Susan
The Amazing Adventures of Sara Corel
A novel by Toomey


Comments on the Interlude
- Colin Roald

        You ask for comments, so I'll give you what I can. You are clearly a better writer than me, though, so you may do better to listen to someone who really knows what they're talking about. And I'm writing these reactions down pretty quickly, so I'm sure they're going to sound more harsh and critical than I mean them. Please forgive me.
        Anyway:
        The principal problem I find is the occasional overlong expository lump. Among the offenders: 'wispy tendrils' (Ch. 13), the way rings work (Ch. 14), the gods of the 'Ysenmouth' (Ch. 18), and the history of the 'Kryll' (Ch. 19). I think you also explain Sara's neutron-star composition at least a couple times more often than necessary
[ * - see 'Note' below].
        'Gundolf's' instructions are a particular problem. They're obviously necessary to the story, but getting them all at the beginning is a problem. My best idea is that they should be sliced up and dropped later into the story as flashbacks.
        'Langwillow Treefriend' is jarringly un-Tolkienesque
[ * ].
        IMHO, the Wizard of Haughz set-up is a little too contrived and goes on a few paragraphs too long
[ * ].
        'Soloman' is brilliantly (and appropriately) persuasive right up until the 'Nazghoul' arrive, but then the speeches get heavy-handed. 'Soloman's' spin of why Sara was sent to Midgarde is very good, but his  explanation of her powers and origin is rather purple and unnecessary
[ * ]. I appreciate the symmetry of letting all nine 'Nazghoul' speak, but the result goes on rather longer than necessary. I'd also worry that some of the services they suggest she could perform sound an awful lot like the ways an undeserving society would rely on their Gift rather than doing the work themselves.
        The tortures of 'Froudo', 'Samm' and 'Stryder' are suitably grisly. Shudder.
        To my mind, the best part of the confrontation with 'Soraun' is Sara's uncertainty, and particularly the uncertainty about which of her conflicting impulses is the one being manipulated by Him.
        In Ch. 19, the paragraph that ends, "the consequent submission of one like Sara to the utter usurpation of her powers in such cause," is perhaps over-convoluted and difficult to follow, particularly for such a key point
[ * ].
        I think you underestimate the effects of the instantaneous matter/antimatter annihilation of a billion tons. A typical nuclear explosion converts no more than a few grams, I think, so this would be a trillion to a quadrillion times larger, possibly enough to shatter the planet outright. The energy is approximately equivalent to what you'd get from a 10 km/s impact of a 1000-km diameter planetoid. ('Dinosaur killers' are in the 10-100 km class if I recall correctly.)
         You do an excellent job of the difficult task of presenting the encounter of two very different universes while giving each the respect and integrity it's due.
        The theme of impossible choices and pyrrhic victories is very well done.
        Lots of nifty ideas, too. I liked your treatment of 'Muriah'.
        Thanks!

 Colin Roald
A day without fusion is like a day without sunshine. (unknown)

* [Note from Toomey: If you're wondering what Colin is talking about, it's because much of what he refers to has been changed. He was right damned good bit of constructive criticism! Thanks, Colin.]

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Patrick Hill, 2000