Book Jacket

 

rank 2291
word count 33581
date submitted 05.03.2010
date updated 14.04.2010
genres: Literary Fiction, Thriller, Science...
classification: moderate
incomplete

The Fall

Matthew Lee

In a utopian enclave in the distant future, an android must solve the mysterious killings that coincide with his awakening.

 

A seismic upheaval in the far future awakens a lone Hierophant model android buried beneath the utopian enclave of Beacon City. He emerges into a world he struggles to understand, an existence free from suffering and want, where he's little more than a relic from a distant past no-one has any interest in acknowledging. But this paradise hides a number of dark secrets, and not all its populace are content with the status quo. As a mysterious epidemic starts to claim scores of lives across the city and violence takes over the streets, the Hierophant must find out who or what the catalyst for this nightmare was and decide - was he awoken to save Beacon City? Or destroy it?

 
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action, android, brave new world, city, counsellor, dystopia, literary, morality, murder mystery, philosophy, post-apocalypse, protector, riots, scien...

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"The kingdom is in his hands. It feels like mud."

Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

 

 

Why would a man want to lose?”

So he can blame the universe for all his problems.”

James Lee Burke, The Tin Roof Blowdown

 

 

Nobody's perfect. There was never a perfect person around. You just have half-angel and half-devil in you.”

Terrence Malick, Days of Heaven 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The FALL


 
PART ONE:

On the nature of INNOCENCE

 


 
    The first thing he becomes aware of is the screaming. There are two voices. One is a drawn-out shriek of feedback that trills up and down multiple octaves. Then the pulse hits him again like a kick to the base of his spine and he realises the other voice is his own.

    There's no heat as the power surges through him, but his skin crisps and blackens. He struggles frantically, but some kind of restraints hold him in place. He screams again, tries to draw breath, but liquid floods his mouth, thick, warm and saline. Choking, he opens his eyes to find himself suspended in a twilight soup of sapphire blue behind broad black vertical bars. Is this a cell? Is he a prisoner? Bubbles rush upwards past his face.

    There's a tremendous howl of something metallic under pressure, followed by a groaning crash. The world trembles. Slowly, the bars buckle outwards. His view lurches wildly, the liquid drains downwards, spills out between his legs and he's tipped roughly across a hard, unyielding floor.

    Everything is dark. Blue lights flicker intermittently along the ceiling. He lies helpless, sprawled in the middle of a narrow aisle. Along either wall hangs a row of what look like giant mechanical hands, each one held out palm up, the fingers splayed and limp. Was one of these his cell?

    It seems more like a womb that just birthed him. The floor is awash in a sea of the warm, sticky fluid he was floating in moments before, and in the centre of each palm lies the ruins of what looks like a giant sac, sagging and split open. If this rested on the palm, the fingers would have been the bars. Cables still run from the sac to the wall, and he can see the empty restraints hanging loose from the wrist where he must have been strapped in.

    He's not alone. There are bodies moving all around him. What are they? Were they prisoners too? They hitch and jerk across the floor. Their arms reach out and their feet struggle to find purchase, the motions like nothing natural. They're bipedal, with two arms, but the proportions are all wrong. Their forearms and thighs are packed with too much muscle, their hands are oddly attenuated and their feet are twitching claws. And their heads? Each skull is a tapering cam disc with a swivel mount either side for a compound eye that glitters in the light from overhead.

    Their movements grow steadily weaker. It strikes him they're probably dying.

    Which is not to say he'll last much longer. The ground shivers, leaps upwards and for a moment before it settles he's floating free in a viscous river streaming down the aisle. One of the giant hands drops to the floor with a crash, tubes flailing behind it. Everything's shaking.

    He tries to pull himself together, to form conscious thoughts. The other voice is still shrieking in the background, screaming something incoherent. It's more than formless noise, there are sentences in there, some kind of meaning as the voice slides through the scales, but what? A warning? A cry for help? He tries to understand it, strains for comprehension.

    He tries to form questions, to ask what's going on, but he can't find any context with which to frame them. He can't recall a name, a place or anything that's happened to him, but beneath all of that is the growing conviction most of this was never there to begin with.

    He knows what prisoner signifies, and cell, but he's sure he's never heard anyone discuss having been locked up in one. The knowledge just exists within him, independent, and none of it relates specifically to him. Womb came to mind earlier, and birth. It's definitely like he's newly born.

