|Reviews for Tomorrowland: Frank and Athena|
| Captain A chapter 29 . 1/26
I would like to see more of your Tomorrowland fanfics if you ever decide to write them.
I would to say, though, that if Disney ever did consent to publish your stories as official books, they would probably insist on you revising your stories to fit better with the official, "canon" events of the movie. That means that the precognition machine would still be part of the plot, Tomorrowland would still become a ghost town by the climax, Nix would still be the villain and have given up on saving the world, and Athena would stay dead after the events of the movie. This is due to the fact that in most "expanded universes" of a franchise, nothing in one part of it can ignore or contradict anything in another part of it (unless you're writing for the "Dark Crystal" universe).
This is not a knock against you, sib-ff, this is just a warning.
| Guest chapter 1 . 10/26/2019
SkekAthen and UrFran AthenFran
| JOHNHAMMOND1993 chapter 7 . 5/22/2019
Happy Tomorrowland day 2019!
Keep Dreaming Dreamers!
| Guest chapter 13 . 1/28/2019
This is one of my favorite chapters. I hated the one size fits all education. I was often bored and wished I could work at my own pace. Your ideas for education are amazing and make so much more sense than the current way of teaching
| Guest chapter 12 . 1/28/2019
I love reading your story. Your details are very interesting and clever
| CraftyNotepad chapter 8 . 10/14/2018
My chapter summary:
Frank explores Tomorrowland.
Athena explores life through human eyes. (I was going to write “Athena explores Frank, but that seemed less precise.)
Logically, our girl of tomorrow does not reveal herself to be a machine to someone who may not end up staying in Tomorrowland. (Which would make him a “Tomorrowlanderer” wanna-be?) “At least until” such a decision is reached. Logical, yet something “plus ultra” is definitely in the mix.
You kept Frank’s “better future” speech tight and enthusiasm which shines throughout it. This is the future as Frank in the movie remembered it being at this time. The Robinson’s “keep moving forward” is a nice Easter egg you’ve thrown in for fun. (There were plenty of Easter eggs in the movie, so feel free to toss a few around, T.K.)
“Wright Field,” (flight) “Tsiolkovsky Research Facility (astronautic theorist),” and the “Goddard Space Port” (a, some would say “the”, rocket man) are cute and appropriate bits of historical name dropping, but I’m so happy you didn’t stop with just name dropping. That this rendering of Tomorrowland comes across as a mix between the movie’s live action version and the animated closing credits adds to the fun. Sort of Buckminster Fuller meets the Jetsons. We’re introduced to the helical design structures almost immediately upon Frank’s arrival in the film, and it’s consistent to find this useful form repeated for its strength (tall towers need strength) and efficiency elsewhere in the city. Those triple helix towers that Frank is greeted to being built when he first arrives in Tomorrowland in the film? While I thought them interesting, I found myself asking myself “what are they for?” Radio tower? Unlikely. But now you have wondering if they’re not some sort of inner structure for a new building, one being built — not floor by floor as we do, but from the inside out!
The best T.K. addition thus far to Tomorrowland might very well be the outer wall. What’s so special about a wall? It’s hardly new technology, and no, it’s not the casual mentioning of wildlife (which was regrettably obliterated in the novel’s comic book). It’s the why Tomorrowland has skyscrapers like they were on sale! The city is surrounded by a wall, so land (safe land) is at a premium even when they have an entire world to themselves. Every city person knows that when land is hand to come by, you build the only way you can — UP! (and up and up and thataway.) Points to you, T.K.! (or Tomorrowland credits, if you prefer)
Those entwining staircase are actually a very old design, predating even Plus Ultra. Leonardo da Vinci include them in a tower design so soldiers could race up and down inside a tower without running into one another. But the cleanliness of Tomorrowland? That’s a Disneyland trademark. Bet they wish they had such a system for monorail cleanliness; it was kind of you to address it here.
As welcomed as the skyway tube system is as a vehicle for Frank and Athena exploring Tomorrowland, the hotel’s single express elevators are essential for life in those enormous towers. Think if you had to spend a large portion of every day — not on the freeway — but in elevators. Not just to get to work, but then to move to different departments while you were working. When the entire tower is considered, shrinking valuable square footage on every floor to transportation … Okay, sense made. Woosh! Three more full-size elevators equate to at least a large office on each of the many floors. Your description of the mechanics involved is easy to follow. Frank’s encounter with an exo-suit is a nice touch. You could have just as easily written in a forklift, but instead took the opportunity to shine on how much further ahead Tomorrotonians already are in ’64. (Tomorroworrians?) Did you drop this bit of tech just to give credence to Athena’s might, while exceptional, is just the product of Plus Ultra’s innovative research?
