Author Topic: The Philosophy of Sense  (Read 520 times)

Jerem

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The Philosophy of Sense
« on: November 08, 2019, 01:16:03 PM »
  The sirens blared, guns fired and whistles blew. Men cried for their lives and shrapnel blasted Jason Noveler’s face, bits and blood flew from his face. “That’s gonna leave a scar,” Jason thought as he winced from the pain. The pain was excruciating, but this wasn’t the first time he dealt with it, and it wasn’t going to be his last.

  Jason took his arms steady and held his lux canon firmly to his chest, he closed his eyes and inhaled through his nostrils. He tried to find peace in the roar of explosions in the battlefield, he slowly opened his right eye and steadied his aim. An enemy, the size of an ant, crept across the battlefield, he had his invisis camo on but it couldn’t trick Jason. His mentor had taught him, “Your sight may fail you, Jason, but your instinct won’t. And you must use that to your advantage,” He thought of his dear mentor, where he would be now if not for the war. But he wiped those thoughts away, the last thing he wanted to think about while prepping himself to end another Mazien’s life was his loved one.

  He focused himself on the enemy target, the first Squatra would be massacred if the enemy could get behind them. They were specialised in long-ranges after all. He controlled his breathing and set his finger on the trigger. He knew there was an enemy there but he couldn’t determine his position. Just then he saw hole form in the dirt as if an invisible creature had taken a step, then another. Jason watched carefully, he wasn’t in range yet. So he counted once, twice, thrice and with a slight hesitation, he twitched his fingers. A beam in a murderous red shined from the barrel, the sound deafening and booming. In the air, on the wet mud, blood spilled from thin air, it’s colour just as sharp as the beam’s light.

  The blood came without end, colouring the ground a deep dark red as the man’s invisis camo wore off. The man plopped to the ground, with a grunt, he rolled over and laid still on his back. As he looked up into the sky with his blood red eyes, he seemed to whisper to himself, before the motions ended and the energy drained out of him like a bottle of water flipped onto its head.

  Jason shivered even though it wasn’t cold, his hand trembled, his nerves went awry, he couldn’t feel his feet, his heart beat grew to a loud thumping. Blood and adrenaline pumped through his veins. The satisfaction of the hunt always got to him, the price of the kill, the temporary high almost made him forget he had just taken another living being’s life.

  “Jason Noveler of the Third Squatra reporting in, recorded enemy kill, invisis type, approx 80 metres from current location,” he whispered into his device.

  “Good job soldier, keep up the good work and we can win the war,” a loud gruff voice signalled back. He had a record of 43 kills on the battlefield, and every single one he dreaded. The other soldiers looked up to him, he was a wise athletic soldier, patriotic to his country, skilled at close quarter combat and long-range sniping, he possessed a deep mastery of every gun and blade. His experience on the battlefield despite his young age earned him the nickname “Killer Baby”

  In the silence of the moment, Jason adjusted his spot in the sniper post. He had spent days in the armour clad box, his food supplies were running low, yet his ammunition had stayed almost the same. The thought of it comforted Jason a little. He didn’t know how much longer he would have to remain in his stuffy and metallic stenched box. The sounds of explosions and firing lux cannons slammed Jason’s brain left and right, he rarely got to sleep and the fatigue was catching up to him.

  His eyes were droopy and heavy, his muscles were stretched and twitched for comfort, but he didn’t allow himself the luxury of resting. He felt obligated to refuse his body the comfort of sleep and rest, he wanted to believe that torturing himself would atone for the lives he had taken. But the weight on his heart would never lift, even through his sleepless nights. And at that moment, the world seemed to pause around Jason, the night fell dead silent. Gunfire ceased, and shouts of pain and death that infiltrated the battlefield seemed to drown in the eerie silence.

  Jason never felt this peaceful on the battlefield before, but he felt a tingling in his extremities. He peeked out through his small window, turning his head to stare into the vast emptiness of the universe, illuminated by the light distant burning stars. His mind was at peace, until the enemy soldiers seemed to shout, not under the force of fear and dread, but by the uplifting relief of a reinforcement. Directly above Jason, was the newest piece of warfare equipment. The Concubine M1, a weapon spoken of only in whispers and conspiracies.

  The Revolutionists had invented a weapon far beyond anything ever made before, a nuclear blast that could be contained into a single beam of wrathful flurry and blazing glory. Incinerating anything in a 1kilometre radius, so precisely that standing directly next to the blast radius wouldn’t even leave a mark. But a step closer and your skin would melt faster than you could react, your eyes if not already blown from the heat, would be blinded by the light. It could liquify Hafnium Carbide as if it were ice held up to the sun. It was the ultimate weapon that utilised genius and evil.

