Reviews for The Argonaut Initiative
Thornton chapter 1 . 5/22/2010
Heh, yeah, Tina Turing's awesome. You've put together a fun cast of characters here, lots of intriguing quirks. I especially like the way you show us each character's room as a quick way to advance their development. They are all kind of reading like stereotypes at the moment (Noel especially; I couldn't get the image of Shore Leave and Mile High from the Venture Bros. out of my head while reading his dialogue), but starting with a bit of a stereotype can be a great way to let your readers hit the ground running. You did a nice job of dropping hints right off the bat that something was weird with the agents, so it was a very satisfying 'ah-ha' sort of moment when you revealed later that they're basically automatons. Oh, and bonus geek points for the Judas Priest mention. Gotta love "Hell Bent for Leather."

There's a few of nits I could pick here: a little bit of POV slippage in places, passive voice/awkward phrasing/tense agreement issues, but that's stuff that's pretty easy to fix with a careful read through and/or recruiting a beta. However, one little detail that did bug me a lot was the fact that you described the tunnels as having no distinctive smell, then told us a cleaning robot was right there spraying cleanser. If you've actually discovered a cleaning product that doesn't stink to high heaven, please tell me about it, because I need to buy some for my house!
DeepSeaDragon chapter 2 . 2/11/2010
So this is something of an origin story for ol' Dok Bizarro, eh? He just keeps on churning out those zomborg squads time and time again.

I think you have a pretty cool cast gathered in this story; it's got that classic Jave Harron squad of misfit heroes. Tina is my favorite, but something tells me you knew "she" would be the show-stealer.
Michael Panush chapter 3 . 2/1/2010
This was pretty good, and the tone was a lot better than the last story. I think you toned down Noel so he wasn't camp gay, the slutty computer was pretty funny (I don't think you have to add a sexy adverb every time she speaks, though), and the new hacker guy seems pretty cool and unique.

However, I think the writing could still use some work. The action scenes seemed to drag and the dialogue was decent, but not particularly catchy or memorable. I did like the few metaphors you had, but I think you could use a lot more. You can write some good metaphors, so don't be shy about putting them in, particularly in the context of action scenes. Also, the point of view seems to shift at random. It started with Jane, moved to Jason, and then went to Stien. I think you should have it stick with one person, or find some way to let us know when you're switching, to make it a bit less confusing.

So, that's my review. I do wonder who the mysterious villain is going to be.
Gliss chapter 1 . 1/22/2010
1) A couple of grammar type issues, but not many. They're pretty minor and I don't tend to go through things like that unless you actually want that kind of obsessive proofreading, because they're the kind of thing that you'll almost certainly see yourself when you come back to edit anyway.

2)I really like the first paragraph and it hooked me right into the story - until 'the young woman awoke'. To be fair this is entirely personal; I just happen to dislike dream sequences, but...I'd find this a lot more interesting if it were real. (I know it turns out to be a memory of something that did really happen later, but this in itself bothers me because nightmares are a pretty overused way of showing trauma...)

3) However, the story keeps being interesting after that, which makes the dream thing a bit better - what annoys me most is when you have something really interesting happens in a dream sequence and then the character wakes up in bed at home in a fairly boring life, usually with a parent yelling at her to get up; it's hard to go on reading after that. Because your character wakes up somewhere interesting, you can get away with the dream thing, I think. Or at least, I kept reading.

4) I really like the way you have continuous detailed description throughout the story, creating the illusion that we know a lot about this place; then you get to the end and realise you still have absolutely no idea what it's about or for, only what it looks like. That's clever, I think; it's a good subtle way of getting across the idea of a secretive and deceptive place that looks reasonably ordinary from the outside but really isn't.

5) Even though the other characters have only just been introdued, they all seem real and reasonbly complicated and interesting; if anything even more so than the main character, which is a nice change from stories where it seems like the author only really cares about the protagonist. I also like the fact that Noel and Jason have both had bad things happen to them (being dismissed from the army & exploding experiment), as opposed to the protagonist being the only one who's allowed any angst in the past. Jane having trauma about what happened to her in the past is a pretty commonly used idea and often done badly, but there's no reason why it HAS to be done badly, so I guess I'll just wait and see. And so far I think it's done pretty well - she isn't constantly angsting about it, she's getting on with her life, and she doesn't seem to expect ultra-special treatment because of it, and is grateful when concessions are made.

6) Tina is awesome. Especially because when I saw the word 'sultry' I pretty much panicked; it's just not a good word, and I assumed we were going to be introduced to Generic Attractive Spy Woman #58, whose only function in the story would be to seduce men into giving away secrets and being captured and having to be rescued. Sex-crazed robots are INFINITELY preferable.

7) I liked the description of the robotic bees and birds as well - could easily be annoying and kinda wet, but it works because the description is overall very bland and grey, as you'd expect of a military site, and having something kinda beautiful unexpectedly thrown in works very well. I also like the fact that the most decorative, pretty thing in the base seems to be in an area where a completely non-human thing works, rather than in, say, someone's bedroom or something.

8) I can't decide if revealing what happened to Jane's fiance and stepson in the first chapter is a good idea or not. One the one hand I think it's...a bit much to take in with everything else as well. But then it avoids the problem of unnecessarily hiding things and making it anticlimactic when the revelation does happen. Overall I think maybe the second chapter or the third would be a better place for it than the first; still early enough not to make a big secret of it, but giving the reader time to adjust to this setting as well.

Anyway, enjoyed first chapter a lot; off to read the second one now, though may not have time to write another long rambly review...I have a feeling this may not upset you too much.