IFcomp 2016: The God Device

“The God Device”: CYOA, sci-fi, thriller. Here’s what I thought.

“The God Device” is a simple CYOA set on a distant, desert planet. Our heroine is sharing a train carriage with an archaeologist; then the train gets derailed, and our heroine is entrusted with a package to deliver to another archaeologist at her destination city. Naturally, it’s not quite so simple a matter as finding the other guy and dropping off the package. Long story short, it turns out the package contains an artifact that will promote this other race to godhood, so what are we going to do about it?

There are a couple of interesting ideas going into this, but I find the execution a little … I don’t know. Sketchy? A lot of the text feels more like outline notes than story prose. Things are stated in a very bland, matter-of-fact manner, as though the author were quickly putting down thoughts on what the scene should contain without considering the way the sentences flow into each other to form a scene … or, for that matter, how one scene should lead into the next. Our heroine’s journey from the crash site to the city is glossed over–she walks, apparently–and then there’s no consideration for how that journey might have affected her at all. This feels to me as if the journey sequence was dropped on account of being boring (fair enough) and along with it went all the stuff that should have had an impact on the story even if they never get described.

The conflict with the Lucians’ godhood is treated pretty superficially, I think. We have one discussion about it, and I think that’s the extent of what we learn about them. Our heroine has to make her decision based on this and this alone. It all seems to have been already cut and dried, and there’s not a lot of space for exploration. I almost feel as though the eponymous “god device” was conjured up simply to put a cap on the cloak-and-dagger antics of the mid-game, without which they would have no purpose.

I did like the image our heroine presents, at least. She’s a highly capable woman, and I like how her history with the “Corps” is just casually mentioned without much explication as to what the “Corps” represents.

So. My advice? Maybe think it all through a bit more, and polish, polish, polish. The god device should have ramifications beyond the godhood of the Lucians; heck, the godhood of the Lucians should have ramifications beyond the endgame. I’d have liked to have seen a little more of the Lucians and their beliefs before we met them at the endgame–unless that was in a branch I didn’t explore?–just so it feels more like an integrated whole.

Breakfast: Bread, a little yeasty, with cold ham and very runny half-boiled eggs. It could be a decent breakfast, but a little more time in the kitchen could do wonders. The coffee is made with cold water and I can scoop up undissolved sugar from the bottom of my cup.

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2 Responses to IFcomp 2016: The God Device

  1. dougorleans says:

    I guess you didn’t encounter this sentence: “There were six men altogether, all sat at a long table, drinking from metal mugs.”

    Like

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