[color=#0000ff;]Due to quote blocks sucking, I'm just going to indent this whole thing. And I'm sorry - I'm so sorry, but this warranted a piece-by-piece breakdown, which people have come to discover is never a good sign of my final analysis.[/color]
What if you could prevent disasters [color=#0000ff;][Sounds like the generic beginning to an RPG. No, I wouldn't approve it in one of those, either. In any case, even though it tries to come up with an attention-grabbing statement, you immediately start off with high-concept that doesn't necessarily bring you straight into the story and doesn't involve any risk, so it doesn't really bring me in. I would suggest being a bit more daring and asking something that implies a lot more, something a bit more artistic. You can still be straightforward, just with a little more elegance.][/color]?[color=#008080;][I ran with the first idea that came to mind. As flash fiction goes, the Ambage seems to have predisposed me to keeping my flash fiction work to being finished within half an hour.][/color] Imagine the possibilities if you could anticipate every incident, large and small, and save, not just a few victims, but all of them [color=#0000ff;][It sounds like you're trying to set things up, but it's still overly impersonal and too vague. I guess you're daring to suggest a big concept, which is a risk, but your vagueness betrays your mastery of the bold opening. The objective is to not really feel like you're trying too hard.][/color]. You would be lauded as a hero [color=#0000ff;][This is more personal, because it sounds like you're about to get into a character's personal broodings and how being a hero isn't really all it's chalked up to be, or some other sch theme.][/color]. Do you recall when the golden crystal core was retrieved on a space exploration mission [color=#0000ff;][I read the rest of the story and found that this is never explained, and I don't know what a golden crystal core is. Obviously not the core of the planet Earth, since this was found in space. Then gold isn't crystal, unless you're saying that the crystal was gold in color. However, doing some research, I found out that this is a part of a miniseries that's never been posted on BZPower. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but at least there's a background and, wherever you have continued this story, you have explained the rest. I don't really like how it's presented in this short story, however. I think you should explain the crystal in more detail sooner, perhaps in the first paragraph, and then move on the the affects in a way that's more clearly coherent and suggests a much more definite tone for the story.][/color]?[color=#008080;][This is the third installment of five for my Crystal Chronicles mini-series. There is no single topic that I've been able to log them in (though I suppose I could make a blog entry in regards to them). The first entry was a short story called Nascent. The second is a comedy piece called Rewriter. All entries use a "golden crystal core" as a plot device, but are in no way connected to one another beyond that.] [/color]Scientists said it could unlock untold abilities within the human gene code [color=#0000ff;][Pet peeve here, but I dislike all this talk about the human genome, and outside of X-Men, I don't really have patience for stories that suggest changing someone's genes can give them powers that have absolutely nothing to do with the way genes create proteins.] [/color][color=#008080;][Yeah, that's more of me just getting a little "magical" with my application of science fiction, I suppose.][/color]and, when a privatized corporation bought it and promised to use it for the benefit of humanity [color=#0000ff;][Fat chance. I think you'd have to explain that this is in a future where businesses have far more freedom than what they do now, because this seems unlikely and immediately throws off willing suspension of disbelief. I'm willing to believe in an Eldrich Abomination's crystal, but the existence of such a business immediately departs from everyday logic and suggests a story that isn't properly thought out and hasn't considered quite how the world works, and among the types of realism that I will not compromise in a story is the complex science that is people and society.][/color], [color=#008080;][It's a dystopian reimagining of our world, yes. I think I should've shoehorned that word in there somewhere. Dystopian...][/color] I was intrigued. The idea convinced me to join my employer's Halcyon Program, a topic of debate among governments worldwide every single day [color=#0000ff;][Cross out "every single day."][/color]. Physically fit and mentally stable adults were thoroughly [color=#0000ff;][I would use a more commanding sentence structure here so as to get across the point that the tests were thorough, because this should be self-evident and not need to be expressed through a flat adverb.][/color] tested before being subjected to genetic augmentation. When the process was finished, there were nearly one thousand of us operating around the planet. We were no longer bound to the temporal flow as humans should [color=#0000ff;][Cross out "as humans should."][/color]. We had become something else entirely, something alien. My employer calls us Angels, though the reference is superficial at best. [color=#0000ff;][Curious: Are you referencing Carlie's Angels?] [/color][color=#008080;][I wasn't sure what that was. Had to perform a Google search. lol][/color]