"Where's the bed?" — more images of the push button house of tomorrow with George Jetson’s bed sliding back into the floor come flashing into my head. Ultra high speed T-Post, T-Net, … Who needs a Federation replicator? Amazon is drooling right about now. It’d be interesting to see how this expands to another city, say hundreds of kilometers inland across rivers, ravines, and ridges. From the description of the computer (Sorry, T-Net terminal) Could be that they’ll resort to the same bulk delivery systems we do. Tomorrowland has evolved beyond the use of mice, but people still wave when on camera.
The wall, the wildlife, and those mysterious initial buildings are tantalizing elements which I hope you’re going to explore. Yes, the homesteading period would have used what was easy to construct, as it is in any frontier, and used building techniques already established back on Earth. No every building requires WiFi (or electricity, plumbing, gas, air conditioning — why, houses use to be little more than a box with a chimney attached.) (Hey, does the City of Tomorrowland’s planet have a name?)
As for the safety system in place for falling objects, it’s fighting the dramatic image from the movie of Frank’s toes nearly touching the ground, far too late to back up Athena’s claim of safety. But that was the film, not your take, I know. Just sayin’ that it’s a strong image to discard even in the confident delivery of Miss Chaumers. That’s the negative side of writing a FanFiction story. Sure, you get to write in a kind of shorthand because your audience is already up to speed on character interactions, visuals, and the like, but then when you attempt to rewrite what we “know” happened, there’s a conflict a brewing’ in your readers’ noggins.
The concept of a monetary system existing in this nearly utopian society has it’s place. Learn something new? Get more credits. Invent something new? Get more credits. Get a promotion? Get a raise. Financial incentive does provide a reason to not rest on one’s laurels, but it only works when there’s something to spend the money on. Let’s assume that everyone is either born there or recruited. (Security breach, Nix? How often does that happen?) Plus Ultra doesn’t want a homeless problem, so basic housing is provided for free. Problem solved. Same for basic food and, of course, basic cable. Want the special t.v. channels, or imported caviar? Go to work, get your PhD, come up with a cure for the common cold … or at least the hiccups. Improve yourself or improve life for others, then you can afford an evening of elegant dining atop one of the new sky high restaurants. “You’re crucial to the future of Tomorrowland … until you’re replaced by robots or a video construct working in a hotel, so hurry up and get your G.E.D. squared” This economic feature always seems to be side-stepped in the Star Trek universe. You figured it out, though. More Tomorrowland credits to you!
Impressive, it takes eight chapters before the most minuscule of spelling errors surface. Unheard of in a FanFiction tale.
“Frank recognized a few of the pictures that were of scientists, artists, musicians and businessman …” (_A_ businessman or businessmEn.)
“The(y) kept walking …”
“… the Egyptian (p)yramids … (might as well say French _p_astries)
“"I don't know if there'll be (a) launch today …” (_a_nother launch today — together, they had already witnessed one)
Athena has people she likes. Her evolution is apparently something you’re providing us a front row seat for. She’s bending rather than breaking, which is a natural developmental behavior for a child, and an extraordinary one for a machine; after all, atoms don’t break the rules, neither do bacteria. Athena is starting to and all because of the new variable in her world from Pittsfield, NY. She tells half-truths. She even bends her mother’s instructions for this boy who she in someway values enough to modify her interpretation of her assigned protocols. This is going to get more interesting, as she’s acting more and more like Casey Newton.
“Processing units in her mind branched off in myriads of directions, analyzing all the new experiences generated by exploring the spaceport with Frank.” — This makes Athena sound more like a gestalt than a single identity. Perhaps that is merely what parallel processing adds up to, rather than we (mostly) single-minded individuals.
“giddy” — you know why
Frank’s right. There’s just so much about Tomorrowland which just makes sense. Sure there’s “fighting, envy, politics and all other things” human. Let’s face it: all people are messy in life, some are even a mess. (Let’s not forget the face-print records being deleted from the hotel’s database upon checkout. Probably some hanky-panky going on with unhappily married people cheating. Either that, or with a restaurant on the 15th floor, Athena’s recruitment rpm* must be incredible to nearly fill 13 floors of small, but cozily furnished hotel rooms.) It’s the things we build, be it technology, government (not the same as politics), or how we better treat one another which defines and improves life as we know it. We’re here but for a moment before our replacements take over; we’d like to leave conditions a little better than we found them in.
* RPM — Recruits Per Mission
Until we get it right, we’ll likely continue to fall for Athena’s manipulative and near infinite little smiles.
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| Reid chapter 29 . 10/9/2018
I would love to see a series of this
| CraftyNotepad chapter 7 . 10/7/2018
“But he was a kid with a jetpack.”
