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35 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
1
1
Review by Christian Powers
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi Inkrose,

This was a great story for such a haphazard collaboration. I really enjoyed writing this with you and the others, and especially enjoyed reading it years later. Too bad it never culminated into a complete story. I think too many cooks do spoil soup, but, as stories go, too many authors make a very funny, twisted, entertaining and interesting tale.

I gave it four stars because we never finished. Maybe you should finish it... or both of us if you want. It'd be a shame to leave it without a wrap up.

Christian
2
2
Review of Onward  
Review by Christian Powers
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi,

Thank you for having the fortitude to submit your work for review. It takes courage to put yourself on display like this, and any writer, but especially beginning writers, should be commended.

First off, I found a lot of mistakes in the writing itself, leading me to believe you're relatively new to writing, or this was quickly written and not edited, maybe a bit of both. I call mistake ridden peices like this "drafty", becuase it's usually a first draft, and it's always full of holes. I won't point out all the duplicate and missing words, or awkward word choices I found simply because it would take too much work. I will, however, point out a couple as examples...

1- The robot played a thin red beam of light played over a black square of smoked glass... (played appears twice)
2 - The robot's ignored the unknown woman's sudden departure...(word missing > 'operator')

I found this story a bit overwritten, absolutely stuffed with adverbs. The L and Y keys on your keyboard will wear out if you write a few more of these stories. My advice is to STOP IT. Stop using adverbs and adjectives. Cut them all out. Your writing will improve immensely. LOL See what I did there with 'immensely', a dreaded adverb? But I can use them... you've abused that privilage. Of course, I'm joking with you... but I'm serious. Go back and look at them all. Then get rid of them... if you agree...and you should. lol

Overwriting also exists in your dialogue. Your speaker tags, 'he said' and 'she said' get a bit too colorful, and you modify your speakers with an action a bit too often. Here's a small list...
he said, at last.
the man replied, with little emotion.
the woman blurted, as the seriousness of the situation hit her
the operator suggested, eager to change the subject
the operator replied, with a long face.
she acknowledged with sadness.
This would be improved by only using 'said'... Said, it is said, disappears when used. Your writing could use a little of that.

Finally, overwriting can also be remedied by cutting any word you can possibly cut. If you can cut a word and the meaning is retained, then your writing has been improved. Do this. You will like it. I promise.

There were also a few things that happened in the story that were awkward; how sequences were presented, how people reacted and the strange and halting dialogue. One example of this awkwardness is this...
>>>>On the screen, some thing flew out of the woman's mouth and the operator jumped back in his seat. Behind him, a scream caught in a woman's throat. A metal tray clanked loudly on the deck, soon followed the body of someone who had fainted, overcome by the horror of what everyone had seen.<<<
First, talking about a scream in a woman's throat right after describing a thing flying out of a woman's mouth, even though you qualified it as being another woman by saying it was behind him, was confusing, and an unnecessary, awkward distraction. Second, having someone faint a couple beats after the shocking scene was described seemed comedic... it was funny, actually. I laughed... not what you are going for here, I think. Using the word 'body' to describe the fainting person was hilarious. (I actually intend to plagerize you and use this exact sentence in some comedy I write in the future...great stuff.)

I did not like your first sentence... Deep breaths broke the tense atmosphere of the darkened control room.<<< Did deep breaths really brake the tense atmosphere? This is vague, confused and should be cut...

The characters were cardboard cuttouts really, with no names or personalities.

The setting was vague....servicable, but vague.

And the length was probably just about perfect for the ideas, mood and storyline you're attempting to convey.

The plot was good. The premise of this story was not bad at all, a very good idea. I liked your take, sort of a moral introspection on the human cost of space exploration. It's a refreshing twist for Sci-Fi.

I know this was brutal, and hard to hear. I've been where you are now, and I didn't like it either. I couldn't believe how hard writing was, and I nearly failed to put in the work. But it's worth it. I can tell, like me you're an adept storyteller. You simply need to polish your skills in writing.

