Peer Review by Maggi (United States)

Below, you'll see any text that was highlighted with comments from the reviewer.

Tap on comment to view. Using a mouse?

Hover over comments to view. On a touch device?

Through Skies to the Blue Planet

By: Jeremy Houle

As Kyle Bennett stepped off of the interplanetary shuttle, he took his first breath of air on the planet Neifel. He smiled in anticipation of his new life here as he grabbed his rugged leather bag out of the luggage compartment. Kyle walked away from the shuttle and sat down on a blue, nearly translucent bench to gather in his surroundings and review his plans. As he looked around, he noticed that all the buildings were very tall; the architecture seemed to laugh at gravity. Beautiful blue arches the same color as his bench rose miles into the sky and kissed the clouds as they passed by. The heaviest of skyscrapers were standing on the thinnest blue material he had seen yet. There was definitely something strange about the stuff, Kyle decided. As he was looking around, he noticed an elaborate sign advertising for an area called the Square and some smaller writing that merely said, “Visitor’s Center.” Kyle decided that going there would be a good start to his new life, and maybe he could learn more about the planet’s architecture. Kyle stood up, grabbed his bag, and followed the directions to the Square. As Kyle came to the end of the street the shuttle left him on, he gasped. The people! They were much taller than him. Kyle was sixteen years old and five foot nine, but he couldn’t see anyone close to his height. So beautiful! The ladies, despite being nearly eight feet tall, were still able to seem cute and petite. Their skin was very fair; their noses dainty. The men were handsome, strong, and nearly ten feet tall. Kyle, who was feeling quite arrogant when he stepped off the shuttle, was now feeling unsure of himself and a little scared. He needn’t have been scared of the people though; they didn’t pay him much attention. However, not everyone on the planet was disinterested in him. Kyle, whose senses were overloaded by the dizzying heights of the buildings and the new smells, failed to notice a dark figure who was even shorter than him sneak behind him and quietly stick a pamphlet in his bag.

                Kyle finally made it to the Square. The Square was an area roughly two hundred yards long and wide, and was decorated with trees that seemed to glow faintly in the waning light. As Kyle stepped onto the Square, he felt zappy, like there was an unnatural spring in his step. Indeed, as he walked towards a fairly large building, which looked like it was mostly used for concerts and social gathering, he could feel that somehow the ground he was walking on was giving him energy of some sort. The ground was the same shade of blue as all of the architecture, but it was brighter, less translucent, and seemed to have a look not unlike solid electricity. Kyle continued, nearly skipping, to the visitor’s center and picked through a few pamphlets and advertisements. He picked up a few about lodging and food, and one about an amusement park on one of Neifel’s small moons, and was about to leave when he noticed a small but thick book on the counter. The plain grey cover was simply entitled, “Neifilian Matter, and Matters.” The price tag was eighty granarks, which, Kyle decided, was a fair price. He purchased it and tried to stick it in a side pocket of his bag, but something was already in there. The visitor center was getting crowded, so Kyle kept the book in hand and walked outside, once again surprised to feel that ethereal spring in his step. He kept walking and was soon back onto the normal pavement, which was artistically decorated, but provided no spring for his step. Unfortunately.

     Kyle was very tired, and his steps became slower and slower. Eventually he just sat down on the side of the walkway and tried once again to put the book away. His attempt was again hindered, but this time he reached his hand in and pulled out the pamphlet. Kyle couldn’t recall grabbing this brown pamphlet, but then again, he was pretty worn out from the long day of travel. He started reading it and to his delight found a place whose pitch was “No matter from where, your new home is here. Hardlight Inn is a great place to stay for your first time on Neifel.” Even more fortunately, the instructions on the pamphlet showed that it was very close. Two blocks down, take a right, and it was on that corner. The sun was almost below the horizon now, and it cast a soft red glow horizontally across the world. Kyle quickened his pace, not knowing whether it was safe to be outside when it became dark. He had to check his speed and walk carefully though, because there were many people due to several large stores nearby. Kyle looked in despair at the size of the stores as he walked past. The handles were huge and high, made for people who were much taller than he. Kyle wondered if he could open the doors even if he could reach them; they were so vast and tall, it would undoubtedly take the strength of someone who was eight feet tall to open them. Kyle worried that he might not be able to get into the Hardlight Inn. He turned right and kept walking. It wasn’t so busy now; and it didn’t seem so glamourous. The very street seemed busy. Like mixed emotions. Or unrest. Or fear.

Kyle came to the corner and saw the Hardlight Inn. A small, chin height sign had strange foreign characters on it. Kyle was grateful that the place was much shorter and normal sized than the other places. Kyle wasn’t sure what really to expect, but he grasped the door bravely, and was glad the handle fit his hand. Or maybe it was hugging his hand.

Or maybe it was more like a threatening vice grip.

Message to Readers

Helpful criticism or genuine praise appreciated. dirty socks? not appreciated. :)

Peer Review

Kyle's description of the area around him definitely stood out to me. "...the architecture seemed to laugh at gravity." Definitely my favorite line.

Kyle, obviously! He's got a definite tone about him that makes him an interesting protagonist, but there could be a bit more about his background provided, like why he moved to a different planet, or if that's even normal for most people like him to do?

The people of Neifel seem incredibly interesting. What factors on Neifel contribute to their biology being so different from Kyle's? Not to mention the mysterious figure: what's his role?

Why is it just the Hardlight Inn that accommodates Kyle's size? Is it usual for humans (He's human, right?) to be manipulated into visiting such an establishment?

Wonder and a bit of suspense.

Reviewer Comments

Wonderful story! I love the idea of one just casually visiting completely different planets, as well as the societies of thereof. Definitely one you could run with if you chose to add on to it!