    Movement catches his attention. He cranes his neck, stares backwards from a supine position and watches the world upside-down. Someone approaches up the aisle, a slight figure wading with difficulty through the muck, stepping across the bodies. There's something odd about the shape, as if it doesn't jibe with the knowledge he can draw on. The new arrival is nothing like the prisoners, though both are equally as alien. Alien as in the concept of the other, but what was he expecting? What would be normal?

    He has no idea where this could be, in that he knows the words for town, city, border, kingdom, planet, sun, moon and stars but understands them only at some distant remove. He's like a traveller who knows the names of the countries of the world but never asked anyone else where he lives, much less looked at a map.

    The approaching figure stops, then turns back as if to make sure of something. Instinct tells him they're checking for survivors. Everything trembles again and the figure stumbles, lurches into one of the open hands and cries out in pain. It's a high voice that sounds very young, possibly female. 

    “Oh gosh oh gosh oh gosh.” She stops again, weeping raggedly and sinks to her knees with her head in her hands. She babbles the same panicked words over and over through her fingers. “Oh gosh. Please. No, no, no. Please?”

    He tries to raise an arm that seems to weigh an incredible amount, pushing upwards. Pain climbs his back again. He screams in agony, arches off the floor and her head snaps up.

    “Hey!” She struggles to her feet and splashes towards him. “Oh gosh – hey, hey, hey! Hold on! Please – no, no, no, don't die. Don't you dare!”

    She sinks down beside him, cradling his head, raising it off the floor. What is she? He can see a thin face with the eyes set wide apart on a narrow, elongated skull, a tiny, snub nose, and a small, almost lipless mouth. She glows, almost translucent, and her hair seems to dance like fire.

    “Hold on!” Whatever she is, she clings to him as if she can channel the life back into him by sheer force of will. “Please, just hold on!”

    “Okay.” He sounds rusty, his voice grates in his chest, but he can speak. Sensation has almost returned to his arms and legs. “Okay. I'm –” He coughs violently. “Okay.”

    “Oh gosh.” She breathes out in a long, shuddering rush, bent over him, sobbing. “Thank you. Thank you. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry –”

    Who is she? She acts like a hysterical child. She clearly wasn't prepared for what she's found, but if that's the case why did she come down here in the first place?

    “We.” He pushes weakly at her. The sense of imminent peril builds even higher. If they don't get out of here as soon as possible there won't be time for anything, let alone questions. “We should –”

    He's cut off as the screaming soars to an even higher note and catches. The lights go out entirely, then snap back on, eerily bright. There's a deep rumble from beneath them, after which the floor tips sideways crazily and stays there. The other prisoners begin to slide down along the slope, drifting lifelessly in the stream.

    “Can you get up?” She has to shout to be heard over the shrieking.

    He nods.

    “Okay. Okay, that's it. Okay, I've – I've got you, I've got you, come on –”

    A crack yawns open in the floor and the liquid fountains upwards with a wet belching sound. She yelps in terror and suddenly they're both up and moving, stumbling along the aisle. He's much taller than her, and it's hard to tell who's supporting who.

    The screaming continues. Panels work loose from the ceiling and plunge into the stream. Another rumble pitches them forward, tottering at speed, yet miraculously neither of them falls. He can still hear her sobbing.

    “Here!” They haven't gone that far when she pulls him to the left, through a gap in the cradles, the open hands, and past the wall behind. This is a short corridor that runs across the aisle, through what looks like a maintenance tunnel parallel to that, and up to a barrier that blocks their path. It's nothing grand, but it's solid, a thick bulkhead crossed by dark horizontal stripes with an alcove in the right side of the doorway.

    “Keep me –” Dust rains from the ceiling while she faces the alcove and motions with one hand outstretched for him to stop.

    The lights go out without warning. The corridor shakes wildly, as liquid as the stream around their ankles. The girl is literally glowing, a vague, shimmering blur in the darkness. He can feel her touch his chest.     “Keep me –” Her voice catches.

    She swallows audibly. “Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the, the philosophy which does not laugh and –” She coughs. “And the greatness which does not bow before children.”

