Reviews for The New Black Gold
BLANDCorporatio chapter 6 . 4/3/2013
Well, thank you for a riveting story!

Come on, zombies in space is not that bad, and this wasn't so much about Zombies anyways. It puts me in mind of The Thing, of course, but also "Phantoms", a film with Peter O' Toole (screenplay and original novel from Dean Koontz). Yeah it has a crappy rating on imdb, but look it up nonetheless, it's a nice way to kill some time. It also features a sentient oily substance bent on mischief.

All in all, the story's great, my favorite bit being the first few action scenes. Very well paced, very well described. Odd that it's an action scene that undoes the ending for me, but apart from that one slip, it's a very brisk read.

Brisk indeed. Suspense throughout, witty dialogue- and in general the two characters have very distinct voices, easy to tell apart both in speech and thought- and characters not being stupid in the face of adversity. Well, there's that outburst from Rob near the end but it doesn't impact anything.

Good job!
BLANDCorporatio chapter 5 . 4/3/2013
Hm. I'm thinking you can have too much of a good thing. The fight between 'Will' and Rob is a bit too much blow by blow for my taste. Too dragged out. It's less compelling than the other action scenes so far.

Just my opinion, of course, but if you added the fight to prevent this being an anti-climax ... not putting it in would not have been worse.

Ultimately it's a question of context. I praised your command of short sentences in a previous chapter. You abuse that command here, to the point that the short, somewhat repetitive sentence structure makes things hard to read. Variation is key, and from the fight onwards this was somewhat monotone.

"Liquidious"- is it a word?
BLANDCorporatio chapter 4 . 4/3/2013
To answer the A/N question, the choice you made was workable. I presume you tried revealing sooner, but the events just wouldn't follow an interesting course.

Ruda's sending of the distress beacon was my favorite part here. Again, your command of short sentence fragments to elicit tension is something to watch. And also, there's a woozy quality to that fragment, appropriate given Ruda's condition. Woozy prose is nice in small doses. It fits here.

Rob's freakout at the beginning though is a bit weird. Until now he has no reason to blame Ruda for the events. The time for that was at the start, if he were prejudiced against her. By now, the two are resolutely stuck together (as he realizes, when he drags Ruda to the beacon/stasis).


"no sign of Will or Ruda.": Anna, actually
BLANDCorporatio chapter 3 . 4/3/2013
Over at critiquecircle I often find myself chiding writers for repetition of words. It's almost always a rhythm killer actually. The beginning of your chapter is that exception that shows one how to do repetition right. Good flow there.

More good stuff in the dialog later- my favorite is Rob's meditating that he doesn't know the people who have just died.

It's weird. In a sense, it's ... counter-productive. If nobody meant anything to him, the impact of the recent events is dulled.

At the same time, it both allows good character interaction/development between Ruda and Rob, as well as establishing a mood of alienation throughout the setting. Sure, Ruda and Rob are in immediate mortal danger, but if they survive, they return to a world where no one means anything much to anyone else. A different kind of horror entirely.

Still, one thing jarred me- "Just bring me one as well. In case…well, you know." no I don't. He already said he'll be bringing suits, so I can't quite get it. Does she want a weapon to kill herself? Context doesn't support that.

My my, someone should tell Rob not to use the Z-word. Because it's ridiculous. (Yes I love SotD :) ) Besides, if anything, this looks more like Carpenter's The Thing now.

And again, a good action scene, for similar reasons to the one in the previous chapter. Clear, tense- there's even a moment of relaxation before, oops, sorry, battle's not done as Cthulhu's risen again. Nice.

A few nits though:

"Rob stuck in his hands in his pockets": remove the first 'in'?

see this "he'd seen in the draws bar the test tubes [etc]" and consider corrections maybe? I think there's a comma missing and I don't know what a 'draws bar' is (it's clear he had seen test tubes and Bunsen burners). Close to that, I think 'unique item' isn't quite right. It's an item he doesn't recognize, it doesn't have to be unique.

"Just doing both with their backs to a public park": "Just going, both" maybe?

The paragraph just before "Or he could play by the rules.": he considers just leaving Ruda vs. earning his halo, which we assume means getting back to her. So this sentence seems to repeat that.
BLANDCorporatio chapter 2 . 4/3/2013
I loved the action scene. I could learn a thing or two from it.

I liked the short sentences once the poop hits the air circulation device, and they keep a tense atmosphere throughout. It's also very clear what's going on. Not too much detail that would bog things down, nor too little so that we don't get it.

I also like how the tension is ratcheted up with the -boom- sounds. We know what's causing them. Every second now our characters will unwittingly open the door to- oh they just did. Hilarity ensues.

The dialog after that is also interesting- it sets a roadmap for the plot, we know what the characters plan, and we now wait to see where the plan will fail and what they'll find. I'm a bit wary of characterization here though.

In part, I think it's the scene break I mention below. The transition from 'nothing left to say', our characters too shocked to speak, and then Ruda calmly explaining that they need to study the source of infection is too sudden. How did that happen? Did they take a few steps, sit down, count to ten?

