@4wd: a lot of the points you raised, had also been raised by Perry in an earlier post. They've been addressed. Just shows
two great minds thinking along the same lines
sorry this is so far back, but it's from reading it to Sandi... A lot of these are not definite issues, just
questions on my part (especially the phrasing ones)
Page 14.14 "Then let me explain some things that are to stay between us." does he mean 'Then let me explain some things
that are to stay just between us.'
Page 15.2 "panoramic vistas" It may be just me? But when I was training we used panorama and vista as almost opposites:
panoramas were unrestricted and vistas were bordered.
Took out panoramas.
Page 15.8 "A species biologically advanced enough to shape shift, and technologically advanced enough to shrug off
our outer-system laser platforms and missiles. It’s entirely likely that they possess the ability to completely obliterate
Earth." I think the first sentence feels unfinished? I think I would combine them as 'A species biologically advanced
enough to shape shift, and technologically advanced enough to shrug off our outer-system laser platforms and missiles,
it’s entirely likely that they possess the ability to completely obliterate Earth.'
Page 15.10 "It could be that knowing we have discovered they are among us will thrill and excite them, cause them
to salivate all the more at our now heightened fear." I got lost reading this sentence out loud (looking for punctuation),
and wonder about something like: 'It could be that knowing we have discovered them, that they are among us, will thrill
and excite them, and cause them to salivate all the more at our now heightened fear.'?
Page 15.11 "This, I promise you, Administrator Mephord: if our experiment proves fruitful, I will attempt to
contact you again as we journey. Perhaps we are your Lewis and Clark, exploring a new frontier, and journaling our
experiences, so that those who come after us may benefit from foreknowledge." Had no idea who Lewis and Clark were and had
to look them up (thank you smiley ) "Although the expedition did make notable contributions to science, scientific
research itself was not the main goal of the mission." Wikipedia
You're right. It's just Sethra showing off his study of history. He figures Mephord will have to look up 'Lewis & Clark',
and that gives him a kick.
"These organics show decreasing concentrations of blood sugars." I'd consider 'The organics' as I'm assuming that the
robots are not monitoring any others??
"The medical robot has not been supplied with biological or synthetic compounds to slow and reverse this depletion.
These organic machines will cease to function." I'm guessing that the 'cease to function' is meant to relate / caused by
the lack of compounds? If so, maybe something like: 'The medical robot had not been supplied with biological or synthetic
compounds to slow and reverse this depletion. When blood sugar depletion becomes terminal the organic machines will cease
to function.' 'terminal' isn't right... but I couldn't think of the right word Sad
Page 16.4 "Unrolling lap terminals almost as if they had choreographed it to be done in unison, the three set up for a
long meeting, and Mary Pilsner was first to give voice to her thoughts and research of the past few hours." I think I
would put the unison bit at the beginning to highlight it: 'Unrolling lap terminals in unison, almost as if they had
choreographed it, the three set up for a long meeting, and Mary Pilsner was first to give voice to her thoughts and
research of the past few hours.'
"Your second question yesterday as we were dismissed" Is there a missing 'were' in there??
"Since monthly Sickbay checkups are part of existing protocol, simply ensuring that this protocol is enforced
without any exceptions would be a significant step toward detection." I'd punctuate as: 'Since monthly Sickbay checkups
are part of existing protocol, simply ensuring that this protocol is enforced, without any exceptions, would be a
significant step toward detection.'
Fixed. It does
read better with those commas...
"and a pair of androids is already stationed at each such location." should that be 'are'?
The object antecedent of the verb stationed is 'pair'. So, technically, it's correct, as in "The pair is seated on a park
bench, enjoying the late afternoon sunshine." What makes it sound wrong is the intervening 'of androids': since 'androids'
is plural, it sounds like you need "are", not "is". But androids is not the antecedent, it's in a the prepositional phrase
"of androids". To clear this up, I'm changing the sentence to this:
These are narrow areas where people must pass through single file, and two androids are already stationed at each such
"They could be modified to weigh each individual as he or she passes through." Wink 'They could be modified to
weigh each individual as he, she or it passes through.'
Clever, and better: it could be an alien or synthetic being passing by, not a human 'he' or 'she'. Good catch, Perry.
