|Reviews for Science Detectives: Post Singularity Adventures|
| Michael Panush chapter 4 . 9/26/2010
I can see you took some of my criticism to heart, which is good. But you still have ignored a lot of what I'd had to say, and I think that really hurts the story. This one was all right, and a bit better than the others, but it still wasn't that great. Let's talk about the characters, plot and writing, and then the overall problems.
You haven't really done much to improve the three main characters. Marie's urban dialect is still grating and way too over the top, and same with Bizarro's evil. Charlie's still non-descript, though you had him being ridiculously panicked in the first part of the story. Try and reel in all the characters, making them less theatrical and more subdued. This will make them relatable and more interesting than these caricatures you seem to have. The octopus guy was cool, but was pretty much Marie as an octopus. I'd rather he had a unique voice and personality to match his appearance. A lot of the arguing about the SciCorps or whatever at the begining seemed pretty pointless, especially given Bizarro's inability to be taken seriously.
The plot was also problematic. This one finally had you use the back-up thing in some interesting way, and overall, I don't think it was worth it. It added nothing to the story, as their attack on the cultists was pretty much a straight up assualt with some fancy weapons. The evil twins were cool, but you could have had the villains clone the heroes without the back-up thing being involved. I know you can't really go back and remove the back-up stuff, and you're kind of stuck with this terrible plot device, but try a little harder to make it work in interesting ways. Overall, the plot was just too simple. The cultists were literally faceless mooks with no personality, and the story wasn't much more than an extended fight. What about adding some moral ambiguity? Making the heroes make a tough decision? Or having a mystery? Anything besides just a drawn-out fight scene would be good.
The writing actually improved, I thought. You used a lot of metaphors, and while some flopped, a few of them were pretty good. Metaphors relying on scientific or mythical details (like water droplets or Thor's hammer) should be avoided. In Robot Detechtive, there's a reason why I have I. Ron use scientific details for his metaphors - he's doing metaphors wrong, and it's a parody of what good writing should be. If your writing sounds like a robot is doing it, that's a bad sign. But keep it up, and continue using this level of metaphors in your writing.
I did notice a lot of typos too, so be sure to edit the next one more carefully. Overall, I'm a little disapointed. The hook at the end is cool, and I liked how the fight wasn't one-sided, but the problems I've explained did hamper it. Keep working at it though, and I'll read the next one for certain.
| DeepSeaDragon chapter 3 . 8/11/2010
Your promise of a Banana Monster cameo made me dash right on over and give this one a read. ;)
Well, while other reviewers have pointed out some legit criticisms for sure- I'll get to those in a minute- I will go ahead and say that I had fun with this one. The action scenes were pretty good, Marie seems to be developing pretty nicely (much moreso than Charlie or Bizarro, who fill roles but haven't really forced me to care about them yet), and Shoggy continues to be a delight when we're reminded he exists. The Roller (or, should I say, Banana Monster?) was funny, although it felt almost like an afterthought, since Charlie and Dok's misadventure was nowhere near as exciting as Marie's own. I enjoyed the rooftop chase, and was genuinely worried when CJ started mauling Marie and hacking her to pieces. Man, that was brutal!
This leads into the bad stuff- I agree whole-heartedly with Michael's sentiment that having a backup body that you can just be uploaded into after death does wipe away a lot of the tension. All that worrying I was doing about if Marie was somehow going to make it out of this horrific situation, and suddenly, she just wakes up, A-Okay. Maybe making death more traumatic- "being dead really sucked" hardly gives such an impression- would make this work a little better? I know that if I had to blow myself to smithereens after seeing my arm get lopped off and parts of my body flying through the air, I'd be a little more upset!
All in all, though, I had fun reading it. Good show, mate, but with an ahead to be careful the same ultra-technology that makes the story doesn't break it.
| Michael Panush chapter 3 . 8/6/2010
This was a bit better than the last two stories in this series. I could see some major improvements in a lot of ways, and I did enjoy it. However, some of the flaws remained and those need to be dealt with. I think the three main problems are characters and dialogue, plotting, the writing, and the final lack of subtlety that I mentioned earlier.
