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Sunny and the Syntax Errors of Doom: Chapter 2.1

by Spearmint


Sunny raised an eyebrow. "You've lost the errors' descriptions? How does that even happen?”

Robert sighed and closed his brain, the screen and keyboard becoming hidden under a smooth white surface again. "Actually, I suppose it'd be more accurate to say that they've been stolen."

Sunny didn't look any less skeptical.

"Oh, just come on. There's someone in town who can explain it to you better, and she also owes me a nice long charge. Talking to Earthlings like you drains my battery." Robert harrumphed and started floating down the hill.

Sunny felt like Robert had just insulted her again, but she shrugged and followed the robot. Perhaps this person could be her official questgiver or mentor figure? Sunny perked up. Maybe she'd be able to provide magical items to aid them in their quest! Although considering the whole coding theme of Javaland, Sunny supposed that any magic would have a decidedly technical twist to it. But Rule #11 was to accept any magic items one was given, as they'd probably be useful later.

Soon enough, Sunny and Robert had entered the town. Sunny unabashedly stared at the denizens of Javaland as they strolled along the sidewalks, gazing into clothing stores or chatting amongst themselves. They didn’t look any different than "Earthlings"... She did see quite a few robots, though, which reminded her that she wasn't in her home world.

The architecture here was also quite distinct. As Sunny and Robert turned into a residential district, Sunny eyed the curved roofs of the houses. If she tilted her head to the side, she could almost imagine they were like sideways parentheses… how unique! Sunny pulled out her notebook and quickly sketched a building.

Suddenly, Robert stopped in front of one such curved-roof house and called, "We're here." Sunny shoved her notebook back into a pocket and hurried to the modestly-sized house's front steps. There was a well-kept yard to her right and a pale magenta door to the front.

"Ooh." Sunny traced the patterns carved onto the door. "Are these flowers?"

Robert lifted one of his arm-slabs and knocked firmly on the door, then glanced at where Sunny was pointing. "Those are some fine examples of semicolon art. It's a popular hobby here, although curly braces are also starting to catch on."

Sunny nodded appreciatively and copied a pattern into her notebook. She was just about to try adding some swirls to it when the door abruptly swung open.

"Nanetnis etekececef nileteknaek!" A lady stood in the doorway, beaming at Sunny and Robert. Her hair was twisted up into an elaborate hairdo topped with a hairpiece that looked like an enlarged version of the semicolon art patterns. Her dress was similarly patterned, although Sunny suddenly felt that she needed sunglasses to handle the neon colors.

Sunny smiled tentatively at the woman, completely befuddled as to what the woman had just said. The lady grinned at her for a second more, then exclaimed "Efet!" and pulled out a sleek purple device from a pocket in the dress. The lady plugged the device into Robert's side port, and Robert obligingly opened his head to reveal the screen and keyboard again.

"Right, the device can be a translator!" Sunny quickly deleted the printing part of her program and made sure it was ready to scan in input. She clicked run.

Text in case the image doesn't load: 

import java.util.*;

public class Main {

public static void main(String[] args) {

Scanner in = new Scanner(System.in);

System.out.println(in.nextLine());

}

}

The woman smiled again and spoke something in rapidfire Javalandian (Sunny made a mental note to ask Robert the real name of the language). The purple device transcribed her words, beeped for a moment as if thinking, then turned a light shade of blue as translated lines of text appeared on Robert’s screen.

"Apologies!" the text read. "I'm afraid I'm not quite used to visitors from Earth. It's been a generation since the last one came! Anyhow, is there anything I can do for you, my dear? Get you some food, perhaps? Some Java reference manuals? I know it can be difficult to get used to our coding customs here. Oh! And please do come in."

When Sunny finished reading and looked up again, Robert had already floated into the house. The woman had brought over a long white cord and plugged Robert into an outlet in the wall, and the robot happily settled down on the floor. Well, if Robert trusted this woman, she probably wasn’t a threat, right? Unless she was one of those mentor figure characters who turned out to be working with the bad guy… Sunny decided to stay alert just in case. She was kind of hungry, though.

Sunny smiled at the woman and stepped inside as well. "Thank you for the warm welcome! Some food would be fantastic, as well as a sturdy pack if you can spare one. I'm afraid the portal brought me here before I could grab my questing backpack from home." Sunny sighed regretfully, then added, "The reference manuals would be incredibly helpful too, if it isn't too much trouble."

The device glowed purple again as it translated Sunny's words. The woman leaned over to Robert’s screen to read the text, then beamed at Sunny. "Lisanecec eaek naesenetnol eaeieb!"