Page 16.10 "Anyone reticent can be given an android escort to ensure compliance." Doesn't really fit with Sethra's
advice in 15.10, but I guess he's still coming to grips with it, and there is the passage later in 18.16 where he ponders
Mephord hasn't really bought into Sethra's advice about the androids. In fact, he considers it a bit paranoid. He's of the
same mind as his chief engineer, Mary Pilsner: that this killing was a one-off event only made possible because of alien
Page 16.11 "The autoguns’ computer-aided sighting systems are programmed only to fire on creatures whose physical
parameters are outside those of humans." not exactly sure what's not sitting right... but I think it's that the sighting
systems don't fire, that they'd inhibit the firing of the autogun. Or is that just being pedantic?
Page 16.14: Mary's idea does not really make sense: the military invasion then anthropologist... but I guess that
sums up her 'stab' and her confused thoughts?
Yeah, just reflects the everyday difficulty even educated people have in clearly communicating their ideas, especially
when under pressure in a meeting.
Page 16.23 "He eased his bulk onto the front edge of his massive office desk, crossed his arms, and cocked his head up at
Jaimie." So Jaimie is standing and taller than Jim when he's almost standing (perched on the desk)?
Page 17.1 "A-3: Friday, 6/15/2283, 1422 hours, The Core Chambers" I would go back to a more international date format
smiley Surely date formats would have been standardised by 2283, especially as imperial measurements have disappeared
I'll look at going back and re-doing the date formats.
Page 17.7 "We’re almost to the point right now where we’re going to have to pause and robotically collect and
transport what we’ve drilled through, getting it out of our way." Would she say it like this? It's a bit clumsy, tho'
maybe it's meant to be that way? I'd say something like: 'We’re going to have to pause soon and robotically remove the
overburden, as it's getting in our way.' Though not sure about 'overburden'?
Page 17.16 "set in the mouth of a rocky overhang." Do overhangs have mouths?
Heh, good catch. I was thinking in terms of cave mouths. Changed "mouth" to "opening".
Page 17.22 "His voiced rationale hadn’t yet seemed to make much headway" maybe: 'His voiced rationale hadn’t made much
headway yet, it seemed,'
Page 17.44 "There was a lengthy pause before Sethra admitted, “If they do either of those things in the near
future, then our existence will suddenly end, as if an appliance’s power cell were removed. But remember this: just as our
former reality provided a means of entering this new reality, and leaving our former bodies behind, we may discover access
points onto yet other realities that can be reached from this world, realities wherein the substrate for our
consciousnesses is not dependent upon computer power.” Every time I read this I think that he's forgotten the most
obvious: that they'd not be alive in either reality Wink
Yep. Sethra is overly worked up, and not thinking calmly. Though he is extremely intelligent, sometimes Byron has the more
Always did prefer International Date Format, (YYYY/MM/DD).
@4wd: since you and Perry both note this, I'll definitely look into changing the date format.
I think the generic 'waste', (rock waste, waste material), might be more suitable, overburden is what is on top of
something you specifically want to get to.
I chose the term "detritus".
I think that's more a question for philosophical debate, "I think, therefore I am."
See, that's the slightly unstable genius that is Sethra. So sure of himself, but is he really right in his conclusions?
Page 18.34 "He’s most often known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the
Rings, and The Silmarillion." I know I'm revisiting this.. but I think it's best as 'best known'
Page 19.10 "Yes,” said Dr. Ericson, “the newly discovered cavern is immense, larger in fact that all the caverns that
together form the Core of A-3." should be 'than'?
Fixed. Thank you!! What an embarrassing typo if it'd made it into print.
Page 19.18 "He had also designed the Analytical Engine which, although not built in his lifetime, was considered by
modern historians to be the first mechanical computer." 'modern historians' of the 20 century? Would they still be called
He meant considered by even the historians of the 23rd century...
Changing it to:
He had also designed the Analytical Engine which, although not built in his lifetime, was considered even by 23rd century
historians to be the first mechanical computer.
Page 19.24 "Increase microbot inspections from monthly to every two weeks" Would he have said that or 'fortnightly'
or 'twice-weekly'? Biweekly probably would have sorted out its international confusion... but who's to say what to?
Fixed. Used "biweekly".
Page 19.43 "“My lips are sealed” said Sethra, and grinned." does there need to be punctuation: '“My lips are
sealed,” said Sethra, and grinned.'
Page 19.49 "Byron could almost envision her fingernails transforming into claws." I think that's a little over
Yep, removed the sentence.
Page 19.51 "The ‘globe’ I handed our overly friendly hostess is correctly called a Glow Globe." He's just said this
Fixed with this sentence:
"The small sphere that I just handed our overly friendly hostess is correctly called a Glow Globe."