Marie was a bit better than last time, but could have had a lot more laconic wit. Dok Bizarro was his usual way too over-the-top self, but there wasn't that much of him, so he wasn't as annoying as he was last time. If you're gonna keep him as this joke character, than I suggest having less of him in the story. His constant insults stay funny and don't get annoying that way. Charlie remains a bland character. You had him say an admittingly cliched line? Why did you do that? It could have been an oppurtunity for a good one-liner too. The villains were just way too over the top to be taken seriously. CJ in particular seemed to have stepped out of a thirteen-year-old's idea of a really 'Xtreme villain,' with him talking crazedly about eating people all the time. Evil, psychotic characters are actually freakier if they're not so over-the-top and ridiculous. If you just had him make a few hints to eating people, or one or two totally serious, threatening statements, he would have been a much freakier villain, instead of this caricature. And the gangster guy literally eats (or drinks) kittens? That's just too much.
The plot could have used more work. It was very simple, and while you had mentioned some kind of moral dilemnia or emotional problem for our heroes to overcome besides just punching out bad guys, there really wasn't one. You had a throw-away line about civilians, but nothing ever really happened with that. The conclusion also annoyed me. I liked how you ratcheted up the tension and had the psychopath capture her. I kept on waiting for her to think of some clever way out of it, or use some brutal combat technique to top the villain. Instead she just blows herself up and moves into a back-up body? That's like the definition of an anti-climax. Once I remember the back-up body thing, I realized that none of the heroes were in any danger the whole time. It really harms the story. I know you insist on the back-up bodies, but try and think of plots to have real danger for the heroes then, instead of just a minor annoyance. And making it so the villain didn't have a back-up body because...he's evil, I guess, was very contrived. I know you can do better, and create stories that reveal more about the personalities (beyond just personal history details) and have some moral or emotional edge ot them, beyond just action scenes.
The writing improved, which I was happy to see. You used some good metaphors (like the pouncing cat one), so more of that, please. Some of the metaphors you used were kind of weak and cliched (like a hot knife through butter). Try and stay away from those. You need way more description, though. You had a throw-away sentence describing the people of New Chicago, and barely a word about the buildings. Just saying 'Neo Art Deco' doesn't cut it. Give me some good metaphors and similes describing them, and same with the crowds. It looks like a really cool setting, and I would have liked a better look at it. Finally, I noticed some phrases repeated and a lot of typos and unclear sentences. More editing would have helped.
So, try and be more subtle in the characters and action, and focus more on the writing, plot and characterization, and you'll be good. I can see some improvement here, and you really ought to make an effort to keep it up. I liked the intrigueing ending, and I look forward to the next one.
| TorgoTheWhite chapter 3 . 8/2/2010
Wow! Nice action packed chapter. Human attack dogs, invincible tentacle robot, and a human greaseball mobster set ablaze by incendiary rounds! I felt that the pace of this chapter was a bit faster than those of the previous ones and the story was more engaging. Although I was a bit annoyed when Shoggy saved Marie's life twice (one again!) I was genuinely shocked (and PLEASED!) when the sadistic CJ proceeded to rip Marie apart. Despite the some what Deux Ex Machina ending of Marie escaping via Cylonesque mind transfer I thought that you successfully conveyed the dangers facing our protagonists this time. The villains in this chapter are bosses to the meek mooks of the previous two chapters.
| Lord Monbodo chapter 3 . 8/1/2010
Ah, a Harkonen mob boss. And do I detect a subtle Assassin's Creed reference? I'm eager to see what happens next. Keep 'em coming.
| Lord Monbodo chapter 2 . 7/28/2010
Another great chapter. However, I find it strange that the crooks near the heart of the explosion escaped completely even though Marie and Max were only momentarily stunned.
| Lord Monbodo chapter 1 . 7/28/2010
Ah, the Black Sparrow...
Well, we have an augmented noir girl detective, her power armored bodyguard, a nanotech pet and... Doktor Bizarro forced to work for good! I have three words for you. Give me more.
| TorgoTheWhite chapter 2 . 7/25/2010
Hurray Jave! The second chapter did not disappoint me. The introduction built up genuine tension and more bantering amongst Charlie, Marie, and Dok revealed more about the characters in a piece by piece fashion. Max Savage and his cyborg grad student were great additions to the story, introducing unique characters to an already diverse cast. My only complaint is the battle scene. While the battle itself was tense and exciting in the beginning it became a bit anti-climatic in the end when everyone defeated waves of cybrids and hacked robots with minor injury (I think you even lampshaded this with the phrase "mooks"). While character invincibility is a great way to indicate the "badassness" of the characters it could get tiring in future chapters.
| Luke chapter 1 . 7/24/2010
This is my first review, however, i felt that your story deserved some input as it is the first one that i have actually read all the way through on this site. I just recently joined, and am extremely picky and will rather stop reading than suffer through a poorly written story. as this is my first review i would not take anything that i say too seriously, however i did notice a few things in you story that stood out to me. I will try not to belabor the same points as previous reviewers.