Keep writing, keep learning and good luck in your journey. I hoped this helped.

Christian







3
3
Review by Christian Powers
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi Marlin,

This tale was so enjoyable and is so well told with first-hand, eye-witness authenticity in the amiable voice of a deckhand who seems more comfortable at sea than on land, that I hesitate to hint at any change at all.

But it would be unfair to withhold my heartfelt impressions and (oh my Lord, I can't believe I done did it) not lower this rating from a much deserved 5. I'm sorry. I just think you can do better.

I'm horrified by my own actions. I feel like a self-proclaimed art expert telling Davinci the lady in his painting should smile more.

Where I found fault is not with the writing, the voice or the story, but with its delivery. I wanted to follow this able seaman's exploits from scene to scene, learning each segment in the order it became apparent to him. I wanted to 'go on the adventure' with the hero, not be told about it by him afterward. You abandoned me. You left me to sit on a bar stool in a sailor's pub and listen to his tale, a story that happened while I was busy doing other things. As enjoyable at that was... and it was enjoyable, I felt disappointed that I could not be there with him when the boom boomed!

This fresh free style you have as a writer will always be worthy of 5 stars. Hell, this story could be told in retrospect by the hero, and contain no more action than a sunrise or two, and still merit the highest rating, solely based on the quality of your prose. That would be if I were to judge it in comparison to others.

Your work, however, must be judged on a different scale. And, in this piece, I think you took a shortcut. I don't like the shortcut. I want the longer version.

I could feel the wind in my face, and smell the ocean when you began. When you jumped to end in the middle of that, the smell of stale beer in the sailor's pub was simply no comparison.

Drop me a line if you ever get the urge to rewrite this in a more linear fashion, and you can then forget about me raising the rating. I will purchase the issue of the magazine that picks it up and read it in there.

Thank you for a very enjoyable read.

Christian



4
4
Review by Christian Powers
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi Marlin,

I am compelled doesn't really sum it up for me and why I write, although it was the closest answer.

I write because it is the ultimate expression of creative entertainment for me. Ideas are my paint, the written word is my brush and the mind (of my reader) is my canvas. This artistic expression, although static by being frozen forever in print, lives countless lives, resurrected over and over again in the mind of each reader.

I write because I have been changed forever by reading what some others have written; Tolkien, Asimov, Hemingway, Pressfield, Farmer, Moorecock, Pratchett, Turtledove, Heinlein, Howard, Poe and Shakespeare, just to name a few. How can one refrain from writing once transformed by the awesome power of their prose?

Thank you for a wonderful question.

Christian
5
5
Review of It is time  
Review by Christian Powers
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hi,

Thank you for allowing me to review your work.

I found this short story a bit too short, sort of an excerpt from a bigger piece. It was also quite vague, with little to no descriptions of surroundings or characters, and a truncated ending that leaves everything up in the air without any resolution.

The writing itself was above average, but had problems. The narrative was okay, although I would have preferred just a little more mood setting (lack of description), but the dialogue seemed stiff... >>>'okay okay, I am leaving,' she said <<< a simple contraction would do wonders here.

The mysterious hooded and cloaked figures might have had more impact if tied in with 'devil-worshipping room mates' or some other group this story was too short to include. In this short piece the mystery just added to how vague the whole story was.

My suggestion is to add more (which is funny to me since I never suggested that in a review in all my years of reviewing). Usually I tell writers to cut, cut and delete... not this time.

Thanks again for putting this up. I did enjoy what there was to enjoy. You should expand upon it. Some added complexity and character development, along with a good resolution would vastly improve this.

Christian

6
6
Review by Christian Powers
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Sam,

It was a pleasure reading your work. It was written quite well, and it got me thinking. The subject matter drew me in, reading about your philosophy and how you process other philosophies with my own interpretations all in the balance, providing me with a compelling read.

