Book Jacket


rank 1779
word count 22095
date submitted 08.10.2011
date updated 04.07.2012
genres: Thriller, Science Fiction
classification: adult

A Day Away

Sean Dougherty

It was the end of the world. And it would last forever.


Jeremy Stone wakes up every morning to a beautiful day. But every night, the world ends in flame. The day of the apocalypse has repeated itself for years. And everyone remembers it.

Jeremy discovers scientists have found a way to end the loop, but they can't stop the apocalypse. This starts a war between the people who would rather suffer a life of immortality and those who would chance to see tomorrow.

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apocalypse, end of the world, judgement day, life, philosophy, science fiction, tachyon, time travel

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Nichole S wrote 743 days ago

SF42 review

Chapter 1
- Very intense beginning. One suggestion: you do a wonderful job describing the light and the flesh melting, and what Jeremy feels…but how about adding the sounds, and smells? There’s a blinding light, but is it silent? He should be able to smell the burning flesh around him, the smell of melting plastic as well. This is an intense scene. Run with it. It’s also an action scene, but you can do so much more with it, too.
- “Tell me not to go.” Absolutely heart-breaking. Instant connection for me. Good job.
- For some reason, I feel as though it’s been so long on Authonomy since I’ve read a book with such realistic characters, dialogue and feelings. I’m having a hard time be critical of this.
- I’m confused for the first time. Okay, so the day repeats forever, always beginning and ending the same way. Why would people turn to crime? I understand the idea that people can do whatever they want, because nothing will happen because of it, but why steal? They won’t have it the next day. Why kill people? They can kill you the next day as revenge.
- You describe the apocalypse well, once again, but still don’t really give an explanation as to what it actually is other than a lot of light.

Chapter 1
- I had to make sure it wasn’t a mistake, but no, all uploaded chapters are titled as chapter 1. Extremely unique. I love it.
- 5:13am is a strange time. Was it a random time you chose, or I wonder if it has some significance?
- I’m still so surprised how quickly I’ve made a connection with Jeremy.
- With Amanda gone obviously crazy, I’m almost expecting Jeremy to have found a mistress. Of course, I hope he hasn’t but it definitely seems like what would happen in a movie/book of this style. But he does seem devoted to her.
- I’m finally starting to get a feel of how long they’ve been going through this, but I like definites. Exactly how long has this been happening?
- Another question: why would Jeremy think that drugs would help? Side effects for mental illness drugs don’t show up within a day, nor would the drugs actually work within a day.
- And you got me again, when you describe the young woman in the car. How many times had she lived through that split second?
- Oooo, scientists! Even though they seem to be up to no good, I have a feeling they’re actually trying to do something good. That reminds me of my book and the scientists in it.
- Hurray! You mention smells!
- Interesting concept. Even though he goes through the apocalypse every day, he’s never actually died.

First of all: holy crap. Whatever mistakes there were, you completely made me look past it. You seem to have a lot of things figured out, and logistics can be really difficult to deal with. I think there are, of course, some logistics that need to be addressed as seen in my comments. Other than that, I absolutely love this book and the concept. I will be backing this in my next shuffle and have starred it. Good job!

- Nichole

liberscriptus wrote 786 days ago

Hi Sean,
First of all – what a beginning! I think it’s really interesting how you drop the reader right into the story and fill in the background as you go along. The questions it raises – what’s going on here? What does all this mean? – make one want to keep on reading to find out the significance of confusing phrases like “That’s what she always does the day after she kills herself.” Even though I know from the pitch that Jeremy is reliving the same day, it still adds an element of intrigue leading up to the next chapter, when you reveal the time loop.

I also like how much you focus on the emotional core of the story, making it more of a human story than just another speculative plot. I think it’s especially interesting how Amanda’s pregnancy drives her to depression, which really throws turns the old idea about time loops around, highlighting the subject’s potential for tragedy.

As much as I like the idea of Jeremy going into the hospital to look for anti-depressants and a doctor but stumbling into the scientists, I think it’s a little too convenient how easily he entered. Wouldn’t there be some kind of security? A guard, at least? Perhaps it would make more sense if he had to break in. Also, the speed with which he figures it out seems a tad impulsive – might make more sense if he overheard something more specific that implied that the scientists were the ones causing the apocalypse. Otherwise it seems like he’s just jumping to conclusions and making assumptions based on things he doesn’t understand.