    Nothing happens. He can hear her breathing faster under the creak of straining metal all around them. Some subconscious impulse leads him to take her hand in his. Perhaps it's a futile gesture, but she squeezes back, hard. He can feel her fingers, three of them, long and slender.

    Then the screaming stops. The ground is still shaking, but the feedback dies away. Light shows around the edges of the bulkhead as it grinds slowly to one side. She darts forward and squeezes through the gap.

    “Come on, come on, come on –” She hammers at the side of the door and screams in frustration. “Come on!”

    The gap grows wider as she passes through it and he stoops to hobble forward, still holding her hand. Through the door is a larger chamber, still bathed in dim blue light, that looks to have been blasted out of solid rock. A catwalk leads across the floor and up a gentle slope on the other side.

    “Right.” She lets go of his hand, bends over and coughs. “Did it. I did it. Right.” She straightens, turns and waves a hand unsteadily towards the doorway. “You hear me? I got one! I got one!” Her voice rises. “Do you hear me?”

    One of...?

    The prisoner kneels at the edge of the catwalk, where water pools underneath them. Ripples across it shimmer as the ground trembles. He stretches out, and a stunted mechanical hand reaches for the surface then hovers there, shaking.

    There are four tapered fingers and a thumb, squared off and stubby, each one with only a single joint. There's skin of a sort over the hand but it's pale, almost white. The inside is black, with the tips of his fingers textured with a pattern of tiny raised dots.

    He leans out to stare into the water. Two glittering compound eyes gaze back at him, each one a cluster of polished camera lenses, one large and four small. He tilts his head to one side, and the tapering skull reflected beneath him tilts with him.

    Another tremor runs through the floor.

    “Hey.” She looks at him, her eyes wide. “Are you okay? It's just a little further. Please? We're nearly there.”

    “I'll be –” He watches his reflection as jaws open at the base of the skull, slowly spread wide, flex and close again. “I'll be –” The jaws stay closed. The sound comes from somewhere else.

    “Come on.” She offers him her hand. “Please?”

    “Okay.” He takes her hand and rises. “I'll be okay. Let's go.”

 

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Sly80 wrote 1481 days ago

Everything here is as unexpected for the reader as it is for the prisoner. The child-like words of the 'girl', in particular, seem bizarre in their mildness. That is, until 'the greatness which does not bow down before children'. He, it seems, was designed for a purpose, but not for this purpose or these people. Once on the outside, the 'people' and the scenery are stunning, and we begin to glimpse the technology, which it seems the people use but do not entirely understand. 'Relieve a pressure he hadn't realised was there', nor does the prisoner understand himself.

The hierophant begins to structure his observations, to ask, to conclude. This is a contained and rather simplistic community. The council are also busily trying to construct the reality of the hierophant, and after debate, decide to send him to be educated, thus setting him on an adventure of discovery

There is an almost mythical quality to this story, Matthew, like fate slotting the pieces into place. It is also magnificently visual; each of the aliens a living work of art that we are invited to take the time to imagine. The other impression here is youth and vitality, with the impulsive Maya (and her love interest, White Sands?) so often taking the initiative. The writing is flawless and totally apt, avoiding adding any unnecessary flourishes to the crisp, clear language.

Some thoughts: I found it odd that Caul seemed so concerned about the prisoner to begin with, then quickly became relaxed as did everyone else, given this is a unique and possibly dangerous event. I'm assuming that some of them thought it a good idea for Maya to rescue a robot for some reason or other?

There was seismic activity causing the destruction underground (and some above ground if I recall correctly) but that seemed to stop as soon as they got out.

Maya's detour to the water where she almost drowns and where Keer asks the hierophant to go to the rescue seems a bit madcap.

Possible nits: 'with one well in front of the others', I had to read that twice, maybe, 'with one standing well in front of the others'. 'a disorderly tower[,] like scattered building blocks'.

I hope my comments are useful, and I'll be backing this.

Jehmka wrote 1491 days ago

This is a beautifully inventive story... and exceptionally well written. I read only the first three chapters, but thought it was cool that, though I was introduced to six or seven different characters, none were human, and one was a machine that appeared to be rapidly maturing, intellectually and even emotionally, as the story progressed. The alien world being described here is rich in vivid detail… a bit like watching The Wizard of Oz for the first time. Not that there’s any resemblance story wise. The pacing is quick, but the story never feels thin as a result. I had a sense all along that the story was headed somewhere interesting. A lot to enjoy in this.