I found a few mistakes or statements I could not agree with based on a lack of substantiation, and I've listed them below. But, although I may disagree with some of your conclusions, do not take this as a rebuttle. I am agnostic. I don't know what mysteries the universe may or may not hold, and I choose to wait until I die to...either find out or not find out as may be the case. Enough about me. On to the specific lines I find wanting...

First... a verb conjugation error...
Did something or someone created us -the mankind, the stars, the sun, the moon, and the earth? <<< This should be 'create' not 'created' and 'mankind' does not require a definite article (strike 'the'), also the earth should be the Earth... unless you mean the 'dirt'.

Again... the following should be capitalized. Earth not earth
on this celebrated life bearing earth

I find the following premise lacking... Why will facing these questions improve civilisation? Why will answering them lead us to salvation or a utopian happiness or nirvana? What if your particular religion is wrong? What if Christianity, Islam or Judaism is the correct religion? What if I choose wrong and become damned because I believe what you tell me, a mere man who cannot possibly know if you're right either? Should one religion force its views on another, in the belief that it must be correct? And, if so, doesn't your premise call for war...death to the infidel...the exact opposite of a utopia? Unless all the non-believers are killed off...and then there could be Utopia...for the killers.
Sooner or later every man will face these questions and sooner the better. Because these questions are not only vital for our future civilisation, but also ,these questions when answered will one day lead us to our salvation, to an utopian happiness, to nirvana.

You say there is no evidence to support evolution in this line...
Scientifically, there is no evidence to support this philosophy.
<<< Either someone has lied to you or you refuse to see the evidence. There is plenty of evidence, although I admit there is nothing conclusively proving the evolution of mankind. There is still a missing link, linking man to some previous species, but don't say there's no evidence for evolution if you want this piece to be accurate. There is countless evidence for the 'theory' of evolution... even though it still is a 'theory'.

What follows here is semantics... Theory or Philosophy or Belief... it's all the same thing...
evolution is not a scientific theory backed by scientific facts but a modern day philosophy.<<< Just one comment on this. Doesn't qualifying evolution as a philosophy put it on exactly the same level as any religion in the world? I think this statement elevates the theory of evolution even as it seeks to demote it.

The following is just gobbledygook... your whole premise is that the cosmos could not have created us by chance, but which is more ridiculous? Is it more ridiculous we were created by some cosmic accident of infinite interactions or that some supreme being (ignoring how he came to be) created everything and then hid himself from our sight? I find both explanations lacking credibility.
The answer it all just happened is not only false but also ill conceived.

The following seemed strange... 'delicious sunrise'? ...it's poetic sounding, but even failed on that level for me... It's a like a mixed metaphor. Simplifying your terms when you wax poetic is my suggestion. I find beauty in accuracy, and delicious is not accurate.
to see the delicious sunrise,

Now this line is accurate... however, I don't like the suggestion presented as a fact here. Sure, feel free to suggest, but make it known as a suggestion from you. Here it is presented as if you have proven your case. I don't think you have.
to think that all this came about just like that, for no reason is hard for me to believe. Thus let us understand our creation through our creator and we will understand our salvation.

Although, in the end, this sounded kind of preachy, I enjoyed the read. You write well, and you have a wonderful grasp of the English language, even though in some rare instances I could tell that it is not your mother tongue, which makes this writing even more impressive. I would have given you five stars just for that had your premise been stronger. This piece would be improved if you gave other philophies the credibility they deserve without diminishing your own solid faith in your beliefs.

It can be done, and it would improve this, making it much more powerful as a testament to the values you hold dear. Qualifying your own heartfelt beliefs as simply a matter of opinion takes courage, but it adds credibility and nobility.

Good luck to you in your writing, and thank you for allowing me to read your work.

Christian


7
7
Review of FOREVER  
Review by Christian Powers
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi,

I enjoyed the voice in your narrative. Your writing was above average and the premise of your story was interesting, but the entertainment value fell a bit short for me. I think the problem I had with it was the length. It was too long a setup for the payoff, kind of watering it down.