It also seems a little strange that the first place Jeremy goes to broadcast his news is to a church. I think the church is an interesting setting, but I think you should take a moment and elaborate on why Jeremy would chose this particular platform to speak on. And one more thing - The part where the scientists are explaining the physics to Jeremy seems a bit long. The dialogue does flow well, but I feel like this section could be handled more efficiently.

Overall, I think you have a great premise and a promising story. The writing flows well and the story is well-paced. Jeremy is a likable main character, although around the third chapter, he seems to get a bit too aggressive. His agitation is understandable, but maybe it could be toned down a bit. After all, those scientists didn’t owe him anything, and their explanations were more of a courtesy than an obligation.

Also, I found a handful of nitpicky things:

In Chapter 1 (the first one):
“Anarchy Forever was one of the many factions… that materialized…” I think it should be “that had materialized,” since Anarchy Forever’s formation occurs before the story’s present
In Chapter 2:
“Jeremy recalled that he himself thought…” Again, there should be a “had” in there to indicate that what follows comes before the story’s present: “Jeremy recalled that he himself had thought…”
In Chapter 3:
This isn’t really an error so much as a stylistic choice, but it seems odd that you have all that dialogue in italics (when Jeremy is talking to Robert). Normally, italics in dialogue are for emphasis, so having all this dialogue in italics looks like the characters are screaming at each other.

Anyhow, great job – you really know how to write! The parts where you really shine are the emotional scenes, where Jeremy ruminates about the situation the world’s in and tries to help Amanda. Good luck with the rest of it!

Astral Sea: The Pandora Project

Wanttobeawriter wrote 790 days ago

This is an intriguing story. A great premise: how would you spend your day if everyday was the last day on earth? Jeremy is a great main character; he’s likable and sympathetic because Amanda is so grief stricken and helpless. Your writing style is big plus; it’s crisp and clear and always keeps things moving. Highly rated and added to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

scargirl wrote 798 days ago

such a great opening line...
what every woman should know

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 800 days ago

Dear Sean

I have read the first and part of the second chapter of "A Day Away" and have only stopped because I have to go and get some lunch.

I like sci fi that is plausible, teaches something and feels real. Your story ticks the boxes, with its weird mix of reality and strangeness. Your plot hangs together, your story is well paced and your characters come across as very real and likeable.

If I have any suggestions to make, perhaps you could trim down the introspection, get a new cover for your book and work on your long pitch: the last phrase feels unfinished.

You have a story here that is worth polishing. Rated!

Fran Macilvey, "Trapped" :-))

earthlover wrote 807 days ago

Read the first two chapters. Very well written, great idea for a story. I just strolled over here because of your thread in the forum...and glad I did. You are a great writer and I wish you well with your story.
The Woman From E.A.R.L.

Jue Shaw wrote 812 days ago

This is brilliant! Although I didn't first understand the science bit, it didn't matter because all in all, I get it. Oh wow, I can't wait to read more. Please let me know when the next part is up, only don't take so long about it next time :) Julie XX

RoyEarle93 wrote 825 days ago

Wow! This is an intense book with a great storyline. It really sucked me in, I read most of it and I will be back to read more as soon as I'm able.

Good Luck!

Roy Earle, "Bad Men and Bad Odds"

T. Lamond wrote 829 days ago

A SF42 review of:

I have to say that I love it. I'm on the edge of my seat peering around going "More! Where is more!"

I found your story telling technique excellent. From the dream sequence at the beginning to slowly letting out the general apathy that some people have about life to the description of time resetting.

It's clear that you've spent a lot of time thinking about the many repercussions that such a loop would have and you've provided some interesting rules about who remembers the day before. The only thing in that regard that I found myself wondering is, 'What did children remember? Do they remember the day /before/ the end of the world, and this have no sense of being in a time loop at all?' If so, it would help if you had some idea of what/when the cut-off is, since the Anarchists were students.

From what you have presented, there isn't anything that I can recommend for improvement.

(BTW: From what I've read, if someone told me there was a movie coming out based on this book, I'd be in line to see it.)

