Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Futurelearn course week 3 and 4

Hi guys

Quick update and short story to share - one of tasks to write a brief short story whereby it be reviewed by fellow futurelearn students.  I also reviewed their stories which were very good.  Me being me I went the sci fi route inspired by Starship Troopers and defo what I want to write in future.

The short story below I wrote up in 10 Minutes and the reviews to it very good which has given me confidence in my writing - maybe it is for me after all.  So below is the story which I am seriously thinking of making into a full novel sometime soon - and the reviews for it - enjoy. x neil

The heat from the two suns was unbearable to Cal especially as he was under heavy battle armour. Sweat poured down his face and he lifted his visor to get what little fresh air there was. The harsh, warm sand blew up in his face and eyes. Cal sat down on the nearest rock to wipe his eyes and contemplated his situation. It wasn't good. The battle with the enemy was going very wrong. Thousands of troops had been slaughted by the Ventra.
The Ventra were eight foot tall lobster looking aliens with protective hard bone on the outside. The lasers given to the troops weren't much use unless you hit one in there face or bottom of their back.
Cal sighed as he cleared his eyes and his sight returned to normal. He replaced his visor and looked around. Alone. His troop had gone ahead and left him struggling behind. They had more to worry about than him. The Ventra were closing in on them and they needed to escape. Cal took a sip from his almost empty bottle and started his march on. His only hope was to catch up to his troop.
After forty minutes he could see his troop on a ridge on the distance. Save at last. They would be waiting for an evacuation ship to take them to base. Cal smiled as he hurried his pace. He would get to see his friends again. But no family. They had been slaughtered by a Ventra invasion on the base a galaxy away. Cal thought they were like locusts and needed exterminating, somehow.
A noise behind him startled his thoughts of his young wife. The Ventra! They were yards behind him. He let off a few laser rounds and sprinted as fast as he could towards the ridge. He could now see the evacuation ship picking his fellow troops up. Panic welled up in him from the pit of his stomach. He was going to be left behind!
He shouted at his troop to get their attention not knowing if they had heard him. Looking behind him he had made good distance between himself and the Ventra. The were slow and heavy because of the boned exo-skeleton.
He closed in on the ship at the top of the hill, shouting as he did. He had to scramble up the hill fast to get to he ship. As he did a sharp burning pain hit his leg. Not enough to go through the armour but enough to hurt like hell. Another shot hit him at the back of his helmet which knocked him forward into the rock. Cal vision blurred and went dark.
"Cal, Cal, you awake?" came a voice as from a distance. 
It was Zena looking over him. As Cal's vision cleared he thought she look like an angel. He smiled back her and looked around the ship. he had made it.


  • Barbara's review

    Submitted by

    Barbara White

    How was the central character portrayed and was this portrayal clear and interesting?
    The character was clear and interesting concentrating on the immeadiacy of his situation combined with his back story.
    What made you think this piece was a story and did you want to read on?
    I liked the way the suspense was built. Was he going to make it? Yes!
    What were the most, and least, successful aspects of the writing?
    I liked the description of the world he was in. Personally I am not a battle lover but I think it was well done.
  • Jonathan's review

    Submitted by

    Jonathan Green

    How was the central character portrayed and was this portrayal clear and interesting?
    I really liked that fact that you first depicted a soldier in battle armour and then slowly revealed that underneath all that, he was just a normal person struggling with the heat and scared for his life. The contrast of my initial assumptions with what was really there surprised me and made me interested in his plight. This was no superficial action hero, but a real person. This made you interested in him.
    What made you think this piece was a story and did you want to read on?
    You wanted to know why they were there and where they were going. The fact that there were obstacles in his path to safety; not only the aliens but the heat and lack of water with the heavy body armour, made you tense and worried if he would make it. I was definitely anxious for him to make it to the mothership.
    What were the most, and least, successful aspects of the writing?
    It was easy to read, and nicely flowing. I am not a sci-fi fan, but even so I enjoyed reading it. It made me concerned for him. I think knowing that he was a straggler and that his troops hadn't waited for him was a nice touch to get the reader to feel for him and want to support him. If I had to pick something negative I would have to say that, although it was well written, there wasn't anything that stood out as being totally original. I guess it is hard to achieve this in such a small text, but I think to get hooked even more, to want to read the whole book to the end, I would need something far out, something amazing I'd never seen before. A unique description of the aliens or perhaps the mothership, or maybe something about the guy or the situation that he is in that really makes him stand out. Maybe he is on that planet for some bizzare reason, or the fight is due to some weird and wonderful event. (Oh and beware of typos Their/there and save/safe ;-) )

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