At least that's easily fixed. The payoff was fine, finding out it's a machine (you lead the reader to believe it was just a rock...some kind of smart-rock I guess. lol) Anyway, my suggestion is that you cut this way down, maybe just two or three paragraphs before the intro of Jonathan Harker, and keep the rest as is. Although the machine must endure 1.5 billion years of history, I'm not certain the reader has to. (sorry... couldn't resist).

There was a bit too much misdirection in your narrative too, making me feel somewhat lied to.

One example I could find is this one >>> To man, time is precious. To me it is endless, yet man endures his fleeting existence.

Obviously, this was not quite true, was it? I guess you could argue that 1.5 billion years might as well be endless, or seems endless, but it wasn't endless. It diminishes not enhances the impact of your 'surprise' ending when you misrepresent something so blatantly. I suggest merely inferring 'endless', and never mentioning words to that affect.

There were no spelling or grammar issues that I could find.

Try to give my work a gander if you get a chance. 'Listening Post' is my version of Sci-Fi, 'Why I Dropped the Bombs" is more of a whacky, paranoid alternative history tale, but 'Thanotopsis Revisited' is a really short, non-fiction essay on death. That exercise in using a particular voice to spruce up a narrative might appeal to you.

If you don't get a chance to review my stuff that's okay too. I just hope this review helped. It was a pleasure reading your work. Good luck with your writing.

Christian
8
8
Review of The Darkness  
Review by Christian Powers
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi MadJoao,

This short piece hit close to home for me.

I know it's about death; that's no secret. Not mentioning that it was about death was the artistic intention, and I usually find an attempt like that all too common, and often a bit boring, so that is definitely not why I relinquished five stars... To be honest, I actually bawked at the highest rating because of that intentionally 'mysterious' inferrence.

I rated this so high because it was exquisitely penned. It flowed beautifully and described the 'authors' stream of consciousness and random thoughts with muted impact, finality, and disconnection, a way that I imagine someone experiencing his/her descent into death might actually describe their fleeting and fading thoughts of life.

Only one or two word choices caused me a 'stumble', if it can even be called that.

One was this line...>>>I park my car in a dark, forgotten street.<<< I think it was the word "in"... not really certain. Maybe "on" would have been better. Or maybe it was the actual mention of a 'car' at all. You might consider omitting the word 'car', and just say >>> I park on a dark, forgotten street.<<< serving to keep the emphassis on the speaker. Or, just ignore my 'stumble' altogether, since it might have been just me.

The other line immediately followed that one.>>> I stare through the windscreen. <<< Undoubtedly, you live in the U.K. or some English speaking country other than the U.S.A, because 'windshield' is the common term here. So, this 'stumble' was definitely nothing more than an encounter with unfamiliar jargon. I have no suggestions for attempting to fix that.

The good news is, that's the extent of my technical complaints. And since I have no other issues to complain about, here's a note to explain how and why this hit close to home for me.

My mom died in 2007 after a long illness, but she lay on her deathbed for almost two years before then, coming close to death and then returning to her full faculties on several occasions, but always knowing the end was imminent.

In that time she often recounted one particular near-death experience to me. She said she felt a 'Darkness' with nothing beyond it creeping up her limbs, from fingers to hands to forearms, from toes to feet to legs, up her torso, through her shoulders, through chest, neck and onto her chin... and she knew that once the 'darkness' claimed her eyes, she would be gone.

It scared her when she thought about it then, but she said that at the time it happened she had not been afraid. She had simply been aware of it happening, aware of it, but disconnected emotionally... as if it were happening to someone else.

This piece you have written gave me that exact same impression, aware of it, but disconnected.

Good stuff.

Thank you for allowing me to critique your work.

Christian

9
9
Review of My Demons  
Review by Christian Powers
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi,

Now that was good. A very enjoyable read.

I really loved your demons, and I can tell you came up with their appearances viscerally, through feeling them first. It made for a splendid visual.

