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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/bobinusa
Review Requests: ON
51 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I aim to be straight-forward. My reviews will focus on my reading experience, not the way I would write your story.
I'm good at...
Story logic and motivation are important to me. I enjoy word play and crisp dialog.
Favorite Genres
Short stories of interpersonal drama, comedy that comes from character, and science fiction are my particular favorites.
Least Favorite Genres
Horror and gore have to be really good to keep my interest.
Favorite Item Types
Short stories and flash fiction
Least Favorite Item Types
Horror
Public Reviews
Previous ... -1- 2 ... Next
1
1
Review by Ari Lox
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hello, Robert Edward Baker . I found your story "The Presidential Press Briefing by browsing by sci fi. It was a excellent read. I hope you find this feedback useful.

Of course, this review is only how I see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with. Any advice is offered with the sole intention of being helpful.


*Bullet* Characters: I like the zany irony of the lead character, Chris—wearing his shiny aluminum jacket and steel colander on this head. That he has a potentially legitimate cause from medical discharge from the army, hinting at PTSD muddied up the character very nicely. That he ended up having the accurate grasp on reality became all the more powerful.

*Bullet* Theme: The importance of authority figures in shaping our grasp of reality is well exposed. As President Moore said, I called this press briefing to assure the world this is a giant hoax. Also, that stereotypes strongly influence who we accept as authority figures. "Chris Burke. Ufology For Real" made the first step easy for Angela to dismiss Chris's words.

*Bullet* Epiphany: That duplicitous President Moore utters, Their opinions along with the 'facts' they present are hardly objective, a true statement in support of her denial of the truth of an alien invasion is a wonderful reversal of expectation. The ease with which sound argument is deployed to support falseness is a lesson for us all.

*Bullet* Climax: I was happy to read “Look! An alien spaceship is hovering over the Capitol Building.”. A fact intervened in the argument previously driven by reference to authority.

*Bullet* Confusion: The narrator commented that President Moore always spoke sense. Although it established a reader connection between Chris and her, the observation seemed disconcordant with the relationship as developed in the story.

          This sentence The marines dove for cover and returned fire with their semi-automatics. made me stop reading to disentangle who's who. The bullets going one-way through the bubble shield seemed an unnecessary complication.

*Bullet* Overall Impression And Rating: An enjoyable, humorous read on a serious theme. Four and a half stars.

Thank you for sharing your story, Robert Edward Baker . I look forward to more of your political wit!


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2
for entry "Niflheim
Review by Ari Lox
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Hi, M.D Schultz
Your "The Rift Walker Anthology caught my eye in my search for science fiction novels. I read the first three chapters. Following is my review of Chapter 3, "Niflheim." These are my impressions and offered to you in the spirit of constructive review. If my thoughts and impressions help you, good. If not, just ignore them.

*Bullet* Theme: The scientific over-reach that leads to disasters (from the rift creation) forms a very good base for science fiction.
  I don’t need to see the devil to know that he exists. A nice overture that supernatural forces exist across the Prism Gate.

*Bullet* Intriguing Ideas: Here are two examples of a good many that excited my attention.
  in hours of desperation people often grasp at the most unlikely explanations. A nice insight into the slim thread of logic that can underpin crucial decisions in desperate times.
  My conscience had become a conflicted duality Promises complexity to be explored.

*Bullet* Future Society:The references to Cathedral, Fifth Chapter, Triumvirate, and Beast Codex whet the appetite for further developments in these areas.

*Bullet* Plot: Generally I could follow the action and reasoning; however, this development seemed to come without groundwork. the London rift’s position had moved 48000 meters, roughly 30 miles, to the south of our resting camp. This discovery was given without precedence and without recognition method.
   When I read We set up our lab I felt on firm footing. I wondered what they equipment they brought. That could have be used later to give an explanation of we noticed crystalline structures of solid oxygen which is not something simply observed.
   This look-back evaluation Little did we know that it would be a journey unlike anything we had expected. dissipates tension and worry in a reader.

*Bullet* Characters: What is the main character's name? His accomplishments are mentioned when the story starts, but not his name. In Chapter 3, I didn't notice his name.
  Having 3 doctors on the journey makes it difficult to keep them straight. When the narrator references them, they basically have the same first name, Doctor. Perhaps something like—titling the doctor from the military, Colonel, while changing one of the other doctors to an academic professor— would help.

*Bullet* Dialog: There was insufficient dialog. There was no dialog for 8 pages, the final two-thirds of the chapter. All narration. That's one reason that the first person, lead character name is lost.
   It's ironic that the narrator comments, even as we spoke our thoughts late in the story. Sparring dialogue between the leader and the specialists with their particular POVs, would, for this reader, enliven the characters and strengthen the emotional impact.

