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Review of Feeding the Crows  
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Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
This story is well-written and the ideas behind it are complete and coherent. The atmosphere is effective, but could be further enhanced with a little more description. Atmosphere is important with a story of this type.

The ending was a bit unsatisfying. As there is no surprising twist (there doesn't always have to be!) I feel you should reward the reader with some gruesomeness - it is a horror story after all, and horror fans love to be horrified. A final scene describing the death, and the crows' feast, in gory detail would give the story an effective climax, providing ghastly thrills for your readers.

If you were to rewrite in such a way as to bring out the full potential of the atmosphere and the horror, this could be a five-star story.

In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Nice anecdote, well written and fun to read. It's the sort of story everyone can relate to. You should have gone straight to Channel 9 news, though!

I once found a dead cockroach in a can of chilli - I've never eaten the stuff since!

We take so much on trust when we buy food products, I hesitate to think about it too much.
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Rated: E | (4.0)
I enjoyed reading this. It's a subject that anyone can relate to, and you told the story well. Also, it made me laugh!

I think that with a few minor edits it could read more smoothly, so I'll suggest some:

As a teenage boy, about 16, I had several dates

As a teenager, I'd had several dates ( 'about 16' is superfluous, and the fact that the character is male immediately becomes obvious )

meeting them

meetings ( 'them' is unnecessary )

important like, dressing properly

important: dressing properly ( colon introduces list )

it was about to

it was going to ( 'about to' is too immediate )

what you could say

what you could call

and wearing a tight fitting knit dress, I was conscious of her full figure.

Grammar alert! This implies that it was yourself who was wearing the dress, oops. A full stop after 'dress' will fix that.

About to crank the window up I tried to stop her but it was too late. With the crank breaking off in her hand I said,

Needs a little tidying up: She started to crank the window up - I tried to stop her but it was too late. As the crank broke off in her hand, I said:

and I was smart enough

and I'd been smart enough ( appropriate tense )

When I was told it was reasonable I was thinking

When told it was reasonable, I had thought (appropriate tense )

coffee." but

Punctuation: either follow 'coffee' with a comma, or capitalise 'but'.

About to spear a cherry tomato in my salad I hesitated.

You form a lot of your sentences this way, which reads poorly. 'I hesitated as I was about to spear a cherry tomato' reads more naturally. It's a matter of syntax; forming sentences the first way can work occasionally, but if you do it too often it becomes intrusive.

Finishing our meal the waiter brought the bill

Grammar: presumably, it wasn't the waiter who finished your meal! 'As we were finishing our meal, the waiter brought the bill'

Quickly doing my duty, I carefully combed my hair

You need to say: 'After quickly etc', otherwise you're saying that you were combing your hair while 'doing your duty'.

Inching towards her

As I was inching towards her ( otherwise syntax doesn't make sense )

Weakly saying,

"I had a nice evening. good night."

Fumbling with the zipper I was surprised she said,

This needs to be rewritten:
"I had a nice evening," I said weakly as I fumbled with the zipper. "Good night."
I was surprised when she said:

Even though I was called a pervert

There are 2 problems with this. Appropriate tense: 'I had been called'. Also, the construction is passive. Active construction would be: 'Even though she had called me a pervert'.
This is important. Passive voice reads poorly, and writers should avoid it. What is 'passive' or 'active' voice? Well, passive voice describes something as happening to someone, while active voice describes something being done to someone. EG: "The man was bitten by the dog." - passive. "The dog bit the man." - active.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. I think you have a natural gift for storytelling, and with a bit of work on your syntax ( the order in which you construct your sentences ), your grammar and punctuation, you could be a very good writer. Keep at it!
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Good triverbal fun!
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
This is very well written and thought-provoking.

The hallucinations and disorientation were completely convincing, and free of the usual cliches that many writers fall into when attempting to describe abnormal psychological states - very impressive.

The depth of fear engendered by losing the ability to tell what's real was also effectively communicated.

The pacing was well judged, giving a steady escalation of tension towards the final climactic scenes.

A challenging yet enjoyable read.
Review of Trick or Tweet  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This is well written and kept me gripped throughout. As a bit of a technological dinosaur myself, I empathised with your main character.

I wasn't entirely convinced that there would be so much panic in the lead up to 21st Dec 2012. I think most people are more sceptical than that, after all there have been so many end-of-the-world predictions, and we're still here. I'd have found that aspect of the story more believable if you'd given some additional reason for people to believe that this particular prediction might come true.

