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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

#5 Orbital Shifts

Title: Orbital Shifts
Genre: Hard Science Fiction

The clientele of the Afterburner chatted and took little notice of a new face at the door, but gave the four bar occupants wide berth and kept to the tables. Shen took the zero gravity perch at the end of the bamboo-topped bar, hooking his ankles under one bar, folding his knees over the other. Barkeep glanced up and nodded, then risked a sidelong look at the other four.

Tanner Sheppard surveyed his new neighbor, silent. On his other side, his three companions laughed at the comedy sketch on the screen behind the bar, rocking on their perches.

“Came back, then,” Tanner commented.

“Can’t tell me you’re surprised.” Shen looked over the bottled spirits locked in a glass cupboard behind the bar, and told the barkeep, “Rickey. Refill for him, too.”

Tanner looked at the puddle clinging inside his squeeze-shot bottle and finished it off. “Buying me a drink? Sure about that?” he asked.

“Got no reason to shoot me, that I know of,” Shen said.

Then Julia laughed at something on the screen and threw herself into Tanner’s shoulder. She pulled her drink off its tether to the bar and sucked it dry. “Another one here,” she shouted at the barkeep, and tossed it. In the zero gee, the bottle bounced off the back counter and flew across the seating area, spinning. The three laughed at that too.

“First chuck to buy me a drink for shooting my father. What’s it to you?”


Charity Bradford said...

I like the changes you made to this. It's a lot clearer without losing the great setting elements.

"Tanner Sheppard surveyed his new neighbor, silent." was the first spot I paused. It sounds like Tanners neighbor is named silent. You can use -ly words sparingly, and this may be one spot you want to switch to "silently surveyed" or drop the word silent all together. It isn't really necessary.

The only other thing is I'm not sure who shot his father. :)

The handling of the friends and spatial positioning is much better. Great job!

Brooke R. Busse said...

The first half of your first sentence is fine, I like the name of the bar, but the second half is awkward. I would cut it, since you mention that there's just four later.

I also don't get the purpose of the last half of the last sentence in paragraph one. It seems to be excess since no one opts for a drink right away.

The very last line of dialogue confuses me. 'What's it to you?' especially. I don't see how the line of dialogue before that, constitutes to that.

Above all, I love the setting and the atmosphere, in both the background and in the conversation.

Huntress said...

By all that is holy…Wow. Great first paragraph.

Suggestion: Try a question mark on Tanner’s initial comment.

Excellent tension with ‘got no reason to shoot me…’ dialogue.

Suggestion: “Another one here,” she shouted. She tossed the bottle at the barkeep.” (Don’t ask me why but I like a shorter, more definitive sentence here)

The last sentence I am guessing is a whoopsie…LOL.

I like this very much and would most definitely, definitely read on.

Mark Murata said...

I'm confused by the beginning. Are the four people entering? If so, why are they "occupants"? Also, the word "bar" is used in a repetitive manner. I had to reread it three or four times, and I'm still not sure I have it right.

S.E. Gaime (aka defcon) said...

Whose POV is this in?

Fly-on-the-wall/news reporter is not a popular POV for good reasons. It's disconnecting with no emotional involvement from the reader. Who should I care about in this scene?

Overall, feels like a Western bar scene in space.