*Bullet* Setting: The Rift Jump lacked in concrete visualization. There was much narration about the effect and the feeling of the jump, but the physical activity was not rendered. Were they limited to the items they held? And what were those items?

*Bullet*Mechanics

*Bullet* Suggestions:
  Using what technology we had left This is after the rift jump. The story would benefit, in my opinion, with a description of the lost items and the role for which they were intended.
  seal half the city and think of a viable excuse to tell the public The rift a mile across the city is obvious enough reason. If it's not, explain why another reason is needed.

Overall Impression and Rating: The story has promise. I gave it three stars. I met three scary monsters in three chapters; however, an emotional bond was not formed with the characters.

Thank you, M.D Schultz for posting your imaginative novel.
Bob


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Review of The Big Bang  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi, Ken.
Great piece of flash sci fi. I especially liked "we're here, Rebekkah – and we always will be ..."
A satisfying end.
Bob
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Review by Ari Lox
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Hello, Amalie Cantor - We Got This! ,

The teacher in my poetry review lesson Turtle ~ KanyáthƐko:wa:h mentioned your poetry, leading me over to your portfolio, where I found your structured poem "And thus does the wind cry.

Perhaps my observations will recall to you the feelings that prompted you to write this very fine poem. Since I am learning, I may comment on some aspects not so ably. If you find this neophyte's observations off-the-mark, please ignore them.

Personal Reaction: Most satisfying poem I can recall reading. It melds completeness of concept with the promise of repeated pleasures.

My Favorite Lines And Why:
*BulletB*The sweet refrain of lover's call This joyful line harmoniously ties nature to the deepest need of humans.
*BulletB*The joyous lily's dancing hall Such a graceful and colorful image that shows spring through a happy human contrivance.
*BulletB*The close combination of the two lines more than doubles the delight in reading them.

Poetic Conventions Used: Empat Empat is a new term for me. You explained it well in your post note. The graceful partitioning of 4 stanzas into 4 seasons with the demand line rolling through titillated my mathematical tendencies.

Voice: Immediate, but not personal nor distant. A good match to role of nature.

Tone: The line Of summer's beauty now undone shows how the poem evokes images rather than describes concrete examples. I like that the reader has that job—thus does the wind pull one in.

Mood: Bemoaning cold and bitter plight shows resignation, yet that's immediately followed by Yet as if by spell, blooms burst free.with optimistic hope. A fine pair of moods to play off one another.

POV: Omniscience fits well the poetic theme of nature's progress beyond humanity.

Pace: Smooth, easy. Paced well with telling images to start, then deftly evoking specific notions which connote the progress of seasons.

Rhyme:The pattern of endings worked for me. I liked learning what a slant rhyme was and marveled at your skill in mastering the complex pattern of rhymes and syllable count demanded to meet the contest requirements.

Imagery: Another ring upon each tree perfectly made me see that the repetitive sequence of years is a part of this poem's appreciation of nature.

I had no choice but to assign 5 stars. Having read this poem several times, I know I will again and again. It portrays a truth of rhythmic nature that pleases again and again.

Thank you for sharing your wonderful poet,Amalie Cantor - We Got This!
Bob

He has the facts, but not the phosphorescence of learning.
Emily Dickinson



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5
5
Review by Ari Lox
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hello, Baloney Bill ,
I saw your poem "He Thought For a Moment He Was Rich in our Rockin' Reviewer Poetry Class Contest. I just has to read it. My reflections, a non-poet, follow. Perhaps you will find something useful in them. Of course, if the observations are inappropriate for your intention, ignore them.

Personal Reaction:
*BulletBr* I quite enjoyed reading it. The words, sounds, and sense flowed generally well.

My Favorite Lines And Why:
*BulletBr*Monday morning’s meteoric minute I love the rolling, vibrating hum of the M alliteration.
*BulletBr*The lone runner in this high-income race. It elicited a strong, clear image for me.

Poetic Conventions Used: Your comments below the poem on meeting the contest requirements were clear, except for onomatopoeia—the rendering of a word which evokes the sound the sensation makes. You cite He saw a sparkle on the sidewalk which. I don't see the poetic device there.

Punctuation-Spelling-Grammar:
*BulletBr* You might consider adding a comma after arrived to indicate the phrasing better But when he arrived, it was just a bus
*BulletBr* It might be my ignorance of poetic conventions, but I was surprised that a sentence crossed from stanza 1 to stanza 2.
          He saw a sparkle on the sidewalk which

          Shimmered and glittered like a diamond,


Suggestions to Consider:
*BulletBr*In line 7, it would be great if you could find a term other than blaster which is incongruous to the milieu.
*BulletBr* In my opinion, the last half of takeaway line, no loss, no gain. drifts from your fortune lost theme.

