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Friday, February 17, 2012

WE OF THE UNIVERSE - part three

Today is the third and final part of Rachel's first chapter:

So it continued. Fast, exhilarating spinning and then a slowing down. A cautious circling around a shadowy faceless figure and then off again in a ball of blue light. Always the endless excitement. Could this be it? And then the sadness that it was not so. Then suddenly she was stopped, and the music seemed to form fever pitch, the disc beneath her vibrated with the sound. She could just make out his features. He was solid; his face square, with a solid jaw. Everything about him seemed rough and foreign, not like any other man she had met, (Has she met a lot of men? It seems her life has been very sheltered but maybe not…) and yet his eyes were soft as they met her gaze.

“May you forever be part of the whole.” She mouthed the lines she had been taught, though they seemed inadequate for the moment. He reached out a palm to her. This was not part of the ceremony, there was to be no touching. Yet she could not help reaching both hands out, reaching for him; before she could realise quite what was happening he had drawn her in for a kiss and the shock of intimacy.

The feeling of his mouth on her lips was pleasant and warm and yet before she could enjoy it, his face turned into particles of blue light as her body seemed to tear itself apart, back through the portal and reformed. She found her mouth was still puckered, as if she was still kissing him, and she quickly adjusted it so the evidence did not show on her face.

She was deeply conflicted. (Instead of telling us she was conflicted, show us. How does she react? Does she recoil from the kiss? Is she angry with herself for allowing it? Did it secretly thrill her?) She knew what he had done was forbidden and he should be reported, (but didn’t she allow it, too?) so he could be given the adequate lessons to rewire his thinking, (Oh! I don’t like the sound of that. In fact, I’m sure I don’t want my thinking rewired.) and yet she had enjoyed it and it had not felt wrong. She did not want to be shown how it was wrong, as she would be if she told, she wanted to keep it for herself. She was tired and weak, her body heavy despite the soft carpet.

She felt suddenly queasy and gagged, only to have a tough hand grasp her jaw, jerking her head up.

“Not on the carpet dear.” The Matron said and she felt a small needle jab in her neck and the queasiness was gone, giving her the strength to get up off the ground.

The Matron stood in front of her, a slightly unfocused, slack-jawed look on her face, as she looked Inner. (what does this mean, looked Inner?) She had the fat, sexless look of one who would never participate in the Dance of the Suns. Legeve was a breeder, but those who were deemed inadequate for breeding became workers who were sterilised.

“A very strong match indeed,” the Matron congratulated her. “The future's children will do us proud.”

“Indeed,” Legeve replied, but it felt rather flat. Her feelings were going against years of teachings. The way they did it (the way who did what? I think you need to be clearer here.) was superior to the rest of those who lived in the universe, because Legeve of their kind were of the universe itself. (I’m confused by this phrase. What does it mean? Or did you mean, Legeve and her kind?) Not for her the random meetings and awkward fumblings of lesser beings. Somewhere out there, the genes of that man and her own were being combined, and they would become the children that would one day replace her. Not her children, but the universe's children.

As the room faded and she found herself in her own room, she found herself questioning for the first time her society's teachings. Not enough to abandon them all, but a seed had been planted with that kiss, and safety in her small room somehow no longer felt enough. Is it the kiss that has made her question her society’s teachings? That doesn’t seem like enough to me. I could see her yearning to know more about kissing, especially as it seems that reproduction here is sexless (Ach! How boring!). But does she know what sex is?

Overall, I’m very curious about this society and I’d be interested to find out more about it. I’m also curious about Legeve and I think more showing and less telling will go a long way toward making the reader really feel for her. I wonder if at some point, when she's feeling especially nervous and unsure, she could recite some of what she’s been told about her duty in an effort to calm herself. This could also serve as a means to give the reader some info about the society at the same time. Then when she gets back in her room, how has she changed in the time she’s been gone? Does she feel different inside? And if she’s thinking differently, what has made her do so?

Now, I'd really like to hear what everyone thinks about this first chapter because the more people that comment the more helpful it is to the author. And don’t forget that comments count toward winning our monthly prize, as do submissions - whether or not they were posted. Lastly, just a reminder that my comments/suggestions are my own, what I think will work. Ultimately, the author knows best. 

Next month, I'll be posting two more first chapters so get your little red pens out!


Huntress said...

I would keep reading to figure this out. why she reacts like she does to contact with the man and if she is as emotionless as she seems.

Does she feel fear? Claustrophobia?
Hm. Interesting

Carol Riggs said...

I enjoyed reading this! and liked the writing style and voice. Nice romantic surprise here in this section (tho I haven't read the other sections). I agree about the "she was deeply conflicted" part--would like to see her being conflicted rather than being told she was conflicted. If we saw her thoughts, for instance, we'd know her degree of being conflicted. It's an interesting world that's set up here.

Nick Wilford said...

I'm saying hello from the campaign. I'm intrigued to know more about the universe created here. It's a compelling voice. I can't offer much in the way of criticism apart from, show not tell!

Unknown said...

I loved this. I'm stopping over from the Campaign. Cheers.

Brooke R. Busse said...

I think I'm starting to understand why everyone was blond. It's a Hitler sort of thing, no?

Again, watch out for that verb "seemed." Also, you said the man was "solid" then said he had a "solid jaw." You might want to come up with a different adjective or just reword the sentence.

Was I the only one who felt this went a little fast? Especially the part where she meets the man. I want to know more about her feelings and why she would kiss him back. I think fixing the telling mentioned above would help with this problem.