Backed with pleasure…
Rodney

jackieley wrote 1487 days ago

I'm out of my usual choice of genre here, but even though I'm a bit clueless about Sci Fi, I can recognise first class writing, whatever the genre, and this is it. Backed

Jackie Ley (GIFT OF SPARROWS)

Helen Bell wrote 1265 days ago

I enjoyed this by seeing it not as a novel, but as a film script. The dialogue is bang on, the sense of confusion the heirophant feels is like Neo falling out of the Matrix into the real world and the descriptions of the unexpected creatures and environments he encounters are wonderfully vivid. The trouble with this is it's hard work to read, as the descriptions of everyone and everything he encounters gets in the way of the story moving on. If it was a scripted storyboard it would have even more impact - not something you can do in Authonomy, unfortunately. But within the constraints of this site, wonderful writing.

brinskie1 wrote 1380 days ago

The Fall - An A for originality and well written so far. You've gone to great lengths to make clear the descriptions of the cages etc. in opening scenes, but for some reason, I couldn't seem to get a grasp of it; it made for slow going for the first page or two. The visual remains vague to me; I'll go back and try it again with a fresh mind.
Occasional wordiness - 'Someone approaches up the aisle, a slight figure working with difficulty through the muck, stepping across the bodies.' Why not something like > A slight figure approaches up the aisle, working with difficulty through the muck, stepping across the bodies. <

'He tries to pull himself together', 'He tries to understand it, strains for conprehension' , He tries to form questions, to ask what's going on.' - All this trying in the space of a few lines is trying and easily remedied. [ He struggles to pull himself together. He strains for comprehension ] for instance.

Anyway well done so far and more than deserving of some time on my shelf.

G
Einstein's Road Trip [ I would enjoy seeing your take on Einstein if your time allows. Thanks.]

Cariad wrote 1383 days ago

This is brilliant. There wasn't a wasted word here - every one added to the story. I loved being inside the head of this character, coming out into the chaos of unknowing with 'him.' The writing is wonderful, never overdone, spare and evocative. I shall watchlist it so that I can read on later this evening, and I shall be most happy to back you. You should be going up with a nice green arrow, definitely.

Natasha Vloyski wrote 1403 days ago

Ch 2 Descriptions are excellent. Still, for me, it's hard to picture what these creatures look like. However, the story line is evolving nicely. Well done.

Natasha Vloyski wrote 1403 days ago

Ch 1 Excellent start, dramatic, concise.

jfredlee wrote 1408 days ago

Hi, Matthew -

I don't read that much sci-fi anymore, but The Fall was hard to put down. Interesting, building your mc around an android.

You have a few punctuation issues, but that's just housekeeping.

Backed.

And if you haven't already done so, I would love it if you could take a look at my book.

- Jeff Lee
THE LADIES TEMPERANCE CLUB'S FAREWELL TOUR

John Wickey wrote 1438 days ago

This has the makings of a very good sci-fi.

Good luck,
John Wickey
Future's End

M. A. McRae. wrote 1452 days ago

There are a lot of magnificent books on this site. This is one. This is not a meaningless generic pretend comment. I have read several chapters, and skimmed over more. If I saw this book in a shop, I would buy it and read it. There's one sentence in Ch 1 that is slightly incorrect to my ear, 'he's much taller than her.' Correctly, it would be (I think) 'he's much taller than she.' That sounds pedantic. A way of avoiding the issue is 'much taller than she is.' Aside from that tiny thing, I picked up no errors or even typos.
Congratulations on an excellent book. Marj.

happypetronella wrote 1454 days ago

Nice. Very nice. Liked the descriptions of the city and the people. Some good excitement in the latter chapters. All in all enjoyed reading. Backed.

toussaint wrote 1464 days ago

The Fall

I absolutely loved the opening. Your prose is enviable. Picture of the android coming to life is vividly painted and the place he is in collapsing creates real tension which propels this story along at a dynamic pace. The girl’s statements don’t make sense to me, rather hint of a rich story to be told later. And the android’s lack of knowledge is equally well done. His “birth” very much like a human birth. I was thinking that before you made it explicit. One tiny thing, I couldn’t quite picture what the “tapering cam disc” would be like.