Thank you for sharing your evocative poem, Baloney Bill
Bob

He has the facts, but not the phosphorescence of learning.
Emily Dickinson



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6
6
Review of Annie  
Review by Ari Lox
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (1.0)
Hello, carlton607 . I found your bad writing contest entry "Annie. Since you submitted to a bad writing contest, most of my suggestions will not surprise you.

Please remember, my review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with. Any advice is offered with the sole intention of being helpful, should you decide to revise your story.

*BulletB* Overall Impression: I applaud you on writing such a difficult-to-digest story. It is rife with poor spelling, grammatical errors, and illogical plot elements.

*BulletB* Characters: You have clearly shown that Annie is frail and something happened to her years ago that still haunts her, yet the reader doesn't know what it is.

*BulletB* Plot: The last sentence is not totally surprising.
Later that morning Annie died and Buster barked sadly at her.
However, the logical link between story action and the conclusion is not offered, leaving me unsatisfied.

*BulletB* Suggestions:
1 It's a worthwhile effort to read your story aloud, perhaps pretending you are telling it to your friends. Consider your opening paragraph.
It was a stormy and dark night and Annie screamed out loud. "Why?" screamed Annie? She was popular and she liked to knit socks in her spare time. Annie worried and was alone in her house.
Do the words roll off your tongue? Would your friends be anxious for what you say next or would they be wondering about what you just said?

2 Meld information with action.
Buster knew that Annie needed help. He barked again when he heard a flash of thunder and Annie pulled the blankets over her face in a quick and scared way. Buster was a mix breed dog and he liked to play.
The shift in the paragraph attention from Buster's and Annie's reaction to the storm to a flat description of Buster is jarring. You might want to consider integrating that description with the action. Perhaps this might trigger your thoughts
Buster, although a playful pet, knew that Annie needed help.

3 The paragraph below is wonderfully full of egregious constructions. Kudos.
The high winds caused Annie to fear a hurricane or a tornado. She was petrified like a peace of old wood. Her face froze in the heat under her covers and she sweat, but she remained calm in spite of what had happened in the past, a past she wanted to forget but she couldn't stop remembering. With those thoughts in her mind she drifted off into a pieceful slumber.
The reversed placement of peace and pieceful delighted me. The ironic narration imagining her a piece of wood, which would not worried by wind was as pleasing as freezing her face with heat. Ending with a thought she couldn’t forget but which the reader isn't given works to frustrate the need for fictional completeness.

*BulletB* Diction, Typos, Spelling:

Thank you for sharing your writing, carlton607 . I'll look for other illustrative entries you may post.
Bob


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Review by Ari Lox
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello, livp .

I found your comedic essay, your first effort in WDC, "So You Think You Can Vote? enjoyable and hope you find this feedback useful.

Please remember, this review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with. Any advice is offered with the sole intention of being helpful.

*BulletB* Overall Impression: Excellent humor on a germane issue, presidential elections. "I propose a head-to-head battle" made me laugh and ensured I would continue for more of your fresh take on the political landscape.

*BulletB* Thesis: You humorously propose the replacement of the electoral system with a series of TV face-offs, winnowing the candidates with each round, something somber political pundits would never think of. Kudos for originality.

*BulletB* Organization: Logical and easy to follow
          *BulletB* The Jeopardy round to remove those with limited knowledge of government elicits a chuckle, as does your summary, "[N]obody wants an idiot-in-chief." Have you considered many readers may think a slow clicker finger not disqualifying? Some verbal hand-waving to mitigate that concern might serve your essay.
          *BulletB* Your Bachelor question, “What is the one thing you would not want your fellow candidates to find out about you?” makes me laugh every time I read it.
          *BulletB* During their Living with the Candidates week, the difficulty caused by candidates "so frequently change their promises" hits directly at a real problem of veracity.

*BulletB* Style:
          *BulletB* You might consider synchronizing your terms and the order of them. For example, "American Idol, the Bachelor, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and Jeopardy" starts in the second paragraph, but American Idol is not used below. Since your essay develops the Jeopardy round first, it eases things for the reader if it is also mentioned first in the list. While I reading, I thought of them as Jeopardy Politics, the Want-to-Bes, and Living with the Candidates.
          *BulletB* More white space would have made my reading easier, perhaps blank lines between paragraphs and/or a few subheadings.
          *BulletB* A spelling and grammar check would have caught typos like "top fives candidates" and "theAmerican voter."

