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Looking for "consistency" feedback

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Hmm, maybe "consistency" isn't the right word... Anyway, I'm working on a storyline which a friend of mine will be developing into a comic book, and I will simultaneously be developing into a game (though the game will come later, but that's beside the point). We're trying to keep the style somewhat gritty; no men-in-tights superhero stories here. If you've ever read any publications by Vertigo, particularly "Transmetropolitan", you'll have some idea of the direction we want to go (though not quite as "uniquely extreme" in certain cases). I'll present the basic outline first, then move on to some questions: _________________________________________________________________ The main [somewhat sketchy] story arc concerns what I'm currently calling the Rift Wars. (Unfortunately, there is a very well-done UT2004 mod by this name so I intend to change it soon, but for the sake of conversation here I'll continue to refer to it as such). The core idea is that, every ten years or so, there occurs a cosmic phenomenon which opens a time/space "rift" to an alien world, which is essentially a negative energy plane. The energies of our two worlds don't get along so well. During the time the rift is open, sentient, highly-intelligent creatures come through and ravage the earth. These creatures aren't necessarily humanoid by they possess at least human levels of intelligence, sometimes higher. They have a highly developed language, a structured society, technology, etc. that are all very, very foreign to us. They're also really violent, and we haven't yet figured out why. The Rift Wars have been recurring for centuries, and we've gotten to the point where we can predict when a rift will open and have military forces prepared to deal with the threat. Even so, every Rift War results in many lost lives on both sides, and no one ever "wins"; the rift simply closes as the inciting cosmic phenomenon passes. The first Rift War was particularly catastrophic because it was totally unexpected; since then, the world has become a gritty, almost Fallout-like universe (a little different than that, but details of the setting are unimportant for the scope of this post). Anyway, the point here is that the Rift Wars have been going on for so long that they have become a natural part of our lives. During the last few Rift Wars, as we've honed our defense tactics to an exact science, we've been trying to get a research team *through* the rift, to find out where these invaders come from and hopefully discover a weakness, possibly a way to end the Rift Wars forever. In the most recent Rift War, we succeeded in this endeavour, but the rift closed before the research team could return with any of their findings. This makes the upcoming Rift War doubly significant, going on the assumption/hope that the team is still alive and can be rescued. _________________________________________________________________ Now, as far as feedback is concerned: First, the obvious one: is this a good idea? I'm trying to avoid going totally cliche here, but I don't want to alienate the reader/player either. Admittedly, this is a really subjective question, especially considering that many of our signature elements have more to do with the details of the setting and characters, which I didn't mention here. But overall, do you see potential? Next question: I haven't defined the nature of the cosmic phenomenon that opens the rift. Without getting overly technical (again alienating the reader/player), what are some scientifically, or at least science-fictionally, plausible events that could create this kind of repeating effect? My first thought was a comet that draws near the earth every ten years, but then I had the idea of a "moving black hole" or something along those lines. I don't know if that would really make sense, though. And the final question: does the story WORK? I mean, the humans have been fighting the Rift Wars for an undefined number of hundreds of years, so I'm a little worried that it might be assumed that by now, we should be absolute experts at fighting these invaders, and would've destroyed their world already. (To an extent, we have mastered the appropriate response tactics). At the very least, the question could be rasied: Why did it take so long for us to get our people through the rift? Is it implausible that the Rift Wars have gone on for so long, or does it feel comfortable? All feedback is welcome and appreciated! Josh Sutphin Lead Designer Third Helix That is all.

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Quote:
And the final question: does the story WORK? I mean, the humans have been fighting the Rift Wars for an undefined number of hundreds of years, so I'm a little worried that it might be assumed that by now, we should be absolute experts at fighting these invaders, and would've destroyed their world already. (To an extent, we have mastered the appropriate response tactics). At the very least, the question could be rasied: Why did it take so long for us to get our people through the rift? Is it implausible that the Rift Wars have gone on for so long, or does it feel comfortable?


One possible explaination:

You could say that the attackers from the other side, only emerge sporadically, due to the nature of the rifts, leaving many years in between each attack for human scientists and strategists to come up with paper-work. Humans have much theoretical knowledge about the rifts and the hostile forces, but little field experience.

As for the science behind the rifts, I don't know if there is any theoretical basis for alternate dimensions full of monsters but science fiction often becomes less convincing when one goes in to detail trying to explain fantasy concepts in terms of science. If it were me, I'd be vague about it.

[Edited by - Kelly G on October 7, 2004 10:16:11 PM]

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I really like this idea. It feels original, and you can take it in quite a few directions. Before I start to respond, though, I have a question: is the race violent in general, or just those that pass through the rift? Maybe the rift does something to them? I was wondering because you said they were technologically advanced, which I was actually shocked by; usually, in stories similar to this (read: including reptile-d00ds), the sides are usually the technologically-advanced humans v. the primitive animals (I won't comment on parallels in history on this).

I don't know much for science, but I know a bit about philosophy...maybe the Rift is a portal into The Matrix that the humans are trapped in, and maybe they see death as the only way to set the humans free? You could do a lot with ideas about what happens after you die in this one. (Matrix used as example only)

As for fighting for hundreds of years...I'd say that either the invaders target technology to delay human advances, or maybe the fact that the Rift is only predictable in that the humans know that it WILL appear, but not exactly where or when. Also, maybe you could reduce the time on Rift appearances (huge battles every week would put me on edge 24/7)...10 years seems like you had to fight it away from the RPG-typical 1000 years.

Ok, I guess that's it, sorry if es muy desordenado, I'm on medicine.

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I have a few comments for you to think about in regrards to your story.

1) There seems to be a rather long time between attacks enough time for humanity to recover a prepare for the next one.
2) You need to elborate on the attacks themselves, is there a single rift that open? Do multiple rifts open across the globe? How long do these attacks last hours? days? months? years?
3)It seems unlikely that after hundreads of years there has only been one attempt to strike back at the invaders. Why during all that time has no launched a few missles, or cannon balls into a rift? Let alone lead an attack force into one.
4) It would seem to me that if all humanity can do defended themselves to the point of just surving, then how can anyone belive that the expediction into the other world could survive for 10 years.

just a few points to consider.

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Its interesting, I like it. I'll add just a few thoughts, or suggestions, whatever comes out of this keyboard really.

I wonder if maybe theres some confusion between the 2 races? The disaster and terror caused by the attack, wouldnt it be interesting if on the other side of the rift there was just as much panic? Maybe neither side is attacking the other, its a third party? The attackers coming to earth are merely trying to defend themselves, or are the third party altogether?.. The exploits by the team 10 years ago are hugely successful and are actually working with the other side on a resolution, which explains why the humans though it was weird this time around when the rift opened up to no enemies.. Random thoughts people, just random thoughts.

But I like it though.. As nit picky as people can be, theres almost certianly an aspect or two to your story that we could argue to death (10 years, rift?, etc.), but all in all, its an ok start. Im interested to hear about the team whos been stuck there for 10 years.

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