The writing was not bad, no grammar problems that I could find, and nothing distracting from your message. But the message was spectacular. I commend you. I especially enjoyed your resolution. The symbolism of choosing the lesser of all your evils was inspired, truly delightful in its representation of what a person really can do sometimes in life.

I could have sworn I saw a typo in there somewhere, but can't find it now for the life of me.

Oh, well, then I guess you get the 5 instead of the 4.5...

Great job, Dude. Thanks.

Christian

10
10
Review by Christian Powers
Rated: E | (2.5)
Hi,

Wow, you put a lot of work into this. Unfortunately, I'm about to give you low marks on the writing. You get high marks on the concept (I just love pre to post apocolypse tales) and high marks on effort, if that's any consolation.

Here's a short list of how your writing fails, just a summary of my opinions so you can work on them if you agree...
1 - The facts, in many places, don't add up to the situation in a sensible way. For instance; (just one example) How did two reasonably inteligent people, Henry and son, not to mention the population of North America, get caught fleeing the impact zone of an Asteroid that would hit in 2 days when they knew it was coming for years? You may know that answer, but I don't think there is one good enough. It strains credulity to believe such a blunder would happen. (There are many holes in this story - Details do not need to be listed or even presented to the reader, but the author needs to be certain of them and they need to make sense for his characters, settings and plot to be believable.)
2 - The speech by the President and other officials seemed flat, cookie-cutter cliche, gobbledy-gook spoken in laymen's terms and devoid of proper information and terminology.
3 - The story was presented in too simple a fashion, almost like an organized list of events. You explained the situation first, introduced the characters, set them in motion, etc., etc....Maybe your story needed to start with Henry and his son breaking into the hospital, or somewhere in the middle of some conversation, anywhere but at the beginning. It's too plodding.
4 - The dialogue and action was also plodding, predictable and stiff. ...You need to trust the reader more. Here's just one example:

Henry had guessed right on two things: one, Frank did not know everything about the hospital entrances and building structure, and two, he would not have the time right now to go and look at it.
“Henry, I don’t have the time to go and look at it right now, so let’s get downstairs and see what we can do.”

The reader doesn't even need to know any of this, nevermind be told it twice, once in Henry's thought stream and then again backed up by the Doctor's very next statement.

My advice is to read and write a lot more. I saw many mistakes that are solved by becoming more familiar with your craft.
Trust yourself and the reader more. (by saying things only once, only inferring things or showing actions that say things without ever having to actually say them).

MOST IMPORTANTLY:
Look through the character's eyes, process what he sees through his filtered world view, then speak with his mouth for the dialogue and explain things how he would for the narrative. This was noticably lacking in your writing. I heard your voice in every sentence, dialogue included.

For practice, you might try a conversation between two archetypes (cliche characters) arguing about something that you can't relate to at all as a person. For instance: A New York cop arresting a Hindu cabby. Just write their conversation before, during and after the arrest. Or if those accents throw you, try two accents you are familiar with and put the owners of those accents in a scenario of your own choosing. I promise you the experience of writing almost ALL dialogue in an exchange like that will liberate you from yourself and get you in the practice of showing your characters thinking and hearing them talking, rather than just conveying your voice through them.

Otherwise, your story concepts are fine and your writing is very good grammatically and technically. So, you're half there. Now it's time to put it together in a way that conveys your ideas in an entertaining way.

I know this was harsh and hard to hear, believe me I've been where you are and I heard it harsher and harder about my work. But, I hope this helps you. I've studied and worked my butt off to be barely passable in the techniques I have described here. They DO NOT come naturally... at least they did not come naturally to me.

Sometimes you can be a naturally gifted storyteller, but that doesn't always translate to writing well.

Good luck,

Christian



11
11
Review of Trick or Tweet  
Review by Christian Powers
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi,

Your story was full of mundane and tedious details offered in support of a ridiculously far-fetched 'doomsday' scenario. It was a laughable premise and the narrative takes the reader on a whacky, diconcerting hellride toward an incredibly depressing and dismal conclusion.