Each day, without fail, there is a situation that arises somewhere on Earth. A storm rips through a coastal region, an earthquake, a landslide, an avalanche, car crashes, hit and runs, hostage situations, homicides, and, of course, tons of random accidents in between [color=#0000ff;][I don't think you need to list them all. The imagination of the reader really filled in all those blanks when you first asked the main question, and if you can slip it in somwhere in a revised opening paragraph - not necessarily in the beginning but probably near the end so as to transition into this - then you can skip straight to the describing the process of things getting reported.][/color]. [color=#008080;][Mm, I guess. I didn't think a few examples would hurt.][/color] Once the incident is reported and my employer knows the details, an Angel is dispatched to prevent the situation [color=#0000ff;][How does the employer get all of the calls? How does he handle them? Furthermore, what is the structure of the system? It needs more fleshing out in order to feel real in any sense, but otherwise what I have here sound like concept sketches and not really a developed idea of the story. You don't have to describe it all at once, but it would be better if your understanding of the world you're working with is a bit more evident from this introduction.][/color]. [color=#008080;][In the era of virtual information exchange, getting news about accidents doesn't seem all that difficult to achieve. Rather than "calls" coming in, I considered more of a search engine simply finding and recording events, and then Angels being sent back in time to handle them.][/color] It's quite simple actually. We manipulate the time stream [color=#0000ff;][How does an Angel manipulate the timestream? What are they like when they're not manipulating the time stream? How do they come back, and why doesn't anyone seem concerned about paradoxes?][/color], [color=#008080;][Again, we return to the magical side of science fiction. I could give those details, but in a piece like this, I just didn't want to. It wasn't all that important to what I wanted the overarching idea to be.][/color] travel backward through time and get the victims to safety. With natural disasters, the answer is often as easy as filing a report with my employer about where the event will strike and what the safety radius is. From there, the information is sent on to the local area in question and the former victims are removed from harm's way.
It's the human error incidents that are the worst. I'm not really sure why my employer chose to do this, but they developed a mobile phone application for people around the world to download. They wanted everyone to have a voice in how an Angel would decide the fate of a fellow human and, if you downloaded the application, your voice joined the collective [color=#0000ff;][Woah, woah, woah! This makes no sense at all, both from an ethical standpoint and how that would even be managable. Do you mean everyone at once would be aware of the different time-travelling senanigans going on? How would they even keep track of all that stuff? Furthermore, how could one individual's life be subject not to the sovereign law of the land where they committed the crime, but by a worldwide mob rule? This makes no sense on so many levels, and not just because of the ethical implications. It makes no sense because I don't even see how it would functionally work. I think you might be knocking on the door of the wrong Aesop.][/color]. [color=#008080;][Dystopia. I really should've used that word. :lol: ][/color] When a drunk driver kills someone, when a psycho goes on a shooting rampage, when a terrorist attempts to detonate a building, the application comes into play. When we return to file the report in the past, my employer starts a poll that asks all voters to decide on how the guilty party will be dealt with. Often times, the punishment fits the crime. People who use explosives are to be immolated, gunmen typically have their guns turned on them, and those less-than-sober motorists are diverted from harming anyone other than themselves. The world is quite okay with removing hazards from their world, and Angels exist to oblige them [color=#0000ff;][That doesn't really reflect how society actually works. People are very concerned for their freedoms. Somewhere in this passage you'll have to explain why society is so radically different than the one we know.][/color]. [color=#008080;][Addressed above.][/color] As far as the public is concerned, all they ever see is the bright side. They see that we prevented the action before it turned into something more [color=#0000ff;][How exactly do calls come in?][/color]. [color=#008080;][Addressed above.][/color] The Halcyon Program derived its name in an effort to make the Earth seem more utopian. For Angels, however, Earth is a halcyon façade.