Top of a building? I always imagined the pin’s “T” being a flying T., jetpack powered. What did I know? I even expected Tomorrowland to have moving sidewalks.
I appreciate the details you contribute to the Small World episode, Frank’s state of mind, Athena’s concern, the no longer present boats before his, but you really didn’t have to switch the red beam to the twinkle in a doll’s eye to see if we are paying attention, T.K.
Frank dropped his jetpack duffel bag WITH HIS HELMET INSIDE and ran toward the hard hats.
Frank Walker is painted as being, at the very least, bright, yet with ten seconds to protect his noggin, he ignores stepping on his bag to reach the helmets, doesn’t retrieve the flight helmet in his bag to wear or, ironically, to throw at the hats on the wall to put one of them on. This genius doesn’t even wedge his feet into a pair of stirrups on floor. See? This is why he only scored a 41: low potential for self-preservation. Must have graded him on a curve.
“It seemed to take an eternity and be instantly over at the same time.” Well said.
“He immediately felt a chill, as a blast of cold, foggy air hit him.” Appreciate the sensory detail being shared.
“But then he turned to Athena, who he caught casting a glare at Nix's back …” All right, it’s a glare, not a frown or even an extended tongue aimed with the deadly accuracy of an eleven year old. Still, Athena is emoting - for her own sake, without the person she’s expressing herself to even looking her way. Is this a sample of her exceeding her original parameters Frank just caught?
Five minutes to repair and upgrade a non-functional jetpack into a lean, mean, flying machine seems more reasonable. Nice fix entangling our two falling object not plummeting at exactly the same rate; it did stand out as a whoopsie in the film.
I hope that the “Tomorrowland” Hotel isn’t a precursor to every business having “Tomorrowland” in their name. That could get monotonous faster than the Small World theme song. As for his new hotel, Frank Walker, you’ve just been upgraded.
Frank appears to have found a kindred spirit in Caroline Chaumers, a (girl?)friend in Athena, and a bright new future (maybe) in Tomorrowland.
Favorite wordsmithing: “Abruptly,” “sputtered,” “burst out,” “tetchy,”
I always appreciate writers not over relying upon the word “said,” particularly when used involving questions, so your efforts in varying your word choice do not go unrecognized. Thanks.
Doing my part to keep Tomorrowland in good repair, T.K.
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P.S. Now we know what is required to get that annoying song out of our heads. That’s what a jetpack is good for, Nix!
| CraftyNotepad chapter 6 . 9/30/2018
T.K., I’m thoroughly enjoying your novel! This going on my favorite stories list.
So that’s why those lines on Athena’s dress looked so squiggly? It makes so much sense now, and sheds light on the detail-oriented mind of Dr. Caroline Chambers. Nice eye for details T.K.! Now you have me wondering what Dr. C has encoded onto Athena’s freckles, and why she’s so very giddy over eye color — any why someone so involved with details didn’t supply Athena with a belly-button.
Athena does come across more as Caroline’s doll, than her daughter, or at least one of those child-pageant contestants, bizarrely dressed up, froufroued and adorned to be someone they are not. I get it though, thanks to your description of Athena’s indifference to the matter of her outward appearance. She’s the socially awkward daughter, oblivious to aesthetic rituals, whose mother wants everyone to view her as “normal.”
Particularly satisfying is the backstory you fashioned for the Athena-Nix confrontation. Not only did it have to be justifiable, but considering Athena’s true nature, it had to be logical. Redefining her assumed operating parameters provided the firm footing for this; Athena reasoned the rest. (Surpassing satisfied, I’m happy.) Speaking of operating parameters, Athena’s decision to pick up a second brochure to technically avoid lying seems logical, in a naughty child sort of way. Certainly, if she hadn’t managed to procure a 2nd pamphlet, Athena would have found a way to still justify that she hadn’t actually lied. After all, she still had the first souvenir as evidence in her favor. Caroline's little girl (and she will forever be little) is quite the conniver.
So, they still have books in Tomorrowland. Makes sense, as it would take even them quite an effort to digitize everything into computer files. Far better use of their time, for now, to simply bring crates of books from one world to the next. The two different style cameras provided an extra dimension to “one foot in the old world, one foot in the future” mindset of Tomorrowites. (Tomorroworians?) Athena’s mom is a camera-happy shutterbug like every parent.
Intense focus seems to be a shared trait of Caroline and Frank, both immersed in their work. Athena’s focus on Zeno involved a classic logic puzzle which Athena would seemingly dismiss as being based upon false assumption. “Parents,” huh?
As to Nix, the phrase “slave to practicality” sums him up properly. What an appropriate choice of naming for this character: to turn down, reject, veto, to put an end to. Who’d put this bucket of cold water in charge of the future?