You keep it up in the next chapter. The descriptions of the people are intriguing. I want to know more about them. What was the building they were in, some kind of temple or some place set aside for some purpose? And what is Caul doing when his eyes to out of focus? “Ascension, right”? I am still intrigued about this world you are introducing to me, just as intrigued as the Android.

And now in chapter three I begin to get my answers. The building gets a name and the ascension line is explained.

Oh now that’s a very good concept, now I’ve got to the end of chapter seven. The Heirophant knows nothing because he’s made to ask questions. As we have been doing up to this point. A robotic counsellor. Brilliant idea. And the nature of this little world inside it’s protective shell, what is it’s place, it’s past? This will be an excellent read. Beautifully told. Good characters and we really care for Maya and the Heirophant.

I am backing this and would be grateful if you could find the time to take a look at Bokassa in return.

Cait wrote 1470 days ago

The Fall:

Matthew, I backed this a few weeks ago and just now getting a little comment to you.

While reading this, it was like watching it on the big screen. I think your target audience will love it, it's well written, with good characters and dialogue. I didn’t even think to check for nits. ;)

All the best,

Cáit ~ Muckers ~

makeshift-lobotomy wrote 1472 days ago

I love love this. I love the pitch, the detail, the SUSPENSE! This will stay on my shelf for quite some time, and when it's time is up, it will stay on my WL so I can check up on it. I'm not blowing smoke up your ass here. I MEAN THIS WHEN I SAY IT (and please excuse my bad language if it offends you): Fuck yes! :)

plip wrote 1473 days ago

Nice depiction of the social interactions and personalities, as well as the Hierophant's awakening sense of self and, presumably programmed, sense of empathy and interest in others. Read to Ch3. Very good.
phil

Beval wrote 1474 days ago

This has so many levels I think it many be possible to read it in a dozen different ways. At first I thought i was in straight forward sci fic land, very good sci fic, full of androids and a strange exotic world.
Then The Prisoner found his name Hierophant and it suddenly struck me this was going to be something more.
Backed

mongoose wrote 1477 days ago

Not a SF reader at all but love the way you write. It is all so puzzling, so confusing - you place us right inside the action and we come to awakening and realisation as your characters do. Couldn't begin to give you useful crit but I love the voice and am happy to back you with this.
Jane

karien wrote 1478 days ago

I aknowledge that the writing is very good; the descriptions are beautiful, even poetic , but this is not my genre. It is too alien for me and I can't connect to it. Because of this, I am not able to comment.
Karien

Mister Benn wrote 1478 days ago

It grabs instantly. Extremely well paced. Backed gladly.

Natasha Vloyski wrote 1480 days ago

I'm not much into sci-fi but I've got to give credit to the author of this fine book. I read enough to say that its first class, rich, tightly written and intriguing book. Others have expressed my sentiments so I won't repeat them.
Best of luck to the author.

Ransom Heart wrote 1481 days ago

All fantasy/science fiction pieces in a futuristic realm have a hurdle in the form of credible descriptions of geography, architecture, and in advanced life forms, physiology and anatomy. I think you cleared this hurdle quite nicely, and the plot flows from there. Backed. Marianne (Saint Paddy and the Sundial)

zan wrote 1481 days ago

The Fall
Matthew Lee

This is nice science fiction which I found stimulating, with stunning characters, good language and nice details which made it very visual . You have a wonderful concept here and I'm absolutely enchanted. The narrative and creative dialogue together put me right in the middle of this interesting alternative world you have created. All the best in finding a publisher.
Zan

Sly80 wrote 1481 days ago

Everything here is as unexpected for the reader as it is for the prisoner. The child-like words of the 'girl', in particular, seem bizarre in their mildness. That is, until 'the greatness which does not bow down before children'. He, it seems, was designed for a purpose, but not for this purpose or these people. Once on the outside, the 'people' and the scenery are stunning, and we begin to glimpse the technology, which it seems the people use but do not entirely understand. 'Relieve a pressure he hadn't realised was there', nor does the prisoner understand himself.

