Echo-a Dystopian Science Fiction Novel: Chapter 3 and Author’s Notes

Chapter 3 is here!  Want to read it on wattpad?  Click here:  Chapter 3 on wattpad.  Want to read it on wordpress?  Click here:  Chapter 3 on wordpress.

Author’s Notes:  Chapter 3 continues Atriya’s break with his environment.  He makes a shift in that he consciously begins to notice that his surroundings give him no comfort and that he is deeply disturbed by them, even though he is still unsure of what that represents on a deeper level.  I also start introducing the theme of outer versus inner.  Through the linkup, I’m trying to paint a picture of his aversion to a focus of adding stuff on.  More than cool weapons and gear, he wants first and foremost to be a warrior in the inner sense.

As he walks through the city, all my descriptions are indications that the world itself is lost and confused.  It opens with the description of over half the planet being covered by city.  I push it further by mentioning the lack of natural light or the suppression of it when I write about Ascension and the white dwarves.  Going a little into the social structure, I wanted to give a pronounced sense of disparity; Ascension residents literally look down from the comfort of their homes miles above the workers.

As Atriya starts reflecting on the workers, I wanted to give the idea that he felt disturbed by them.  He feels that mindless drudgery without higher aspirations is unnatural and wrong, but he hasn’t personally committed to that idea yet.  It’s more like he can’t stop thinking about it.

I go into the economics a bit, also reflective of a dark age.  Echo gets all its energy from dying sources, and is only motivated by a hungry thirst for more.  The construction is entirely dependent on its next fix of energy.  The harvesters are portrayed as nothing more than cogs in the machine.

The advertisement:  Reference to the Roman Empire, a bloated system that kept going as long as it did in part by appealing to baser pleasures and thrills (one way was through gladatorial combat) is intentional.  Atriya’s disgust at it is also indicative of his deeper unhappiness with the currently stagnant system.

On a personal note this chapter was very hard for me.  I really just wanted to focus on parts with action in them, but I realized that I couldn’t write a book about dystopia where I didn’t reflect it in everyday living and society.  It took a while for me to think of a simple and illustrative culture that fit the theme.

As far as the wording goes, this chapter is where I start to smooth out the prose.  I feel like the first half I’m still writing in kind of a stilted manner, and you see pieces in the second half where the descriptions start to smooth out and a little more flow is introduced.  Sorry about that.  When I wrote this, I was still struggling with transitions between events.  I know I keep saying it but the prose smooths out more and more from this point on.  I hope you’ll be patient and bear with me.

I finish with a lead-in to the first conflict of the book.  And yes, stay tuned, you will get to see Atriya beat some ass.

Thanks for reading!

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4 thoughts on “Echo-a Dystopian Science Fiction Novel: Chapter 3 and Author’s Notes

  1. A planet of scavengers, feeding from corpses. A stagnated culture, broken and scattered. And finally, a mindless populace that forgot how to think, devolved into less than apes…. I like it! A lot was going through my mind as I read this. How far is Echo from Earth? What are the dissidents fighting for? Better treatment? Revolution? Escape? Are there places to even escape to? Other colonies, some better than Echo? Some worst? Why is Atrya different? Is the populace’s IQ dummed down artificially? Is Atrya imune to whatever mean that is? Is that what the dissidents are? Is Verus like him? Then, on the long run: How do you go about “fixing” this dystopia? Revolution would lead to chaos, anarchy on an already dying world. But is extinction better than submission, from a moral point of view, if there even is such a thing?

    anyway, all those are interesting thoughts. Another great chapter, though I’m looking forwards to the mech suits 😉 we need some Gundams in here.

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    • My original idea was that Echo was one of four seed worlds created from dying planet Earth settlers. (4 is the number of death in Asian culture, as well as being the darkest age of the Hindu cycle of existence: The Kali Yuga), but I haven’t really fleshed that idea yet. The Dissidents are in many ways like the Regime, just the opposing version of them; they fight as a natural reaction to the lifestyle forced on them, kind of like if the “Occupy” movement were to really go full-blown. The contrast of Atriya and Verus with greater society is meant to show the beginnings of an analogous spiritual awakening; aren’t many in our society suffering in a similar way through a deluge of consumerism and economic warfare? The main arc of the story is an evolution from ignorance and awareness, but first it comes at a personal level. Atriya’s crossroads and stopping of progress is being illustrated in different ways throughout the story, but in the first chapter most starkly by the symbolism of the mountain ascent, plateau, and descent. Oh and don’t worry about the impending destruction. I’ve just finished drafting the first of a multifight chapter that’s got Atriya two-gunning it, running on railings like Batman on a tighrope, wireframe exoskeleton commandos, and I haven’t even gotten to the giant robot suit yet, alluded to in Chapter 6. If you want more of a taste of the harder stuff click on Echo’s Glossary of Concepts up top and check out Retrieval Specialists, Exo-suits, and for the deeper stuff scroll to Mandala City and KAIA, all in the Glossary of Concepts.

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  2. I liked this chapter too but pretty soon you’re going to have to taper off exposition and get more dialog and action. It might have worked to have a newby Crew member being shown the ropes by Atriya, then some of the necessary exposition could have been handled by dialog. I look forward to reading more.
    Hey, do you notice how WordPress tries to make us use UK spelling? Dialog vs dialoge, etc. I keep thinking my spelling is wrong (not a great speller without spell-check) but it’s only WordPress’s loyalty to Blighty.

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    • Yeah the wordpress stuff I ignore and just edit the crap out of my work. I agree with you on the exposition. And volume 1 is pretty much all exposition. I wanted to set up a thematically consistent world that had darkly appealing aesthetics. I didn’t want to go into the economy, but I felt that I needed to reflect some of the themes in the lifestyle of Echo citizens, and that it necessarily bled into the economy. Also, part of the reason is I’m just kind of stumbling my way through as a new writer. But thank you for the constructive criticism! Much appreciated! 🙂

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