1. Bladebearer says:

    I like the mystery of the underlined letters. So, if he has a mom, where’s the dad? I also like where you are going with Tin Man. Does he go with Alden to his new home? Also, i’d like to know more about how the housing goes. Does the “father” keep the house or does he get moved around too? how old does a person need to be before they are a “parent”? what types of entertainment are legal? maybe there could be guerilla concerts of entertainments that are illegal in their world but are legal in ours  (AKB0048 style?)? does Alden look forward to “growing up”?

    • I love your questions here and I REALLY like your idea of underground concerts and illegal entertainment. We need that. In fact, a great place for an unauthorized meeting of some kind would be at an ilegal concert don’t you think? This is on my must do list now.

      I think Tin Man is a great friend for awhile…but I keep having this nagging thought that maybe Tin Man doesn’t always see eye to eye with his master and becomes a traitor of some kind. I had a vision of a horrid scene in which Alden realizes he must dismantle his friend and tears him apart. Makes me almost want to cry thinking about it. But I’m not sure if we’ll get there or not. Hope that isn’t too much of a spoiler…I don’t even know if I’m going to “go there”. 🙂

      How old does a person need to be before they are a “parent”. My thinking is they are given their “freedom” from a foster family unit the summer after they turn 16. At this point their fate is decided as to what job they will be performing for the good of CON. For the next four years they are committed to training in their craft.

      At 20, those who have shown to be healthy and upstanding citizens will be allowed to be paired with their first spouse. There is no marriage – that is a thing of the past. Once their first child is born, they are allowed to raise the child until he/she is four years of age and then the child is taken into the care of CON and placed in a second home for four years. The father and mother are reassigned to new homes as well where the mother will raise a new four year old until he/she is eight. The father, having completed his role, is assigned to another task. The last thing CON wants is for deep family roots to form. It is too dangerous (in their eyes).

      Yes, Alden looks forward to growing up. Especially because it means no more foster parents.

      More to ponder – but I must get to writing this weeks entry now. 🙂

  2. Diana says:

    And so he walked, a bitter soul under the ever watchful eye of CON.

    LOVE that line. Don’t know why. I just do.
    I’ve been reading this since the beginning, but only now have decided to step out of my lurker-hole and comment. Why? No particular reason, at least not related to the story. I’m just overcoming my internet fear of moving from lurker to commenter. *waves*
    Oh–and TRUST! The underlined letters spell ‘trust!’ Hope I didn’t spoil that for anyone. It’s very witty. I want to meet whoever this Uncle Jonas is. Which hopefully we will, soon.
    I love the way the story is going. One nitpicky question–where does the surname Two One come from? I love the feeling of distance and impersonality it has, but I’m curious. Tin Man seems like a cool character, and I’d love to learn more about Alden’s ‘mom.’ Any plans for that?

    • Thanks. It was one of those lines that just popped quickly into my mind. I like it too.

      So glad you popped out of your hole to say “hi” and wave. *Waving back*

      Not sure where the surname Two One came from yet. I’m figuring this out as I go (an uncomfortable way to write for me). Any ideas? Alden’s real “mom” will return. His current mother is going to be gone soon.

      SPOILER: Yes, “Trust” is only part of the message though. There are two more words in that address if you’ll notice. 🙂

  3. Leanna says:

    (This post is mostly a series of questions, I’m sorry if it comes across as nit-picky) 🙁
    There’s an awful lot of exposition in this chapter, it reads rather dry. Especially coming off the rising tension of the last couple chapters. And the mixing of metaphors near the beginning is perplexing, does the city actually move like a complex piece of machinery (‘cuz that would be awesome!)?

    The metal man rides around on a cycle but is somehow still a secret?

    How can “uncles” exist if families are so fluid?

    I know you’re building a connection back to his dad but the telegram (delivered through ordinary CON channels that would search everything?) from an uncle (??) that doesn’t actually tell him anything (he already knows when and the street is just an acronym for trust…) kind of just killed the tension for me. It’s too intentionally mysterious.
    Why doesn’t the CON invasion of his life and privacy with threats regarding a future choice count as a Call to Action?
    Also, how can Aldan still trust himself when his instincts led to failure (he didn’t jump the gulf) and the destruction of the Rumbler? Why doesn’t the Tin Man point this out?

    I’d definitely envisioned a different track for the story (as per comments on previous instalments) so I’ll hold off any suggestions this go around. 🙂

    • Ohmygoshyes! A moving city would be awesome. *wheels turn in my brain*

      As for Tin Man being a secret…Hmmmm, perhaps I should fix this. Either we make everyone have a “butler” robot and Tin Man is specially altered by Alden (see above comment) or he rides a cycle but perhaps wraps himself in cloth and a cloak so as not to be noticed as a robot.

      As for Uncles – you are right. The word “Uncle” should not mean anything to Alden. It should be a foreign language. Maybe I just drop that off for now. Agree?

      The telegram does tell him something he doesn’t know, perhaps he just doesn’t realize what it tells him yet.

      CON’s invasion in his life is part of his ordinary world. It’s part of the way this society operates. Much the same way that Darth Vader attacking Princess Leah’s ship is ordinary in Star Wars. The Call to Action must come later…”Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi…you’re my only hope.”

      I think Alden does trust himself. He is an inventive person, he sees failure as part of the success. He may not have accomplished what he set out to do this time, but he came close (in his mind) and that is another step toward eventual success.

      I’m still keeping your ideas in mind for future chapters. You’ll see some of them worked in soon (I hope). Thanks for your loyal readership.