first i enjoyed the characters,however Dr. Bizzaro sort of stymied me he seemed to be there solely for comic relief, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but as a character he seemed very one sided and flat with very little overall personality. this may come from my perspective on only reading this story, without any background but i think that each character should be able to live in any one story even if they are built upon previous ones. i would have like to have seen another facet of Dr. bizzaro, maybe if he somehow found a way to undermine his "captors" or perhaps a change in how he reacted... i agree with cthulhu on his comment about the guns, with one exception i felt that the description worked very well when you were talking about charlie, as it fit with his character of a rough/tough gun loving bodyguard sort.
the other aspect that i really had a problem with the pirates, i was reading along and was like seriously... seriously he put pirates in space? it seemed really ridiculous, don't get me wrong rediculous authors are some of my favorites, Prachett, and Adams, I absolutely love. But in your story it was serious (with a bit of comic relief)up until the pirates. If I may be so bold, what I would have done if adding the truly "pirate" pirates was necessary i would have most likely added a second aspect to the story from the pirates point of view. tied that in with the lore, and then maybe added a character or two who were really into the "Pirate" part of being pirates and a whole new area could come from that.
over all i really like your story, though, i am quite a fan of shoggy. he is inventive and new, and makes me laugh.
| TorgoTheWhite chapter 1 . 7/22/2010
The whole story, setting-wise, has a strange feel to it. The post singularity world that you envisioned seems more fantasy than sci-fi (in a good way) and is anachronistic in the sense that energy weapons and shields/killer nanobots coexist with QBZ-95s, magnums, and literal space "pirates" who employ 18th century boarding battle scene was exciting and Doktor Bizarro's unique personanlity made even the tedious conversations enjoyable.
My main complaints have to do with the conversation bits, which at times seem to drag on for the entire page. I respectfully disagree with Cthulhu's criticism regarding the thinness of the plot considering that this is only the beginning and the characters are just being introduced. Tension and mystery could be reserved for the main plot and I do expect to see more of it when more chapters come in. The characters need more development but once again bits of back stories and personalities could slip in in future chapters. Character moments do need more work but I am really not the one to talk about facial expressions since whenever I try to employ them the story ends up looking cliched and amateurish.
The series look good so far. Keep up the good work and if possible, start putting them on Facebook so we could get the latest updates.
| Michael Panush chapter 2 . 7/21/2010
Well, I'm sorry to say that there hasn't been much improvenment in this series since the last one. That's too bad because there's a lot of potential here, and you could really make a good memorable story with these characters, but you bog it down in too many of your normal problems. I really think you need to change your priorities when you right - weapons and technology descriptions are not interesting, character development and complex plots are. I can see you hinting at those things here, but they need more work. Let's talk about the writing, the characters, and the plot.
The writing was not great. I counted maybe one or two metaphors and there were loads of re-used phrases, misplaced words and other typos. More editing would have helped this a lot. You need more description for a lot of the sci-fi stuff like the cameo suits (whatever they were called), the drones, the landscape of the planet, and that sort of thing. The constant acronyms and techno details got confusing fast. The detailed descriptions of the clothing and facial features of characters gets boring fast. Give me a good metaphor and you won't need to tell me what color shirt Max Savage has. As always, the writing is really something you need to work on.
The characters also need some work. Marie, Charlie and Bizarro weren't really explored in any way beyond the kinds of guns they wield. Bizarro's still a joke and Charlie's still non-descript. I really didn't like the new characters of Max Savage and Pat C. as well, as they also were very non-descript. I could see a little of Max maybe being optimistic or aggressive, but he didn't do anything noteworthy beyond shooting at the bad guys and telling the heroes what was going on. I'm not sure what Pat C.'s deal was, besides an oppurtunity for a pun. He could have been a stupid, good natured brute, but he was very lifless, which I guess is fitting, but not interesting. The Red Queen was on the cusp of having characteristics beyond exposition, with her maybe being motherly, but those weren't developed beyond a few lines of dialogue. You really need to work harder to give them distinct personalities. There were some good moments, like the parts about Marie's past, but I think those were kind of ham-handed. Try and work character moments in a more subtle ways. Focus on facial expressions rather than blatant lines of dialogue, and leave things to be implied rather than stated.
