Eyes on a Moon of Blindness

a Sci-Fi Adventure by Bill_Ingersoll

Commended by mizal on 5/1/2020 10:26:00 PM

Player Rating5.82/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 19 ratings since 04/30/2020
played 342 times (finished 11)

Story Difficulty1/8

"no possible way to lose"

Play Length6/8

"It'll be a while, better grab a Snickers®"

Maturity Level5/8

"aren't you a little too old to be trick or treating"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG-13.

Eyes Alt TitleTheryl Ureste fears she may be one of the few survivors of a genocidal attack on the planet Chaandria. As the alien race known as the Iib Ch'iib exterminate the 12 million humans living on this distant world, they have so far overlooked Ureste's small-scale titanium mine on the rocky moon Chhota Chandrama. For the last three months Theryl has been watching with horror as the alien fleet grows in strength, her despair mounting as all contact with Chaandria is lost — and with it, all likelihood of finding her husband and young son. Supplies are dwindling, and soon she and her employees will face starvation if they don't escape to safety.

Therefore Theryl must attempt an impossible journey if she has any hope of locating her family in the middle of the war zone. This is an action will almost certainly attract the attention of the Iib Ch'iib conquerors — and lead to instant annihilation.

Important Stats:

  • 7 endings, with any single read-through about the length of a short story
  • 12 million people exterminated by the Iib Ch'iib
  • 13 lightyears to the nearest safe world
  • 2 lost members of your family
  • 1 driving motivation

 Not every family's story ends in happiness.

© 2020 Bill Ingersoll

Revised April 30, 2020 to substitute artwork

Image source: wallpaperplay.com

Player Comments

It’s hard not to mention the formatting of the story as that is what jumps out first. We’re given actual title-sized titles along with a cover page and Times New Roman font (or at least a type in closeness). It’s not something that would be noticeable “in the real world” as the story hits the standard for publication, but it truly stands out in CYS, a place where many of the the stories have egregious paragraph breaks, differing font types within story, and inconsistencies rivaling my girlfriend and her mood. All that’s to say, my initial reaction to the visuals of the story made me want to rate it higher because obviously it’s high quality. You know what? I did, too. A few of the single link pages are combined into one long Costco receipt sized page. Normally this would stand out, pages of differing sizes, but all of them are long, so the longer ones don’t feel out of place.

Another aspect it’s hard not to mention: word choice (ok, two aspects) and the use of figurative language. Once again, I feel the need to compare “Eyes” to other publishings on CYS since it stands head and shoulders above. Take this sentence from the first page for example: “When you don't respond, he continues his verbal parry.” It flows so well and very un-boring writing, far more engaging than the typical “you say this, character replies with that.” As a side note, giving the characters full names is a nice touch. It’s not something you see on the site often.

Similes are strong literary tool, one that seems to be missing from this site, and often it’s hard to find the balance between support and overusage. “Eyes” nails the right amount, in my mind. The tool is used to solidify the character’s view and mood and add color to the story. It’s great. Take this line, for example: “You feel like a kaee tree that has been knocked askew by a strong gale, never to stand straight again unless guyed into place.” I have no idea what the fuck a kaee tree is, but I know exactly what Bill is portraying of the character.

Entering into the Q&A section of my review, a few things came up while reading “Eyes.” It’s my comment, I can throw in whatever section I damn well please.

Is this your first story on the site where an actual gender/definition has been given to the main character?

“Eyes” starts off dialogue-heavy. I don’t remember any of your other stories doing so, and a lot of the highly rated stories on CYS are dialogue-heavy. Did you start the story that way intentionally to draw in the CYS crowd?

I noticed a scoring system in people’s comments. Did you include variable scores to know which ending people received?

Briefly skimming the comments, it looks like some people might be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of text per page. While the initial text wall may turn away some, the writing itself is immersive and fun. It requires a higher focus level, but I assure you, the payout is well worth it. This isn’t a story filled with quick, short pages and dopamine rush links. It’s a deep, steady plunge into the ocean of storytelling.
-- ninjapitka on 4/25/2020 1:23:52 PM with a score of 4
So if you've read any of Bill's stories before you already know presentation and formatting will be perfect, and the writing will be as professional quality, or more, than any actual novel you might pull off a shelf.

But let me just get it out of the way up front that if words on a page in large quantity frighten you, you should probably steer clear of this one. The experience actually is a lot like reading a novel, or like the first quarter of one anyway. You're going to be getting lots of text thrown at you--the 50k word count is only spread out on about 24 pages--and the best approach is just to settle in and enjoy the story. The pacing is novel-like too; it's not rushing into anything, the situation and the characters' understanding and reaction to it is given time to develop naturally, and there's space devoted to actually reflecting on what all this means for them. That's a layer I often find missing with fictional characters, it's like half the time authors don't envision them doing anything but reflexively reacting to events like preprogrammed machines and spouting plot points without anything internal going on at all.

Of course I wound up a tiny bit miffed that it turned out to be one of those dreaded "part ones", although all the endings could pretty much work as standalones. And for not having a huge amount of pages there are a variety of distinctly different ending situations for the character, so much that I wonder how a Part Two is going to work. (I'm guessing a time jump and involvement of the Tyuu military, or however you spell those guys...)