  4. Literaturelady says:

    I love the way compliance from the citizens earns them “entertainment credits.”  Excellent idea!  Oh, and the Tin Man is cool.  First robot I’ve ever liked (although C3PO comes close. 🙂 )  Wonder what happens when he becomes too self-aware….
    Also, the society you’ve set up is real and unique.  It has the same apathy and compliance of our culture, yet the way families and life are super-regulated by the government is a believable difference.  Again, I love stories where people break away from an control freak system!
    I have a question about Alden, though: does he have heroic qualities?  Maybe it’s too early in the story to ask, but I prefer characters I can respect from page one.  I sympathize with Alden, but I haven’t seen much about him torespect, the way I respect Frodo for choosing to carry the Ring to save the Shire, Faramir for balancing justice and mercy, and Legolas for his faithfulness and cheerfulness (that, and how can you not like Elves?  🙂 )
    Thank you for sharing your story with us.  Keep up the good work!

    • “First robot you’ve ever liked”… WOW! Thanks. That is a big compliment. I hope he continues to be enjoyable for you.

      Your question about Alden’s heroic quality is a good one. I usually like to through in a likable moment with our hero early on. I haven’t found his yet. I hope today’s chapter will accomplish this, but it probably should be moved earlier on. Thanks for the reminder.

      Writing by the seat of my pants has been quite a challenge. I usually like to think further out and it’s been intriguing to just dive right in. I’m glad you are enjoying it.

  5. bad_cook says:

    The more I read, the more this sounds like the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. That’s not really a bad thing, but Uglies is awesome and a hard act to follow.
    Anyway, I’m interested in how the Tin Man will be handled. Evidently he’s the straight man in this duo, but I’m curious on how human you plan to make him. On, say, a scale from HAL to Data to Sonny from I, Robot (the Will Smith movie).

    • Oooooo…I’ve never even heard of the Uglies series. It sounds very fun. Perhaps I’ll have to circle back to it after I complete this exercise.

      As for your question of “how human”, I’ve not seen iRobot but I would guess it’s more akin to a crude version of that. I say this because Hal is too impersonal for Tin-Man and Data is too advanced. My original thought was that Tin Man is a forgotten remnant of the past in which technology was far superior to what is currently known in our steam-powered world. Why? My thinking is a massive solar flare wiped out all technology and sent society into a tail spin. Chaos ensued and those in power were quickly torn down. Having built on the backs of previous generations we lost our ability to rebuild in a timely fashion and the result was literally a second Dark Age.

      But I’m rethinking that now.

      Anyway, I’d say he is becoming Self Aware and perhaps even has been self-aware in the past and discarded because of it. Too much trouble when a robot starts thinking for itself.

  6. Henrietta Frankensee says:

    When you mentioned the “mother” alert bells sounded for me.  The definition of this word seems to be ‘female caregiver of randomly assigned minors’ in this world.   Now we learn she is a sharp mouthed shrew.  I roll my eyes.   Please! not another cliche!  Disney has this one covered.  Kill her off soon. 
    The Tin Man might better be the butler of the house tampered with by our protagonist to be ‘sympathetic’ to his endeavours.  And ‘steam powered’?  Noisy and messy. 

    • Thanks for your thoughts. I’m still finding my way into this story. I’m not typically a “Seat of Your Pants” writer, and this exercise has definitely been a stretch for me.

      To be fair to the “mother” here, she is hardly that (by our definition). In fact, I wonder if we should change the title entirely. The word carries far too much connection to our idea of a family when in fact this woman is anything BUT family. Family hardly has meaning in the world I am creating. It’s a society meant to encourage social community over individual communities. This “mother” (more of a caretaker) is living in a system that is equally setup for her failure as it is for the child. The original idea is spawned from the growing notion that “your children don’t belong to you” ideology we are hearing more and more lately. Taken to extremes, what would that look like. State raised children who are managed in what is more of a forced foster care program to keep parents from indoctrinating their children in thoughts that could.

      Suddenly becoming responsible for a teenager who’s been in three homes already is not necessarily the best of systems. I know I’d have difficulty getting along with a child who lacks the bonds of family. Some would rise to the occasion, others would give up and resort to merely getting by. That’s what this woman has done.

      Not trying to fit the “Disney” model here…just trying to be authentic to the voice I believe this woman might have. As for killing her off – she will not last long in the story.

      I like your idea about Tin Man being a butler. In fact, I like that idea quite a bit. If “butlers” were provided to every family by CON it would put eyes in every home for them to keep tabs on what is going on. If everyone had a butler it would also mean it would be less important for Alden to keep Tin Man hidden. I may have to come back and rewrite this section to include these changes.

      Thanks for his great ideas.

      • Henrietta Frankensee says:

        I am delighted that you like the butler idea.  I hope it goes well for you in developing the story. 
        Your innate love and approval of the traditional family comes across as stronger than your imagination for an alternate system at this point in the story.  I just read the 6th installment where father and daughter relate easily and freely, your writing is uninhibited and joyful.   I recommend researching the Nazi experiments in this area.  They sought to destroy family bonds and indoctrination the way you represent in this story. 
        I did not get the feeling this woman had given up.  She sounded too familiar, has more than just her reputation with the state at stake.  Her communication should be colder.  “Your food was given to the garborator.  You are a disappointment to the system.  Your last caregiver was a moth-eaten scum sucker and I take no responsibility for her failure.”  Or she is secretly proud and loving.  Either way her speech as it stands is a stereotype. 
        Thank you for sharing this process with us.  I look forward to every installment and I do enjoy the mental gymnastics of contributing.

  7. […] Christopher Miller on Last Son of Earth: Part 5 […]

What do you think?