The Fine Structure Positive Feedback Thread

Obviously Fine Structure is not the last thing I will ever write. If you enjoyed the story, please take the time to share below what you enjoyed about the story here - in particular, what things you would like to see again in future stories of mine. Thanks in advance for all your comments.

Discussion (30)

2010-01-27 13:36:12 by scotherns:

The entire series was wonderful. The main things that stood out were the superb descriptions of the applications of super-powers and the sheer amount of imagination and originality. No preferences for what you write next, as all of your work so far is great :-) Thanks!

2010-01-27 15:31:54 by EdwardKmett:

Great job! I kept waiting for Mitch to show up as a bad guy, so I'm glad he showed his true colors before the end. I particularly enjoyed all of the internally consistent bits of pseudo-physics that make up the Fine Structure universe. I definitely look forward to reading your future work.

2010-01-27 15:38:58 by Chris:

I really loved how complicated and twisty it was, and how bits slotted together as the story went on, often in ways that completely threw me. Although, as it has taken a while to all come out, I do feel that I've probably not appreciated this fully. I also liked the depth of thought you put into how this universe worked, and the scientific and mathematical references to actually make it all hold together and seem that it would work together properly (rather than picking the properties you wanted for it and just stating that they're there). I'd really like to know what the script actually IS (though I may just have failed to pick this up properly from the chapters). i.e. is it a description of the universe, a grand textbook, or is it actually the universe itself "viewed from another angle" - the source code? Thanks for making this story available, I've really enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to whatever comes up next (the mathsier the better as far as I'm concerned). Chris

2010-01-27 16:17:17 by Pozorvlak:

Edward: was Mitch a villain? I thought that was just Ching's error. He was prepared to sacrifice Humanity's future to incarcerate Oul, but is that villainy or merely making the best of a very bad job? I shall have to read the stories again to find out, but fortunately I was planning to anyway :-) Chris: the Script is repeatedly referred to as the source code for the Universe. That's an analogy, of course: perhaps you can think of a better one :-) I'll have more detailed comments to make later, but overall, Sam, I've got to say that this is great work, and my biggest sorrow is that there will be no more Fine Structure. Here's to your next work!

2010-01-27 20:38:50 by JeremyBowers:

Counter to mlah's post in the negative thread, as a computer scientist-type I greatly enjoyed the treatment of information as a force/fluid and understood it just fine. It's a brilliant conceit for writing a wide-open universe. Interestingly, of the four other posters prior to me writing this, I recognize two of the names and know they are also computer science types.

2010-01-27 20:59:48 by Ben:

I've really loved Fine Structure: every time a post shows up on my RSS feed I know I'm in for a treat. It manages to be hard scifi and a bit fantastic, and helps me to think about the world. I'm a huge fan. For the future, what I'd really like to see is time travel, having loved the treatment you gave it in the Ed stories.

2010-01-27 21:04:38 by Boter:

I honestly don't know what to make of this. The story has ended, yes, but there is so much to Fine Structure... I need to spend a day devoted to it just to grab all of the threads in my mind and see them come together. One thing that won't be matched again is the trip - years long, each section coming out and adding to the mystery. It was only in this last year, where additional entries were answering more questions than they were asking, that I got lost, having to go back and find the questions in the first place. Bravo, Sam. I look forward to your future writings.

2010-01-27 22:03:18 by Ian:

One of these days, I will go back and re-read the entirety of Fine Structure. For now, though? Superb writing. In my opinion, a quite unorthodox method of storytelling (not necessarily that it's done in installments or on the Internet, but rather the sequence of events and the order in which they're placed and such). What stands out the most, and what kept me reading, was the attention to detail and sheer awesomeness of everything. Of course, it could use work, fine-tuning and such, but Fine Structure is an amazing work with segments of writing that just left me on the edge of my seat and wanting more. Good job, Sam.

2010-01-28 01:37:15 by Kevin:

The Powers was the concept that drew me into the story initially. To paraphrase: "in X years there will be a man strong enough to crack the Earth in half, and he'll be violently insane, and we have no idea how to stop him.". That's a terrifying and engaging plot hook. And the Powered characters themselves were relatable enough so that the entire concept never felt like a gimmick. The idea fits quite naturally into the universe you've constructed. Everything else was fascinating too. I just like the Powers best. Excellent work.

2010-01-28 06:10:24 by kabu:

This story feels /real/ somehow, from a "hard science" perspective. All the technology seems so logical, and the inexplicable (teleportation, to start) is left unexplained, and therefore is more convincing. I've read a lot of scifi where the author gets bogged down in the details, but your details just build on top of each other in an extremely coherent way. Somehow. Also rare is a scifi author who can craft real characters as well. So, kudos on that one too. And most of all, the reveal that Xio was not such a nice guy somehow makes perfect sense. Fine Structure was, and will be, an amazing piece of work. Now get this published already!

