Write It Sideways

Excerpt Critique: “Beyond,” Science Fiction

Here’s another anonymous excerpt from an aspiring author, ready for your feedback. This is the first science fiction excerpt we’ve had, so if sci-fi is one of your favourite genres, please do take the time to share your thoughts.


Science fiction

There was nothing. No sight, no sense, no sound, yet she was aware of their absence.

‘What is this place?’ she asked, or thought she spoke.

‘What do you think it is?’ returned a voice. She hesitated. Although she had clearly heard the words, she had no perception of herself, of any physical presence at all beyond the existence of her thoughts.

‘Is this death?’ she asked, afraid. She had no breath, no heart beat, not even memories. Surely she was dead. ‘Are you dead?’

Nothing responded as she tried to move, to detect something else other than the miasma of thoughts that seemed to be her sole existence. Was she nothing more than a tendril of conscious thought? Was she anything at all, or merely some stray fragment in someone else’s mind?

‘I think I died,’ she ventured, though even that certainty eluded her.

‘You don’t seem sure.’

‘I’m not. I don’t remember. I can’t.’ Memories seemed elusive, yet she was sure there must be some. How could she comprehend speech without some knowledge of language, of some form of communication? This seemed utter fallacy. ‘Who are you?’

‘Who are you?’ the voice countered, as if merely an echo. Fear began to fill her thoughts, that she had been cursed to some eternity of darkness with nothing more than her own mind for company.

‘Please, tell me who you are!’ she cried.

‘Open your eyes, my love,’ the voice murmured, full of reassurance. ‘See what lies beyond …’

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