive!" yelled the Captain through the thing! So the man who makes it dive pressed a button, or a something, and it dove. And, the enemy was foiled again. "Looks like we foiled them again," said Dave. "Yeah," said the Captain. "We foiled those bastards again. Didn't we, Dave." "Yeah," said Dave. The End.

Anonymous said...

Ooohhh. That's too bad. It really is.

A lot of people put in a lot of work hoping to have their work critiqued before they sent it into the real world. Miss Snark loves jokes, but there's a time and place for everything, and this wasn't the time nor place for this.

A Reader said...

I love science fiction, and I didn't understand any of this. Actually, I felt quite horrified by the parts that I think I understood.
I think I'll go cry now, or, at the very least, shiver in the corner.

Anonymous said...

The author says - No, it wasn't a joke. I wouldn't do that to anyone here. I have more respect for people than that.
It's just inexperienced writing and it will all be fixed.

desert snarkling said...

I do think assuming it's a joke is a bit unfair.

We all start off writing badly before we write well--learning the skills to see what's wrong with the work is as much part of the learning process as learning how to fix it.

A Reader said...

If you really want to fix it--really, seriously--then:

1. Read the Turkey City Lexicon like Miss Snark said.

2. Make it clear that the voyeur part of your story is a joke, because it comes off really sick to my ears.

3. What is a stud mosquito? I don't understand what this is trying to say about the character, that part is not clear. Even though I don't understand the term, something about the contex should make this clear to me, in some way. You decide how.

4. Read your work ALOUD. Actually say it aloud, to yourself, or anyone who will listen. Most people don't, and this clears up a lot of crap all by itself.

5. Work on your dialogue. There are a lot of places to get tips on writing dialogue, you can find many just by typing "How to write dialogue" in google.

6. Continue to read Sci Fi--particularly recent Sci Fi--while you are learning. Don't worry about copying inadvertently, because you are learning. Your own voice will come out, trust me.

That's a start. Keep working. Mail your (BEST) stuff out to editors. In my experience, many sci fi editors are very, very kind and if you are at all good, will give you real feedback.

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to say something nice about everyone's query, but when that klaxon sounded, I thought, "Oh, thank goodness."

Anything to shut that guy up.

On a more constructive note, Author - where does your story start? At what does a problem arise that must be solved? That's where your book should start also. All the talking between characters that you begin with is unnecessary, and should be chopped.

Anonymous said...

The author said:
You know, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew all this and I didn't listen to that little voice that said, don't do it that way.

Sadly, I didn't listen...

JJ said...

Reading this one was all worth it simply for Anon #2's comment - I'm still giggling!

Hang in there, author, we all start somewhere.

Bernita said...

Author, don't feel too badly.
I entered the First Evah Crapometer.
My entry made Miss Snark Dear want to stand on a chair and scream...

Nate said...

Chin up, author. Just work at it, practice, improve, that's how it happens.

BuffySquirrel said...

Should I feel guilty that I made a joke entry to the last Crapometer?

*slinks away*

(yeah, I WISH I could slink)

Elektra said...

Author, don't worry. Almost all of us sucked at the beginning (some of us, myself included, still do). Your next one will be better, and the one after that will be better still.

Anonymous said...


In Sci-Fi, "Near Future" and "Far Future" are terms of art where I come from.

Near future refers to the next five to ten years and indicates that society is roughly the same as it is now. It is typically used for fiction that deals with the changes in society and humans as they first discover computerized minds, cloning and new sciences. The novel and movie "The Island" or "2001" & "2010", or "Minority Report" are all near future. Usually cyberpunk is near future.

Far Future indicates several hundreds to thousands of years in the future and doesn't tie modern society to the story. "Babylon 5" is an example, as is "Dune", as is Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise, Charles Stross (and his Eschaton).

unlucky 213 said...

Dear oh dear...

Yes we all have to start somewhere, but the trick is to learn, as quickly as we can, to not remain there.

Word Verification: "cluey"

thraesja said...

So sorry your work didn't get the response you wanted, Author. Gotta suck.
Anyway, while you're fixing the other previously mentioned problems, be sure to have a look at your point of view inconsistancies too.
I'm sure you can improve most of this. The idea sounds interesting. Good luck with the (always painful) rewrites! May you be more adaptive than I am...

Jessica said...

Why are planets in science fiction stuff always named as if scientific people of Earth went around and changed all the names of planets? Do you really think a group of people would name their planet Betelgeuse 5? It's like, did they know that there were exactly four planets between them and the sun of their galaxy? Why call it venus? Let's rename it Earth 2 and call Earth, Earth 3. I guess in the future, America really is the super power of the world and even spreads its control to other planets, renaming them. As a side note: Fred Smith? Is there a Jane and John Doe too?