The plot was also very standard. There were no real twists and the villains were literally faceless mooks with no real characteristics. I know you've got more coming up in the next story, but I think more details would have been nice about this Triad. The simple 'they attack, we defend' thing also was a little trite. Why not have a mystery? Or have them try and infiltrate something? You did a decent job increasing tension, but again, a lot of the action was clunky and wasn't as visceral and evocative as it needed to be, because of the writing. You had two parts where Marie was about to be killed, but her attacker was shot before he could finish her, which is kind of repetitive and lazy. Show me more examples of Marie being badass, if she's going to be your main character.
Overall, this series needs work. I'll keep reading them, but I hope you take this criticism to heart. I can see you're kind of trying to make a change, but you just need to do more.
| Michael Panush chapter 1 . 7/12/2010
I can see that you are making several improvements as a writer, which is great. But you've got a number of flaws that are present in this story. Overall, I enjoyed it. The interaction with the characters was fun, the battles were exciting and the setting is interesting. But I think the main problems are the characterization, the plot, the overall lack of subtlety, and the writing. Finally, the overall sense of placing technical details and weapons ahead of more important parts of the story is sort of here, and that's a problem. These have cropped up a lot in your stories, and you really need to work on correcting them.
For characterization, while I enjoyed Dr. Bizarro and Marie's back and forth, it seemed to go on a little too along, and got kind of annoying. I'd rather you shortened it for a better impact. They both did have unique voices, but I think you might have overdone them a bit as I'll explain later. Same thing with the pirates. However, Charlie definitely needs some work. Besides a ridiculously obvious love of Marie (he kneels before her? Really?), he doesn't really have a unique voice or any traits. Marie and Doktor Bizarro also are a little shallow. Why does Marie want to fight criminals? Does she care about all the pirates she's killing? All I got about her personality was that she has a thick accent and likes coffee, which isn't really anything. Bizarro's a caricature, but I guess that's to be expected. I thought he'd get a nice character moment and show some loyalty to Marie at the end, but you didn't really flesh that out, which is too bad. The pirates are just ridiculously cartoonish and hard to take seriously.
The plot could have also used some work. It was really simple - they fight pirates, they win, and that's it. I'd rather there was something more, like maybe the X cargo gets opened and causes problems or something, besides that simple battle. I did like how you increased the tension for the battle, and did have parts where it wasn't clear if they would win or not, though I think it was still just a little one-sided. Marie seemed to be fooling the pirates the whole time, and they counter-attacked and beat the pirates then without any problems. The setting is unique, but seems kind of sketchy, like you can throw whatever silly costumes and weapons you want into it. I'd prefer something with a more unified theme and look. Also, you make a lot of references to your other stories and such, which I get, but new readers might not know. The index is nice, but I think those things could have been left out, or put in later, as they didn't add much to the story.
The biggest problem in the setting, the action, and the way the characters talk and act is an overall lack of subtly. Marie's silly accent and bad jokes, Bizarro's rants, the pirates' accents and lack of motivation all seem very ridiculous. The costumes added to that, and I think you really need to rein in it. I can't take Bizarro seriously, as he's pretty much a joke character, (good when he's reviewing books, but not as an actual threat or ally) and he needs some development before being put in this. I think you can be humorous and have pirate stuff, but you have to work for it a little more. Maybe the pirates are a group of pirate costume enthusiasts from earth or something. It all seems kind of random here.
The writing is getting better. I did notice some more metaphors and similes. However, they did seem a little overly specific (like a wolf spider carrying an egg sack), which is a problem. Keep working at it, and hopefully they'll improve. You need a lot more of them too. Getting Marie's feelings of nervousness before the fight was also very good (showing the physical pain she feels in the battle would be good too). The chat thing with italics and bold was nice, I guess, but seems kind of pointless. You can just have them in quotes and say it comes in over their communicator and the affect is the same. Description of how people look is okay, but not great, and more metaphors for those would be cool.
Other things to worry about are the constant talk about caseless rounds, guns with full and semi-auto, and all the other technical stuff. It's kind of cool, I guess, but you spend way too much time talking about it, and it might be better not to mention that kind of stuff at all, as it adds nothing to the story. Hearing them talk about how Charlie's got a mauser with full auto and semi-auto doesn't show anything about his character, and it just takes up space. You could probably hold off describing it all until the action, when its absolutely necessary, and then mentioning it quickly.
The other problem was a few typos, some words being re-used in the same sentences or paragraphs, and other things that more editing would remove. If you're going to continue with this, and I hope you do because there is potential for a good story, you'll have to work on fixing these problems.