“Secrets _pleased_ her very much.”
Another emotion: Athena _hopes_, and her hopes are ones shared by every kid. It’s becoming clear that while Athena’s mind is different, burgeoning even, it has the necessary complexity for emotion, imagination, and sentience. No, not in the same way that human minds do, but she shares those qualities, nonetheless - perhaps in the way a banana isn't an apple or an orange, yet they are both fruit. Speaking of human traits, having one of the perfect society’s travel party being tardy was an insightful element to toss into the chapter, humanizing Tomorrovites. (Tomorrowicans?)
Ah, we are treated to both an explanation and the math justifying the travel pod’s location up on high in Tomorrowland. Wondering now if you sat down and did the math for Frank’s nearly toe-touching plummet from the tower to calculate out the 700 meters, or if the gravity on this planet isn’t quite 32 feet per second per second. Oh, and the water at the Earth-side receiving station, a quick and easy heat sink?
“Permanent Committed Memory” insinuates that Athena does “housekeeping” when it comes to what she chooses to remember. What - no, “how” — given her acknowledged inability to interpret why people do what we do, would she determine what was garbage destine for her virtual trashcan?
I checked to discover if Erik was the reemergence of “Joe” from the Prologue. He’s not, but then why should he be? Tomorrowland is a city, and you are not limited to your cast size. Your story is getting to feel as though it will be taking place on a grand scale. Frank’s admission to seeing his trip to the World’s Fair as his first excursion from Farmland foreshadows what Plus Ultra will become in his life. What a preview we’re provided into Frank’s joy regarding Tomorrowland by knowing how he feels upon entering the World’s Fair, from the imagery of the far away city of distant towers which is Manhattan, to his appreciation for the presentation of the faux city of tomorrow which is the Fair.
It wouldn’t be “Disney” without _VERY_ long lines.
Recreating an established movie scene is always a mixed blessing, particularly such a pivotal one. You are provided with an outline, dialogue, and visuals to draw from, or even (in the worst cases) regurgitate. Therefore, the challenge isn’t to pen the scene; it is to write it in such a fresh manner that your readers’ eyes won’t start skimming, them jump down to where the moment ends, missing all the detail your own take has to offer. Here, you accomplished this by joining Athena in the shadows, watching. There really was no need to change “five o’clock” to “nine” just to see if we are paying attention, T.K. We are.
Athena’s ongoing unspoken evaluation of the young inventor offers a depth the film lacked. Let’s hear it for writers! “She more than liked him” — Athena appears to have a feedback set up regarding an applicant’s scoring. Mama C’s doing, no doubt, providing Athena’s mind with the equivalent to an endorphin rush. NO WONDER she pins the lad against the will of Nix. Nix to that!
Your closing explanation as to why Athena provides Frank with a seemingly indirect and poetic answer to his straightforward request is exactly why this tale is becoming so darn addictive, T.K. Brent.
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P.S. ”Anyroad" (anyhow?)
| CraftyNotepad chapter 5 . 9/26/2018
Favorite wordsmithing and imagery:
“chewing on a knuckle,”
“… but then fell into a suspicious look.”
“… engineering diagrams nonexistent. He does find some pictures, however, and traces diagrams as best he can from them …” As the diagrams do not exist, tracing nonexistent schematics seems an impossibility, even for Sam’s son. Try “sketches out,” “ascertains,” “deduces,” “discerns,” or “figures out” instead to give props to Frank’s powers of engineering deduction faced with only limited exterior observations.
Launch button from an old radio — Frank could have just touch two wires together, but when large rockets are fired in books, comics, movies, there’s a countdown and someone gets to push The Button. Frank has style … flavored with his own take on steampunk, let’s call it “farmpunk.” A lot of movie reviewers criticized the bathtub transforming into a flying bathtub scene (“escape rocket” must have been weighed and determined too complicated for their readers), but that was pure Frank, making use of whatever was on hand, just as all farmers do. His jetpack merely reflects his “work with what you got” attitude.
BTW, T.W., that looks much more like an old football than motorcycle helmet in the film, noting its ventilation holes, ear padding, and the decorative leather striping. Search “old leather football helmets” online and you’ll uncover several near lookalikes. I appreciate your upgrading young Frank’s protective headwear to a motorcycle helmet, though after plummeting from 200 meters, he might as well being wearing Mickey Mouse ears. SPLAT! A hard motorcycle helmet is more aerodynamic than soft leather around a shell with ventilation holes studding it, though, and your Frank does seize upon every advantage he can. Likely, he’s lucked into a half helmet, rather than a three-quarter or full one, so he’ll still have stylish leather ear flaps.
