OMEGA COMPLEX makes a great first impression. The first ten pages were very well written. You did a good job of establishing the futuristic setting for this story, with a minimum of exposition and lots of impressive visuals. At first, I felt like I was in the hands of a seasoned pro and was wondering if I would be able to give a constructive critique. As I got deeper into the human side of the story, I saw there would be opportunities for me to comment. But I want you to know that the opening pages were among the best I’ve read on TriggerStreet.
You do a very good job of not overloading the opening pages with exposition. This is the sign of a professional writer: to show, not tell. Unfortunately, this fundamental rule was not adhered to throughout the script. You are very good at depicting the visuals and mechanics of space and spacecraft, but seem to falter with the more subtle mechanics of human relations. I neither understood nor accepted the many turns in relationships between Hank and just about other significant character in the story.
It’s good that there is conflict between characters. But much of this conflict is not emotionally plausible. For the love story at the heart of OMEGA COMPLEX to work, the reader has to see Kelly as a fully realized human being with a realistic emotional life. This does not happen because, like Hank, she is not a fully realized character. Both of them speak about their emotions, as opposed to speaking through them.
The relationship between Hank and Deadeye was even harder to follow and accept. Conflict between characters is generally a good thing, but this relationship took too many turns from suspicion, to betrayal, to trust, and back to betrayal. After a while I gave up caring, as Hank seemed not to learn from his mistakes.
I commended you above on keeping the first ten pages mostly clear of exposition. At the other side of this issue is the reader’s need for clarity as the plot progresses and gets more complicated. Most writers on this site err on the side of providing too much information, so I don’t want to make a big deal about this, but there were times I was confused about what was happening. The assault on the Eagle Station is an example. As the action gets more complicated the descriptions are less precise and I became confused. There are examples of this in my notes below.
In contrast to the opening pages, the ending was disappointing, even disturbing. I could not accept that Hank would continue to harbor romantic feelings towards a being with its wiring and circuitry exposed, no matter how pretty its face. I think this ending would be a lot more palatable if Kelly were depicted as more humanlike in her emotions as well as her internal composition. But honestly, a love story between a human and a robot is a tough sell, no matter how fully realized you make her character. A story like this almost demands a tragic ending.
OMEGA COMPLEX is well written in parts. Particularly the beginning. You also have a fairly solid concept. The story is intriguing and with the right budget the visuals could be stunning. But you must strive for greater depth of character and emotional realism for this story to work for me.
p. 10 – “I built it, asshole” – I’m wondering what the inventor of such an important and advanced technology as the Omega CPU is doing piloting a cargo ship. Sure, he’s down on his luck. But is that an appropriate skill match?
p. 19-20 – It’s a little unclear what’s happening here. Is Deadeye firing on Hank? Why? What does Hank mean when he says “Bastard’s using as bait. Trying to get a clean run.” Wait… I get it. There are machine turrets on the asteroids firing at both ships. Is there a way to make this clearer? Maybe a more detailed description of the Asteroid Bastion on page 19 and a better overall set-up of the assault on the Eagle Station are in order. This entire sequence might be entirely clear on film, but is somewhat confusing on paper.
p. 23 – “How’d he get past the turrets?” – Is there no kind of warning system to alert these guys that intruders have broken through their defenses?
p. 26 – I’m confused again. Why does Deadeye fire on the Dancing Queen? Is he mad because he was left behind or is there some other reason? Why didn’t Hank try to save him? I’m thinking these guys just have a natural enmity towards one another, but it would help to understand this better.
p. 28 – It’s kind of weird to hear the artificial intelligence stutter. Maybe do this in a parenthetical instead… “(fading)” or “(faltering)”.
p. 31 – Kelly easily saves Hank and the ship in the less than a page. This is a let down after Hank has opened the Pandora’s box of Kelly’s coffin and you have missed a good dramatic opportunity to add tension and draw out the scene.
p. 34 – Hank’s sex pot remark is not that startling or funny. I can’t see Kelly loosing it and spitting chocolate milk, no matter how human her personality.
p. 37 – Deadeye is still alive. I still don’t understand what happened back at Eagle Station. Also, why does Sheng give Hank two hours before he chases him down? Why not just give the order and put the attack into motion? I believe you get more tension that way, rather than putting it off to the very near future.
