Friday, 16 December 2016

BigDog


BigDog is a quadruped robot created in 2005 by Boston Dynamics in conjunction with Foster-Miller, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Harvard University Concord Field Station.

One day, after watching You Tube videos of BigDog in action, a phrase popped into my head, “It’s all Big Dog’s fault that I died yesterday under a mountain in Afghanistan.”  At that point I was in the middle of writing another novel called The Bureau, my H P Lovecraft meets The Professionals as a Cthulhu Mythos story mash-up.  However, the phrase stuck in my head, and the only way to get it out was to sit down and write the story.

It's set about 60 years in the future, and tells what happens when Sergeant Lara Atsuko Tachikoma, of Second Platoon, Bravo Squad, of the Confederated States Marine Corps 1st Combat Armored Suit Reconnaissance Company are sent on a Search & Rescue mission.

My blurb for the back of the book:
For Sergeant Tachikoma aboard CSN Hornet it was just another day in the Corps.

Then an order came down the chain-of-command proving the truth of the old adage that the only easy day is yesterday. Now the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Company is preparing to fly into Afghanistan and rescue an Alpha Detachment of Special Forces Snake-Eater that had crashed their Aries sub-orbital space-plane during a Top Secret mission.

After dying in a nuclear explosion, she wakes up the next morning to find herself going crazy reliving the same day all over again. She decides it's better to get even with those who blew her and the rest of the Company up. Her plan is simple; stop the bomb going off, and get on with the rest of her life.

How hard can it be?
Let me know if you think the blurb is lame.  I'm to close to the story to be able to tell.

5 comments:

  1. I think it has all the right elements. Are you looking for finicky details to polish?

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  2. Permission to be as finicky as you want.

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    Replies
    1. Some minor things:

      I don't understand the phrase "Special Forces Snake-Eater" - is it a force called Snake-Eater, or is the force comprised of Snake-Eaters? (Should "Forces" lose the pluralizing "s" or maybe "Snake-Eater" gain one?)

      I'm assuming "an Alpha detachment" is a specific type of detachment, rather than the usual "First Battalion of Regiment X" kind of thing. (I wouldn't question the intent behind this were I not already confused about the meaning of "Special Forces Snake-Eater.")

      A nitpick: should "that had crashed" be "who had crashed"?


      A middling thing:

      The sentence with the 1st LARC and the space-plane is long and full. I'd suggest breaking it up, though I don't see how.


      Things which make me think you changed the paragraph order around:

      I don't think you can say "Now they're preparing" and then describe events which happen afterwards.

      I think the fact she died is important enough to be a statement of its own, rather than a mere transition to something else.

      Doesn't the motto "the only easy day is yesterday" mean every day is hard? (Not military and don't talk with SEALs, so I don't know.) If so (or close enough), transitioning directly from "just another day" doesn't feel right; and with the adage being "proved," I don't think the "How hard can it be" at the end works cleanly either.


      If you'll forgive the presumption, I'd suggest moving her death and the old adage, like so:

      For Sergeant Tachikoma aboard CSN Hornet it was just another day in the Corps. Then she dies in a nuclear explosion--and wakes the previous morning, to relive the same day all over again.

      She finds herself going crazy as the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Company once again prepares to fly into Afghanistan and rescue an Alpha Detachment of Special Forces Snake-Eater that had crashed their Aries sub-orbital space-plane during a Top Secret mission.

      She decides it's better to get even with those who blew her and the rest of the Company up. Her plan is simple: stop the bomb going off, and get on with the rest of her life.

      They say the only easy day is yesterday--how hard can it be?

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  3. You've caught one cut an paste error, so thanks for that.

    As for Special Forces Snake Eaters, it's a description of American Special Forces troops who have to eat snakes as part of their survival training.

    The only easy day is yesterday is a military phrase, and yes it means exactly that.

    So a good catch on those things.

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