Book Jacket

 

rank 5911
word count 11553
date submitted 11.03.2011
date updated 29.03.2011
genres: Fiction, Fantasy
classification: moderate
incomplete

Darwinian Haste

C.W. Peickert

17 year old Darwinian Haste, thrown into a journey like no other -- ensuring, not only the survival of himself, but of an entire village.

 

A fiction / fantasy novel about a boy who just turned age 17 -- the age considered old enough to wield a weapon that can kill. He has lived alone on the planet Zaraas, Treefolk region, for the past 7 years of his life. His father died before his 1st Birthday, saving him from a raid. His mother left him at age 10 to sell off her body to the scum bags of the night near the south border of the village. Grab on and hold tight as readers young and old alike are taken on an adventure they will not forget!

-- C. W. Peickert

 
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tags

action, adult, ancient, darwinian, fantasy, fiction, folk, haste, tree, war, young adult

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Prologue

Anyone who has ever been told of the tales has come to the same conclusion.  The assumptions many have predicted are, most of the time, correct.  The folk of the trees have always been recognized for their extensive knowledge and wisdom about nature and its surroundings.  Some say they are too smart for their own good which has always sparked a point of interest in the minds of many surrounding evils – not in a good way either.      

In the ancient past, during a time of prosperity for the region of Treefolk, there was peace between the tall standing oak and the tribes of the south.  500 years have gone by since the peace treaty had collapsed; things have become drastically worse throughout the years.  There is a story, still told to this day, of the struggle the Ancient Oak of the north had against the empowering evil forces of the Disarks – most Disarks were born in the South.  They were to join the Bone Legion at a young age. The much wiser Southerners stayed away from the legion, tucked away within the deep caverns of the mines. 

The Bone Legion, still existing today, is a gang of villainous peoples who, no longer, have a specific region to call their own.  They thrive in darkness and feed on the weak, searching day after day for their next victims.  The Disarks don’t have time to settle down or conquer land of their own. The non-stop effort towards total domination of the planet Zaraas takes up all their time. Strenuous battles and the unforgotten struggle of the past has been instilled within the northern region of lush growth – engraved and etched in the innermost lining of all, mighty Oak.

  The legend has it that the Disarks are after one thing and one thing only…power.  In order to obtain strength suitable to their liking, they need something Treefolk citizens have; a segment of root from the Tree of Endowment.  It is said that the tree’s central root system has capabilities of harnessing energy within its flesh.  Bearer of the root will have enough power to summon the greatest of all creatures – this not even being the best of it. 

A much greater ability is at stake; the ability to give the illustrious creature’s catastrophic skills, to any of whom who wishes to consume part of the root.  The Disarks’ thirst for power and a single master plan had now been set in place.  Their lust for the greatest power of all was now foreseen as attainable.  A new-found realization set off immediate rage within the Bone Legion alliance.  Their targets were none other than the Treefolk.  With weapons in hand and intense acrimony in their eyes, hundreds of blood thirsty Disarks charged north.  After many long traveled miles already behind them with great distance still to go, nothing seemed to slow down their foot pace.  Evil and rage within their dilated pupils remained.

A few hurried nights of travel later, the lustful Disarks finally arrived at the outermost edge of forest.  The thick jungle stood massive and eerily dark forth the army lines.  Without hesitation, they swept the grounds quietly.  They scaled the trees from bottom to top, and kidnapped any newborn they came across.  Some of them formed small groups and held hands for prayer to their malicious gods, chanting, and mumbling an old curse under their cold breath straight from the pages of the Book of Bones. 

The curse they muttered under rank breath put a permanent bind on whatever, or whomever, it was cast upon.  If accomplished correctly, the curse could not be broken by even the most powerful counter forces.  Their plan was working, a marvelous success for the Legion.  The weak were captured and thrown into hemp bags, while the Oak had been bound by the curse, pacifying the knowledgeable trees forever.  The night was still young when they made a formal decision resolving that their collections were enough, and fled.  They left behind nothing but childless homes and dwindling campfires; campfires that had been lit only hours before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Roman N Marek wrote 1131 days ago