  The Revolutionists seized the weapon, storing it on an aircraft, larger than the cities, heavier than a thousand elephants, but it floated through the air like a dandelion blowing in the breeze. They had perfected the technology, and they decided to use it for warfare. But radars were developed to combat large scale weapons of destruction like this. But not a single sensor showed the Concubine M1 present.The blackbox couldn’t record this, no one would know what happened, they would be cleanly wiped off the face of the planet like bacteria.

  Jason had spent his days in all the years of war pondering if each day would be his last. He had grown numb to the thought that he might eventually be shot square in the head or captured by enemy soldiers. But at this very moment, Jason truly felt fear settle into him. The dread and despair battered him like a strong wind. His goosebumps showed, and his hairs stood.

  “Enemies of the supreme council, you are to cease fire immediately or you will be obliterated under orders of the supreme council,” blared the gargantuan death machine. The situation was so tense that Jason thought he could cut it clean in half with a knife. Not a single person moved, at least not on Jason’s side. The fear swallowed the soldiers, the commander was now faced with a back breaking decision.

  Although only a few minutes had passed, it felt like it had been days since the mechanical giant had appeared out of thin air. Even through the notion of instant death, the Concubine M1 was like a majestic lion, bathing it’s mane in the wind, Jason thought. Metal curved perfectly around its body, soldiers looked down from the mechanical tempest wearing a smug grin on their faces which only irritated Jason even more.

  Out of the dead silence, a voice boomed from the captain’s quarters. The commander dragged out a machine, almost as large as himself. And with the most painful face Jason had ever seen someone wear, the commander shouted into the machine with all his might. “This is commander Arbon Lee of the Royal Mazien Army, we surrender our lives, and invoke Mazien Law number 345, in case of a war, if a side is to surrender, they are to be taken into the opposing side’s custody without damage,”

  A sigh of relief dropped off the soldier’s mouth, certainly they wouldn’t be treated like royalty while incarcerated, but they would live to see another day. And as if a slap to the face, a beam of angry red light shone from the Concubine, and within the blink of an eye, the commander as well as everything next to him shone brighter than the sun before evaporating like a mist.

  Any surviving soldier watched as their honorable commander was turned into gas and mush. The beam left a glowing crater in the ground, spitting out heat like an active volcano.

  The floating demon blared once again into the ears of the terrified soldiers with no remorse or emotion. “The supreme council has declared our nation an independent country and will no longer adhere to Mazien laws, you are all now captives of the supreme council and will be transported to Zygneil for further interrogation, dispose any and all weapons into our maghnetin net, our soldiers will escort any remaining men towards our camps,”

  Jason looked in disbelief, the civil war had started years ago but now that the Concubine M1 was ready to be used, the war was already over.

hoffmad08

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Re: The Philosophy of Sense
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2019, 03:03:43 PM »
Hi there Jerem!  I'm generally not the best at giving feedback, but here's my stab at it.  I'll give specifics first (paragraph by paragraph) and then finish off with general impressions.

Detailed feedback

I would drop the first 'the' to help maintain parallel structure and flow in the opening line.  Also don't be afraid to use semicolons, there are quite a few run-ons here (independent clauses on both both sides of punctuation or conjunction (without use of a comma)).  In your second sentence, for example, there should be a comma after lives and if left as is, a semicolon after face.  Because you used the word face so recently, however, I might suggest changing that line up a little to something like Men cried for their lives, and shrapnel tore at Jason Noveler's face, causing blood and chunks of flesh to spring forth.  (I'm not totally happy with that, but just as a way to avoid 'face' so quickly in succession.)

Is 'arms' supposed to be like 'weapon' or the body part?  I'm also not sure what "take steady" means (this might be dialectal, as I assume by your spelling of colo(u)r, you're not American like me).  "In the battlefield" or "on the battlefield"?  Is Jason's mentor supposed to be a romantic love interest?  That's what I get with "his loved one".  If not, I'd suggest something like "his dear friend and mentor".

"He saw a hole form..."  In the sentence "a beam in a murderous red shined from the barrel", I think the past tense of shine here should be 'shone'.  Again this could be dialectal, but I generally use 'shone' without a direct object and 'shined' with a direct object, e.g. I shined my flashlight but The flashlight shone brightly.