The hierophant begins to structure his observations, to ask, to conclude. This is a contained and rather simplistic community. The council are also busily trying to construct the reality of the hierophant, and after debate, decide to send him to be educated, thus setting him on an adventure of discovery

There is an almost mythical quality to this story, Matthew, like fate slotting the pieces into place. It is also magnificently visual; each of the aliens a living work of art that we are invited to take the time to imagine. The other impression here is youth and vitality, with the impulsive Maya (and her love interest, White Sands?) so often taking the initiative. The writing is flawless and totally apt, avoiding adding any unnecessary flourishes to the crisp, clear language.

Some thoughts: I found it odd that Caul seemed so concerned about the prisoner to begin with, then quickly became relaxed as did everyone else, given this is a unique and possibly dangerous event. I'm assuming that some of them thought it a good idea for Maya to rescue a robot for some reason or other?

There was seismic activity causing the destruction underground (and some above ground if I recall correctly) but that seemed to stop as soon as they got out.

Maya's detour to the water where she almost drowns and where Keer asks the hierophant to go to the rescue seems a bit madcap.

Possible nits: 'with one well in front of the others', I had to read that twice, maybe, 'with one standing well in front of the others'. 'a disorderly tower[,] like scattered building blocks'.

I hope my comments are useful, and I'll be backing this.

shareyourweb wrote 1482 days ago

i finally found the time to return the read. i love what i've read so far, very gripping. i'm happily backing your book and cannot wait to read more.

once again, thank you so much for your comment. i'll provide better feedback soon.

Antiapollyon wrote 1482 days ago

I've read the first few chapters, and found it to be very imaginative and well-written so far. From what I read, this has great potential. Backed.

Regards,

Gene Wilenius - Solitude (please give it a read)

Pia wrote 1482 days ago

Matthew

The Fall - A Hierophant android is spat out and awoken from the depth of a mountain into a seemingly perfect city. An enclave protected by a shell and maintaining a frail self-sufficiency. Hardly raising a stir among the content folk, he finds their complacency is due to having inbuild cameras connected to a mainscreen and archives. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing at any one time. The Hierophant attempts to translate this reality to his slowly expanding consciousness, gently enquiring, so as not to offend. He wants to know what is beyond the projected shell.
What slowly builds up has a claustrophobic feel which reminds me of the ever accumulating artificial eyes we are surrounded by that look at everything but see nothing. So I am compelled to turn the page to find out what dark forces the Hierophant discovers and what his conflict will be. A powerful tale exquisitely told.

Backed. Pia (Course of Mirrors)

Colin Normanshaw wrote 1483 days ago

A great start to this. You write with good pace and realistic dialogue. I cannot think of any ways to improve this. Backed with pleasure. Colin

JMCornwell wrote 1483 days ago

no one not no-one
...hides a number of dark secrets... or ...hides many dark secrets...
"As a mysterious epidemic claims scores of lives and violence erupts in the streets, the Heirophant ..." should be a new paragraph "...must discover the catalyst and decide--was he awakened to..." woken is awkward. You could also used waked or awoken.

"...each one held up, palm up."
"There are sentences in there, some kind of meaning, as it slides through the scales." Feels incoherent, missing something, some bridge, some connection between the words.

"...but he can't find any context to frame them."
"...happened to him. Beneath all that..." or use a semi-colon to connect
Unless he's able to flip his head over his back and see upside down, craning his neck from a prone position, the world is not upside-down.
"...equally as alien. Alien as in the concept of other..." continuation of same subject, same paragraph, then begin a new paragraph
"...screams in agony, arches off the floor..." keep the same tense in the same sentence
"Whoever did it, sensation's..." mixed tenses
which instead of that, repetitive use of but and seems.

This is a very dynamic opening and, aside from the grammar errors, is sharp and clear. The pace sometimes bogs down due to length of sentences and tense confusion. Other than as stated above, a good hook and fairly fast pace. Should be an interesting read.

