Back to Jukepop again! I’m conducting research into the serials that are popular, making sure that what I submit will fit in well.
This weeks story is a promising sci-fi serial called Quetzalcoatl.
From the start, it’s clear that this story is familiar yet different. We’ve got a cruise ship in space, like a lot of old-school sci-fi, yet it’s clearly not dominated by American culture and ideals. As multicultural as Star Trek always was, it could never quite shake its distinctly American roots – and nor could so much of the other sci-fi it inspired. Quetzalcoatl avoids the problem right off by making it crystal clear where this ship and crew is from – the name Quetzalcoatl is a Meso-American deity, and the ship in the story is named Peru.
Another factor I really like is the gradual buildup – the story takes its time to establish a setting, yet it doesn’t take too long to reach the first crisis. On the way to that crisis, the details of the cruise ship and the lives of those on it gradually come out in slow, natural ways. I already appreciate the characters and the setting, and the slow attention to detail had me hooked by the end of the second chapter.
I understand that this story, unlike the last one I reviewed, is not yet published, and is still undergoing editing. I agree with one criticism on the Jukepop page about this paragraph:
It was often difficult for first-time passengers to orient themselves to the outward push of the ship’s artificial gravity, especially on the outermost decks of the flattened sphere, where observation windows made up much of the flooring. More confusing was the way the force became weaker the further one went from the core, as opposed to the centrifuge-based gravity employed by less advanced spacecraft. Eva had been on board so long that she no longer thought of it as strange.
Around this paragraph, the reader is seeing the character Eva and her thoughts, but here, a bit of an external point-of-view seeps into the narrative. A consistent POV that focuses on what Eva sees and thinks would improve it greatly.
After only 2 short chapters, the story is already intriguing and has interesting characters. The slow buildup and natural pacing really shine, ensuring that readers will want more.