The way you describe the Mazien 'whispering to himeself', I kind of expected you to hint at what might have been said.  You could maybe add in something like "but Jason couldn't know what kinds of thoughts were going through his mind", unless of course Jason can imagine, because of something from his background where he gained intimate knowledge of a man's last dying thoughts.  With the simile about energy draining from the Mazien and the bottle of water, and this is just for clarification, did you intend for it to be a rapid draining of energy, or something slower, as if, for example, the bottle had merely been knocked over, rather than 'flipped onto its head'?

"and he dreaded every single one."  The verb-final version sounds odd to me.

I'm not sure if I understand the description "metal stenched".  I, and by extension perhaps most readers, don't associate metals with smell.

I'm similarly confused with "his muscles were stretched and twitched for comfort".  I don't generally associate twitching muscles with comfort, in fact the opposite.

"Jason had never felt this peaceful on the battlefield before..."  "illuminated by the light of distant, burning stars."  The line "seemed to shout" is intriguing.  Why only "seem"?  I could imagine a reason for this, but I could also imagine that they just "shouted".

"wrathful flurry"?  Did you mean 'fury'?  Your description here of the Revolutionists and their "genius and evil" weapon seems to set them up as wholly evil, but I would advise against this.  Generally speaking, antagonists are better when they have their own, rational justifications for their actions.  They can do horrible things to achieve their goals, thus making them the "bad guys", but few people are driven solely by the desire to "be evil".  The description here could work if the narrator is taking Jason's side, i.e. engaging in the same sort of enemy demonization that is always part of war.  For a better story, however, Jason (or at least the narrator) should eventually find out about their rationale and world view, which conversely views themselves as the good guys and Jason's side as the force for evil.

If prefer "ponder whether" to "ponder if", again possible dialect differences.  If you want to play up the bad guy-ness of the Revolutionists, you could perhaps state here "that he might eventually be shot square in the head or worse captured by enemy soldiers".  This would highlight the perspective that these people are so bad, that death is preferable to being taken by them and that the mental and physical torture expected after capture would be far worse than that.

"The situation was so tense that Jason thought he could cut it clean in half with a knife."  I don't think this line works, specifically because it relies on the phrase of being so thick (i.e. not tense) that you could cut it with a knife.

General impressions:

In the 2nd paragraph, your mention of "ending another Mazien's life" makes it seem like the "Maziens" are the opposing force.  To hint that this is a civil war scenario, I might alter that line to be "ending a fellow Mazien's life".  When I got to the end, I was quite confused at first, as I had thought that Mazien and Revolutionist were effectively synonyms for one another. 

For a sniper rifle, how practical is it that the lux canon emits a "beam in murderous red"?  Wouldn't that give away the sniper's position, therefore making him/her potentially less effective?

Generally speaking, well done.  It's not really my cup of tea so to speak, but I think you did a good job getting the story across and making me (the reader) want to get to the end.  Based on that ending, I assume this is not the complete tale of Jason, so if this is supposed to be a chapter or self-contained scene, then I think it functions reasonably well.

If you have any specific questions for me, let me know.

Lin Treadgold

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Re: The Philosophy of Sense
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2019, 08:30:14 PM »
Hi Jerem

When I read through this, I felt it was all very telling.  A good writer should be able to get the reader involved with a story to the point of leaving the author invisible.  I know you could be saying, 'well I wrote this, how do I stop the telling? 

Here is an example for you:  Your text first, then my ideas to help you improve it.

  The sirens blared, guns fired and whistles blew. Men cried for their lives and shrapnel blasted Jason Noveler’s face, bits and blood flew from his face. “That’s gonna leave a scar,” Jason thought as he winced from the pain. The pain was excruciating, but this wasn’t the first time he dealt with it, and it wasn’t going to be his last.

Jason wiped his blood stained face. His fingered the scar and winced from the pain. This wasn't the first time. He'd deal with it; it wasn't going to be his last.  He hit the deck when a tank exploded, the vibrations rippled beneath his chest.   'Fuckin' war.' he shouted.

In a wartime situation I think you need to be short and sharp to show emotion.  Sirens blared, guns fired, etc is too much telling. Keep your story within the mind of the character and detach yourself from the ongoing narrative.  Your text above is telling the reader from your head what's going on.  Best to let the character's emotions be told and not you writing about it.

Whenever I write a novel, I do my utmost best not to be in the book.  It has to be character led all the way. 

Good luck

Lin