2010-01-28 08:44:14 by eneekmot:

Things to see again in future stories: 1) Extradimensional combat, it's very poetic and I like it. Even if it's "dumbed down" like most of the final battle was when the Script started limiting things, that was actually an interesting way of killing Oul, charge up a big weapon, wait for the enemy to get his defenses shut down, and then finish them off. It makes sense that when fighting a being that can't plan or forsee consequences, you make it overextend itself. Still, I'm sure you can come up with other ideas. 2) Ana and kata travel. What if there was an empire? What if high-ranking government officials in this empire all had one or more "twins" from other universes with exactly the same fingerprints and retinal patterns? (Since immortality is possible, this could happen hundreds of years after the establishment of an empire.) Oh, yeah, you could just make clones do the same thing, but consider the ethical implications for people caught up in this. Is it fair for me to be imprisoned for life just because an alternate version of me just got his security clearance upgraded? 3) Not letting us in on the whole story. Some might disagree, but I think it's fun to guess and wildly speculate.

2010-01-28 09:25:40 by MJ:

Although I loved the story and the characters and the style, I think a large part of this was the fact of having to wait (not too long, but for a little!) for the next instalment - and not knowing ahead of time where the next instalment was going to fit into the chronology, so one might learn one new thing that would affect how things ended, or one might learn a fact which changes the emphases of sections which occurred in the future. It made it even more enjoyable to read.

2010-01-29 00:15:42 by Argus:

I have spent quite a lot of time over the past year or so slapping F5 as fast as I can, and let me tell you, the advanced symptoms of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome are totally worth it. As much as following this story has made my brain hurt, it was still one of the best things I've ever read, and I thank you for it.

2010-01-29 00:54:21 by nosesquid:

Not story-related, but I'd like to mention how impressed I am with these feedback threads and your responses - actually, with the attention you've paid to comment threads all along. It's very cool to have so much author feedback - you don't get this kind of pampered treatment after finishing a print book.

2010-01-29 03:27:15 by Paul:

The concept of Mitch and Anne spending 20,000 years running their computation and protecting (and occasionally conquering) the world is awesome, and I'd love to see more stories from that period.

2010-01-29 19:39:10 by Boter:

I forgot to say: Thank you. I already said how much I enjoyed the Fine Structure experience, but I forgot to personally thank you. It'd be cheesy of me to say that it's been life-changing, but it was an experience that, because of how it was released, felt very personal, and I feel honored to have been apart of it. So, again, thank you.

2010-01-29 23:11:12 by cryforhelp:

I've nagged in the negative thread now some praise: I liked the construction of the universe, over the entire series that is the part I could keep track of the easiest, because it made *sense* somehow. It's amazing how you could design a universe that seems to fit together so neatly, and feels like real hard sci-fi. Knowing that you're a maths graduate also gave all the dimensional references an air of authority: I don't understand enough about this kind of maths/physics to get a real good grasp on it, but I know just enough to recognize some basic concepts, which kept me intrigued. The concept of this seems very original to me, I've never read anything like it, and I'm quite a science-fiction fan. Perhaps Flatland borders on this (I never read it)? I wouldn't be surprised when other authors would in the years to come be inspired by this concept and release works with similar dimensional themes. Like a previous poster mentioned, the way in which the story was released made it interesting too. The length of each chapter and the intervals kept me checking back in at E2 for the past couple of years. It was a good kind of tease, where the layers of the story were revealed. The **Powers** being fed by Oul, sort of reminded me of the concept of the *True Power* in Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' series. The True Power is fed by a dark being, but it is attempted to be used for good by people, very reminiscent of your Powers. Have you ever read this series? Thank you for all of your Fine Structure, Ed and stand-alone stories, please keep writing them! Thank you Sam.

2010-01-30 09:32:53 by Cray:

I absolutely loved the whole lower and higher lifeform quandry you had going on. Its really made xio seem, more like a guy stuck fighting a monster,rather than a supergod. What would we care if a few trillion bacteria got killed in one of our wars?

2010-01-31 16:51:02 by Skylar:

I just finished reading all of Fine Structure, having arrived here from reddit. I really enjoyed the stories. Your ability to convey detail in the fight scenes is perhaps your second best quality after the sheer creativity of the elements you brought together. There are ideas in these short stories that could form whole novels by themselves. You also do a good job of providing an interesting self-reflective structure for all of those ideas. Thank you, I look forward to reading more.

2010-02-02 00:04:33 by EdwardKmett:

Pozorvlak: Not so much a villain as Oul, but he definitely wasn't out for humanity's interests.

