Steampunkish Dwarf Short Story
This unfinished short story is intended to show a day in the life of a dwarf typical to the setting he lives in, not a hero. I'm looking for feedback about the general idea, and any thoughts on where it should go. I am aware that the writing itself could use some polishing, so no need to point that out.
If people could tell me what impression you get of Url and his world, that would be helpful, too. My intent is to communicate certain things, and I'd like to know if I'm being successful or not. Any bits spelled out so much they get in the way would also be nice to know.
"...had a baby on her arm, Father Brak cooed at him..." grammar error, unless "Father" in this case implies a clergy title, in which case context needs some clearing.
Anyway, paints a brief window into things. Sounds somewhat futuristic with the implied material shortages. When you don't have material enough to produce filters, you know things are getting bad.
Seems like there's very little interaction between surface and underground. And this sewer-tunnel-cave-thing is a little confusing. I find myself wondering where they're going to find enough space to build an underground village lair for 100 people into dirt. Under a city. The implied sprawl of villages makes perfect sense if you can explain how they're built in the first place. It's a city- that's a LOT of tubes and pipes and underground whatevers to be found everywhere. Just... not a lot of room left for soil. Unless one builds under the underlayer of pipes... in which case we wonder how they don't flood.
And we have three "known" species here. Humans, dwarves, and gremlins. Interesting choices. Doesn't seem like you're doing fantasy mysticism, so I find myself wondering, is this earth, are dwarves a natural species wherever we're at, or was there some bio-engineering involved... and what are the gremlins, exactly. Considering they weren't even mythological creatures until... some time around World War 1... hmm...
Also, the dwarven culture... seems quite believable. And more than a little old-school-mining-community. Maybe a little irish inspired. If that's what you were going for, kudos.
Well, that was my reaction to the story. Take it how you will.
It's intended as a job title, actually, not religious. Because they're not remotely monogamous, it's not usually clear who one's father is. They have a specific dwarf who's good at doing the whole father figure nurturing thing, and that's his job. I could change the title, I suppose, though I can't imagine anything that suits the job better.
That is a good point about where these clutchholdings actually manage to exist, I hadn't considered that so much. The entire surface world in one vast city that spans the entire single continent, and I suppose I was figuring they did at least enough planning so there's space for these little communes between the large pipes.
Thanks for the feedback. :)
I have to admit, when I heard "dwarf" and "steampunk", this was not quite what I was expecting. It is, however, pretty good.
You do a good job of explaining the world, but it almost feels... over-explained. Because the story is told, or seems to be told, in third-person limited from Url's perspective, it does not make sense to provide explanations for everything, because the narration is, in some sense, Url's train of thought, and he will not think in detail about matters that are routine to him. Pausing to curse the humans for their hoarding does make sense, and even reflecting that it is lucky the dwarves in the other section can resmelt the filters is plausible, as is realizing that he does not remember why he has that odd habit of whacking the wheel with his wrench. Thinking about how there is a party tonight makes perfect sense. However, the detail on the clothing is excessive, to my way of thinking. He deals with these things pretty much every day of his life; he is probably not going to think about what they are made out of or why. How often do you pay attention to your clothes when changing more than the minimum necessary to do so? Maybe other people do it differently, but I usually space out while changing clothes and do not really pay attention to what I was wearing previously, since I already know.
To weigh in on the "Father" thing, Father seems like the best title for such a job. Maybe have Url muse that Brak is particularly good at this father-figure nurturing-type business and they are lucky to have someone like him? That kind of goes against what I said earlier, I know, but I cannot think of a better solution.
Now, my impression of the world is this:
It has a sense of a world slowly falling apart. A culture that experienced rapid technological advancement, then suddenly hit a plateau. Unable to advance, it stagnated and began a decline. The decline is still in its early stages, but already things are steadily worsening. The old technology cannot be kept in quite as good repair as it once was. Shortages are starting to appear. The flaws in the system and the problems with the most recent technology are surfacing. Things are still all right and people still go on with their lives, but in order to do so they are pretty much ignoring the fact that the current way cannot continue forever. Something has to change, and soon, or the slow decline will become rapid.
That was the impression I got.
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