Oriax wrote 851 days ago

Hi, Sean,
First of all I’d like to say I think this is really good. You have a great story, and you tell it well. That’s all anyone can ask really.
I made notes as I went along – feel free to ignore them, it won’t make me feel bad! Some of the things that sound odd to me may simply be because of the difference between American and European English usage.
It might be useful to try and pare down the more elaborate phrases in the interest of keeping the story moving. I found myself going back over some of the sentences to pick the bones out of them before I understood. None of the nits I found are real obstacles though, nothing that a good edit won’t iron out. Let me know when you post the next installment. I can’t bear the thought of Amanda being six months (or whatever) pregnant forever!
I’ve given this high stars and I’ll keep a place on my shelf earmarked for it.
Thanks for a good read.

Am I any different than the birds?
I think it should be from the birds.

The line ‘That’s what she always does the day after she kills herself.’ is effective, it isn’t at all what the reader is expecting.

I like the description of the crush in the building, the rising temperature, the panic, the detail of the boy’s piercings.

‘It was a strange thing to hear, guns being fired, when they first started some years before.’ You light want to rework that sentence, it sounds a bit unbalanced to me.

In the introduction to Mike I think you overuse the personal pronoun – it isn’t always clear which of the two men is speaking. As a general rule, it’s something to check all the way through.

By the time they get to the children’s playground I’m really anxious to know what’s happened to the world. The teenage hoodlums are modern day bogey men.

‘Declining a ride from Linda, he walked back to his house, anxious of what he’d
‘anxious about what he’d find.’

‘Surrendering to the necessity of redundancy…’ not sure what that means exactly.
‘With more than a little influence on his part…’ Does that mean Jeremy had to shove Amanda along? Both these phrases are maybe unecessarily erudite. When the reader has to stop and work out what you lean it slows the action. I don’t think I’m particularly slow on the uptake!

Now we see why Jeremy would have liked a basement!

Chapter 1 (part 2)

‘In all likeliness…’ in all likelihood

‘Jeremy begrudgingly realized they’d have to once again find a new jogging route.’ Maybe needs rewording. I’m not sure you can begrudgingly realise. How about: ‘Jeremy admitted reluctantly that they’d have to find a new jogging route yet again.’

Chapter 1 (part 3).

‘Jeremy held an amused grin.’ You can’t hold an amused grin. Likewise:
‘He held a warm smile.’ the priest.
‘We are wont of many things…’ don’t know that expression.
‘How are they causing the destruction we’ve seen to the entire world?’ Sentence needs reworking.

I like the way you have the people filling the churches after the apocalypse. It’s a dead cert that people will turn to religion when there’s nothing else. I was just a little surprised that Jeremy persisted in thinking the priest would help him. It has always been in the nature of religious leaders to bully, and Catholic priests, in my experience are definitely no exception!

Graham Keeler wrote 873 days ago

Hi Sean
I've just come across your story and I think it is a great idea. Obviously has links to Groundhog Day, but with plenty of different twists, and a very different plot.

One comment I have for you, for what it's worth. I thought that in the first chapter in particular, when you need to draw readers in and catch their attention, there was too much descriptive detail - for me at any rate.

Not that there was anything wrong with the descriptions, in fact they were fine, just slowed down the pace when I wanted to find where the story was going. I persevered and then got well wrapped up in the scenario, but I came fairly close to giving up before that.

Anyway, congratulations on a good story and plot. I've backed it.
Graham Keeler

Jue Shaw wrote 884 days ago

Thank you so much for letting me know about the new material. I have now read this and eagerly await more. :) I like this extra twist about saving Amanda. Oh I tell you the only one thing that didn't seem to 'fit' with me, was when they were arguing in the church with Timothy, and Mike whispers to Jeremy, 'come on, this is turning into a pissing contest,' (something like that) I don't know why it jarred, it just did. i think it was because I was all caught up in Jeremy's excitement and determination, and then this line, thrown in, seemed a bit like a comedy aside note, you know, one of those lines where you expect canned laughter afterwards. Sorry, and I don't want to offend you, but that was the only crit. Otherwise, keep going, this is awesome. Julie xx

Su Dan wrote 889 days ago

this is intence and written with great pace, and balance- good idea told very well; told with excellent narrative making this a brilliant book...
backed///six stars******
read SEASONS...