I loved it.

Your style, taste and sensibilities for speculative fiction are startlingly similar to my own. The only reason I gave you a 4.5 instead of a 5 is because your tendency for wordiness... is also startlingly similar to my own.

Because we share the same interests, I could actually see how you crafted this piece.

You began with your premise - world will be destroyed by internet dependance - and then you fleshed it all out with characters, background, rational explanations (required justifications, but really just excuses to get you where you wanted to go), and then you penned the progression of events (I'm certain you enjoyed writing the breakdown of society segment as much as I enjoyed reading it) all to lead to our demise, a nice tragic ending for both humanity and your main character.

Bravo, my friend. I could not have done it better myself....except for maybe one or two very small things... lol

You said the "states" kept their old names, but were now called districts... but you said U.S.A. was changed to F.S.A.... if they were districts shouldn't U.S.A. have changed to F.D.A.?

Next, you dated this story, and I understand why. You wanted to take advantage of the dire predictions for 2012, making it contemporary, pertinent and, of course, it was convenient for your narrative to add the dates.

However, this story will be impossible to believe next year, unless, of course, it really happens. (And I'm sure, like me, you agree that credibility is of utmost concern for speculative fiction) So, if you want it to last at all, you MUST get rid of the dates... at least the dates of your first worldwide calamity and every other date that follows it. It's difficult, but it can be done. But, maybe, you might want to actually wait until next year to do it. (You just better hope gas prices go up to seven dollars a gallon this summer... lol)

I found some of your explanations for how that first computer virus wreaked havoc like it did... pretty shoddy. Because this piece was written well, and I was enjoying the results and the overall storyline I gave you a pass on a few things, but you really could tighten some of those technical aspects up a bit.

And why not have China be the bad guy? With all the computer chips they make for us and how they might want to take over the world someday soon anyway... you'd probably instill more credibility of it truly being calamitous. Some nebulous Terrorist group didn't really do it for me.

Then, if China is eliminated as a threat through some drastic event, like the whole nuclear arsenol of the USA dropping on Beijing or a "Chinese Spring" toppling their oppressive regime....You'd be free to have the good ol' USA remain the good ol' USA and Apple could develop those brain chips. Your FSA thing, with the government taking over everything... that seemed Orwellian to me, and I had a hard time swallowing it. People would not feel good about the government having such power... not in this country. There'd be an "American Spring" if that ever happened here... and we got guns.

Finally, I loved how detailed you were. You heaped in a lot of info to support every aspect of your tale. I would have done the same... but then I would have cut most of that narrative out. You, again, much like me, put everything down that seems pertinent. I understand and I sympathise. You really should, however, cut this down. Less would be more here. I know this is hard. I struggle with it myself, but not every technical aspect has to be explained. On the other hand, I would have loved to have seen the gunfight that killed Randy, instead of just hearing about it. That is something a person telling his story might emphasize and explain in detail.

My advice is to keep your character exactly as you started him, ignorant about technology, but a victim of it. Then go back and see what someone like him telling his own very tragic tale might just gloss over and then take a deep breath and delete it. (make sure you got a full copy saved, of course). If you can cut out about twenty to thirty percent, mostly of his expository explanations, then you'll come up with a narrative that is much less cumbersome for your reader... And I really would love to see that gunfight.

One small pet peeve.. John Carter was Edgar Rice Burrows's Warlord of Mars and the movie is coming out in theaters very soon... consider changing his name for that reason alone... not necessary, just a minor distraction.

But, all that said, it's all good just the way it is.

Thanks for a great story. .. and I'd love you to read one of mine, especially 'Listening Post' and if you don't find our styles and sensibilities eerily similar...I'll give you a dollar.