On the evidence of the small snippet posted here, I think this story has real promise as a YA fantasy. There are enough unusual and intriguing incidents to keep one interested and reading on. I particularly liked the gruesome details, like the skin trophies taken from the prostitutes. What a disturbed mind you have, sir! I also liked the freezing of time in Ch.3.
My main worry, though, is that it feels rather raw and in need of serious editing and polishing. This applies both to the logic of the story and to the English (which, in places, is rather brutally abused). First, the story. I wondered whether the Prologue is really necessary. It felt rather too long and most of the information in it, although perhaps relevant later in the story, didn’t appear too relevant in the early chapters. Maybe the past history could be drip-fed to the reader when it becomes important. Or just have a much shorter prologue. (You’ll find that many people on this site complain about prologues purely on principle).
Then there were things that puzzled me. It wasn't clear to me why Dar goes to buy a weapon in the first place. Why does he need one? Just for protection (from who) or for some other reason? The story says that he is the first child for many years to follow the tradition of buying a weapon? Why is that?
I didn’t understand why Dar’s leg healed so miraculously after its serious injury on the way to the shop, yet his blisters festered on and on, and gave him so much trouble, on the way home.
Then the business with Marty. First, if Dar needs to be 17 to buy a weapon, shouldn’t Marty verify that he is? I liked the hook at the end of Ch.2, although it came a little out of the blue. Perhaps Marty should mention Dar's mother earlier, when learning that his Dad is Ben Haste. "Ah, so your mother is ..." But, the deal over the sword is the thing that really baffled me. First, one is left wondering how Marty is going to check that Dar keeps his side of the bargain. He doesn't appear to make any threats about non-compliance. So, it's not at all clear why Dar attacks Marty. Why not just agree to the deal and take the weapon? OK, Marty may not be happy if Dar doesn't fulfil their verbal contract, but he's going to be severely pissed off at having lost a hand and half his face - as Dar realizes in Ch.3. So, as a plan, it's not great. It might be better if the attack is the result of Dar’s anger at the threat to his mother (even though she’s not Dar’s favourite person).
In Ch.4 it wasn’t clear what happened when the slug came to an abrupt halt. Which boy was gone, and why were they looking at the ground behind them? Not until the next paragraph does it becomes apparent it’s the youngest son who has fallen off the slug and is dead on the road.
Now for the English, which really needs virtually line by line editing. There are many different types of errors. First, the tense keeps flipping between past and present. Some of the phrasing is a little clumsy: for example, "were some of the many unchanging sites viewable during the walk"; "never brought him on this side of the wood often", "forcing on intolerable pains", "off of" (several times). Often, the incorrect word is used (eg "Her survival was hard enough to succumb ...", "asked himself unknowingly", "treaded", "short-lived steps", "gentle words in phrase"), or a word is unnecessarily split into two (eg "scum bags", "None-the-less", "finger tips", "whore house", “good-bye”, “over-grown”, and many others), or an unnecessary word is slipped in (eg "most impossible").
There are a few typos: Ch.3 “puss” should be “pus”; “spec” should be “speck”. Ch.4 “lead” should be “led”; “site” should be “sight”; “aroused” should be “arose”.
I also thought that sometimes Dar’s thoughts are spelt out in unnecessary detail.
Anyway, as I say, this shows much promise, so I hope the above comments will be of use to you. I’m sure you’ll get plenty more suggestions from other people on this site. Good luck with it.

EMDelaney wrote 1131 days ago

DARWINIAN HASTE

This is a good story. Not being a Sci-Fi guy, I am usually not able to stay with one for very long. Most detail always seems to fantastical for me, not that it isn;t entertaining for some, but for me I like parody or at least possibility of the detail being real. Surprisingly, I read all of this. And....I enjoyed it.

I listen to a lot of XM Book Radio because of my job. I travel constantly. In doing so, I have listened to a great deal of Orson Scott Card. Some of this writing I would compare to him. The imagination is superb. Drawing a character like Dar out of thought is very impressive. The author gives him life and character, displays his inner thoughts regularly (something I like in any genre) and the flow of his circumstances are written much like a thriller is done. Very nice.

If I had to pick on anything I would point to a slight overuse of adverbs at times. Allowing the reader to surmize details in certain circumstances can add to your mystique in a story. As ironic as it sounds, telling too many descriptions can rob them of their opportunity to imagine. With Sci-Fi, you certainly do not want to do that. For a more intricate explanation I would suggest following the critique of David Breitling (author of UNDO REDO) on Authonomy. Read the things he tells authors about that. He can explain it much better than I.

I will say this. You are a fine young writer. One of the things you seem to do that indicates a certain talent is the craftiness / thriftiness of your word usage. When enhanced later with a better understanding of adverb usage, you are going to really shine!!!!! I mean that too, pal!

Lets take CH4 (Just one example of what I was talking about above)
When Dar gets home from the death site:
He unlocked the heavy door and swung it open, slamming it up against the wall.

You have "unlocked", "swung" and "slamming" all in the same sentence. You could reword this to indicate presently happening, being a proper narrative per se and thrift the usage of words at the same time. My example:

Unlocking the heavy door, Dar ..........etc,... (you could make two sentences out of it actually) 1 action...then another.

Later in the paragraph: (do you need to call the events "weird" (?)
The reader knows they were weird. They might also have considered another word, thereby sparking their own imagination to surmise the description.

Also: (What about this?)
Upset with what had transpired in town the previous night, the events continued to haunt his memory. Would it influence what would happen today? (He is thinking this) The masked men. The infiltration of people's private homes. It had to be stopped!

What we've done here is eliminate the word "and". You always want to keep this word down in count. Also had, has, were, was, etc,......

I strongly recommend you get a hold of the book "On Writing" by Stephen King. You'll want to hunt me down and thank me. LOL.

Stay at it my friend. You have a great talent, once refined, you are gonna be a great writer!!!

Scott Toney wrote 1136 days ago

Cory,

I've read the Prologue and the first chapter so far and am really enjoying this. You set your book up well with a strong Prologue and then when we get to know Dar we get a good feel of your style. Your description really brings us into your world and there's something "tough" about the environment and the situations you create that is different from anything else I've read here.
The shop keeper has a great personality. And I'll be interested to see what choices Dar makes now that he has the sword.
Here's a pointer, although I didn't find much to crit. In the beginning of chapter one you write "Both knees of hers." It might read better if you wrote "Both of her knees."

This is a great read and idea. I'll be back for more and I've gladly backed it.

Have a great day!

- Scott, The Ark of Humanity

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