Due to the temporal augmentation, Angels cannot live ordinary lives [color=#0000ff;][Yet he surfs the internet. I'd like a more immediate sense of who the Angels are as people here, something that really evokes a sense of their presence and lifestyle. You say it's depressing an give a brief view into what that's like. Basically, the job gets stressing. But I want to know more than that. I want to really get under the skin of these characters right away, to get a sense of just how this lifestyle feels, the weird stuff with time and all. I want to understand what the closest to a normal state they will ever get is, because the terms of what it means to be an Angel are a bit slippery in their definition at the moment.][/color]. [color=#008080;][Had I approached this as a more lengthy short story, I really think this approach would've been on the table. As it is, confining myself to less than one thousand words was different, but didn't necessarily go over well with you.][/color] We no longer age, no longer eat, no longer sleep. That alien quality I suggested earlier, it has separated us from basic human requirements. But surely the consenting adults, the one thousand healthy, intelligent humans that signed up for the program are okay, right? No one ever hears about Angels losing their minds, right? Of course not, that would be terrible PR for my employer. So during the genetic manipulation, in addition to the temporal abilities, we were programmed for self-termination the instant we realistically considered harming a human. An Angel will return to headquarters and often locate a weapon with which to end themselves, quietly. No one in society ever hears about this. No one in society has ever read the psychological files of my fellow Angels. They know nothing of Angels being diagnosed with antisocial personality disorders, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress, psychopathic tendencies, and the like. Even something inhuman [color=#0000ff;][But you said that the only thing truly inhuman about Angels is their lack of material nourishment and aging. That doesn't make them so inhuman.][/color] [color=#008080;][True.][/color] like Angels can only experience so much loss and destruction in the world before it begins to take a toll on their mind. Combined with giving up the lives we once had, never seeing mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, sons, and daughters ever again, you can imagine we hadn't considered what a price there was to being labeled a hero. [color=#0000ff;][I don't think that the program would have accepted people with spouses and children if they knew those Angels would never see their family again. Also, why can't Angels see their family? They're time travelers. They have all the time in the world. They don't have to be saving it 24/7 because they can literally make their own time. For them, it can be the equivalent of saving one life per day.] [/color][color=#008080;][Now here's something I wish I would've brought up. There was explanation about this planned, but it was cut out due to feeling too far removed from the bigger point I was aiming for. It doesn't seem to relevant to delve into after the point like this.][/color]
My employer has diagnosed me with anhedonia. I researched it on the internet and was compelled to agree [color=#0000ff;][Dirty dog, you...You made me look it up myself. I'm not sure if I agree or disagree with you not explaining this for the reader. Personally, I think I would, although that's four times out of five. The other time I will not explain certain concepts, so I'm just not sure. Anyway, I looked it up. It's an inability to find pleasure in anything normally considered pleasurable, such as eating, kissing, hobbies, etc. it sounds interesting, but since this is the title of your piece, I really think that you should really dig your teeth into this concept and play with it more instead of the story primarily being about the pitch and heavy exposition leading up to this paragraph.][/color]. [color=#008080;][Again, had this been intended to be longer, I would've fully explored the idea that gave this piece its title.][/color] My line of work is a terrible task, one that is carried out each day, without fail. And if you don't become numb to all that, it's sure to drive you to digging your own grave. I didn't understand people when I was human; I truly don't understand them now. Why are Angels asked to neutralize offenders rather than attempt to help or rehabilitate them? Why has my employer created a society overly dependent on Angels to solve their crises? I suppose it's none of my concern [color=#0000ff;][Yeah right. I find it difficult to relate to that reasoning. He has to be wondering about it just a little more.][/color]. [color=#008080;][He's suffering from severe depression. I imagine he doesn't really care about much anymore.][/color] I am an Angel, a prevention asset made to save lives. I save the broken from themselves, but…I cannot save myself.
[color=#0000ff;]So overall, I don't know what to say. I mean, obviously it's meant as a prelude to a miniseries of yours, but even as a prelude, I have a lot of qualms with the way it is written and think it could use a lot of improvement. Was it really needs is a lot more elegance, and a lot more flow, and it needs to paint a clearer image, because otherwise the exposition creates a very flawed picture that is difficult to really piece together to to various glaring elements in the narrative it's trying to set up.[/color]
[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#000080;]So...I took a moment to review your review. Thanks for reading, I'll take your criticism into mind with my next entry into the Crystal Chronicles mini-series. [/color][/font]