J M Cornwell

P.S. You should check over your bio. There are some grammar errors.




jfcincy wrote 1483 days ago

4th para had me completely baffled, so I didn't read further. Here are my problems: The sentence "Either side . . " I think you left out "On". Then you describe a "holding tank" a "mechanical cradle", "an open palm", then "broken fingers." Could not form an image in my mind of where he had been. Tank, black bars, cradle, open palm, liquids. After I read it three times, I get that he's in an artificial womb, but if it's a cradle with black bars, how is the liquid held? If it's a open palm with fingers, same question. If it's a holding tank, how is it an open palm?
This is your opening scene. . . .
Julie Farkas
Morning Call

Andy M. Potter wrote 1484 days ago

Matthew, i REALLY like this - accomplished prose, good pace.
on my shelf.
now, here's a few very picky thoughts ;)
"ululates" - great word, yet i don't think it belongs in your narrative. but i see the temptation ;)
the dialog associated with the female character is a bit heavy on repetition. i like the first "oh gosh oh gosh oh gosh" and i know you want to create a certain effect, but i think you could prune some repeats to 2 words rather than 3, or just use 1 word in a few cases. (referring to please, thank you, i'm sorry, come on, etc)
hey, that's my picky stuff for ch 1.
will take a look at more in a day or so and pass on any macro thoughts i have re your narrative arc.
best, andy

Barry Wenlock wrote 1487 days ago

Hi Matthew, I read two chapters and enjoyed them. Gripping stuff.
Best wishes, Barry
Little Krisna and the Bihar Boys

Francesco wrote 1487 days ago

Backed with pleasure! Good Luck!!
A look at Sicilian Shadows would be greatly appreciated.
Frank.
If you back my work, you may also want to approach BJD (a big supporter of Sicilian Shadows) for a further read and possible backing of your book.

jackieley wrote 1487 days ago

I'm out of my usual choice of genre here, but even though I'm a bit clueless about Sci Fi, I can recognise first class writing, whatever the genre, and this is it. Backed

Jackie Ley (GIFT OF SPARROWS)

jackieley wrote 1487 days ago

I'm out of my usual choice of genre here, but even though I'm a bit clueless about Sci Fi, I can recognise first class writing, whatever the genre, and this is it. Backed

Jackie Ley (GIFT OF SPARROWS)

jackieley wrote 1487 days ago

I'm out of my usual choice of genre here, but even though I'm a bit clueless about Sci Fi, I can recognise first class writing, whatever the genre, and this is it. Backed

Jackie Ley (GIFT OF SPARROWS)

Tim Hawken wrote 1488 days ago

I've already commented on this, but am back for more. Your descriptions are wonderful. I love the opening of chapter 13 'like a cripple who wants to learn to dance' great line!

I would suggest you refine you pitch a little in the top of the blog. The 'long pitch' is a bit bleh, not like the tight prose you have contained within the book itself.

When are you posting more? I'm ready for the next installment.

TIm H
Hellbound

Cherry G. wrote 1488 days ago

Dear Matt,
Enjoyed looking at the first 3 chapters of "The Fall". A dramatic beginning and a confusing one. All good stuff to draw the reader in. This isn't the usual sort of book I read, but I liked what I saw. Well done.
Cherry G. "Sister: One Woman's Journey through the Trojan War"

R.C. Lewis wrote 1488 days ago

Very compelling and interesting concept here. There were a few times when I lost my bearings in the first two chapters - always a danger when using the perspective of someone who doesn't know what's going on either, and when everything is unusual and different, and therefore must be mapped out. Not too bad, though, and I was quickly able to get hold of what was happening again. In the third chapter, it started to gel - again, as the MC was making more sense of what was happening as well. The break between ch2 and ch3 felt a little odd, sort of arbitrarily cut off rather than having a particularly defined hook motivating the page-turn.

In general, though, this is very engaging, and certainly something I'm willing to shelf. Best of luck with it.

R.C. Lewis (Fingerprints)

miket wrote 1489 days ago

Dear Matt.

This is very descriptive writing, very visual. And the concept is highly creative and original. You've clearly worked hard with your choice of words and it's paid off. It's also a pretty polished manuscript. I'm backing this one.

Best wishes.

Michael Ashley Torrington, author, 'Kristin.'

klouholmes wrote 1490 days ago

Hi Matthew, Some wonderful writing in the depiction of his horrible event: her hair like whitecaps, the stream chuckling. It’s weird how the description is through the android’s perspective – futurist! But interesting next to the dialogue of the woman survivor and then the group. Loved the part where she’s told to get away from that thing. The outset indicates an entrancing story building. Very immediate too! Easily shelved – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

Teric Darken wrote 1490 days ago

Greetings, Matthew!

