One dung beetle
I chose this story because the main character is supposedly fighting against a bureaucracy. Who hasn’t fought with a bureaucratic government agency, military organization, corporation or university? I guess the answer is: everyone who’s smarter than I am, and realized there’s no hope of victory.
Change by Design is published by “The Writing Network”, which appears to be the author’s company or possibly just her personal web page. It was edited by “Jason Dodge”. After reading a few pages, I decided that Jason Dodge was a fictional character created by the author. The story is very difficult to read. If you want to follow it, you have to somehow ignore the sentence structure and word choices, and just try to get a general idea of what’s happening. There are problems with subject/verb agreement, incorrect use of homonyms (or near-homonyms), and pronouns that are misleading or ambiguous.
The story revolves around a military officer who works in some sort of weapons design bureau/lab/something. The facility designs weapons for psionic soldiers. The main character is concerned about the weapons causing casualties among the soldiers. A story about psionic soldiers? That could be good. The search for a corrupt subcontractor, or an enemy agent who is sabotaging the weapons? That could make the story great. Sadly, this story contains nothing along either of those lines.
HERE THERE BE SPOILERS
There is very little plot to this story. Basically, the main character argues with her superior officer, quits her job, and ends up in some remote place which just happens to get attacked by the enemy so that she can save the day and then be re-hired into the job she had been trying to convince her boss to create. Yes, I purposefully summarized it all in one run-on sentence.
There are two particular scenes in the story that really make you wonder why you’re reading it.
The main character has psionic abilities, but has been hiding them from the navy/government/society, because psionics are used as cannon fodder by the military. At one point she meets a psionic soldier who tells her that he can see her psionic aura. She denies being psionic, sends him away, and says to herself something like “How did he know I was psionic?” Uh, well, 5 seconds ago he told you exactly how he did it. OK, the author tries to cover this up later by making the main character not believe that psionics can detect other psionics, but if you work in a military organization full of psionic soldiers, is this really going to be the thing you can’t believe?
The main character is arguing with her boss, demanding that weapons design engineers accompany the troops into battle, to somehow reduce casualties. An example is given: a soldier fired his pistol three times, and then it blew up. Apparently, an on-site design engineer would have been able to detect and resolve this problem in the time it takes to fire three shots. This tells me that the author couldn’t be bothered to take the time to come up with a scenario where her premise would make sense, and that tells me readers shouldn’t spend their time on this story.