"I'll be right back!" appeared on the screen. The lady walked through an archway to the left, her colorful dress swishing on the floor.

Now that Sunny's eyes were spared from the dress's piercingly bright colors, she took a moment to look around the room. It seemed to be a dining area with a warm wooden table and a couple of cushioned chairs. Archways on the left and right sides of the room led deeper into the house, and Sunny could hear a faint melody coming from the right archway. It sounded like it was being sung by a child.

"Psst, Robert. Do you hear that?" Sunny gently poked the robot.

"Go away. I’m charging." Robert didn’t even crack his eyes open from their horizontal line positions.

Sunny pouted a little. She thought it'd be rather rude if she explored the house without permission, but there wasn't much in the dining room to occupy her attention. Sunny fidgeted with her notebook and wondered how long it'd take for the woman to return. Whoops, she thought. I forgot to ask for her name.

Sunny spent a couple seconds admiring some more semicolon art on the far wall. But soon enough, she was distracted by the singing getting louder. The music was quickly joined by the pitter-patter of footsteps from the right archway, and Sunny turned to face it as a child wearing an indigo blanket-cape appeared.


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Snoink wrote a review...



Sunny raised an eyebrow. "You've lost the errors' descriptions? How does that even happen?”


GOOD QUESTION.

Robert sighed and closed his brain, the screen and keyboard becoming hidden under a smooth white surface again. "Actually, I suppose it'd be more accurate to say that they've been stolen."


WHAT.

The plot thickens!!!!

"Oh, just come on. There's someone in town who can explain it to you better, and she also owes me a nice long charge. Talking to Earthlings like you drains my battery." Robert harrumphed and started floating down the hill.


OKAY. SO. I think you should at least TRY to make Robert explain how it got stolen, because he doesn't even try! Which is sad because I want to see him muddle through the whole explanation. Because right now, it almost seems as if Robert is going to be the mentor/guide figure of the quest and you've given us no real reason to think otherwise. BUT. If he like... completely fails to explain anything properly, suddenly it would make a lot more sense why he's stepping back from this role and letting someone else take his place.

There's another downside to this... you have a very interesting hook here, and yet you're kind of losing that interest to go on another adventure before you even really begin, and I want you to focus a bit more on the conflict! Mind you! Sometimes, it's good to divert the reader's interest when there's a conflict going on, BUT! Only after you establish the stakes!

So like... you saw me do this when Alainna mocked Clarise once she got to the restaurant. The conflict was, "OH NO A CONQUEROR HAS COME AND WREAKED HAVOC AND NOW ALAINNA GETS TO FIND OUT HOW BAD EVERYTHING IS" but there was somewhat random scene where she is just being utterly cruel to Clarise, and it's clearly an important scene for a variety of reasons, but also it seems kind of random interruption to the main conflict at the same time. STILL. You know that the stakes are high and so you're willing to begrudgingly read that part so you get to see Alainna's Reaction to the news.

(Not that you're writing a horror fantasy, but you hopefully I am making sense here? XD Again, THREE HOURS OF SLEEP. *dies*)

So! Make sure you establish the stakes! Maybe have Robert muddle through an explanation and it sounds Really Boring, and Sunny is like, lol, why does this matter? And then Robert would try again but now his explanation was Incredibly Alarming. Or something like that. But make sure that 1) the stakes are known, and 2) Sunny gets at least a vague sense of the problem. Because this is the part of your story where things seem to derail a bit, and you can probably fix it really easy if you have Robert explain things!

"Those are some fine examples of semicolon art. It's a popular hobby here, although curly braces are also starting to catch on."


Pretty! Though, I now wonder if this is going to play a part later... :)

"Nanetnis etekececef nileteknaek!" A lady stood in the doorway, beaming at Sunny and Robert. Her hair was twisted up into an elaborate hairdo topped with a hairpiece that looked like an enlarged version of the semicolon art patterns. Her dress was similarly patterned, although Sunny suddenly felt that she needed sunglasses to handle the neon colors.


...I'm generally not a fan of using made up languages, if you can help it. I've lived in Japan for several months before without understanding Japanese, and like. When someone says something at you quickly in a language you don't understand, it just comes into your brain like a wall of indistinguishable sound. Like, your brain just kind says, "lolwut i quit" and nothing makes sense. In fact, it got so bad, my brain just decided not to listen to anything anymore, haha. So once, when a little Japanese woman saw me, an Obvious White American, walking in the mall, she tried to use me to practice her English -- AND SHE SPOKE ENGLISH TO ME. But, because my brain was so confused, I didn't understand her English until she walked away, disappointed, and I realized that she had just spoken English to me.

