Blerk I know you have children. There is that age when for some reason they turn into these paranoid little creatures and will on instinct hide from anyone that they don’t see every day? When their first reaction is to hide behind the legs of their parents? Were it needs sweet talking, international treaties guaranteeing continued happiness and a crowbar to make them move?
That is you and your writing!
Oh. Ah. Erm… Looks like I am proper muppet. I somehow did not notice that Chapter 8 was there waiting for me. Unread. Unloved.
So Chapter 8
In the fun fair the musings about bullies is in front of a picture of children being chased by vampires and other monsters. A nice touch. I liked that. One thing I’d like to not is that the protagonist should probably pay some attention to these pictures as he has never really seen a native and he might be wondering if they looked entirely human. (As far as I know they could have orange skin and blue hair so I’d certainly would take notice of anything showing what a human-a-like on this world looked like)
Like the thing with the map and the library for example. There he is looking for alien information.
One thing there is a strong romantic tension building between Jake and Alison. I think you may what to keep an eye on this. For Jake this should be both a relief and a source of guilt, while Allison is still distracted by her missing boyfriend/husband. The latter is something that brings potential for all kinds of drama. No matter how things go this will be emotionally rather messy.
The library bit is great. I am as angry and paranoid as your protagonist. You effectively built the story towards (among others) this point seeing it finally happen is filled with tension.
And followed by the same flabbergasted disappointment.
That secret must be quite the momentous thing…
A Jake, you silly man. Letting your emotions get the better of you and being a rebel when it will reap you the least reward. At least acting the way he does he adds to the dramatic tension. I am having some strong palms meeting face feelings right now.
Shortly afterwards he even notices it. You know this mixture of emotional explosions followed by moments of clarity make him a rather likable character. His flaws are easily to relate to and they are tempered by his own insight.
There is the boy again. Funny these bits are closer to horror fiction, somehow you have retained some dramatic elements from your last story. Works well.
For god’s sake Jake! Stop telling the evil bastard about the alien! Good thing that Maxwell is to much of a narcissist prick to pick up on that.
Now that you mention Dan. Jake is out-pubertying his own son right now.
The bit with the son and the computer was really touching.
The dream suddenly makes so much more sense.
And there is Kurt again. That smug little bastard! :-D
Jenson remains the kind of boy that might grow up to be a Maxwell, but he does deliver.
One question just appeared in my mind. Why exactly is Jenson the misfit? At first I was not surprised they always crop up everywhere and the tendency of the misfit to give in and identify in his role as the official outsider reinforces that.
But now that he mentions the other kids, the ‘science nerds’ I wonder who his parents are. What function do they have, as obviously Jenson here is different.
Oh. My. God. Worst adult ever! So he tells the rebellious youth that it is: ‘too dangerous’, ‘forbidden’, has to keep his grates triumph to himself and ‘forget it’? This is the best way possible to encourage the boy to go even further with what he has been doing. It is also a serious case of black calling of kettles by pots.
Jake should indulge Jenson a bit, build up a basis of trust and even more importantly learn from him. After that he can go and try to talk him out of more dangerous escapades.
The time jump from the conversation with Jenson to the secondary gate is a bit jarring. What happened to the class? What did Jake tell the children? How could he explain away the book or at least impart onto them the importance to keep quiet about the entire affair?
The cut is great for pacing but in this case it leaves out an important bit of information that has me wondering as a reader.
Now that hacking sequence brings some Terminator 2 flashbacks. I am also amused that the guy named Jenson is hacking security doors and sneaking past patrols to places he should not go, reading things he should not read. (Oh and here is also the key to the encrypted data)
The ‘and suddenly a jeep with four armed dudes arrived!’ trick should not work as well as it does here. Still immediate tension and drama. Chandler was right.
And there is Kurt again! I hate that guy! (Not really)
Fleeing. Where are the kids? Suddenly it is just Kurt and Jake. Either explain where they boys went or mention them standing around or something. Right now I am wondering what happened to them.
A narrow escape and some strange events. Who is the target Maxwell is speaking of? For a moment I thought they might be able to track max. The way you introduce the strange weapons is also neat. IT is a clever bit of exposition and you just destroyed a source of information. Furthermore you established how this was a special place to someone in the past, which makes the actions of the soldiers look more sinister.
Kurt the old Jedi, is also not giving Jake any reason to trust him. For all intents and purposes he is turning Jake into his pawn. So the mistrust on the protagonist’s side is entirely understandable.
OK. You win this time Maxwell you are a tosser but more cunning than I have given you credit for.
Again with the mind-tricks.
Oh. Yes. Of course. The GPS satelites. I had forgotten about them. It could still work with other forms of technology. At least on a smaller scale. I think…
So far the story is full of mysteries and every step forward seems to reveal that the path is much more convoluted and longer than expected. So far so good, you are also starting to trickle in more information which is good because right now, just like your protagonist the state of not knowing what is going on is making me frustrated. But now there are some many compelling little pieces to work with.
tl;dr Go and write faster! (And update for god’s sake. UPDAAAAAATE!!!!)