Frank’s research dead-ending is well presented. He doesn’t get frustrated; this inventor accepts and he regroups. (Nevertheless, the simple alcohol fuel the Rocketeer used obviously didn’t impress Frank.) Same for how he deals with his pa — he accepts what he cannot change now, restrategizes, and then masterfully manipulating him. Obviously, Frank and Athena have this trait in common.
Placing the World’s Fair in a new light, as an inspirational kindred spirit to Plus Ultra, rather than the gaudy spectacle it’s long been since, you successfully got away with foreshadowing what we movie goers know’s ahead. Newspaper ads in ’64 had used cars for sale for $250-400, so in that light, multiplied up to today’s values, fifty greenbacks is more akin to %500, a significant research budget to feed his imagination, and not just barely enough for a cheeseburger and a small coke.
Frank’s daydreaming fantasy is too good though, by giving away that you’ve shared this imagining, too, T.K. (With all those inventions, Sam, you couldn’t invent an alarm clock?) His pa’s reaction to Frank’s flight of fancy is solid and not overplayed.
You’ve developed Frank’s father’s character quite realistically. Take a bow! You disclose in your prologue that the farm’s financial footing is iffy at best. Now, a decade later, Sam Walker is counting on his last remaining immediate family member to pull his own weight to keep the family farm afloat, yet constantly finds his boy distracted by some or other tinkering hobby nonsense. Sam’s not an evil villain. He’s not even mean. Oh, he can be a yeller, no argument, but he doesn’t go on yelling. He wants to be listened to, and he’s figured out that continuing to yell (especially being a big man) doesn’t get him what he wants done. It’s inefficient. Farmer’s aren’t fans of what doesn’t work well.
He’s a business owner, one needing free labor, sure, but there’s more to it than this. His farm and his son are all he has left to live for, his reason to get up in the morning. He’s training his son to take over the family business when it’s time. He’s planning for a future, their future, one that doesn’t exist. He could have chose Frank over Farm, but he’s a man who works with his hands, with what’s tangible, and Frank’s dreams are just too insubstantial for Sam to see, let alone get a firm grip on. Frank Walker is relatable, a character we can be sympathetically sad for.
I can see Sam in Frank; Frank really is his father’s son. He also works with his hands, understands the mechanics of things, and isn’t afraid of hard work toward a long-term goal. Confronted with adversity, both dig in their heels, refusing to surrender what is important in their worlds. In short, they make sense, like father, like son.
The countdown to blast-off is great and concise. Frank could have bailed at any time; is it courage, commitment, or resigning himself that this might all have been for nothing — is his father right — which spurs him on to take “flight?”
“Frank has no idea how he is going to explain this.” — This is Frank’s version of breaking a window or denting the car. He comes across as every kid who has had to wait, planning what to do, until the parents come home to face the consequences. Well done. Same for Frank’s pa’s dealing with the aftermath and finally putting his foot down — and not from position of quashing Frank’s “hobby” or as a punishment, but out of love, concern, and downright fear for his son’s life.* Kids, they think they’ll live forever. Still, you hint at a soft side in Sam Walker in his warning to his son, one Frank will exploit.
Your concluding pa-son moment is charming and heartwarming. Two thumbs up!
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*Though, if he had witnessed Frank’s “flight,” might be forced to conclude that his son’s actually from Krypton and nigh on indestructible.
| CraftyNotepad chapter 4 . 9/23/2018
This is an action-packed installment and you’ve kept the tension up during the rescue. We are treated to super Athena and the not-quite-as-planned retrieval. She plays the odds, runs her if-then-else adaptations on the fly, and doesn’t know the meaning of the words “bad luck.”
Athena’s fan club is about to have a new president. Alexander Barinov comes across as a friendly, if not movie-stereotypical oppressed Russian scientist. (The only sort I know.) Don’t get me wrong; I like him and hope he pops up again as “Cousin Alex.” All his reactions and apprehension came across as being authentic to his character. He's family now.
I read the window scene twice, finding myself picturing Athena coming inside his room the first time, but always staying outside when I read it more carefully. A preposition here might make things clearer for sloppy readers such as me.
"Someone is coming," she finished. "I have to go. I'll see you tomorrow."
Barinov nodded and scrambled back to his bed, hoping it all wasn't some Soviet psychological trick.
The six relevant guards were confirmed to be in their expected locations. Athena reviewed her plan, preparing to initiate her extraction protocol. All was ready. She set her internal state to high alert. She initiated.
Where’s the transition above from when he crawls into bed and the next day? (Yes, there is a thin line, but where's the guided imagery?) Again, this reader really could use some more help.