So like, I don't really like spelling out phonetic languages out like this if the person doesn't understand the language, just because, realistically, if someone comes at you with a completely different language that you just don't understand any of it, it's just going to be a wall of sound.

Mind you!!! If the language is such that your main character would understand it, I would probably just integrate it in the story. The author of the Stardust Thief did that with some Arabic, and honestly it was lovely. But I probably wouldn't do it for this...

The purple device transcribed her words, beeped for a moment as if thinking, then turned a light shade of blue as translated lines of text appeared on Robert’s screen.


I thought Robert didn't want to be a translator????

...okay, I just finished and I am slightly annoyed that we still haven't found out why things are being stolen?? (I had this problem with Brothers Karamazov too, lol.... like... LET'S STOP MEETING NEW PEOPLE AND TIE UP SOME LOOSE THREADS HERE!)

Still... maybe Chapter 2.2 has it? DUN DUN DUNNNNN.




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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Okay... loving where this is going. It seems like you've really gone and put a lot of thought into Javaland and the things that make up a world like this. I'm very excited to see what other things this place might hold here.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Sunny raised an eyebrow. "You've lost the errors' descriptions? How does that even happen?”

Robert sighed and closed his brain, the screen and keyboard becoming hidden under a smooth white surface again. "Actually, I suppose it'd be more accurate to say that they've been stolen."

Sunny didn't look any less skeptical.

"Oh, just come on. There's someone in town who can explain it to you better, and she also owes me a nice long charge. Talking to Earthlings like you drains my battery." Robert harrumphed and started floating down the hill.


Well that's an interesting one. The way that you're using charge as something that sounds vaguely like it might be a currency. It is hard to say. Also loving the snarkiness there as much as I love the fact that we're getting this mystery to be a little deeper here as we dive deeper into the idea of what happened to these error codes.

Sunny felt like Robert had just insulted her again, but she shrugged and followed the robot. Perhaps this person could be her official questgiver or mentor figure? Sunny perked up. Maybe she'd be able to provide magical items to aid them in their quest! Although considering the whole coding theme of Javaland, Sunny supposed that any magic would have a decidedly technical twist to it. But Rule #11 was to accept any magic items one was given, as they'd probably be useful later.


Oh I'm loving these little rules here. Not the first time I've seen something like that in a story like that, but it's still adding such a fun unique twist to things that combined with the whole technological part of this, it all feels like such a new experience to your typical story that has to do with a quest.

Soon enough, Sunny and Robert had entered the town. Sunny unabashedly stared at the denizens of Javaland as they strolled along the sidewalks, gazing into clothing stores or chatting amongst themselves. They didn’t look any different than "Earthlings"... She did see quite a few robots, though, which reminded her that she wasn't in her home world.

The architecture here was also quite distinct. As Sunny and Robert turned into a residential district, Sunny eyed the curved roofs of the houses. If she tilted her head to the side, she could almost imagine they were like sideways parentheses… how unique! Sunny pulled out her notebook and quickly sketched a building.


Well that's a lovely little description for this new world. I love how the differences aren't exactly subtle but aren't something completely alien to Earth either. It makes it have a lovely balance between "Wow this is a new world" to just not being able to imagine it at all.

Suddenly, Robert stopped in front of one such curved-roof house and called, "We're here." Sunny shoved her notebook back into a pocket and hurried to the modestly-sized house's front steps. There was a well-kept yard to her right and a pale magenta door to the front.

"Ooh." Sunny traced the patterns carved onto the door. "Are these flowers?"

Robert lifted one of his arm-slabs and knocked firmly on the door, then glanced at where Sunny was pointing. "Those are some fine examples of semicolon art. It's a popular hobby here, although curly braces are also starting to catch on."


Ahhh I adore that detail with the art. Its such a tiny thing in the grand scheme of this world, but its these little details that really bring fictional worlds like these to life in full force and that particular detail is no different. Especially with the pictures ahh. These are beautiful.

"Nanetnis etekececef nileteknaek!" A lady stood in the doorway, beaming at Sunny and Robert. Her hair was twisted up into an elaborate hairdo topped with a hairpiece that looked like an enlarged version of the semicolon art patterns. Her dress was similarly patterned, although Sunny suddenly felt that she needed sunglasses to handle the neon colors.

