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All For One

 
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Steven J Dines



Joined: 03 Apr 2007
Posts: 2
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:18 am    Post subject: All For One Reply with quote

My contribution to Issue #2 seems to be attracting a mixed response from Darker Matter's readers, which is something I'm used to in the various writing groups I have frequented. You can't please everybody, can you?

"All For One" is a departure for me. Usually, I don't write science fiction. Usually, I don't write dialogue-heavy pieces. Usually, I don't go near satire. Lol, some might say, "Good idea stay away from these things in the future!" But I'm glad I wrote it. It got me trying something new (for me) and that is never a bad thing. Sometimes, these things fail, sometimes not. "All For One", it's a queer egg - each time I read it I seem to form a different opinion on it. The ratings so far reflect a pretty wide range, too, (14 ratings, 3's to 8's, at the time of this post), so maybe there is something to debate here, no?

Anyway, I want to thank those who have read "All For One" (and those who will) for their time. I hope to appear in Darker Matter again someday, if Ben will have me, of course.

-Steven
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urf
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:44 am    Post subject: Does a flying car and a floating billboard make it Scifi? Reply with quote

Hi Steven,

Was this short originally written with the flying cars and floating billboards or were they added in for the sake of the mag? Wink

urf
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Steven J Dines



Joined: 03 Apr 2007
Posts: 2
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi urf

The story wasn't written with this (or any other) publication in mind, no. Those things were included mainly to establish setting, the billboard to make a point about their society, i.e., they weren't just tacked on. I envisioned this happening in the future, plain and simple, but my primary focus was the character of the Prime Minister not these elements, which I saw as being of secondary importance in a piece such as this.

Steven
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:26 pm    Post subject: Re: All For One Reply with quote

Steven J Dines wrote:

"All For One" is a departure for me. Usually, I don't write science fiction. Usually, I don't write dialogue-heavy pieces. Usually, I don't go near satire. Lol, some might say, "Good idea stay away from these things in the future!" But I'm glad I wrote it. It got me trying something new (for me) and that is never a bad thing. Sometimes, these things fail, sometimes not. "All For One", it's a queer egg - each time I read it I seem to form a different opinion on it. The ratings so far reflect a pretty wide range, too, (14 ratings, 3's to 8's, at the time of this post), so maybe there is something to debate here, no?

I found the story ultimately unsatisfying because it read like a political or social commentary, but unlike 1984 (for example), the technology elements of the science fiction used (e.g. air cars instead of regular automobiles) did not increase my understanding or sympathy for the characters or their motivations.. thus diminishing the effect of the commentary.

Of course, this is highly subjective - but when I replace "Anthony Greengrass" with Tony Blair ("things are going to get better"/1997/"GreenerGrass to some of his election supporters"/broken political promises) - it doesn't play well in a contemporary setting. I think this is a valid 'test' as the technology/environment described does not appear to wield any particular influence to suggest that we have reason to suspend disbelief on these matters.

I didn't find "All for One" 'dialogue-heavy', but the dialogue did seem to favour 'telling' rather than 'showing'.. and I suspect that issue would diminish and in the process intensify the commentary if the piece were developed into a longer story.

Of course, all of these comments are just with regards and in comparison to the types of sci-fi stories which I (personally) love to read - but since you seem to be the only author actively using these forums to garner reader input, and reference being in other writing groups, I figure you can dig what I hope comes across as constructive criticism :-)

Best wishes,
Richard
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spontificus



Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:30 pm    Post subject: Re: All For One Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
Best wishes,
Richard


Oops, I thought I was logged in - didn't mean to hide in anonymity!
Richard
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard, thanks for commenting. Feedback is always appreciated. If I may address a couple of your points...

"I found the story ultimately unsatisfying because it read like a political or social commentary, but unlike 1984 (for example), the technology elements of the science fiction used (e.g. air cars instead of regular automobiles) did not increase my understanding or sympathy for the characters or their motivations.. thus diminishing the effect of the commentary."

--I set out to write a story set in a future with a message that is applicable now. The technology was never intended to be integral to story or character but contribute only to the story's setting, a backdrop for the story. Perhaps I should have approached it from the angle you suggest, perhaps not. For me, this piece is more about the Prime Minister's character than the technological aspects.

Telling dialogue:
If the dialogue is lengthy and telling it is because he is a pontificator, he likes the sound of his own voice, feels alone and part of him desires to share his ideas. Tell-y, yes, but Showing character.

As I mentioned earlier, I've changed my own opinion of the piece several times myself, and probably will continue to do so with every read. I'm not sure if the editor made the decision to buy "All For One" after his first reading or after several (I suspect the latter), perhaps he will step in and tell us. As is sometimes the case with my fiction, maybe it is more rewarding after several reads. Of course, if the reader does not like the story after a first read there will be no return visit - I understand that, and if it fails to interest that is entirely my fault. If the character of Greengrass doesn't interest the reader it falls flat right away, because it's a character-driven and not plot-driven piece.

I hope what I've written here and in previous posts isn't seen as me stubbornly defending the story - the story speaks for itself, good or bad. I am, however, trying to address any points raised and describe my approach or thinking.

Thanks again for your comments, Richard.

-Steven

PS It's early Sunday morning in the UK and I haven't had my first coffee of the day, so please forgive me if I've wandered any during this post... Smile
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spontificus



Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"I hope what I've written here and in previous posts isn't seen as me stubbornly defending the story"


Hi Steven - not at all - I gave you my honest opinion, and thus implicitly requested your honest opinion in return - a forum where we can do that without fear (of creating a kerfuffle) is one luxury which politicians, by definition, can't afford ;-)

So I gave it another read, and I have to agree with you in saying that it has a slightly different flavour each time.


Quote:
"If the dialogue is lengthy and telling it is because he is a pontificator, he likes the sound of his own voice, feels alone and part of him desires to share his ideas. Tell-y, yes, but Showing character."


With this in mind the PM's character 'clicked' for me. I'm still undecided as to whether:

(a) The PM should be read 'straight' - a highly functional paranoid delusional, who sows the seeds of his own destruction without self-realisation.
(b) The PM is genuinely sane, but intentionally on a self-martyring/self-destructive kick, 'for a greater good'.

But then, I find the blurry line between those options interesting..

..anyway, it's hitting late Sunday morning here too, and I'm still way too decaf myself - thanks for the thought-provoking story and responses!

Richard[/list]
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darkerma
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Joined: 03 Jan 2007
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 6:11 am    Post subject: All for One Reply with quote

Hi,

well, it's great to see that this story is attracting so many votes in the polls, and also sparking so much discussion on this forum (and particularly good to see the author pitching in!) Personally, I think it's a good story, and is good science fiction. I don't think the science has to be entirely central and required for science fiction to be good - it can be part of the background and still be effective.

I chose this story after reading it a few times (to answer a question posed above) and have not regretted the choice. I think it's a thought-provoking and relevant story (particularly here in the UK) even if it's not as obviously science fiction as most of the other stories.

Ben
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to think at the end that the air car acident PM provoked is the exact "spark" of the revolution he had feared... which seems not to be the point of the author..
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