Thank you for sharing your essay, livp . I hope to see more of your fresh humor. Write On!


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Review by Ari Lox
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello, Ametorpe . I enjoyed reading your story "An Act of kindness (Writer's Cramp) submitted for a Writers Cramp contest.

Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual reader, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with. Any advice is offered with the sole intention of being helpful.

*BulletB* Overall Impression: You pulled me right into the Lizzie's life.
The snippet "of Lorraine's hands and legs were hanging off the edge of the bed. Lizzy entered and placed her properly" forced my mind to recall when my children were little and placed me over Lizzie's shoulder. Also, when in mid night, she saw "the silent shadow of the neighbour’s dog prowling the yard", that put me right in the story.

The song prompts were seamlessly laced into the story. When Dela answered, "Nowhere man, nowhere." It was perfectly placed. Bravo.

*BulletB* Plot: The chaos, confusion, and fear in the family after multiple explosions in the neighborhood is something you capture, which I had a minor glimpse into two years ago when a gas pipe exploded rattling me and my den. Your story gets at a stunning event which can test what a person is made of.

*BulletB* Setting: I especially like getting dropped into the environment where regular electricity is a fresh improvement and yet the character motives and desires remain those of all humanity.

*BulletB* Suggestions: Of course this is merely my impression, but the story started as Lizzie's then shifted to Dela, and ended on the sheriff. You might consider having the same events by all filtered through Lizzie's changing perspective caused by the night's events. Here's an example: "Dela put Lorraine down and asked her to stay with her mother. He removed stone after stone till the boy's legs were free." You could, if you elected to, have Lizzie proactively request her daughter, so that her always helpful husband could assist the boy. Similarly, Lizzie earlier could muse about the need for guard dogs because of the lax sheriff and then at the end, note her opinion of the sheriff changed. Just two thoughts to consider.

By the way, what is a P.O.P ceiling?

Although they did not detract from my pleasure in entering your story world, consider capitalization in the title 'An Act of [K]indness" and not in "helter [s]kelter.

Thank you for taking me to another world, Ametorpe . Write On!

9
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Review by Ari Lox
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Great to see the different authorial personalities coloring alternating sections.
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Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Great feeling to "Joanie's Blue Crab Cafe." I especially enjoyed the use of Tamiami Trail.

I see that it is a hoary treat from a decade ago, but to a Newbie it's as tasty as a fresh caught crab.

If you still visit this byway, thank you, ridinghhood.


bob
Ari Lox


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Review of Making it Work  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (4.5)
Very good read with a light touch. Enjoyed it.
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Review by Ari Lox
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi, Lady Holly.
Thank you for the opportunity to read "His Kiss." This young adult story is in a close vein to one I have written in.

*StarGr* Bullet} Overall Impression: I found the story enjoyable, a pleasant read with only a couple spots causing me to stumble.

*StarGr* Favorite Aspect: The flashbacks showing the complicated evolution of Henry and Mark's antimosity. They flowed well.

*StarGr* Characters, Plot, Story Comments: Henry, as a nickname for Henrietta, is one I'm not used to here, in the states. I had to remind myself that Henry's a girl.
In opening scene we often are in Mark's head. That had me identifying with him, then you switched to Henry's point of view who turns to be the lead character. I would have preferred a single POV throughout.
Two more quick points. The lack of setting description in the initial paragraphs had me envisioning a cupboard in a house, not in some science lab, which is much more interesting than my presumption. Also, without any immediate cue to ages, I must admit I thought them acting young, than later events developed.

*StarGr* Spelling, Grammar, or Punctuation: N/A.

Lady Holly, I enjoyed "His Kiss" and look forward to the next chapter.
Bob

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13
13
Review of Paris  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hi, Sumojo }.
Thank you for the opportunity to read "Paris."
I'm using my PDG review template, although perhaps for others I shouldn't use it until I complete their courses.

*Bullet* Overall Impression: I like the feel and atmosphere that you captured.

*Bullet* Favorite Aspect: You capture Celeste's emotions, concerns, and ambiguities well.

*Bullet* Characters, Plot, Story Comments: I felt cheated not seeing something of her fighting at the climax. Also, I didn't pick up until then that her father had showed her some excellent self-defense moves.
Just a thought. You might consider a more concrete reference to her father's role in her earlier musings, then her referencing that technique when the light is out.

*Bullet* Spelling, Grammar, or Punctuation: Very minor. Shouldn't twenty two be twenty-two?