I send kudos your way for your manuscript, The Fall! The opening chapter is quite alluring, in that the vivid imagery you conjure sends the reader the following messages: The environment is strange/otherworldly, there is someone- and others possibly- in peril, a rescuer emerges- but she is "foreign" to the central character in peril. The reader yearns to explore the afformentioned avenues to find the resolve- and that is all part of a well-crafted manuscript! Nice job, Matthew, and backed!

Teric Darken

(K - I - L - L FM 100 / U-TURN KiLLuR)

Jehmka wrote 1491 days ago

This is a beautifully inventive story... and exceptionally well written. I read only the first three chapters, but thought it was cool that, though I was introduced to six or seven different characters, none were human, and one was a machine that appeared to be rapidly maturing, intellectually and even emotionally, as the story progressed. The alien world being described here is rich in vivid detail… a bit like watching The Wizard of Oz for the first time. Not that there’s any resemblance story wise. The pacing is quick, but the story never feels thin as a result. I had a sense all along that the story was headed somewhere interesting. A lot to enjoy in this.

Backed with pleasure…
Rodney

Melcom wrote 1491 days ago

Tension filled gripping read, just my kind of book. Littered with questions and mystery.

Your writing zings and the premise promises much more to come.

Great read.

Happily shelved

Melxx

Vi wrote 1492 days ago

Easy to imagine this on paper. Good architectural sense to the sentence construction, honed muscular syntax, fine command of language. Voice is sufficiently distinctive to hold our interest. In other words this will stand or fall on the story itself.
Good that there’s nothing staid or conventional about the early imagery. It comes across as a very modern and urban underworld. There’s a nice juxtaposition of visceral effluents with pitiless metallic clutter which evokes tremendously well the feeling of entrapment. We too breath a sigh of relief when the valley opens up.

How successful this is will depend almost entirely on how cleverly you keep the story charged with conflict and vitality. Three chapters in, there’s certainly no thought of putting it down.

Owen Quinn wrote 1493 days ago

A good start that throws up questions and mysteries that pull the reader in. One of what? What is the disaster? Who is the girl and why is she acting like she has found a prize and who is she calling to? The descriptive immediately hooks the reader and the sentences flow well. Will continue to see what happens but perfect start to keep people hooked.

Jim Darcy wrote 1493 days ago

Read to chapter 5. Reminds me of a techno version of the Iron Man by Ted Hughes. Very readable and great hooks to keep the reader enticed. Your background is well developed and consistent - very important - and you do dialogue well, taking the story along. Good luck with this. Jim Darcy The Firelord's Crown

Krystiana wrote 1494 days ago

The first chapter is incredibly gripping; I feel that I have to read on. The first few paragraphs are an immediate hook and I want to know what / who the girl is and where she's taking him. Great writing style too.
Krystiana
Surviving the Earthquake

Fromante wrote 1500 days ago

Matthew, this is a very gripping tale, right from the start, reading, one has to go on and on, to find the next word etc., great piece of writng. Making me, anyway, read every word, and properly,. I hope whoever reads this gets the same feeling as I did. Great stuff. Backed.
Norman.

lizjrnm wrote 1501 days ago

I love this! Get cover art that suits your writing and this willfly up the charts - well crafted and quite imaginative! BACKED

Liz
The Cheech Room

Burgio wrote 1507 days ago

What an intriguing concept: a story from the standpoint of a robot. Opens up all kinds of possibilities. I like your dialogue: crisp and sharp. Makes your story move at a good pace. Backed. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

Tim Hawken wrote 1509 days ago

What a horrifying beginning. Very strong and descriptive, it sets the tone well.

I would have liked to see a character name emerge in the first chapter, rather than the second, but that's just a personal nitpick really.

Good work and backed.

Tim H
Hellbound

Suzannah Burke wrote 1510 days ago

The pitch lead me in and the writing certainly doesn't disappoint. I have only had time to read 3 chapters thus far and am decidely hooked. The descriptions of the quake if indeed that is what it was are excellent as is "Maya' rescuing the prisoner...or Hierophant. You have created a world intensely visual which is a feat in itself...to craft something and then explain it with words well enough for the reader to have an image come to mind of something quite Alien is a gift in and of itself...you have done it exceedingly well.

I have Backed this with pleasure and will keep it on my shelf to enable me to read further.
Suzannah Burke

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