Athena’s is not so different than a lot of females: demanding, impatient when tied to others not quick to make decisions, tells the guy she’s out with where to go, what to do and what to say. I don’t know what Frank is going to see in her. Then again, she’s definitely critical down to the seconds when it comes to her own efficient use of time, which, considering she basically immortal, is hilarious.
The previous detailing of Athena’s use of facial cues was not padding for that chapter, so this is going to be valuable information for upcoming chappies.
I’m surprise that, in Athena’s hogtying of the guard, she did not blindfold him. I wonder if she leaves fingerprints… probably, but without oils she would only leave them on dusty counters.
After Barinov proclaimed that he was now convinced, I expected Athena to give him a smile. You, however had her be all focused, all business. Good writers don’t present the obvious. You kept her in character, and that’s good writing. Worth coming back for more.
I didn’t expect comedy during the escape, but the exchange during the escape, baby Barinov in her arms, chuckles were definitely earned here, T.K. Learning more about how fast our little lady can run cross country with a scientist in tow was appreciated, as well. Enhanced hearing, also. And those heat signatures signify far infra-red sensors, so a less sensitive near infra-red or starlight night vision capabilities is basically a given. She probably has both; Caroline spoils her so.
Caroline, if only seemingly in jest, publicly acknowledges herself as Athena’s mother. I thought you would have made us wait until the end of Frank and Athena before treating us to this. This can only mean even better yummy treats are ahead!
A peaceful leader of U using “secret weapon” to even somewhat refer to Athena seems inconsistent with their mission. Wouldn’t “ace up our sleeve” be more in line with their optimistic thinking? Nevertheless, the last paragraph’s humorous argument effectively makes Pam’s concern moot.
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P.S. Did you know, as an author of a story, you, also, can post “reviews,” one per chapter? This would be a good way to provide yourself with another presence here in the reviews times thirty.
As to the impossibility of the Travel Gate, I can’t agree. It’s not teleportation; it’s not a time machine; it’s dimensional hopping — like the EM Spectacle rocket in the movie. Our world’s dimension on one side, Tomorrowland’s on the other, practically rubbing up against one another, just like two building erected right up against one another, sharing a common wall. Their wall is impenetrable, yet the travel gates act like a pair of aligned windows for each structure. No teleportation required. Open them both and you can squeeze through, close either one and you’re stuck, close it when you’re not quite through … messy, but still not teleportation, not a wormhole, just everyday transdimensional strolling.
In the film, Casey drops a small Portal Ring over an AA with an attitude problem, and even though the gate drops below its shoulders, it’s grip on her arm is constant — the mechanical arm doesn’t fall to the floor as it’s integrity is maintained with the upper half of its absent torso. Where, you ask? Back in Tomorrowland, probably in a lab holding another small Portal Ring. ((My theory for why the Ring exists in the movie in elder Frank’s parlor is that he’s been using it for years to swipe equipment from Tomorrowland under Nix’s nose (wiggling through himself at first, then reprogramming an AA to deliver Tomorrowland tech through the small Portal Ring in Tomorrowland, just like opening the windows at each end) and now he’s considering using it to escape at the last second, hence his cobbled together countdown clock.))
| CraftyNotepad chapter 3 . 9/22/2018
This chapter, very imagin— JUST KIDDIN’
On to research setting number three, I see, which also has a fence to deal with. There’s a lesson about optimism trying to exist (forget flourish) in the classroom. (Yes, research lab trés isn’t limited to Frank’s workshop in the barn. Very realistic and, yes, T.K., better than the one Miss Newton portrayed in the movie. (That’s the advantage writing has over the cinema.) Frank’s knows how things work, too, at least in middle school, or at least I can claim that as his experiment in human manipulation didn’t blow up in his face.
Frank may say that farming’s important, just not for him, however he has a tell: “But a very few others went off to do bigger things.” “Bigger,” not “other,” things … and those bigger things should be done as far away as possible from Farmland. Farming (where do you think food comes from?) is one of the three pylons Frank sees as fixing the world, and if Frank became interested in developing better seeds, he’d be the best research farmer around.
The remaining two, endless energy and an end to pollution? Well, they go almost hand in hand. (IEC generators, anyone? Two more years!) The vanquishing of disease and death — what child who has lost a parent would dream of those? Frank wishes science could have saved his mother; Frank wants to save the world — or at least improve the cafeteria menu. (My favorite description had to be your spot-on analysis of the justification for Salisbury steak’s dubious reputation.) That’d save a lot of lives right there. People getting along … oh, Frank … high school is going to be such a disappoint for you.
But Frank’s still in middle school for the moment. Optimistic, a boy with a plan, sneaky (Caroline would appreciate this), and a man (boy) of his convictions. He took a chance and told the world (Mrs. White’s class) what he believed in: a better future for everyone.
