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The Mind of Astra by Bridgett Kay

 

A band of talented but clueless young cadets have crashed on an alien world. Now they must find the source of a mysterious radio signal, repair their ship, discover and save an alien race, and, worst of all, refrain from murdering each other out of sheer frustration.

This was my first attempt at serialized fiction, and it remains my favorite. If you’re a fan of classic scifi, then sit down, grab some field rations, and be prepared to laugh- or at least shake your head at the stupidity.

Note: The Mind of Astra contains some graphic violence and harsh language.


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Listed: Sep 1, 2015

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It is very, very short

By Oniwasabi, author of The Monster They Deserve

Sep 4, 2015: Seriously short. The entirety of this story is 5 chapters, and I expect it will take most readers less than half an hour to get through. There are several more short stories to read afterwards though if this one catches your interest well enough, I’m a bit undecided at this point.

I have to say, overall, that I like the story being told here. It’s an interesting little glimpse of a sci-fi setting, the characters are all distinct, and while the ‘plot twist’ wasn’t terribly difficult to see coming FAR in advance, it’s still a story that I like. The problem (primary problem at least) is that it is so very, very short.

There are 6 characters (6 that made enough of an impression for me to recall them at least) in this story; 4 cadets, the ship’s captain, and Astra. I feel that there is a lot about each of these characters that is interesting and unique, but we never really get a chance to see or explore any of it. All of their actions/emotions/interactions are pumped up to where they almost feel like a parody of real characters, because we don’t have time to get to know them. This is an effective way to get that point across in a very limited number of words, and I definitely credit the author for having such unique characters in such a short work, but I feel cheated that I don’t get to learn about these characters at all. They are set, they are established, and they don’t have time for me to get to know them in any but the briefest and most basic of senses.

The other problem I found with this story is a purely mechanical one: whitespace. When dialogue is flipping back and forth between characters, there’s no line break between speakers and it gets a little hard to follow. example: Instead of:

"Something poetic and more inspired than I feel like writing write now!"

"A clever rebuttal, obviously coming from a different character as you can tell by the whitespace between my dialogue and his!"

You get:

EDIT And apparently the text box for reviews won’t even let me do a line break without adding whitespace, as my second example is showing as just a continuous line without a break. Pretend that the example below has the second dialogue directly below the first with no spacing between and you’ll get the idea!EDIT

"Here is an observation on something that is happening." "Here is someone else making a statement or comment, that is kinda hard to tell is someone else."

If the author reads this, I really have to recommend that extra line spacing in your dialogue. It will do wonders for the readability!

So, to conclude this little review . . . Meh? The writing was solid and (with the one noted exception) mechanically sound. It’s the type of story I like to read, and it was enough to make me curious about what this author can do with some actual space to work with. I say give it a shot, it’s not like it’ll eat away a huge chunk of your life, even if you decide you hate it with the burning rage of a thousand fiery suns ^_^

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