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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/xado
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97 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
1
1
Review by Xarthin
Rated: E | (3.0)
Interesting.

I do remember a "Streetcar Named Desire" as well, but that's a far more tragic story.
2
2
Review by Xarthin
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)

This is probably the best part of the three.

As always, your knowledge of the subject is deep and vividly detailed on
the page, although there are some details which I think could be omitted,
like:

- a row of six Sabres parked in a straight line approximately 25 feet from each other,

(I think it is superflous to report the exact distance between the planes. The first
golden rule of historical fiction I found time and time again on many writing manuals is that one has to the homework well, but never delve too much into little details, otherwise one can risk sounding like a teacher and not a storyteller.
We have to write only what it is absolutely essential to give the reader an idea of what's
going on, and let his-her imagination do the rest. )

The dogfight part truly stands out. It must not have been easy putting on the page the frantic
and flashy action of an aerial duel, and you have done it fairly well, although I
would suggest putting more space between lines as for now it gives a "wall of text" look
that makes it a bit difficult to read.

I would've really liked to see more of the Korean's side on the ground as well, but
I understand that Capt. Mc Cormick had to take the spotlight in this one.
3
3
Review by Xarthin
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A good sequel to the first part. I liked how you switched pov in the first part, albeit only in "telling" form (I think a bit more of showing, especially during the action scenes could make these parts truly special) and how Captain Mc Cormick has now found a proper rival.

One element that fascinates me about the Korean War is how it marked the end of the era of the screw propelled planes in favour of the new jet fighters, yet both types cohabited side by side for some time during the conflict. Interesting to see how the B29 which used to fly at such an altitude that the Japanese fighters found difficult to reach, now becomes a prey of the newly minted Migs... and if I am not mistaken it would not take long before the Superfortress gave up her place to the B52 (still my favorite bomber to date).

Only one little typo:

- activity against the Japanese during their brutal occupation of Korea during the second World War.

"During their brutal occupation of Korea in the second World War" would sound better, as two "during" may sound a bit cacophonic.

I'm now really curious to read the last part.
4
4
Review of MiG Alley, Part I  
Review by Xarthin
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A promising start for a tale about one of the many "forgotten wars" on Korean soil (or in this case above it).

The punctuation could use a little revision here and there, but I like how you used a sort of "string" of commas to convey the quick pace of an airfight, where everything happens in rapid succession.

I absolutely love this metaphor...it's visually powerful and effective:

It was his plan to scatter their formation, much like the opening break in a pool game.

As in Kamikaze there was a bit of "infodumping", but here it was completely justified in order to give the reader some essential info about the setting and the planes, and it never truly broke the narrative flow.

I'll surely check out the rest!
5
5
Review by Xarthin
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
I must admit I am no poetry expert, but this poem made me smile and touched
me at the same time.

- My sweetheart stuns in sizes large and small
and sultry shapes that tempt me into sin.
With skin so smooth, I can't resist at all,
so soft and sweet that every bite's a win.

This is my favorite verse; so full of the playful
ambiguity between a "flesh and blood" love with a
"skin so smooth", yet at the same time a human would
never truly be "stunning" in all sizes, large and small.

And that's why, I guess, chocolates are so lucky compared
to human beings: they look great with no effort, although
their life is so short and melts away when they become one
with their lovers.
6
6
Review of KAMIKAZE  
Review by Xarthin
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
I liked this story, but there are some things I'd like
to point out and you might find useful for revising or, even
better, to write a longer tale about Navy life during the
waning years of Imperial Japan, as one you can feel it you
did your homework well on the period and also have a long
direct experience of life at sea: not a small advantage when
it come to recreating a world on page!

I think the biggest con of the story is in the first part.
I understand, given the constraints of the short story, you
needed to give us as much background as possible about what
was going on and who Ray and Harrison are, but some parts felt
a little bit "infodumped", if you know what I mean.
I think one could solve it just by pruning some unessential
informations from the first part. Here are my suggestions which,
of course, are completely personal.

- Gunners Mate Third Class Raymond Miller was at his assigned station as one of four loaders behind the quad 40 millimeter bofors anti-aircraft gun on the starboard side of the Destroyer he was assigned.

(Useful, as later his role as loader of the gun becomes the focus of the story).

The ship's Captain had issued the order for General Quarters (battle stations) fifteen minutes earlier when several outer ring Destroyer Pickets equipped with early detection radar confirmed movement of unidentified aircraft heading in their direction.