Page 20.7 "To construction foremen of the twenty- and twenty-first centuries, this relative silence would have been
eerie." Are you saying that workers before the 20th century were silent?
Just the opposite. They were loud and boisterous. Yelling at one another. Hollering instructions. Sharing coarse humor.
Thus, the comparative silence in which the multi-limbed robot construction workers worked would have seemed strange to
those human construction workers of earlier days.
Page 20.8 "“Today’s my birthday,” she sudden volunteered." missing 'ly': '“Today’s my birthday,” she suddenly
Author smacks his forehead. Thanks! Fixed.
Page 20.20 "I don’t want to insinuate that I believe our androids are dangerous to us, now that the alien is dead.
They probably aren’t." Would that be better as: ' I don’t want to insinuate that I believe our androids are dangerous to
us. Now that the alien is dead, they probably aren’t.'
Your wording does make it clearer. Thanks.
Page 20.26 "If there are no further questions on the android agenda item, let’s move on to the next item,
increasing our power generation capability, and increasing the amount of energy we have ‘on tap’, in the form of power
cells, the large banks of high-capacity power cells found in Engineering and Environmental domes, and the temperature
differential gradient materials to which we route excess pulled off our geothermal taps." That is one very long sentence!
Surely the agenda item would have had a more succinct heading?
Yep. Here's my change:
If there are no further questions on the android agenda item, let’s move on to the next item: power generation. We need to
increase the amount of energy we have ‘on tap’. I’m referring to both to power cells, and to the large banks of high-
capacity power cells found in the Engineering and Environmental domes. Mary, your bailiwick once again, I believe.”
Page 20.36 “Because we were examining a corpse, we had no way to map cortical areas, and it would have been a
monumental task anyway, given that we’d have been dealing with a foreign species that is hostile to us. We have no way of
knowing if we possess drugs that would have worked with its particular biochemistry to make it docile and cooperative."
Missing quotation close.
Page 20.37 "The creature’s brain to overall body mass ratio was 1:28. Compare that to a ratio of 1:40 in humans,
and 1:560 in the probably now extinct Loxodonta Africana.”" I wasn't sure why you picked an African elephant? I would have
thought an animal about the same mass as the alien would have been a better comparison? Also, when I searched I found
quite different figures, though wikipedia quotes that figure?
Yep. This is an example where the good Doctor couldn't think of a better comparison, and so fell back on his biologist
experiences. He's done research on Loxodonta Africana in his career.
Page 20.50 "Jim paused. The next agenda item simply read ‘TBA’, meaning ‘to be announced.’" should be "
Good eye. Fixed.
Page 20.51 "And risk bearding the lion?” said Mark Shields. “Like shaking a hornets nest. We’ve no idea of their
defensive capability. They could be capable of swatting those missiles down before they complete a third of their
trajectory. And, if we have any survivors on the moon, the aliens might destroy them in reprisal." My understanding of
bearding the lion (in his own den) is that of itself, it's not a risk, but an action that has risks? And the main risk for
luna survivors would be detection.
“Unlikely to work,” said Mark Shields. “We’ve no idea of their defensive capability, but we can probably safely assume
it’s quite superior to our offensive capabilities. If they survived such an assault, they’d undoubtedly do a thorough
survey of the moon. Not only would they find and destroy our platforms, they might also discover our bases, and the people
we have there.”
Page 20.52 "Let’s ensure that our children grow up knowing the appearance of their enemy." should be something like
'Let’s ensure that our children grow up know the appearance of their enemy.'
You mean "grow up to
"a portly and bald graybeard named Pierre Maybrow" Sandi exclaimed immediately I read this that I am neither portly or
LOL! I only pretzeled your name. No other aspect of the character is meant to reflect you, as I'm sure you know. Haha! I'm
going to do the same with the name of another site member, which in the book will become: Araland De Codamus.
"here by the order of his Majesty’s Royal Guard, to pay homage to their rightful sovereign." Back in 19.59 it was
"The king summons you to dine with him tonight."... not sure if that's an issue?
Page 21.7 "To Veronee Houston, he looked strikingly like that twentieth-century television actor, Sean Connery."
This made me wonder why she remembered an actor from 3 centuries previous?
Just as Byron scours their databases and selects songs for his listening pleasure that are decades or even over a century
old, many compounders like to watch media from far earlier days. There's, to some extent, a degree of erudite snobbery
among the compounders. Being able to quote song/show name, year, actor name, etc., is one of many ways they try to convey
superiority. They can no longer flaunt fancy automobiles, or mansion-size houses, so they resort to what they have to work
Page 21.9 "The girth of the leather strap on which is was strung suggested to Byron that the man normally carried
the huge weapon across his back." should that be 'this' or 'it'?