Minor nitpicks otherwise:

This bit "through the doorway out into the hallway." sounds awkward to me (the -way ending)

This bit is also awkward imo: "There didn't seem to be anything left to say. *scene break* [Rob:] What…the fuck…were those things?!"
ahem, obviously there are things to say. The scene break is meant to imply some passage of time, yes, but the juxtaposition still looks too close to be anything but a contradiction.

This also may need a little adjustment: "If Will is our initial vector, if Anna was infected first"- the conditions here are not meant to be mutually exclusive. But, to my knowledge, they are. If Will's the initial vector, by definition he was infected first.

"[Ruda:] You want to be remembered as the man who doomed humanity to death by zombification?" "[Rob:] I'd rather be remembered than be killed.": by now, the rhythm of the dialog tells me they have, more or less, calmed down. I'd expect Rob not to say something so ill-advised.
Joani chapter 5 . 2/25/2013
Holeeee crap. The last chapter was such a cliff-hanger and then this... you just keep delivering! So... now he's marooned? long will he survive? Or will he? Oh goodness, I'm cliff-hangered again! Can hardly wait for more! More, right? Right?
Madman With A Keyboard chapter 1 . 2/21/2013
Oh, this is going to be good!
Joani chapter 3 . 2/12/2013
I'm not a huge horror fan, but I am adoring this story! More please!
axel100 chapter 3 . 2/11/2013
Zombies In Space! OK, now that I've gotten that out, just wanted to say congratulations for another terrific update. Is Ruda really clean, or is she pulling the old "I've been bitten by a zombie and I'm in denial until I turn at the worst possible moment". Looking forward to see how this turns out.
Ragnarok666 chapter 3 . 2/9/2013
And to think you can actually take on the mutations with axes and grapple guns. I guess it'll really have to depend on the mutation stages. Maybe in the very early stages it can work.

After all, the Trilobyte that was in Dr. Shaw's body probably would have come out of her like a chestburster like in all the Alien films, but she was able to remove it from her body without it actually killing her, whereas you can't do that with a chestburster...
axel100 chapter 1 . 2/5/2013
Interesting start. Looking forward to seeing where you go with this.
Ragnarok666 chapter 2 . 2/1/2013
Ah yes, you'd think after the black good they came into contact with can do those things, they would be smart enough to know it'd be a good idea to get rid of it. Toying with it is just wrong.

After all, they made this mistake of studying the alien creatures more than enough times in Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), and Alien Resurrection (1997). You'd think there'd be more than just one person who could see the SMART choice is to just destroy it all...
zzetta13 chapter 1 . 1/31/2013
I like this Hawki. I enjoy stories that have mystery and leave room for some speculation, especially when big evil corporations are involved. I’m assuming that most of your readers have an idea of what the dark goop is. I’m also thinking that the work-crew on OA-196 have been misled to believe that it was only unrefined oil. My thoughts are that I wonder if they are being used, by the EPC, as human test-subjects. I smell Weyland’s evil villainous hands in this…boo….hiss….. :)

Anyway, I have enjoyed this first chapter. Lots of action and I was able to start developing a sense of feel and a connection to the characters, although you've sacrificed some in the early stages of the work, Hey, it happens, I understand. Carry on my friend, looking forward to more, Z.
Hermes chapter 1 . 1/29/2013
I was wondering if you could write a Prometheus story about the Engineer's interaction with ancient Humans. Possibly starting with their creation along with their first appearance to Humans. In Prometheus their is evidence of interaction between ancient Humans and Engineers which would suggest they were benevolent to Humans then. And they must have educated Humans in their language, the Prometheus movie suggests that.
BLANDCorporatio chapter 1 . 1/28/2013
Hah, well isn't this a fanfic that can only tenuously claim the fanfic badge. I'm not accusing, I'm writing stuff like this myself, it's fun.

I disagree with the comment that there's too much exposition. Far from it, there's a few well placed lines to set the stage, and a few others sprinkled in for some extra background details. Nicely handled.

And I like the writing voice in general. Very neat, spare, and efficient. The last part is helped by the scene construction; so far, simple scenes but that's not a bad thing. One event happens in each, the events are connected and build up, and you get to insert some informative commentary/world-building along the way.

As a result, I think I know what the story is like (survival horror) and I know the parameters it operates in (two characters out of the crew of five are 'survivors', the other three are zombies or dead, and the crew wasn't sent for oil in the first place). This is neither praise nor accusation; sometimes you want all parameters (seemingly) revealed, sometimes not.

Only very minor imo slips-

"his look indistinguishable from his rebreather." I get what you mean, but it sounds as if you're saying his face looks exactly like his rebreather, instead of saying that his rebreather conceals his face.

"he didn't get the chance to say anything more period."- meh. This sounds simultaneously odd and cliched. Everyone these days seems to want periods for emphasis.

PS: nurse Chapel. Ha, ha, ha ;)
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