And two people listened, and thought about it, and are now considering what didn’t seem possible a moment ago. He inspired them. Frank’s first flight!
Doris and Jane don’t come across as out of place. Those few young women who went to college? Many of them graduated with a degree they never put to use in one hand and a husband in the other, with many judging them for continuing their educations just to trap a husband who’d be a professional. Now, if Frank had accomplished all he has AND his jetpack AND he’d been Sam Walker’s daughter — that’d be anachronistic for this period, but barnyard/garage inventing males of all ages were and remain the stock-in-trade in the States.
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P.S. You honestly portrayed typical life for young Frank, trapped on the farm, trapped at school, but having secrets, be it percolating away in his clandestine still, residing in his pocket notepad (yes, I did as well, which is why it’s part of my own pseudonym here), or finding a way to make his optimism contagious. Along with the reference to _Popular Science_ (_Popular Mechanics_, also) and science fiction magazines, comic books with a space age theme would have been inspirational reading material to young Frank.
Yet he would have truly found and related to his kindred spirit _Tom Swift Jr._, boy inventor, whose adventures involving his amazing adventures (floating skyways, a flying submarine, even a space station, and his own flying laboratory, but no rocket packs, rocket belts, or jetpacks — Sorry Frank) in a series of books (1950s-60s) that even his middle school library would have likely have on a shelf back then, maybe even some copies of the original Tom Swift series from the 1910s-1930s. Frank would have read them late at night, over and over again, figuring out schematics for those amazing gizmos. Pretty much the _Harry Potter_ series of its day.
Oh, and having another scene with kid driving a motor vehicle being normal is a clever contrast to Athena’s driving about in the movie. Not certain which was the better driver, but Athena made do with a phone directory.
Sad to discover frankandathena’s website isn’t there anymore to check out those time conversion calculations and catch up on the discussions.
| CraftyNotepad chapter 2 . 9/22/2018
Gleaning the secrets of Athena from you is a real treat, T.K. So often androids are described as having processing speeds so incomprehensibly beyond our own that they must be bored silly while waiting for our responses, redundant or not. You’ve increased the challenge to Athena, not by underclocking her CPU, but by accounting for how that (new) information must be made sense of. (aka “learning”) In essence, dear writer, you’ve handed this brilliant girl from tomorrow with a learning handicap.
I did find the conclusion regarding her brain’s composition balancing out puzzling. As brain’s circuitry reacts far speedier than human neurons and her thinking can be done with far fewer cyber connections required, those are both pluses in her favor regarding speed, so not really a measure of equity, but superiority of efficiency.
The prologue (almost went with “Chapter 1” — darn FanFiction’s automated numbering system!) included Athena’s skeletal, musculature, and epidermal systems, along with her power source (I’m thinking room temperature superconductor acting as a supercapacitor of the super-duper variety) and what about those other senses provided by a technocracy which scanned frequencies for other dimension and even subspace over a century previous? Only know for certain that X-ray vision isn’t among them. I did like you just tossing a radar-cloak for their little plane, as if, “of course, Plus Ultra has and makes uses of radar cloaks, but I thought I;d just mention it in passing. What was under the radar was your admission that Athena sometimes speaks in half-truths; maybe that’s necessary for missions, or just dealing with humans in general. Ah, the true wisdom of Athena? (“longer-term” vs. “future” problem? Long-term signifies that the problem’s existence is extensive, rather than it won’t become a problem for quite a while.)
Nuts and bolts are terrific, but it’s really Athena’s processing of her perspective of realty which makes her a unique character. (Though seventeen-foot leaps are nothing to ignore.) Free association sounds awfully like getting ideas, so maybe her claim that she doesn’t get ideas is her version of self-deprecation.
From your description of any attempt to flip Athena’s allegiance resulting in her being unusable, Caroline seemingly hardwired Athena’s mores into her very design, rather than resort to programming. Sorry, Athena, you were/will be incorrect because for you it really is “personal, not programming.” Makes your readers wonder what else her mummy hardwired into Athena’s core being, but, no matter, as there those of Plus Ultra’s inner circle who still fear even a totally loyal artificial construct.
Pam Truman (interesting choice of surname), Max, Stan and Peter are not among them, though. They talk to her as a person, not a coffeepot, respectful and even grateful for her very being. Armed Peter, by the way, seemed extraneous when Athena’s capabilities are considered, until I realized Peter’s not there to protect “the little girl,” but her pilot, or more logically, her ride home. Athena, no doubt, could pilot the plane on her lonesome. It’s pilot Stan who’s redundant to the mission. He really only along so Peter won’t be reduced to playing solitaire while waiting for Athena to return.
