While making a documentary about a sacrificial ritual, a grieving mother comes to terms with the untimely loss of her daughter.
Really well done Claudia. I hope you’re proud of this accomplishment. World-building is not easy, it takes such a fine balance, and I think you pulled it off.
The tone of the world reminded me a little of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. The dry landscape and the creatures that inhabit it.
Only comment on the constructive side may be something you do in Part 2, but having a returning side character, someone with a clear vibe that helps ground the story and offer a touch point throughout the journey.
But yeah, that’s just a minor thing. Descriptions popped with visuals and the dialogue was helpful.
Great work! Make sure to have a nice meal or drink to celebrate.
Beautifully written and utterly believable, unfortunately. I love the inclusion of bots that replicate what biological creatures do. Now off to read part II
OK, one big critique is the CO2 level. It's currently at 420ppm. This is the highest it's been in about 23 million years.
Carbon Dioxide Higher Today Than Last 2.1 Million Years - (2009)
“The low carbon dioxide levels outlined by the study through the last 2.1 million years make modern day levels, caused by industrialization, seem even more anomalous” -Richard Alley, Glaciologist
More recent research has established that it has been 23 million years since “natural” CO2 levels were as high as they are now at 420ppm.
A 23 m.y. record of low atmospheric CO2 - May 2020
Current atmospheric CO2 concentration is known to be higher than it has been during the past ∼800 k.y. of Earth history, based on direct measurement of CO2 within ice cores. A comparison to the more ancient past is complicated by a deficit of CO2 proxies that may be applied across very long spans of geologic time.
These data suggest present-day CO2 (412 ppmv) exceeds the highest levels that Earth experienced at least since the Miocene, further highlighting the present-day disruption of long-established CO2 trends within Earth’s atmosphere.
It is EXTREMELY unlikely that it could reach a level of +1,000ppm in the timeframe you are using.
Also, the paleoclimate data indicate that there would be as much as 9C of warming at CO2 levels of 1,000ppm.
You need to scale that back to something realistic. Say 550ppm. That would more closely correspond to the world you are describing. That would generate about 6C of warming and the "dying world" you are describing.
You should look at my articles if you need ideas.
Wow, this was awesome. Great job, Claudia! Very excited for Part 2 :)
A fellow Douglas fan! Excellent. Douglas Adams is one of my favourite authors.
Great read Claudia. Lots of vivid, evocative descriptions that spark the reader's imagination. You clearly thought a lot about the world you are building. A rich and textured world is unfolding for the reader. Well done.
As for constructive criticism, it comes down to personal preference most of the time. Take openings. I rewrote the opening of Chapter 1 of my novel 4 times now. I had a very passive one, made it slightly more active, and went over the top with a "boom" first sentence which felt too blunt until I arrived at what I have now, a scene that accelerates with every sentence.
Reading your opening, it is serene until "You are running out of oxygen." which is where you start the hook. You could opt to start the hook by moving that sentence up top. Then again, it's a personal preference. Take "Rebecca". Nothing much happens for the first few chapters and it is safe to say, if a no-name author were to send Rebecca to any agent/publisher it would not get published today, because no one reads past page one these days. We had this argument in a recent creative writing class, discussing great opening lines. "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." ... So what? ;) Just to be clear, I loved the book.
Overall, what I am trying to say, your opening could be more effective from the perspective of hooking the reader, perhaps? Or not. As I said, it boils down to personal preference.
Looking forward to part 2!
Wish I had more constructive criticism to add, but this was an excellent read, I'm fascinated by the world you're building here and I look forward to the next part. Consider me subscribed!
This was so excellent! You use wonderful imagery and the story moves along quickly, even with all of the world building. I'm excited for the second part.
Firstly, Happy Birthday!! Love the link to Hitchhikers. A great gift you bestow upon us by sending this out. I clicked through to read as fast as I could!
Beautiful, stark, moving. The pacing was great (see final note).
Your writing utterly shines in its descriptions: "Young and old stream by, some carrying luggage on their back, pulling carts, pushing electric strollers, bicycles or strangely shaped vehicles made from scrap parts." I see so much from this single sentence, all wrapped in a lovely flow of words. I get so much of the world. Likewise in the opening, it is perfect: "The jade-green kelp forest floats in the crystal-clear water. Lying on her back, Nova allows the swift currents to guide her through the corridors lined by algae stems, stretching their slender arms toward the sunlight." I'm there with her, taken to that moment.
Unsurprisingly given your other posts, your world is so well realised. It's believable, and in that believability there is weight and fear of this world.
If I were to offer any constructive criticism (and, I'm just an amateur here, so grain of salt and this is really minor), it'd just be: hold back more. Withhold more from the reader. The aspect of her grieving was the only moment where I felt you could show/imply just a tiny amount. You could withhold there on her thoughts by nudging with her emotions and leave the reader to wonder whether she *had* lost her daughter, making them think that was probably the case but not be 100% certain. But that's just how I felt, whereas you may want to absolutely convey she lost her daughter, in which case, excellent.
Finally, I love that I was thinking the whole time "but what is the sacrifice? what are they doing?" The pacing of that was fantastic. It felt like a great (and terrifying) payoff.
Oh, and note that I had to stop to Google our current CO2 levels!
Bravo, Claudia. It goes without saying that I eagerly await the next entry.