The ending was a little anticlimactic. After such a good build-up, it was a bit disappointing not to have some sort of surprise at the end. I think you have the potential to do that, though: you say that John was still receiving tweets from Carolyn and the kids - surely there's the potential for a surprising conclusion there?

I enjoyed the story, and feel that with a little more work on the ending it could be a classic!
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
A great read, flawlessly written (I'm ignoring the way the font changes to italics halfway through).

The style is curiously old-fashioned (not that it's a bad thing), reminiscent of writers like Mark Twain.

The story works well, despite being done in an anecdotal form. I would usually prefer a live action form, since having the story recounted by a narrator puts it at an additional remove from the reader, making it less involving. With a live action style, you can see the story unfolding before your mind's eye, whereas with an anecdotal style you remain conscious of being told a story. However, sometimes the anecdotal style is the most appropriate, and I think that's the case here. You've done a really good job, using a form which is difficult to make convincing.

I only have one edit to suggest: your narrator's use of the word 'worthless' to describe Moses seems counter to everything else he's said about him - "and all because of a worthless, downtrodden old wretch who came into my life." Is there a better word you could use here?

I liked this story very much, with just a single reservation: there are no surprises in it. I knew that the father would buy the horse, it would win, Moses would bet money on it, and even that he would die soon after - all before I actually read those parts. If not for that predictability, I would have given this story five stars.
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Great poem. It has a beautiful, almost hypnotic rhythm, which is in itself reminiscent of ocean waves.

Using an extended metaphor for romantic purposes like this usually results in something toe-curlingly corny, but you have avoided that - an impressive feat!

I would have given this poem the full 5 stars, except for something which jarred in the final verse - your use of the word 'coulda'. It doesn't fit with the tone of the rest of the poem. The poem's voice speaks in pure correct English all the way through, then suddenly goes slangy, 'could have' would fit so much better.

One other tiny little thing: the first line of the last verse - 'lie' would be better than 'lay'. Oh, and also 'a seconds time' needs an apostrophe: 'a second's time'.

Other than those few small flaws, the poem is perfect.
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Rated: E | (5.0)
Excellent article, funny and nicely observed. It also appears to be faultless: I didn't spot a single typo, spelling, punctuation or grammar error anywhere.

I was in the pub the other evening when the barmaid dropped a glass which shattered on the floor. One of the patrons standing at the bar commented "The gravity's strong tonight, isn't it?"
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Rated: E | (4.0)
Thought-provoking stuff! Here are a few answers to some of the questions you've raised:

"First, why does light have a maximum speed? Why does light, from a moving object, appear to be moving at the same speed from a stationary observer?"

Einstein dealt with this in his General Theory of Relativity.

"How can a photon have no mass?"

A photon is a wave propagating through the electromagnetic field, so it has energy but no mass. Viewed from a different perspective, a photon can be considered as a particle, but it isn't a matter particle.

"As long as we think three dimensionally (okay 4 including time) we are prisoners."

Theoretical physicists postulate at least ten dimensions, possibly more, so there's no need to limit our thinking to only four. The math does get a bit mind-boggling, though!

"Clearly there is a difference...between thought and experience....but what is it? The brain cannot tell the difference between a thought and an actual experience...been proven."

This is a tricky one! You could start from solipsism and taoism, and go on from there. Good luck with that . . .

Wave/particle duality and the double slit experiment: see 'sum-over histories'.

"First, photons are massless so their emergence and disappearance does not violate any conservation laws."

I'm afraid it does. It's not only mass which must be conserved, but also energy. In fact, there are six basic conservation laws in physics: conservation of

angular momentum
baryons (eg protons)
leptons (eg electrons)

A photon may be converted to another form of energy (eg by absorption) or even into matter (E=mc2) although you have to concentrate a huge amount of light into a very small space to create even a single proton. But a photon can't simply disappear.

"Where is the opposite of gravity?"

Cosmologists have suggested that there may be a second form of gravity which is repulsive - this may even be the form in which hypothetical 'dark energy' exists.

"Quantum Theory: Einstein as right…God does not play dice."

Einstein was objecting to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, which was itself a refutation of Laplace's Scientific Determinism. Many theorists have tried to refute Heisenberg using Hidden Variable theories, but the British physicist John Bell was able to prove empirically that hidden variable theories are non-viable.

Time travel:

There are many reasons to regard the phrase 'time travel' as a semantic spook. Travel is something you do through space, not through time. Time merely elapses. There is really no credible reason to suppose that either the past or the future exist at all. There is only the present - the past is merely memory, the future merely imagination. We perceive time as flowing because the Universe has an entropy gradient.