Sunny smiled tentatively at the woman, completely befuddled as to what the woman had just said. The lady grinned at her for a second more, then exclaimed "Efet!" and pulled out a sleek purple device from a pocket in the dress. The lady plugged the device into Robert's side port, and Robert obligingly opened his head to reveal the screen and keyboard again.


Ooooh I love a new language. This is wonderful... and I love to see that we've got the whole people in different world speak different languages thing sorted out so early because so often you have multiple alien species that just happen to know English with zero explanation as to how.

And wow this code is slowly starting to look more serious here. Java is just perfect for this because you can make very simple operations look far more complicated than they are xD.

"Apologies!" the text read. "I'm afraid I'm not quite used to visitors from Earth. It's been a generation since the last one came! Anyhow, is there anything I can do for you, my dear? Get you some food, perhaps? Some Java reference manuals? I know it can be difficult to get used to our coding customs here. Oh! And please do come in."


Well it seems like at the very least this is a pretty polite woman for the moment. Even if she isn't polite she's doing a very solid job of pretending to be so things are off to a decent start for our friend Sunny here.

When Sunny finished reading and looked up again, Robert had already floated into the house. The woman had brought over a long white cord and plugged Robert into an outlet in the wall, and the robot happily settled down on the floor. Well, if Robert trusted this woman, she probably wasn’t a threat, right? Unless she was one of those mentor figure characters who turned out to be working with the bad guy… Sunny decided to stay alert just in case. She was kind of hungry, though.

Sunny smiled at the woman and stepped inside as well. "Thank you for the warm welcome! Some food would be fantastic, as well as a sturdy pack if you can spare one. I'm afraid the portal brought me here before I could grab my questing backpack from home." Sunny sighed regretfully, then added, "The reference manuals would be incredibly helpful too, if it isn't too much trouble."


Well the reference manuals are always useful. Also I love how casually Sunny just thinks of this woman possibly being secretly evil. When we do find out who is actually the secretly evil person, that's going to make for a properly hilarious reveal.

The device glowed purple again as it translated Sunny's words. The woman leaned over to Robert’s screen to read the text, then beamed at Sunny. "Lisanecec eaek naesenetnol eaeieb!"

"I'll be right back!" appeared on the screen. The lady walked through an archway to the left, her colorful dress swishing on the floor.

Now that Sunny's eyes were spared from the dress's piercingly bright colors, she took a moment to look around the room. It seemed to be a dining area with a warm wooden table and a couple of cushioned chairs. Archways on the left and right sides of the room led deeper into the house, and Sunny could hear a faint melody coming from the right archway. It sounded like it was being sung by a child.


Loving these little descriptions once again. It giving a nice little touch of extra insight into how the citizens of this land live and how they normally seem to get about their daily life. I think its really going to come in handy later on in the story when the actual questing begins, assuming this will end up being a quest after all.

Sunny pouted a little. She thought it'd be rather rude if she explored the house without permission, but there wasn't much in the dining room to occupy her attention. Sunny fidgeted with her notebook and wondered how long it'd take for the woman to return. Whoops, she thought. I forgot to ask for her name.

Sunny spent a couple seconds admiring some more semicolon art on the far wall. But soon enough, she was distracted by the singing getting louder. The music was quickly joined by the pitter-patter of footsteps from the right archway, and Sunny turned to face it as a child wearing an indigo blanket-cape appeared.


Well that is officially the cutest cliffhanger than I've ever run into ahhh. That is a lovely place to stop this part of the chapter. I can't wait to see how this is going to end here. Also Robert being grumpy is also starting to be a little adorable by this point.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I think you've done a wonderful job of things here. We're getting some really interesting and very subtle details on this quest here while we continue to learn more and more about this land and I'm loving it. I can't wait to see how this chapter will end.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




Spearmint says...


Hi Harry, thanks so much for the review!! ^-^
Ahhh I adore that detail with the art.

Aww thank youuu XD It was something I tossed in there on a whim, but I had fun making the semicolon art lol.
because so often you have multiple alien species that just happen to know English with zero explanation as to how.

Yes!! Exactly xD

Java is just perfect for this because you can make very simple operations look far more complicated than they are xD.

LOL quite true...

Thanks again for the review, and have a wonderful day/night!! <3



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Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review!

Aw, another great part! It was nice to go along with Sunny as she discovered more of Javaland—your descriptions were lovely, and I think the pace the story is moving along at is very amicable! I also enjoyed where you ended it—I'm curious to learn more about this child! I have a feeling that it might be a teaching moment, perhaps?

