12.21.2006

HH Com 264 (261)

Arren Powers is a brilliant engineer, but it hardly matters on the world of Ogma, where no one cares how machines work. Everything they need is provided by the gods. So he is delighted when Nathan Freed, the high priest, requests his services. Arren repairs the strangest
device he has ever seen, inadvertently granting Nathan the power of the gods.

After witnessing Nathan inflict divine punishment on an old rival, Arren realizes the danger his world is in. This power is too great for men to wield. Arren tries to break the control device, but fails. Now Nathan, who has the power to summon furies and command lightning,
wants Arren dead.

Arren flees, aided by a voice from an observational satellite which only he can hear. The voice guides him toward unexpected allies: an immortal woman in a flying castle, a hunter in a hidden realm beyond a wall of fire, and a librarian who may have uncovered the gods' deepest
secret.

While Arren and his allies try to understand their world, knowledge of the gods' machine spreads, until new gods wage brutal war for control of Ogma. Arren's engineering talents never mattered to anyone before, but now he may be the only one who can stop the machine, and save the world.

If everything is provided by the gods, why do they have machines?
I'd be glad to loll about being provided for. Where do I sign up?

And if he's such a brilliant engineer, why can't he whack the control device with a sledge hammer? Here, use mine.

One of the first requirements of any hook is that the story can't contradict itself unintentionally. If it's intentional you have to note it.

The rest of this is the usual stuff: not specific, no stakes other than a meaningless "save the world"

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like the creativity in this one: flying castles, observational satellites that send messages, walls of fire. I'm not sure how it contradicts itself; sounds like there aren't many machines, so the Arren guy struggles to figure out how to work this one.

Anonymous said...

This seemed out of the ordinary for a fantasy/sci-fi, and I like that. However... I kept reading Ogma as Dogma. Doesn't work for me.

RT

Jodi Meadows said...

It's science fantasy! Very cool.

I suspect this is one of those you really have to be a genre reader to like. It's all worldbuildy, which really works for me.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me like the stuff the civilization is describing as "from the gods" really is all from machines (such as the voice from the observational satellite). I'm suspecting (hoping?) that the "flying castles" and the like would end up being things we'd recognize. Author, tell--am I crazy?

December Quinn said...

I'm confused by a plot about gods taking place on a planet called Ogma, who is a Celtic god. Is that an in-joke?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I read Ogma as Dogma too. But, even though I'm big on the need for a really cool plot to drive a fantsy, this world sounds great me. Very original (I like the wall). I've got a feeling that it's just the hook that needs refining, not the book. Good luck man.

Laurel Amberdine said...

Anon 3: Yes, the gods and other weird stuff are really all (alien built) machines.

December: the planet was originally a settlement of Earth colonists. It's not an in-joke, but it'd be nice if people recognized the origin of the name.

Thanks everyone, and Miss Snark especially!

Kat said...

I agree that the hook's not the best, but I really like the sound of this one. It has zip, something I miss in much of the science-fantasy I read these days. Clean up the hook and I think you'll really have something here.

an engineer said...

I love it when the engineer gets to be the hero!

It sounds good, author -- you hooked me, for whatever that's worth. :)

Virginia Miss said...

I really liked the first and last lines in this hook. And I got a real sense of stakes from the line 'Now Nathan, who has the power to summon furies and command lightning, wants Arren dead.'
The last two paragraphs, except for the last line, are the weakest.

Good luck re-writing your hook.