Comment to 'Beta reader for science fiction'
  • Hi Jim, I'm new to the site and this is my first critique, so here goes. I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy and mystery, as well as some lit fiction and non-fiction. So hopefully I'm a knowledgeable reader.

     Overall, I really enjoyed this excerpt. There's lots of intriguing complications already, and the characters are interesting and believable. It will be interesting to see how they all intersect. If this were a book I had purchased, I would definitely keep reading.

    Niggling things: I did notice a couple times when you appeared to use the wrong word instead of a (correct) similar word. There was a spelling error or two. Also, you used three different fonts, one of which I didn't have and had to substitute. It would be a shame if that stopped an agent or editor from continuing to read.

    Bigger things: three different POVs in the first few pages--that's a lot! I was okay with it but if this pattern continues it might be a bit overwhelming to the reader. Some comments for each POV below:

    PROGRAMMER: It's clear this woman is doing something clandestine, perhaps illegal. Love it! However, I was unclear as to whether she was inserting information (perhaps a new DNA record) or deleting it, or what. The reason I want to know is that whatever she was doing, she caused an error to the system, which would seem to be related to her activities. She was worried about being caught, but I thought she should also be worried that if she was inserting information, that it had gone wrong somehow--if she was uploading a record, was it a duplicate of an existing one, or...? It seems like the error would mean something had gone wrong with whatever she was doing, and this might mean she failed in her mission.

    DATA CLERK: This character felt shallow to me, a throwaway. The important character in this scene appeared to be the boy, so I'm curious as to why the scene isn't in the boy's point of view--it would seem he has the most to gain/lose and the reader has the most interest in seeing what he's thinking and feeling. I love the concept of having to register your DNA to receive government benefits. I can foresee all kinds of complications to this. I hope we see more of the boy.

    JAY: This character had by far the most verbiage, so I'm assuming he's the protagonist. His situation was quite interesting, lots going on with the crash, his injuries, the escaped criminal and the computer/robot conundrum. There were some places with a lot of technical information, how the computer got into the robot, how it saved him--I'm not sure we need to know all that because it does slow the story down. It's good that YOU know all this, so kudos for figuring it all out, but unless all this information is relevant, we might not need to know every last detail. It might be sufficient to know that the computer switched its mind to the robot, and it isn't supposed to be able to do that, and thus complications arise.

    Hopefully this is helpful. I've attached a file with comments and markups. Good luck!

    0 0 0 0 0 0