So, Athena’s a reader of the “it’s written all over your face” school of analysis. I figured her more for the voice stress analyzer sort, but whatever works in her attempts to decode the human equation. Faces are fine, until she comes across one of the poker variety. Speaking of emotions, little Athena is no Mr. Spock; she gets excited, annoyed, pleased, frustrated, sympathetic, … And she has family secrets with her mummy regarding their true relationship: her bedroom, how each addresses one another in private, and those unspoken signals at the travel gate’s departure? Those weren’t necessary functions for her duties as a recruiter; they evolved from being in a family.
Caroline’s sneaky — no wonder she dreamed up a clandestine recruiter in the form which would be speedily be discarded as a possible suspect by anyone wanting to be taken seriously. Providing your readers with the history of Plus Ultra’s* recruit prior to Caroline’s involvement makes sense out of her daughter’s outstanding abilities. Sure, Dr. Chaumers could have designed additional AA units to handle the less physically demanding mission types, but as long as a type 3 capable agent was planned, there was little call for the additional expenditure of resources for inferiorly capable ones for less hazardous outings.
Your shortening of “audio animatronics” to simply “animatronics” in referring to the AA-units seems natural, T.K. While the movie reference was an easter egg for Disneyphiles, the “audio” part comes off as an unnecessary addition, which Tomorrowites would have quickly dropped. “Anthropomorphic animatronics, while more descriptive, would have fallen by the wayside, similarly.
Caroline’s toy robot collection demonstrates that movies (like this one) can be instruments of inspiration — wait’ll Tomorrowland starts receiving episodes of Star Trek in 1966. Tomorrowland’s doorways sport the Enterprise’s automated doors, but more of a ‘30s sci-fi esthetic by their retraction into the ceiling. Either they are placed strategically so they fit in-between the walls of the floor above, or there’s about a floor of space between each occupied floor. Perhaps that is why the skyscrapers tend to be so awesomely towering on this world — which is weird, as the city to so tightly packed on the X and Y axises, yet possibly so much space between floors on the Z.
I like that you have this single new lifeforms asking the Big Questions, and this perspective finds me ashamed to admit that billions of humans spend such a tiny sliver of their existence doing likewise. Perhaps that will be the true contribution of artificial life — the furthermost of the human equation.
Another reference from the movie, Frank never witnessing an Athena laugh. Taken for an inability to produce laughter, it didn’t make anymore sense than a Green Lantern’s ring not being able to deal with anything yellow. Athena can speak in different voices and probably vocalizes realistic sound effects as well, so what’s so hard about her pulling off a few guffaws? I’m very satisfied with your explanation, as well as Athena’s justification for defaulting to smile mode.
Athena benefiting from her remarks unintentional jovial reception is a great feature, not just because it creates an imperfection in able-to-do-anything girl, but because it’s an experience all your readers can relate to, and thus relate to Athena, too, not getting her own “joke.” Who’d of thunk not getting humor would humanize? Nice going, Writer!
The Travel Gate, Athena’s mission types, her construction and how her mind makes sense out of our world, these are all cleanly and efficiently described. That not something a lot of writers can do well, particularly with concepts based in science without leaving big holes or suffering from runaway descriptions. These are tight and fit nicely in the story without derailing or even slowing the story. I hope to read more of their ilk. That what’s on the other side of a portal gate can be made out is a nice expansion of what we could deduce from the two small portal gate examples from the film. Maybe the image is only viewable from larger gates, as it is with Nix’s later Bridgeway.
As for taking us along on Athena’s latest mission, there were two fine features evident. Athena shines in her evaluation and preliminary infiltration of the base. Staying up to watch the comings and goings 24 hours straight is no more challenging for her than leaping over a nearly two-story fence, or running back to the portal gate. Then there’s the setting itself. What could a greater dichotomy to the scientific outpost where she came from than this austere Soviet research facility in beautiful downtown Siberia? In case you were iffy about it, George Macon’s clarification as to why the information was significant to the mission was useful to me. I was thinking, “Chances are it then occur during Athena’s extraction mission, so why’s the author telling me this?” Followed by, “duh, oh, that’s why.
I’m going to have to check out those time calculations of yours!
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*Anyone else notice how their initials are heard as “Pee-You?” Little wonder their official abbreviation is “U.” rather than the shorthand for “stinky.”
| ricoli chapter 29 . 9/22/2018
Of course Athena loves Frank. it is almost impossible for her to define what she feels that indicates the feeling of love
| RicOli chapter 24 . 9/21/2018
After feeling abandoned by the film and passionately in love with the character Athena, a bit like the character Frank, I had to search for some deepening of the story and found its text that plunged masterfully in the magical love story of Athena and Frank.