I loved the descriptions of Javaland—they were very innovative. The details about the parenthetical buildings and the people intermingling with robots is quite creative; I also just love how cohesive it is with the central theme of coding. The little statements Robert makes about semicolon art and curly brackets was lovely. Speaking of, the character you introduced in this part seems so nice—I'm excited to actually get to know her name! And that child at the end, like I said before, is also quite intriguing. Already, they seem to be exhibiting very child-like tendencies (that blanket cape sounds epic XD) so I'm guessing they won't be too different from an Earthling child.

One thing I was curious about was Javalandian, or whatever the language is actually called. I was curious if they actually speak in code, and that's kind of an approximation of what code would sound like sounded out, or if it's simply random letters/words. I also know that you're quite the secret code aficionado, and it did cross my mind that that's what it might be, though I'd have no idea how to confirm—I'm quite bad with ciphers and the like. Though it would be kind of funny if you incorporated a secret code into something about computer coding; they're both code, but different kinds! It'd be kind of like a funny little play on words.

Another thing is just that I love how aware Sunny is; I mentioned in my last review how much I like the fact that she's versed in all of these typical fantasy tropes, and I enjoy how you've still been weaving that into the narration! It's quite nice to have those little meta moments.

Specifics

Her hair was twisted up into an elaborate hairdo topped with a hairpiece that looked like an enlarged version of the semicolon art patterns. Her dress was similarly patterned, although Sunny suddenly felt that she needed sunglasses to handle the neon colors.


Ooh, she sounds stylish! Honestly, given her subject-pertinent clothing, she reminds me a little bit of Ms. Frizzle from the magic school bus.

"Apologies!" the text read. "I'm afraid I'm not quite used to visitors from Earth. It's been a generation since the last one came!


Already curious to see if this previous human visitor will have any impact on Sunny's experience in Javaland.

Overall: brilliant work. Really looking forward to the next one! Until next time!




Spearmint says...


Hey Plume, thanks for the awesome review!! ^-^
I'm curious to learn more about this child! I have a feeling that it might be a teaching moment, perhaps?

Omg, your reader-ly senses are on point. xD

Speaking of, the character you introduced in this part seems so nice%u2014I'm excited to actually get to know her name!

*Sweats nervously* Right, I need to decide on her name... >.>
Haha, I'm glad you're excited to learn more about these characters, though! :3

I also know that you're quite the secret code aficionado, and it did cross my mind that that's what it might be, though I'd have no idea how to confirm

You know me too well, Plume. =P It is indeed a kind of secret code! I translated the English words into hexadecimal (based on the ASCII table, each character has a hexadecimal value. For example, a = 61 and z = 7A). Then I assigned letter values to numbers, so 6 = e and 1 = i, and "a" in English becomes "ei" in Javalandian. XD It isn't super related to coding (that would probably involve binary?) but I had some fun with it! And omg yesss, the wordplay =DD

Already curious to see if this previous human visitor will have any impact on Sunny's experience in Javaland.

Nothing gets past you, lol! xD

Thanks again for the review!! <3



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Tue Sep 27, 2022 12:27 pm
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HJYoung says...



Short question. Is this really fantasy, not science fiction or something?

Anyways, the images give life to the piece so there’s a plus.

As this chapter is rather short and I haven’t read any of the older ones, I really don’t know how to properly review this. I will say that your SPaG is pretty good, your description is decent(but could be better, perhaps using more advanced vocabulary and longer sentences??), and the characters are sufficiently unique. You have a snarky robot(reminds me of a certain robot from Hitchhi-), a creative and active main character, and creative scenery of another world.

Who’s the child?

“ Unless she was one of those mentor figure characters who turned out to be working with the bad guy…”
Funny trope, right there.

Sorry for the short review, but have a good day.




Spearmint says...


Hi HJYoung, thanks so much for the review!! ^-^
Is this really fantasy, not science fiction or something?

Hmm, good question. xD I was leaning towards it being fantasy because of the portal (from chapter 1) and vaguely quest-ish vibes? But there is definitely a lot of technology in this as well, lol. =P

I will say that your SPaG is pretty good, your description is decent(but could be better, perhaps using more advanced vocabulary and longer sentences??), and the characters are sufficiently unique.

Ah, I'm glad you thought the characters were unique! ^^ As for the vocab, my target audience will likely be middle schoolers, so I don't want to use too many academic words. I'll consider using longer sentences and adding some more description, though! C:

Who%u2019s the child?

A mysterious new character :3

Sorry for the short review, but have a good day.

No worries! Thanks again for the review!! <3



HJYoung says...


Bet



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HJYoung wrote a review...



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When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.
— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind