Starfall/ACRA: Metal Fire #10, False Maria 04

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Fri Sep 29 18:30:14 PDT 2006

Okay, not so much a full review this time, just some short, quick, and
unexplained observations--

One, despite Wil's apprehensions, the quality of writing in these four
issues is consistent through out.  It's not starting great and losing
steam as it moves along; it gathers steam.

Two, the ending isn't really an ending but, as Mr. Poe says, a
beginning.  It resembles a lot of comic book story arcs that are really
the first act of larger story arcs.

Third, Eddy's solution was very clever, but not obvious.  By the time I
got to the scene prior to the action sequence, it dawned on me but was
no worse the wear for it.

I'm of two minds about the structure of the solution, about keeping the
readers in the dark.  With a plot twist like this, you have one of two
impulses: surprise and suspense.  I like suspense better nine times out
of ten, but at the same time, it was a nice surprise and I think in
this case it worked because it surprised the hell out of Poe et al

I think the action sequence itself was a little lackluster, especially
compared to the gripping one-on-ones between Kim and Eddy (for example,
the beating in the chair).  But that's because the scene wasn't about
pain or character so much as it was about surprise.

It was a very quick little scene, and I'm not saying it needed to be
lengthened.  But since it's so bare bones, and Poe was listening the
whole time anyway, it might have been more effective if that action
scene was an continuation or time-cut from the previous scene-- that
is, staying with Poe and Gregory while they hear what's going on and
piece things together.  That way, they would piece it together at the
same time the readers did, thus scoring some bonus points.

This would, of course, make the shift to Eddy more difficult, and it
would be harder to squeeze in the exposition of how Eddy convinced Kim
to let him copy her brain.

At the same time, I would have really liked to see that back-and-forth
between them as Martin suggests.  It would be a nice character moment
between the two of them, and would require so much trust on her part
that it would emphasize Trust (or lack of it) as a defining theme of
their relationship at this juncture.

But doing so would ruin the surprise and would make both the action
sequence as it stands and the proposed redux of it both prefunctory at
best; it would drag its heels towards the inevitable conclusion.  Which
would be an argument for staying with Eddy & Kim the whole time, seeing
the plan reach fruition.

I'm not saying any one of these approaches is necessarily the best for
Wil and his story and his considerable writing abilities; of the three,
the structure in the actual posted story is most likely to deliver to
the surprise payload with even a modicum of writing ability-- Wil
certainly surpasses the "modicum" point by miles and miles, so it
definitely delivers.

Looking forward to the next issue, and the other two acts of the arc.


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