(Essential, as it gives us informations about what's going on, why Miller is at his station, and what kind of menace is approaching. One could argue we don't need to know what kind of destroyer is equipped with radar and might just say "fifteen minutes earlier radar confirmed etc., but a bit of historical geekery is allowed XD)

Petty Officer Miller's Ship was part of a US Strike Force off the coast of Okinawa in April 1945, and were there to protect Carriers from Kamikaze attacks after it became apparent the Japanese had ramped up their efforts to increase the frequency and ferocity of those attacks. The closer the US fleet approached Japan, the greater their determination to destroy it.

(Again essential information.)

Ray Miller was 18 years old and had enlisted in the Navy 6 months earlier. He wanted to join the Navy following the attack on Pearl Harbor, but was too young and still in school. He would be following in the footsteps of his father who served in the Navy during the Great War, and his grandfather who had also served in the Navy, the immediate and extended family all very proud that young Raymond would be continuing the tradition. Petty Officer Miller and his childhood friend, Fireman Apprentice Harrison Boone, had made special arrangements when they enlisted to be assigned to the same duty station after recruit training, which led to orders directing them to the Fletcher Class Destroyer they were currently assigned. Ray and Harrison met in the first grade, became best friends growing up and hung out together on a fairly regular basis. They both did well in school, were active in sports and other school activities, popular with their peers, and had girlfriends from the age of 16. The families of both boys were well acquainted as the town they grew up in was a small agricultural community of approximately 7000 people. Before Pearl Harbor it was their intention to go to College, but the war had changed that. Both knew they would be drafted if they failed to enlist, so it was a no brainer that Harrison would follow his best friend into the Navy.

(I think this second part could be omitted without making much of a difference. We already get the feeling that the two characters are friends, and you might add some line of dialogue which hint at their past experiences.)

The rest of the first part works pretty well as it is leaner and more dynamic. We also get the info that Harrison works in the part that is going to be hit by the Zero.

- Back to the present:

(I didn't really get this line. Does it mean that the conversation was happening in the past and that now we have a fast transition to the action? I think you could achieve the same effect without the direct intervention of the "authorial voice" by having Miller rush back to the gun after the sirens start screaming.)

- CAP (Combat Air Patrol)
(Some say putting notes in brackets doesn't work very well in fiction... but maybe that's better than always scrolling down to read them. One question... a friend of mine told me FLAK was the name of German anti-air batteries, but I understand then that it refers to the puff of smoke caused by shells exploding in the air?)


The second part is the one I liked the best. You did a pretty good job at conveying the tension and anxiety of the moment, and the cliffhanger ending works pretty well, as we will never know what happened to Harrison.

As I said there's potential in this story. You might think of making it a series about the adventures of Miller and Harrison up to Okinawa...

Speaking of which, here's a song from a Swedish band about the turning point of the Pacific War.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpMzB4h6bEI





7
7
Review by Xarthin
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)

Oh man this is truly one of the best pieces here on WDC.

Funny, witty and rhimes well, the kind of satire that reminds me of the ones on the newspapers and pamphlets of the 18th or 19th century that truly contributed to the establishment of democracy by making people laugh while bringing them to think.

We are in dire need of this kind of pieces today. Many have to understand how spitefulness only makes your foe's defences stronger, while humour seeps into the cracks of every wall and brings them down bit by bit.
Truly a brilliant one! Thank you!

Ps: The fact that the devil's reputation had been "tarnished" by millenia of tabloids it's truly a stroke of genius.

8
8
Review by Xarthin
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Absolutely fantastic.

As one who's been bullied a lot at school, this is the kind of visit
I'd really like to receive myself, although I must admit I don't really
believe in redemption anymore.

Excellent use of third person limited, very good wording (I envy you for it!)
and most especially I loved how you played with Ron's views of his cousin as
a sort of "perfect being with a perfect life" and showed us instead how nothing
is truly shinier behind the "looks", especially as years of dirt and suffering
pile up in our lives.

A shame I'm not very packed with GPs, because this would really deserve an award.

It was a true pleasure and privilege reading it!


9
9
Review of My Life Aboard  
Review by Xarthin
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Not a story, but a life story, which makes it more interesting.

It's been an enjoyable read, and I like how you put emphasis on your senses: the vibrations of the engines, the unburnt fuel, the thundering of the cannon...

It must have been a hell of a ride.

