Company Daughter, by Callan Primer (19:14)

IOD-CompanyDaughterToday we see that the secret to creating worlds with character is to create characters with history.

What I gleaned about the story: Aleta has the great good luck to live on a fleet carrier, and the great bad luck to the be the daughter of the Commandant. Overprotected, chaperoned at every step, and just aching to bust out from under all that, she’s primed to go on the adventure of her life. And when dear old dad gets assigned to a lengthy mission off-ship, it looks like this just might be her lucky week.

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Kudos #1: A sense of history

Details: One of the hardest things to do in a book, I find, is to establish a sense that the story-world existed more than five minutes before the reader opened the cover. And one of the best ways to do that is to show people living and working together and sharing established relationships—who have an obvious history together. Not one that is being born on the page in front of us, but that has depth and mileage behind it. And the opening scene of this story delivered that for me. It all plays out in a single confrontation between a young woman on her first day of work, and the ogre-customer who is teasing her.

WTF #1: Echoing headwords

Analysis: About six “I”-sentences in the course of two paragraphs make for a very dense echo. But curiously, I’m not getting a sense of Galloping I disease yet. Let’s see what develops.

WTF #2: Galloping I disease

Analysis: It was bound to happen sooner or later, especially with a chatty teen character in 1st POV. But one interesting note is that this time, it wasn’t just her dialogue and narration that tripped me. There were also a couple of self references in the dialogue of other characters, crowding into the same few paragraphs. No matter how necessary the pronouns are, if you end up using the same one eight or ten times in the course of four sentences, the reader’s radar is going to bound to snag on the pattern.

WTF #3: Echoing headwords

Analysis: Chapter 3 opens with three successive “I”-paragraphs, plus a half-dozen other I-references strewn within them. If not for this one over-used word, I thing the story is otherwise very well constructed and quite competently executed. If you’re not particular about echoing, by all means, give it a whirl.


Operation Chimera, by Healey and Cox (9:23)
Cyberbully Blues, by Rubin Johnson (7:50)

About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is underqualified in just about everything. That's why he writes.