Jue Shaw wrote 892 days ago

For what it's worth, here's my opinion. I think this is absolutely brilliant! Seriously, I think you have something special here, and I'm really surprised that I haven't heard about it before now. If you genuinely have the rest of this story all worked out in your head, then you are quite the master of this genre. If you actually have it all on your laptop, then what the hell are you waiting on here for? Okay, leave it on here, but listen, you need to get this out on submissions, it really is that good.

I don't agree with the two comments about Jeremy stumbling across the scientists (and this is where authonomy can mess you up. Too many conflicting opinions.) I think that anyone experiencing this kind of wierd phenonomen (shit, can't even say it, let alone spell it!) would be pretty quick to allow their minds to construct an explanation for the disaster. So yes, I believed that he would indeed jump to the conclusion that it was the work of these men.

I am so excited to know how this pans out and can't wait to read more. Honestly though, sean, don't hang about with this. While the world is waiting for the next series of the 'Event' to be written, and the fans of 'Lost' etc are still hot for something similar. Agents and publishers will be aware of this and you have a totally new angle on it all. Good luck, and I shall follow your progress with interest. Julie, x

Ian Miller wrote 906 days ago

This is a really stunning concept and as such it is really difficult to put it together. The chosen start is perhaps the most difficult of all: you elect to portray the boredom of the eternal "same start to the day", and somehow you have to make that interesting because if somebody picks up the book and browses without reading the pitch, they may not get past the start. Two "Chapter one"s and no chapter heading on the third needs correcting - it may be nothing more than an upload problem? I also agree with K T below. The scene with the scientists left me puzzled too. This was a perfect spot to shine a bit more light on the story. This illustrates a structural problem for such an original story: how much backstory do you put in when? My personal view is, probably more, sooner, but a lot of people would disagree with me. One structural problem for the story fascinates me: how can a problem this big be resolved when everything resets after one day? Pull that off credibly and you will have something to brag about.

Momma Bear wrote 908 days ago

This is a great storyline. I saw your pitch on the forums and I was so intriqued, I decided not to wait until I finished the other reads on my watchlist. I HAD to read this one right away, and that is exactly what you want a good commercial novel to do. It sucked me right in. I had to read all three chapters and......I want more! I want to know what happens!

They say that there are no original ideas anymore. That theory has just been proven wrong.


K.T.Bowman wrote 909 days ago

I saw your pitch on the forums and wanted to come and have a read immediately :) I read all three chapters and I have to say, I think you have a fascinating storyline. It really gives the reader something to think about.

There was one thing that puzzled me. I had to go back and read the part where Jeremy is spying on the scientists because when I read it and then went to chapter three, I thought I must have missed something - but coming back to it, I still can't get it. How exactly does he work out that the scientists are reversing time? This could be me being thick! It's 2am here after all ;) but I couldn't see how he made that leap, considering he himself isn't an expert on the subject.

A more believable scene might be if he overheard a conversation between two scientists who are saying how uneasy the morality of the situation makes them, for example. It's your baby of course, but I found the scientific parts hard to visualise and as I said, I don't fully understand how Jeremy came to his conclusion. He's looking at something orbiting on a monitor, someone mentions a temporal shift and then he runs off - how he actually comes to the point of thinking that they're actually responsible for and not just studying the time shift could be a lot clearer for me.

Apart from that though, I really enjoyed this :) I'd love to read more, and will be watching for new chapters. This really is a unique idea as far as I'm concerned, and I think you could really have something here. I also very much liked how you don't just say why Amanda's sad, but sort of lead the reader to it through the gradual realisation of what's going on. Her predicament is very sad. I can see that there might be a big divide between how her and Jeremy view the revelation of what the scientists are doing later on.

Good luck with this :)

susannah wrote 915 days ago


'It was the end of the world. And it would last forever' - brilliant pitch! I was looking through the SF forum for something to read and this caught my attention immediately. I like the structure so far, starting each chapter with chapter one and at the same point in the new day- this works really well. I also like the imagery that you use to describe the end of the world- powerfully done! The characters too are well drawn and clearly have emotional depth- good portrayal of the relationships between the characters- I already care about them.