Christian

12
12
Review of The Existence  
Review by Christian Powers
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (3.0)
Hi,

This started off kind of disjointed in the beginning, the action jumbled and a bit ranting. I think the first twenty or thirty sentences would be better if cut in half or less, maybe as few as five. It said a lot of the same things over and over. Yes, you would sacrifice mood, but you would gain impact, and, after all, shouldn't it be more shocking than haunting? it is an assault...

The middle of the story went on and on about the rituals performed and lost my interest. I read it, but had to force my way through it. As integral as all that info might seem due to Crystal 'missing the back door' to lead to her demise, I do not think it is integral. Just having the 'Existance' mention that she forgot the back door is enough of an explanation. So glossing over all those rituals and steps by replacing it all with a short two or three sentence montage would improve this story's readability.

The Ending was a nice shocker, some pirate's evil shade come to claim a victim... nice. I love morbid endings.

Below are more specific items:

while it covered her warm body hungrily;;<<< Yuk! Sorry, I just don't like adverbs hanging on the end like that, more of a lazy afterthought than an active descriptor... Try... while it hungrily covered her warm body;... or how about >>> while it hungrily COVETED her warm body: <<<

She moved her legs ans arms.<<< ans shoud be and

support itself in its arms <<< support itself 'on' its arms

leaves tickling her window <<< that's a strange use of 'tickling'... not a good choice here... 'brushing' 'scratching' even 'caressing' would be better. Tickling is just too... I don't know... too action specific, denoting fingers moving with an expected reaction

“I think a--a--ghost was trying to make love to me or kiss me or... scare me really bad. This is what happened to me, mama!” / “Are you sure?” / “Yes.” / “Did you feel it coming” <<< First off, "This is what happened to me, mama!" sounded unnatural. Consider omitting. Secondly... Okay, is it just my 'dirty old man's mind' or is this line by mom asking if she felt it 'coming' misleading in a sexually suggestive way? I kind of chuckled, wondering if Crystal's mom was afraid Crystal might not be able to get that ghost in court for child support.

Did you feel any scent or noise?” <<< Was there any scent or noise? or "Did you smell or hear anything?"

Her mother was a “ialorisha”; famous for her “cleaning” <<< If mama is used to this stuff, why was Crystal so hesitant to tell her about it in the beginning?>>>> “You’ll think I’m crazy...” Crystal said, hesitating.<<<

Okay, so in the end, I think if you cut this story down by omitting all that detail on where they spread sea salt, it would vastly improve it.

Thanks for allowing me to read your work.

Christian Powers
13
13
Review of Won't You?  
Review by Christian Powers
Rated: E | (4.0)
Cute and moody, with just enough information and imagery to take you somewhere, but just enough left to the imagination to leave you there.

The change in pov is jarring, but in a good way.. like a presence has been summoned by the original speaker's pleading call.

The simplistic 'roses are red' rhyme scheme, which I almost always detest is excusable here, almost warranted, because of how you distract the reader with your repeated use of 'Won't you?' for the first speaker and "Yes" for the second.

My strength is not in writing poems, critiquing poems or advising poets, so even though it's no help...all I can say is that 'I liked it.'

Thank you, Christian
14
14
Review of Whos Worse?  
Review by Christian Powers
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
Just going by body count Stalin has them all beat. At least there's a very good historical argument that questions Hitler's sanity. Stalin is still revered by many Russians as a hero, and his murderous actions that resulted in the methodical slaughter of at least 25 million in his Siberian internment Camps usually goes unmentioned when his legacy is discussed. Saddam Hussein, by the way, should not even be on this list. Osama Bin Laden was the mastermind behind the twin towers, and Saddam Hussein is only responsible for a few hundred thousand deaths in his own country which, although despicable, really can't compete with some of the really accomplished mass murderers in history; Ghengis Kahn, Atilla the Hunn, Vladd the Impaler, Pol Pot of Cambodia, and Idi Amin of Uganda, just to name a few.
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Review of Future Times...  
Review by Christian Powers
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi,
My overall impression is that this was preachy, and warranted or not a gloomy view of the future. Some might argue, however, it was an optimistic view of the future, given the fact people actually still existed on Earth at all by 2062.