Field theory:

The most interesting question here is "How can information travel instantaneously across vast space?"

In electromagnetic fields, it can't. It propagates at the speed of light. But it may be possible for information to be transmitted instantaneously via quantum entanglement.

Review of Gravity  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Excellent! I found this delightful - it made me giggle, though I'm not sure why. Short but sweet!
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
This story is great fun, and shows plenty of imagination. There are some excellent details, such as the electron cloud layer. Although I liked the story, I do have a few little crits:


There is no description of the ship's bridge, or of the characters. This made the story difficult to visualise. The description of the view outside the ship was fine, but perhaps you've concentrated too much on the black hole itself and not enough on the characters who are encountering it. I would like to have read more description of the characters' thoughts and feelings, eg terror, regret etc. They are entering a region of space from which there is no return, after all.

Technical details:

You would have to contrive some mechanism by which the ship and crew could survive the black hole's tidal forces. Because of the inverse square law, gravity increases within a black hole at such a steep gradient that the force on the front of the ship would be vastly greater than the force on the rear, and the difference would continue to increase exponentially. This would cause the ship to be stretched out like a strand of spaghetti, eventually being torn apart into its component molecules. As there is no current technology which could prevent this, you would need to invent some kind of envelope of warped space which would protect the ship.


I noticed a number of spelling errors which I'll list below.

forth ~(should be)~ fourth
pail ~ pale
infer-red ~ infrared
acceleration disk ~ accretion disk (matter spiralling into a black hole)
dose ~ does
grate ~ great

I've written some science fiction myself, and I think it's the most demanding genre to write in. My own SciFi stories needed endless editing and tons of research - it's very hard work. In a way, that makes it all the more rewarding when you finally get to a fully polished version. I feel that this story would be well worth the effort of further revision and expansion. One caveat: flying into a black hole has been done many times before, in literature, film and even music (have you heard 'Cygnus X-1' by Rush?) so you need to have a pretty radical twist to make it different from what's already been done.
Review of Deep Secret  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Liked this, great rhythm and imagery. It is rather inscrutable, tho! I couldn't figure out how the third verse fits in, but maybe that's just my dumbness!


For HE is a King

For He is a king (?)

Capitalising both letters of 'he' kinda makes it jump out at the reader. Also 'king' doesn't need to be capitalised.

And gives off an scent - a scent (?)

Hope that's helpful.
Rated: E | (3.5)
I love the idea of a psychiatrist being a vampire!

There are a couple of points I'd like to mention:

You need to start a new paragraph whenever someone starts speaking, if they're a different person from the last speaker - like this:

"Night and day. The difference was night and day." I muttered, almost to myself, as I reclined on the couch at the psychiatrists office.

"Right. You've told me that already Ezra. Now tell me a little bit more about these so called vampires. Are they just in your mind, or do you see them as well?" The psychiatrist was typing like mad on his black computer. Probably thought I was crazier than even I did. Everyone knows that vampires don't exist. Yet, for reasons I'm not real fond of discussing, I do.

"I already told you! THEY ARE REAL!" I yelled at the psychiatrist, sitting up on the couch. Glaring directly into his eyes I let loose a feral growl. If he wanted crazy, well then here it was.

"Calm down Ezra. I know that the images your mind has given you have to be some pretty vivid ones. I've got another question for you, if you are willing to indulge me." He arched a quizzical brow at me, lowering his laptop for a moment as he awaited a response.

"Sure. Why not. Everything else you've said has been so very helpful doctor." I practically spat these words at him, waiting for his next question in his long line of useless questions.

"Do you think you are one of them? Are you lost, I mean?" The man asked. Is he toying with me now?

"What? NO! Why would you even ask me that?" I muttered, afraid.

"Because... My master thinks you are worthy Ezra." The man said, as a figure appeared behind him, the same figure that haunts my dreams.

There are also a couple of sentences that need work:

Everyone knows that vampires don't exist. Yet, for reasons I'm not real fond of discussing, I do.

I know what you mean here, but the second sentence doesn't quite make sense - "I do" what?
", I know that they do." would be clearer.

Is he toying with me now?

This changes to present tense from the narrative's past tense. Easy to correct: Is he toying with me now? I thought.

Hope you find these comments helpful.
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Awesome, dude. I like the innovative format - unusual formats rarely work well, but this does.

The story kept me guessing right until the end - I never guessed that the two voices were the brain and the body! I thought he would turn out to be dead, and about to be autopsied, so you totally surprised me.

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