Page 21.31 "A hole had been carved kilometers into the base of the mountain and then sharply descended, continuing
beyond scan range." The aliens use our metric system?
Replaced "kilometers" with "far"
Page 21.45 "“No, my king. We are from a faraway land called Aythree.” Zuzana met Byron’s eyes, and saw that he,
too, recognized the bastardized form of their former compound’s designation, A-3." When I first read this I wondered if it
was possible not to recognise the similarity? Is it too obvious?
Sharp readers should catch this. I think I'll take it out, since I'd rather the sharp readers get a chuckle, than have it squashed
by the author spoon-feeding those slower on the uptake. It now becomes:
Sethra nodded in what he hoped was a respectful manner. “No, my king. We are from a faraway land called Aythree.” The king
sighed. “You pierced the veil to come here, did you not? You are a world-walker.”
Page 21.47 "But tonight, be at ease, and rest in the favor of your king." Surely not their king?
Here I'm showing some equivocation and giving a nod toward the fact that the king is a programmed construct. He's
programmed to be arrogant (overlaid with a thin veneer of benficence) and to insist that all bend the knee to him. He's
got empire-building in mind. Thus, he speaks as if he is their sovereign, even though they've only just arrived. "My
house, my rules" sort of thinking, on his part.
Page 22.8 "Sethra was gripping his shoulders, in his face." Took me a while to figure that out... maybe could be
rephrased? I just didn't understand what he was doing: I pictured Sethra hugging himself until Sandi demonstrated it Sad
Fixed with this:
Sethra was gripping Byron’s shoulders, and in his face. “Hush!” he whispered harshly. “Don’t mock his voice. There are
guards outside our room. What if they reported it?”
Sethra's not at his best at this moment.
Page 22.27 "Dukensenmatchlofel had landed in a small shuttle nearby, and had hiked the half kilometer to the spot
pinpointed by ship scanners." Sandi says I've got to tell you that these names are difficult to read aloud Wink Plus Alien
Changed "half kilometer" to "short distance".
Page 22.28 "Had he known it, the initial two kilometers of tunnel, which was fairly level, had been the beginning
of a great engineering feat, in 2154. Yes, the arrogant humans were going to drill a tunnel clear..." I'm not sure of the
best way to do this, but as he did not know it, the use of 'arrogant' seems misplaced.
Changed to this:
The first section of tunnel, which was fairly level, had been the beginning of a great engineering feat, in 2154. Yes, the
humans had planned to drill a tunnel clear through the mountain, running north and south, and have a track built, upon
which a maglev train would transport people at speeds of up to four-hundred kilometers per hour.
Page 22.32 "No telling how long this message had been looping." at this point he hadn't heard it loop, so that's an
assumption at that point.
Here's a rewrite. See if this passage is clearer:
Dukensenmatchlofel got down and wriggled on his belly, finally sticking his head around a large rock near the cavern’s
entrance. There was a wooden table upon which sat some sort of device. A power cell fed it electricity. Were the voices
he’d heard coming from humans, or from this device? As his eyes darted about, seeking out humanoids within the dim light,
he heard a faint mechanical click, and then: “You can’t possibly believe they’d fall for it!” A moment later: “Perhaps
only once, but yes. They aren’t godlike, after all. We know of at least one of their attack ships that was annihilated
during the Attack in 2276.” Dukensenmatchlofel had the physical sensation that a human would call “a sinking feeling in
the pit of the stomach.” He came to his knees, bringing the plasma weapon up: “surely their equipment is sensitive enough
to detect the deception we have devised.” He turned to flee back up the steep grade, sending out a psionic howl of fear
that could not be heard by his shipmates, due to the thickness of intervening rock.
A one-quarter kiloton nuke detonated. All of the equipment in the chamber vaporized in the blast, as did
Dukensenmatchlofel in the middle of his mental scream.
Page 23.30 "He stapled the guide line to the tunnel floor, a foot from where it opened into the cave." Metric is ~300mm
Page 24.10 "Please don’t be offended by my assessment, but my king has charged me with overseeing your training." Should
that be 'King'?
Not sure. It he'd said "King Molech has charged me...", then it'd definitely need to be capitalized.
Page 24.14 "Apparently, this gesture had been programmed into this environment, for the steward paused." Missing 'been'
Wow!! Lot of effort on you guys' parts. Thanks SO much!