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The Seed

'The Seed' is a short story I wrote a long time ago and published on the web last year, basically to serve as commentary in a blog discussion of God and the Singularity.

. . .

April showers bring May flowers; sometimes they bring darker things as well...

The bell tinkled as Reverend Jonah Smith opened the door to the Two Cedars garden supply store and stepped inside, shaking off his umbrella and hanging it with his raincoat on the coatrack. A regular customer for years, Jonah had always found the Cedars soothing; its combination of incense and earthy odors, with the teapot always ready on the counter, were part of his weekly routine. But not today. Today even the counterman's banter unnerved him.

. . .

Read the rest of The Seed at HardSF.net.

Nice look at religion and science

It's a tough line to walk, in between religion and the science that sometimes seems to explain it away, and an even tougher line if you don't want to insult either side, but I think you've done a nice job.

I think my only issue is that the first bit seemed to be trying a little too hard to set the physical scene, and it gets in the way of the story. Once you did less of that later in the story, it read more smoothly.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on that, because it's something that I've struggled with in my writing - finding the balance between setting the scene and telling the story.

Scene -vs- story

Well, as I see it, setting the scene helps to draw the reader into the story. But it is the story that keeps the reader there. The characters and the situation they are dealing with are the things the reader really cares about.

And yes, it is hard to strike a good balance. Especially for short fiction; I always have a tough enough time just getting all the story in under 5k words! So I try to cut anything not required to move the plot. Scene setting often falls to the wayside in that.

One trick I am using in my newer fiction is to fake the scene setting by concentrating on the effect it has on the viewpoint character, rather than actually describing the scene in detail. Other low-fat things I do, scene setting wise, is to describe clothing (if it helps to also set character) and/or to try to always include one non-visual sense per scene; a smell, a sound, the feel of a badly painted wall. These are things you notice in real life, so they should help to bring the reader in closer...

A very nice 'left-behind'

A very nice 'left-behind' post-singularity story. Exactly the right way to do it: told from the point of view of someone from the outside, looking in (or should that be 'up'?) Very moving.

The only thing I'd change would be some of the terminology. 'cyberjack', for instance, is a bit overdone. Other than that, fantastic.