You write well though there are a couple of tense slips- check through again and see what you think!
I think the 2nd sentence sound a bit clunky (If he feigned sleep, maybe the world wouldn't notice him for a few minutes more.) perhaps you could change it- i think there could be a more powerful start to the novel than this.
I would also think more about how you are going t o convey Jeremy's thoughts- if you're going to use italics then stick to this, and maybe use it more. It definitely works well, pulling the reader close to the main character. And, like someone else has already said, you don't need to say he thought/he wondered etc if the italics already make it clear that was it written is J's thoughts.

I was, and am still, a bit confused by the sentence ''that's what she always does the day after she kills herself''- did she kill herself before the apocalypse came- if so, how is she still there? If not, when did she kill herself? She doesn't seem to try and kill herself at the end of the day- they're together... Maybe this will be explained later in the novel but it is a bit confusing at this point, anyway!
You write 'speaking a mile a minute'- is there anything else you can use instead? it seems a bit strange in conjunction with the actual physical running going on at the time!

I'm interested to see where this will go- ground hog day is such a familiar plot line, which makes it a risky choice- it will need to be handled very imaginatively- though I have every faith that you'll do so!
Have you completed the novel already?

Kolro wrote 917 days ago

Nearly better than mine. Nearly.

ShadowOfOsiris wrote 920 days ago


Hi Sean

I've read the first chapter, a little bit of the second and ALL of the third :) It is well written with a good premise. The feeling of the stark reality of what's happening is put across very well. I think I prefer Ground Hog Day :s

Because you've got it in italics, there's isn't a need to say 'Jeremy wondered'. Unless you really want :)

'That's what she always does the day after she kills herself.' - A very good line, but one which should be in italics to denote thought, or past tense like the rest.

Because you use italics for thoughts, I'd recommend using different font for the memory.

'For those people, their screams ended quickly' - 'The screams of those people ended quickly.'?

'skim(med) milk'

'The little things like that HELP even if it FEELS monotnous at times.' - Although presumably the narator's observation on life, I don't think it works, coming out of past tense like that.

'...since it happened (that) they lived three blocks apart.' - I don't think this is an occassion where 'that' can be left out

I think the bit about the suburban house design could be cut out - that amde me come dangerously close to losing interest. I know with this kind of story, it has to be fairly easy going a lot of the time, but you need to decide just how much you'll stray from the story and for how long before you lose the reader.

'couple hundred' is, more or less, slang. 'Couple (of) hundred' - but then you use contractions, so I suppose it fits well enough with the informal writing.

'blinked into vision' - I'm not sure that works

I just noticed each chapter is 'Chapter One' - very good.

For the first time ever, I found myself wondering if the story would be better in 1st person. I don't usually like 1st person but in some cases it does make the story better, and draws the reader in better. I think this could be one such book. Not that I'm suggesting rewriting it in 1st person. Anyway, it is very good, and I'll back it for a while. Good luck with it :)

Also, I hope you don't listen to zenup - this is the perfect place to start this story.

zenup wrote 920 days ago

Excellent short pitch. I think your first chapter should capture that zing, but instead it (IMO) diffuses it. (Can easily be fixed). Great idea, just needs some work. Also, accepted wisdom is not to start with a) waking up b) waking up after a dream. Backed.

Roman N Marek wrote 922 days ago

SF42 review

Well, this is good stuff. A very intriguing story, well written and a nice idea. I must admit I found it a little difficult to get my bearings in the first chapter. The information in the pitch helped me guess what was happening, but I wondered how it would read without that info. It is all explained in Ch.2 and I wondered whether the explanations might be better in Ch.1 – but then again, I’m not sure. Let’s see what other readers think. I liked Ch.2, with Jeremy’s discovery of the mystery at the university. Sets up the story very nicely.

There were a few typos. Ch.1: “then he felt” should be “than he felt”; “Confidant” should be “Confident”. Ch.2: “t-shit” (oops) should be “t-shirt”; “if he had too” should be “if he had to”; “bullet his left” should be “bullet hit his left”.

Anyway, this promises to be a very interesting story. I am happy to back it.