I look forward to reading other of your stories.
Bob My Rocking Reviewer Signature
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Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, caerlynn.
My name is Bob. Thank you for the opportunity to read your Oregon Train story

*Bullet* Overall Impression. I boarded the wagon train, enjoying the ride.

*Bullet* Favorite Aspect. The warmth of the characters and the realistic danger of the trek.

*Bullet* Characters, Plot, Story Comments. The story flowed well once it got going. I must admit that the bridge in the beginning caused me pause. Wouldn't there have been toll collectors? It didn't seem like the wagons took it, making it superfluous. Not a major deal, just something to mull over. I found the ending satisfying.

*Bullet* Spelling, Grammar, or Punctuation. Nothing striking.

I liked it.

Keep on writing, caerlynn.
Bob My Rocking Reviewer Signature
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Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hi, Charlotte, Sir Jimminy, and classmates.
I am looking forward to learning and to meeting everyone.
I do find the site and navigation confusing so far, so I'll be an avid student.
Cheers, Bob
16
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Review of Fog  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
Interesting fragment, William. Not a short story in my view - an opening, rather than a story.
So many mentions of Bobby before we discover any specifics of the person holding his hand made her unveiling as his date a long-coming reveal. Not bad, just a crafty curiosity as to the choice.
The question the story raises for me was why Bobby left her in the fog. If the culmination includes a insight into his character, the story could be very satisfying. As it is, he calls her a dummy hardly the sentiment of a suitor.
I hope my frank opinion gives you something worthwhile to chew on for your future writing.
Bob
17
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Review of AMY FOSTER  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (3.5)
Emilia Lanza,
I enjoyed picked up your story. You have a nice way in some passages.
The format of your story made it difficult for me to lose myself in it. If a story is single spaced, then I expect indentation of the next paragraph. Without that, it's tiring.
But don't let that technical issue throw you, keep writing.
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Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (4.0)
I was disappointed this piece ended so soon. Sure flash fiction is short, but I prefer a bit of curl within the story, rather than just an illumination, as in a Caravaggio painting.
In some respects that's just an imposition of my preference upon the flash fiction form.
Write on Bottled_Axolotl.
19
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Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
I'm a newbie. I just came across this story.
Good read. I enjoyed it quite thoroughly. The final message had a nice closure to it.
20
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Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (4.0)
Good solid story, Catch-up Fyn.
Clear, easy to follow, and made this reader want to see what Sarah's story would be.
It's minor, but IMO a tag describing Kelly would have eased the dialog identification where Kelly first speaks.

21
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Review of Backwards  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (3.5)
Welcome, FeatherPoetry.
If I understand, you are a newbie too. Welcome. I've been on the site only 2 weeks myself.
I like the backward thrust of your story. I got into the rhythm of it, but I couldn't make good sense of
the ending.
You can't change what will happen, but you are fifteen minutes early. The significance of that eluded me.
I look forward to more of your writings.
Bob
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Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (3.5)
Interesting essay, ImaLukewarmPizza; however, you have overlooked a significant factor that causes the US two party system. The winner-take-all election process.
This is unlike many other democracies which award representation on a proportional basis. In those countries, if 25% of all votes want a Green Policy, 25% of the elected representatives can espouse and promote those policies.
In the United States, those 25% would get zero representation - except if one of the major party candidates pick up that policy.
I didn't connect all the dots between winner-take-all and two parties, but look into it.
On a separate point about technique, if you want to convince others to your point of view, you need to delineate (examples) the manner in which the two parties are indistinguishable. In that manner, your personal view can be assessed against what knowledge the reader brings.
I too have ideas about electoral changes which include proportional representation. (https://www.rhamill.com/RobertHamill/government/ec...)

Bob
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Review by Ari Lox
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Very good evocation of a dire situation which got terminally worse.
My only constructive comment is to ask you - what makes this a story?
I always think story should involve a character and change. This is more an illumination than a story.
Perhaps you don't care about that distinction, but most editors do, imo.
Again, I enjoyed the reading.
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Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (3.5)
Perhaps because you were relating this story (rather than having a character experience it), I didn't find it scary. I did read it through with only occasional lapses of attention.
I did enjoy the folksy manner you told the story, as around a fireplace or the smoking embers of an unexplained fire.
The the way, your narrator has a good self-effacing manner.
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Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Interesting story with close parallels to today's US political situation. It reads pretty smooth.
The story lacks a convincing argument over the force field. Why did one side want it so badly and the other side so despise it?
Then to have Kallik kill Dimcea, not because of a dispute over the force field, but for personal aggrandizement, undercuts the theme of the story.
Despite that, you did a good job with 1800 words. Keep writing.


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