2010-02-09 19:20:57 by Kronikarz:

Here's what I got from the story. The real superheroes in Fine Structure are the scientists. It's easy being heroic when you've got Power, earthed or otherwise. But the real heroes of the story are the Murphys, the Bairds, the Muokas. That's why, I believe, the story should stay paced as it is: the long and difficult process of discovering the truth about the nature of reality is shown as just that: long and difficult. And the action sequences are fast and over quickly, as they should be. All in all, excellent work, and a good piece of sci-fi. Oh, and I teared up at the end of Red :)

2010-06-29 07:38:33 by MHD:

Firstly, this is one of the best sci-fi stories (and universes) I have ever read. Secondly, a RPG campaign in this universe would be awesome, will now go on giving thought to one in the World of Darkness system, be it either Genius: The Transgression or Mage: The Awakening, or something else entirely. Thirdly, I actually kinda liked the final battle, considering how similar it is to the battles between Ships in Iain M. Banks' "Exession." Fourthly, a question. Did Xio get transferred into Ching instead of Mitch?

2010-09-05 00:30:54 by Snowyowl:

There is nothing much to add to what everyone else has already said repeatedly. Except to say that my favourite kind of story is the one with layers and layers of meaning, and which can only be completely understood after >= 3 readings. I'm posting this in the positive feedback thread. Draw your own conclusions.

2010-11-14 04:58:45 by Whirlwind:

I noticed complaints about the pace of the final additions. I understand where those comments come from, but also felt like an amped pace added to the anticipation. With every story my heart beat faster and faster as my eyes sped down the page. Don't misundertand me. I don't want YOU to feel rushed to finish because that is the road to poor craftsmanship, but an exponential closing pace, I felt, heightened the already epic nature of this story. This really is amazing stuff. Can't wait for the rewrite.

2014-06-22 01:27:56 by Tironnobot:

This is the best internet-published fiction I've ever found. I do not understand how it hasn't been bought and physically published in whole or part.

2015-03-08 21:08:00 by Tom:

Thank you so much for Fine Structure! It's got so many fascinating ideas and awesome (in the literal sense) moments; it's totally unlike anything I've read.

2015-03-21 16:51:34 by Ken:

It was really cool how the first few chapters were totally unrelated, and I thought I was reading an anthology of short stories, and then BAM, they all got tied together.

2017-12-27 02:22:37 by HA2:

It's awesome how all these unrelated stories in the same universe get put together into one single, coherent story. It's a massive undertaking and it was great.

2022-01-13 21:41:54 by elf:

What I really enjoyed about this book was the characters' analytical approach to understanding what's wrong with the universe. The scientific method of discovery and experimentation in an attempt to understand something that's seemingly unexplainable is one of my favorite themes in sci-fi.

2023-01-01 10:01:59 by reader:

The full feedback I could give would be very long and annoying and mostly consist of gasps or emotional outbursts. I bought this recently without knowing what it was about at all. I started reading and couldn’t stop. I’ll use an inaccurate number because I can’t count the initial plot/character threads right now, so I’ll just say say six. Six stories told in pieces as they are slowly woven together. Every aspect was compelling, every character had understandable motivations, even Mitch’s misdeeds. Mitch was likable! Ching was right to tell him off for using humans as tools, but I still wanted him to succeed and go home. I love the fact that a lowly human stepped up and saved the universe from the advanced monster weapon instead, though. And with Anne, despite Mitch’s influence being an obvious factor, it always felt like her desire to stop nuclear annihilation because she didn’t want to live through it was a trauma she maintained that informed her decisions. Near the end, she was so desensitized to the awful things she was put through, and to the awful things she had done, that she had felt she HAD to do, but it seemed like deep down the part of her that was just her never wanted to spend eternity alone in an empty universe. It’s a nightmarish thought. I found the crashes fascinating, the way that human civilization was rebuilt in so many permutations, especially with all the clues to the past all around them. The way Jason was just a regular decent guy in an absurd situation. The way Arika worked to save lives and atone for the violence she inflicted (the ending to The Red was particularly satisfying). Ching’s intellect and care when it came to the Powers, and his own power AND sacrifice at the moment when it counted the most. I could keep going but I’m case there’s a character limit, I wanted also to mention the sci fi concepts. Math is everywhere in this story, from a layman’s perspective that would usually be difficult to follow from many writers. It was not. Everything existed to push the characters forward. And the characters pushed the plot forward. Having the majority be scientists in a science fiction story about science was fun. They understood what was happening to them. That level of self awareness made them even more interesting. I could keep typing forever and repeat myself more and more but I won’t. I’ll just say that I started the book two days ago, and my family is already sick of me babbling about various parts of it because they have no idea what I’m talking about. Also, ive read it twice. Once, as a book, and again on this site so I could see the comments and analysis. It’s invaded my brain. Maybe I’ll be possessed by Eka but probably I’ll just continue having strange dreams. I read and watch a lot of science fiction, and this was SPECIAL. I’m grateful to have experienced it.

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