p. 44 – Hank is attacked by fighters, presumably sent by Sheng. I’m a little troubled by the cause and effect here. Hank decides to unpack Kelly and then makes a second decision not to put her back in the coffin. At that point he is clearly violating Sheng’s instructions and an attack is warranted. But how does Sheng know this? I think a more dramatic sequence is 1) Hank decides not to repack Kelly; 2) Sheng finds out and orders an attack; 3) the Dancing Queen is attacked.
p. 50 – Confused again. Didn’t Sheng order the attack of the fighter ships? So why are they talking like there’s still room for negotiation, giving Hank 12 hours to return the cargo?
p. 63 – It’s not clear why Hank does not turn Kelly over. Is it because he still hopes to claim payment for delivering the cargo to Sheng? Or has he grown attached to her? I’m thinking it’s the latter, but you have not sufficiently established that that this is the case. Right now, it just looks like he’s putting himself to great trouble and risk for no apparent motive.
p 67 – Hank and Kelly escape too easily from the Swordfish. It’s highly improbable that they could just fire up the Dancing Queen and fly out of the bay without more trouble. Try making the escape from the Swordfish a lot harder to heighten suspense, then reveal that Charles wanted him to get away.
p. 69 – This is great drama here. Perhaps the dialogue could be better, but the emotional conflict in this scene is excellent. Hank has fallen for a robot. On the one hand, he feels like he can speak to her anyway he wants. On the other hand, he can’t let her go. I feel this aspect of the story needs to be developed, so I would take more time earlier in the script showing how these feelings emerge in Hank. The scene is very well done, but I wonder what Rachel is thinking about all this. Would she make a jealous comment after Hank and Kelly kiss, so that Hank has to temporarily shut her down? Just a thought.
p. 71 – It’s not clear why the government wants all bots out of space. Did I miss something? I also don’t understand why Kelly would be one of the last bots in space. Wouldn’t of outlaws like Sheng resist the ban and try to keep lots of bots employed in space? Seems to me there would be a thriving underground of bots. What’s so special about Kelly? Maybe that she has a survival instinct. But I don’t understand how that makes her precious.
p. 74 – Hank isn’t really proposing to team up with Deadeye, is he? The turns in this relationship don’t make sense to me.
p. 75 – “In time, she’ll leave, like they all do.” Bots or women? He seems to be talking about bots, since the next thing he says is “She’ll outlive you.” But I don’t imagine many other bots leave their masters. Deadeye’s dialogue on this page is self-pitying and on the nose. It doesn’t seem consistent with his character thus far.
p. 76 – Hank says Deadeye has his word. That’s risky, because it means that he’s either not a man of his word or he is about to betray Kelly. Neither alternative makes him look good. If he really is going to turn her over, how did he get to that point after having sex with her? Was it solely the shock of seeing her connected to a cable? That’s not enough to precipitate such a strong emotional turn.
p. 77 – I think it’s a mistake to have Kelly and Rachel mind meld or whatever it is they do. This just feels tacky to me and unintentionally comic. Rachel’s last line of dialogue is terribly trite.
p. 78 – I assume that Charles is following Hank to Sheng. Hank is no doubt aware of this. But would Sheng be stupid enough to fall into that trap? I’m wondering how this will be resolved.
p. 87 – Some very on the nose dialogue about Kelly on this page. Also, if Kelly were composed of steel and circuits as Deadeye claims, it would be pretty creepy for Hank to develop an attachment to her. In a world where space travel is common, wouldn’t a robot or android be composed of more lifelike materials?
p. 91 – “You’re the only one who can alter the virus code. Omega is your baby.” – Hokey. I’d expect a president to sound more sophisticated than this.
p. 96 – Of course Deadeye can’t be trusted. It is impossible to sympathize with Hank in this situation, because he is plainly a fool for having trusted him again. The multiple turns in this relationship stretch credibility.
p. 98 – What shouldn’t Deadeye do and why does Hank even care at this point?
p. 101 – Great job on Sheng’s death. Very well done.
p. 105 – I don’t think the happy ending works for this story—at least not for me. It just feels wrong for the story to end with a kiss after we’ve just seen the circuitry in Kelly’s abdomen open and exposed. I can’t feel good about this union. It might be different if she were composed of something more organic than circuitry and steel. But this feels wrong.
Review of: Omega Complex
reviewed by jayb on 09/27/2011
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