By the way, I'd suspect the enemy subs at the time would've been Soviets, am I right?
10
10
Review of Franklin  
Review by Xarthin
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
A pretty classic story about AIs becoming far too human.
I liked it, but there are some points I did not quite grasp.

The beginning was quite "telling", as it's usual in Sci-Fi
stories (but you did not exceed in infodumping all the technological
informations), but there was something I did not understand:

- The space fleet's mission is to defend the US first, and then possibly
the entire Earth against an alien invasion?

The "Frankenstein" reference was well played: I expected Frankling to go
"HAL" on the crew, but instead he seemed to have pacific intentions.

- I looked towards my number 2. We exchanged smiles. I activated my watch and removed myself from command.

So... the AI went to the captain's room in robotic form (I detect a, well, love interest
of some third kind eh eh), yet at the same time as an AI he was running wargames on the deck.

I was a bit surprised to see the crew and the captain herself were so quick to relinquish command
to IT. It sounds a bit too foolhardy, giving the fact that the clanker was showing signs of acting
outside of its programming.

The story has potential, but I think it'd work a bit better as a longer one, in order to properly develop the relationship between the captain and the machine.

Of course, it's just my opinion. You don't have to remove yourself from the artistic command of your story!

11
11
Review by Xarthin
Rated: E | N/A (Review only item.)
Another excellent explanation of another quite tricky point;
one that I often botch out of my inexperience.

I couldn't feel more grateful.
12
12
Review by Xarthin
Rated: 18+ | N/A (Review only item.)

Thank you very much for the up of such a useful essay on a subject so
difficult to grasp.

As a pretty green (and with green I mean a greenish budding tint that
could also reflect the colour of my reader's face while reading my stuff
eh eh) writer who has just started honing his dull pen, I've been reading
a lot about the "Show Don't Tell" maxim, but I feel this is the only piece
that truly got across the concept in an effective way.

There are some passages that have particularly struck me:

- Still, if fiction gets the facts wrong, it can be ruinous.

This is something I've been hearing a lot during debates about Fantasy fiction.
Some think that the label "Fantasy" is a sort of justification for "everything
goes in the world of imagination "because it's fantasy!", but indeed I suspect that
even while crafting a world filled with orcs and wizards, one should always
be rigorous about the plausibility of such a context.
So if one is to create a battle in a medieval-like world, at least a basic
knowledge of medieval warfare, logistics, weaponry and armour would prove very
beneficial in helping the readers suspend their disbelief.

- It's also instructive what we did not add. We don't need to know about Jill's floral print moo-moo, or Jack's pressed chinos. The readers can, and will, fill in those kind of details in the movie we've started playing in their heads.

The image of the reader's mind filling the gaps reminds me of a book I read about
traditional Japanese art, and especially the ample usage of golden foil in 16th
century's paintings. The book said that this kind of art never completely "showed" a subject
or scene, and let ample room for the viewer to fill the void with their own mind.
So... maybe we could say that this approach is pretty similar, while the "Telling" one
is much like a Baroque architecture which fills every possible space with something.
An author, then, should never fall prey to "horror vacui."


About the Distancing or Intimacy Effect, there was also an article that claimed
how "Distancing" is more useful in humorous texts, as humour requires a bit of "distance"
between the reader and the characters in order to make them laugh (i.e we can't emphatise
too much with the guy slipping on a banana, otherwise we would feel it as tragic or humiliating,
rather than funny), while "Intimacy" is essential for genres like Action, Mistery and many others.


Thank you very much again for these precious insights.

13
13
Review by Xarthin
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
The first two lines don't perectly rhyme, but it's good to see that someone remembers the American "Divine Wind"

There's an interesting book about the matter called "When Britain Burned The White House"
14
14
Review of Cross Of Iron  
Review by Xarthin
Rated: E | (3.5)

It's quite an interesting story. Not perfect, but interesting.

Seeing the "Horror" label made me thought that the "supernatural"
element would be scary, but with the exception of the father's black
eyes it turned up to be a pretty soothing tale and experience.

I like this idea of the afterlife as a sort of neverending "socializing"
eternity. I think that people could truly finally be nice to each other
in a state where the ruthless, and pointless, fight for survival is finally
over. Who knows if it's truly like that... I hope so.

The text might require a little revision for some typhos and missing punctuation
here and there, and I'd also suggest to add more spacing between lines in order
to avoid the "wall of text" effect, but overall is a nice story, and I can see
from your wording that you are already competent in the ways of writing.