You waxed poetic in the beginning, and that was okay, sort of summing up philosophically what was to follow, but it didn't work that well for me. The word "transmogrify" was a distraction your very first sentence could have done without.

I found your vision of the future a little out of balance. Thick clouds cover the Earth, trees are all extinct, and we live in domes (apparently clear domes so we can look up at clouds) .. My thought is that a race that has the technology to actually dome a city would also have the technology to paint a mural of a nice, blue and sunny sky on that dome.

Also, if the Earth is obviously dying in your precognitive exercise why are people celebrating retirement? Who the hell would let a biotechnician retire when the fate of the Earth is at stake.

Your robot had a strange name, 'Elixir'... just saying it hit me funny... also distracting. And the introduction of a time machine, built secretly by you, a biotechnician, and one that looks just like a remote control.... Yeah, that was all a bit far-fetched for me... And I'm a science fiction writer and fan.

The thing is, speculative fiction needs to sell itself to the reader. As silly as this sounds, you have to make it believable. A good time machine needs to establish credibility before it can inspire awe.

Otherwise, I enjoyed your writing. The prose was well put together and you certainly know how to put thoughts together in a structured piece that makes a statement.

Thanks for letting me review your work. I hope it helped.
so, why not return the favor and review one of mine. I have never received a review on this site yet. The shorter piece is Thanotopsis Revisited, and that's more your bag I think.

Either way, Good luck in your writing endeavors.
Christian



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Review by Christian Powers
Rated: E | (4.5)
Loved the intro. Interesting, witty and with great anecdotes. Great writing so far.. I'm only a third of the way through at the moment.

One thing about the Alaska anecdote; you see that coming a mile away.. Even if it's not exactly what happened, you could take poetic license to improve the reader's experience by just having 'Diana' say why she thinks Alaska is in the ocean all in a single statement by her.

>>> “I thought Alaska was like, down in the ocean... next to Hawaii... you know, in that little box.” <<<

Actually, now that I see it written, elipses can stand for an omission in someone's quote, so you'd still be accurate with how it happened.

Plus, anything that would help shorten this piece would be good, and that would. I think it's a little long for an editorial in some publications.

You make a strong argumant for what you believe may be the rudimentary problem with American kids (and Americans in general, for that matter) being so ignorant and apathetic about geography and other cultures.

Hell, we could make quite a long list of other subjects Americans don't know about or care about. But my theory is a little more frightening than yours. I tend to believe that our American values, due to many factors including political correctness, a me-first based society, and a breakdown of family oriented obligations (the family unit), are nearly extinct.

Let me explain. There are no consequences for a persons actions anymore. Political correct non-sense, such as blaming institutions or Parents for the failings of children cause those children to adopt a strategy of 'it's not my fault' to get out of work. They become lazy, wrapped up in only what they want in the moment, and fail to work at anything as nebulous as 'for their future' or 'for someone else's well-being', and we, as a society and lacking discipline from a responsible adult, give those lazy children a pass on failing, time and time again.

There are so many cases of political correctness that are hurtful to individual's sense of self. I remember when people who would not work for a living and found themselves living under a bridge were called BUMS and Hobos... Now, there are no bums or hobos. Now, there is only the poor, oppressed 'homeless'. Any responsibility for their own actions has been handed to us, the society they live in... homelessly.

Also, when I was a kid and another kid didn't do his homework, or failed his tests in school, we called him lazy or stupid, or if he was really bad we called him lazy and stupid. Now, there are no lazy or stupid kids. There are only kids diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. "Johnny's on medication! How can we expect him to learn where Mexico is?" But I bet Johnny knows all 215 football plays in his MADDEN Football game by heart. Maybe if Johnny had been called stupid by someone in third grade he might have tried to prove that person wrong.

Sorry, I digress... LOL

Great piece. Hope my review and rantings helped in some way.
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