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Review my sci-fi novel about P vs. NP?
22 points by MarkPNeyer on Jan 7, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 20 comments
i've written a manuscript of a sci-fi novel that deals with, among other things, p vs np. think douglas adams mixed with neal stephenson, and a dash of joyce to make it delicious.

anyone with this link can read and comment. thanks!


So capitalization isn't something you do?

I haven't explained why I asked: I left after the first couple paragraphs because I found the lack of capitalization off-putting, which is why I commented on it.

I agree...makes it feel like a "sea of text" and difficult to parse.

only for emphasis. i've gotten a number of comments about that, so i may change it.

My main issue is that it's proper English. You don't start sentences or proper nouns with capitals... It's weird to me.

If the story is not about language emphasis, then the lowercase text is distracting from the real story. :)

I've seen some quite good examples of this in some things I've read. A poem I know was written incorrectly in order to force people to read it in a particular accent[1]. Also, "Feersum Endjin" by Iain M Banks has some chapters written from the perspective of one of main characters written in non-standard English[2].

    Woak up. Got dresd. Had brekfast. Spoke wif Ergates thi ant who sed itz juss been wurk wurk wurk 4 u lately master Bascule, Y dont u ½ a holiday? & I agreed & that woz how we decided we otter go 2 c Mr Zoliparia in thi I-ball ov thi gargoyle Rosbrith.
[1]: http://www.tomleonard.co.uk/main-publications/intimate-voice...

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feersum_Endjinn

Then of course there are the classics such as Trainspotting.

the role of language in shaping our experience is a HUGE element of the story. i guess i read too much snow crash.

Having also read Snow Crash, I think you're extrapolating a little too far. The composition of words shapes experience, not small syntax choices.

Plus, I don't know that it's a huge element of a story (I can't tell if "of the story" means your story specifically or all stories). The culture shapes language, and the culture shapes the story. The language's influence on the story isn't anywhere near the culture's.

it reads more human and familiar, like a friendly IM conversation when you don't capitalise.

ya gotta use lines breaks smartly and break your sentences well though or it can be confusing.

Maybe. But even over IM and text messages I use proper punctuation and capitalization. I know I'm weird, but my thought process is this is supposed to be a novel -> novels are a form of formal writing -> formal writing should use proper capitalization (and punctuation, but this uses proper punctuation).

The capitalization seems like a really minor issue, easily fixed, and ultimately not that big a deal, but that's Hacker News for you. That said, if you want to be the ee cummings of novelists, go for it. Novel writing is an artform, not a programming language. Cormac McCarthy doesn't use quotation marks, so what. Big deal.

Being a fan of both Adams and Stephenson I want to read this when I get an opportunity, did you write it during NaNoWriMo by any chance?

"The capitalization seems like a really minor issue, easily fixed, and ultimately not that big a deal, but that's Hacker News for you."

If you're going to ask a bunch of people edit your work for free, then they have the right to criticize however they please. I'd love to read it but putting up with the capitalization is more of an annoyance than reading it is worth.

i did. it's been stewing in my head for a long time.

a friend finished last night, saying it was a "rough gem." high praise; i'm much more inspired to finish.

my goal is, among other things, to get some concepts in computer science into the mainstream thought. to me, p vs np is the most fascinating question ever asked.

Cool, I started a novel during NaNoWriMo this year as well, although I'm still finishing up the first draft. Your concept sounds interesting, can't wait to check it out.

Everyone else is mentioning the lack of capitalization, which is a problem, but i'm also going to suggest you follow standard practice for this a bit further and use 1.5 or double line spacing. That will make it a lot easier to read.

Also, if you ever plan on sending something to an editor, standard manuscript format: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~mslee/format.html

It's not really the same. Not capitalizing things is breaking the language's rules. Having a small line height is an easily changed, arbitrary, and mostly subjective "issue".

I agree with you. Better spacing would make it much easier to read, in any case.

The constant lowercases are equivalent of not indenting your code. You are not going to be taken seriously.

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