With the moon and the planet each being referred to as two different names, plus all the Indian influence everywhere in the setting this is probably going to be a game difficult to discuss without a bunch of names getting butchered, though. The culture of the planet was well developed and believable however even with the protagonist mostly being outside of it. I appreciated too that the story didn't take the cheap route of making any of the characters that were more fully a part of the religion turn out to be fanatical or make them a major part of the conflict. Maybe something like that is planned for later, but it's at least being built up to slowly if so and the story isn't immediately going with the "man's greatest threat in a disaster is other man" trope.

The most unlikeable character was simply what's his name...Kockpole something. And he was simply loathsome in such an every day, mundane way it made it even easier to hate him. I've worked with people like that. I think everybody has.

Weirdly, even the aliens don't feel like major villains here. Or at least not a personal threat so much as a force of nature; there's enough details about them to be intriguing, but they're such an unknown at this point that no one in the story is equipped to do much more than try and avoid their attention. The plot is more focused on the practical steps of just figuring out what is going on on the planet, and getting there to begin with. I actually really liked that the distance between two planets in the same solar system wasn't just hand waved away like a lot of sci fi would do. The trip there in either pod was probably the most nerve wracking part of the story.
Passages like this are great, even before the active threats showed up:

"Thus you now approach Chaandria with growing dread, a small speck in a gigantic sea of indifference, adrift on its unknowable currents with far less control over your fate than you have been led to believe. At any moment an enormous maw could emerge from the darkness to swallow you whole, but Chaandria would never flinch in its rotation, nor would the Chaandrian sun wince at the tragedy of your demise. Yours are the only eyes in this vast blindness, the only heart in this unending numbness. A billion stars may shine in every direction, but they do so coldly, at an impossible distance."

I think the only part of the plot I had trouble with was having thirty marines going on basically what could have been seen as a suicide mission in a plague zone just to check if one random woman's family was still in her old house for some reason. If it had been pitched as assessing the situation or checking for the likelihood of survivors it would have been more believable to me, considering that all of them had family missing somewhere down there too. And it seemed to me that if her husband and others were most likely hiding out in the hills, that would have been a more practical place to check out anyway. The house was empty and there were no surprises or new information there, so I think that was the ending that felt the most flat for me.

My favorites had to be crashlanding and winding up delirious in the school, having to draw my own conclusion as to what the face masks were for and what had happened there (not too difficult given current events...), followed by getting answers from a more official source after winding up on the ship in the next path. The ship also leads to the most (the only?) hopeful, non bleak ending I was able to find, so that's another point in its favorite.

Theryl was well developed and a good protagonist with almost a perfect mix of personality traits for a plot like this: willing to do something as crazy as trying to return to the planet bute still staying level headed and practical, and with a decent mix of useful skills that don't turn into some kind of action hero Mary Sue. Felt very grounded and realistic in her limitations, and details of her relationship with her Dad and her role in the mining company all worked towards driving these things home. (The way she'd deal with difficult people by considering what approach would work best to redirect them was a nice and believable touch. That's literally her job.)

I also thought it was refreshing that her motivation for going after her family wasn't pure sentimentality, but actual guilt for neglecting them so long.

Poor Tello though. He was such a pathetically loyal orbiter and he got friendzoned so hard. No hope, no cope, only rope.

(I considered the paths leaving him behind a bit more 'canon' in my mind since I could never justify Theryl taking him along on her blatant suicide mission for pretty much just a personal feeling of closure...)
-- mizal on 4/21/2020 2:15:48 PM with a score of 4
Excellent story. Looking forward to a part 2. Not a lot of different options in the path I chose, but still very entertaining.
-- Ian on 7/9/2020 5:14:36 PM with a score of 1
An excellent and thoroughly enjoyable story with high levels of effort put in and quality writing produced. Great Work!
-- Will11 on 4/30/2020 11:08:03 PM with a score of 1
I was thinking if they hate cold there are probably lots of survivors. Like if there's a place like Canada on that planet they'd be fine with plenty of places to hide even if the bigger cities were wiped out.
-- Wildblue on 4/25/2020 2:06:24 AM with a score of 3
The writing is good but the pages are so long. I liked the ending on the planet with the virus best but I wanted it to continue and to find out what happened to the lady who helped me and if there were more survivors.

I want to find out why the aliens attacked them to, is it that planet they wanted for a reason or are they just going to try and wipe out all humans?

Very intriguing, good story.
-- Wildblue on 4/25/2020 1:49:23 AM with a score of 6
ok boomer
-- Ford on 4/22/2020 6:19:29 PM with a score of 4
I changed my punctuation to a 4. Bill, you are a great writer but this is for me the worst of your games. You don't give me a real reason to want to save son and husband. You did a tell not show few lines and player is supposed to be pumped to save them. I loved the description of the dad and the Pod A, in fact, that made me more interested in knowing about the father about my alleged family.

Then each scene is like a Bible long with the most game being followed by a Next and Then another next. Choices are really few and the text are deceiving. For instance, choose to remain in a ship. Ended up in Five years later playing with a random Indian kid and being pregnant of a random guy meanwhile accusing the captain of being a whore...

I only choose to remain in a ship lol. And then games End with an End part 1... And is just feel weird.
-- poison_mara on 4/21/2020 10:43:32 AM with a score of 4
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