18 Dec 2014

Beaver Flight Chapter 8 - Commentary

As always, please read the chapter before continuing.

The Beavers now fly solo, no Aussies to hold their hands.  If things seems to be getting brushed aside, it's because they are.  Halfway through NaNo 2012, I knew that the format was wrong, but I was determined to keep going.  Too late to back out and start something new.  The story works better as a serial, in installments, if not in a more visual medium, like a webcomic.

Chapter 8 opens with action, mostly because I needed some in there.  Lidar (or LIDAR, but the acronym doesn't stand for anything) is light-based radar.  Light gives a quick response that can still be measured but won't be picked up on Earth.  The mission is secret, at least from the general population.

For those wondering about the "penny for your thoughts" discussion, Canadian coins have changed greatly over the past forty years.  The Canadian one-dollar bill was phased out in the 80s, replaced by a brass-gold coin.  The change wasn't appreciated by all Canadians, in part because the government that forced it was one of the most hated in Canadian history*.  With the pair of loons on the reverse side, the coin became known as the loonie.  The two-dollar bill was soon phased out, with the replacement coin getting called the twonie.**  Fast forward a bit, and another Canadian government facing an electoral revolt phased out the penny.  All that was boiled down for the sake of extra words.  Go me?

The goal of the action, besides having action, was to put the research the Beavers did into action.  It was time for the Canucks to be unpredictable.  The aliens have been met by an aggressive defense in the past.  Darcy is letting them set the tone so that her team can gather more information about them.  Tori adds to the fun by meeting ram with ram, then trying to take a prisoner.  The attempt doesn't work, but proves it is possible and shows the full capabilities of powered armour.  Prior to the lunar mission, Tori studied the existing media on mecha, mostly anime, to figure out what she could do, without even knowing she was going to need that knowledge.

The brainstorming the Beavers are doing let me also brainstorm and to toss out some ideas.  I hadn't completely worked out the reasons why the aliens were invading, beyond the "Venus Needs Men!" approach.  It's there, and the Beavers run with it.  No, the aliens aren't a gang of teenaged space girls out for sex.  I wouldn't have had so many troubles working out the aliens' motivation if they were.

The cylinder's inhabitant came about when I realized that there's really no such thing as a space mission that's all one gender.  An earlier mission would have had a woman.  Thus, Dr. Kayla Asselin, part of the original lunar mission that was taken by the aliens.  Why was she returned?  Kayla's not male.  So between taking Kayla and the assault that took the Russians except Yulya, the aliens learned... something.

The date stamps became a character point, if not a plot point.  July 1st, known as Canada Day, is the official date celebrating the formation of Canada in 1867.  Different parts of the country celebrate in different ways, with having a day off to party being the common thread.  From barbecuing fish on the coast to barbecuing a cow in Alberta, outdoor cooking rules.  Ottawa trumps all that with chip trucks and Beavertails.  Oh, and a massive fireworks display on Parliament Hill.

Tomorrow, Chapter 9, "Happy Canada Day".
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, fixing the 1998 Godzilla.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, the December news round up.
Also Saturday, check out Comics Bulletin for comics-related reposts of Lost in Translation.
Next week, because of Christmas, there will be no commentary or chapter posted.  Spend time with loved ones.  The commentary will return on January 1, with Chapter 10 on January 2.

* How hated?  The Progressive Conservatives went from record majority to two seats in the 1993 federal election, which lost them official party status.
** A lack of imagination on the part of media prevented the coin getting called a doubloon, since it was double the value of a loonie.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know that the format is wrong. I do think that time skips are needed (so good job here), which may be why a serial format "feels" natural, but novels don't grind through every single day. It's not like you're completely switching up the secondary cast, or shifting the focus back and forth between squads. As to the visual medium, I think writers have their own tricks (like your reiterating the phrasing for rewinding a playback) that still allows for reader imagination.

    I cannot speak to whether anyone found "loonie" confusing. The action worked a lot better here than it did with the "Roo"s (and I find it interesting that, if anything, the invaders have scaled back their tactics, no longer in an "arm ripping" mood), so that was good. Tori's maintained her enthusiasm, but is now willing to follow orders. I find it curious that the invaders released the pod person before appearing themselves, and in two different locations. I think there's something to the idea of the "new" team being investigated. From the reader standpoint, the detectors were either liable to work or fail spectacularly, so it's good to see that pay off. None of them seems too traumatized by the encounter either, though I imagine it helps that Renee wasn't in the thick of things.

    Plotwise, the idea that Darcy was violating an unwritten rule creates possible conflict, and the return of a "survivor" makes things interesting, as did the meeting of commanders (though I got crossed up at one point when two people that I thought were on opposite sides of the room tapped shoulders or something). I do think the chapter would have ended better there, rather than with the mail call - the hints about what they'd been doing with their off time had been enough for me, and I'm not sure how much all the "Canada Day" stuff would resonate.

    Plus, July 4 is just three days later, and you KNOW the Americans would be on that, but there's no mention of whether they had plans, or whether a joint celebration on, say, the 2nd would be in order. Coupled with the meeting, it gives the sense that the Canadians have been isolating themselves for some reason, like they're a "rogue" group, and the very last sentence does nothing to counter that opinion.