I hope to see more of your pieces and, since you're new to this community,
it's also my pleasure to welcome you here!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
15
15
Review by Xarthin
Rated: E | (3.0)

It seems like a promising start, albeit too short to make the reader
clearly understand what is exactly going on, and there's still no clear
connection with the themes of "Consumerism and Capitalism"

But it's just the first chapter, so there will be surely ample room to
develop the story.

Only one thing:

- Stiflingly, Alice pushes herself up to a stand before looking over to the empty bed. Seems Alice's roommate started the day without her.

You've switched to the present tense in these two sentences, although I don't know if it's a desired
effect or just a simple lapse.

Please keep up the story. We need stories to make us aware of where our
crazy neo-feudal-neoliberal driven world is going: and I fear the final
destination won't be a pretty one!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
16
16
Review of Ghost Hunting  
Review by Xarthin
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)

I give four stars for the idea of using the chat to "contact"
an entity. Using phones or other kind of technology in ghost stories
may be nothing new, but i think that the "impersonal" format of an app
chat enhances the feelings of uncanniness, as you don't really know
who's (or what's) behind the keyboard.

Another thing i liked is this contrast between a protagonist pretty
calm, mundane, even a bit "bored" who has a pretty unusual experience.

- Even my unshaven leg hair seems to be pressing against my clothing in an effort to escape

I absolutely love this passage. You've given a perfect "bodily" idea of getting goose bumps.

The ending is a bit cryptic, but i think that was probably your precise intention: we'll never
truly know if the one that was chatting was a ghost, or the leader of the "track team".

This is a remarkable piece! Good job.

17
17
Review by Xarthin
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)

The theme of the "Chosen One" with a peculiar colours of the eyes
is a recurrent one, but in this case the greysh tint got my attention,
since a famous comic character in my country has the exactly same shade.
(Look for Diabolik on Wikipedia.)

The story also reminds me a bit of that urban legend of the "Rainbow Children",
and it has a sort of "Terminatoresque" echo in the mother that is protecting
the child until the time is right.

- The bleak sky mirrored their country’s path ever since the invasion. -

I love this passage. Simple, yet effective.

She’d seen willful children with others and at times they made their parents’ lives nightmares with screaming and crying and cursing.

- While i am the last person who could dare to correct someone else, i feel there should be a comma after "others"


I wonder who the invaders are. Once upon a time, there was the Soviet Union and "Red Dawn" (there's also a very well made strategy game set during a Soviet invasion of the Us - World in Conflict -), today who knows? That said, conquering America would be a titanic task, since as admiral Tojo once remarked " It's impossible to invade America: we would have a gun hidden behind every corner."
Only the British were able to get to Washington the Americans in 1812, and they were too forced to flee.

Ah, sorry for the "history lesson" XD

I love History as well as "Stories"

I think you should consider keeping this short as a possible basis for a longer one.
18
18
Review of Sprocket  
Review by Xarthin
Rated: E | (4.0)
Nice!

I like how you've condensed their entire relationship you'd
previously described in the "gift" she gives him to boost
his self-confidence (something i lack a lot too eh eh).

And you have all my respect for having been able to create
such a nice story in only 300 words!

19
19
Review of Night's Solace  
Review by Xarthin
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)

Yes, it was quite a long read but, to be honest,
it didn't feel long at all.

That's because you've succeeded in capturing my
attention, and in keeping it "imprisoned" as you made me pass through all the phases
the protagonist endured during his captivity:
first his boldness as a thief, then the anxiety
he felt when the guards put the hood on his head,
his shock and disbelief in discovering the rules of
the penitentiary, his lonesome desperation and, finally,
his slow descent into a sort of good-humoured madness.

I must admit i was almost expecting the twist of him being transferred
to an asylum, but this proves the irony of a system that
makes madness preferable to such an imprisonment.

I understand there has never been such a penitentiary in
Boston, atop Cherry Hill. Yet, despite this, you've succeeded
throughout the text in making me ask myself whether such an
institution had truly existed somewhere in America, around
that time.

And that question, my friend, is what separates truly good
historical fiction from just a story set in the past.

Well done!


20
20
Review of The Encounter  
Review by Xarthin
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
First of all, i would like to commend you for the choice of
the setting: seldom i have seen stories set during Alexander's
campaigns in India and your competence and ability at recreating
the daily life of an indian village of that period speaks volumes
about your knowledge of the period. Well researched!

Secondly, i've appreciated the bittersweet taste you've given to
the story. Even the more "physical" moments are described in a
light, poetic and very delicate manner, and this is no small feat
considering sex scenes are very, very hard to depict effectively.

(That said, a girl falling in love so quickly with a man who
raped her may be difficult to understand for us modern people,
but rough and impossible loves between native girls and invading
soldiers has been a tale told and retold in history for thousands
of years, not to mention the fact that in ancient times rapes were,
unfortunately, considered just another part of the spoils of war.)

Another detail i liked is how Majah's complexion is lighter than the
one of other Indians, due to her being the daughter of an Aryan and
an Indian woman. This enhances her sense of "strangeness" from her
home and may be possibly considered another one of the reasons of
her attraction and connection to the stranger.

- as she pressed her hand against her belly, now so strangely warm, stroking it like the flowing locks of hair.

I liked this very subtle suggestion of her possibly being pregnant, making us wonder also about
the possible consequences of this in a culture where a woman was also considered an "economic" asset by her family.

The only cons i fear i have to report are some repetitions and minor misspells, but nothing that a good revision can't solve.

Well done, and very much appreciated!







*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
21
21
Review by Xarthin
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)

Mhh an original approach to one of the Civil War most
famous marine endeavour.

It's a fairly nice piece, but i'd like to make two suggestion:

- Since the letter is from a ghost, maybe it'd be better to keep
this "revelation" at the end, instead of telling it in the description.
It may be an interesting twist that can help make the story more
memorable.

- Being it a letter i understand the need to keep the tone "detached", but i
think it would've been more engaging if the sailor retold the story
from his own point of view, adding visual, auditory and sensory
elements when describing the approach to the enemy ship and, most
importantly, the sinking. You know... journalists, especially the
ones from our times, love the drama.

That said, i hope to see you soon onboard a new writing voyage! Ahoy!
22
22
Review of Witch Trials  
Review by Xarthin
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)

While not completely a "narrative" piece, it's a good
retelling of the main facts about the Salem Trials, and
with an effective twist at the end.

It would be a very good text to put in a school history book,
to make history more engaging than the purely dry facts we
often have to gulp down.
23
23
Review of Apocalyptic Soul?  
Review by Xarthin
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)

I have a friend who experienced abuse as a child by his sister's partner,
and i see many of his anxieties in this short, but well delivered piece.

I would've liked a bit more interaction between Oliver and his therapist,
like for example by interspersing his monologue with small dialogues between
Oliver and Sanders.

In any case, while reading i had the impression i was listening to my friend's words,
especially when the protagonist is overwhelmed by the doubt that he may
have "enjoyed" the abuser's attentions, or even craved them.

- Just how do you face a monster when it's real?

A question that has Nietzstcheian echoes... yet, even after centuries,
our society hasn't still found the answer.
24
24
Review by Xarthin
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Marvelous, absolutely fantastic.

Not only it's a fantastic tale of soldiers in war
but, most especially, it's an engaging and thought-provoking
story about men discovering themselves through the
trials of war in a foreign country.
That foreigness, in the end, is what makes them understand
not only their belonging to that flag they'd originally saw as
an enemy banner. Yet, most importantly, they also realize at the end how they belong to the
human race as well, when Eli convinces JD not to fall prey of his
darkest istincts; that "Heart of Darkness" we now all know
so well thanks to a very famous Vietnam movie...

And, in my humble opinion, your story would truly make for wonderful movie
material.

As an aspiring writer, and a still much inexperienced one,
i envy your ability to weave and craft vivid, visceral and crystal-clear
images. I've heard so much about "show don't tell", "writing visually" etc.
and your story is truly an inspiring example i will keep close to heart and mind.
Apropos, speaking of examples:

- The light of the moon weaves between clusters of dense trees, taunting us with eerie shapes that appear angry and unforgiving. -

Just this passage makes us feel how the soldiers themselves are feeling: that Nam itself has become a vicious and eluding enemy, lurking in the shadows, creeping their way to them while dulling their senses.


Another thing i appreciate immensely is how knowledgeable you are about not just the Vietnam setting, but about the political and racial context of those times. A knowledge you impart efficiently to the reader and that doesn't feel just as an added flavour, but becomes instrumental in understanding the protagonist's psychology and experience.

Only one little observation, if i may.

- I begin sharing stories my grandma used to tell of the slaves running north. How they would move toward the sound of trains, hiding from a Klan of white-hooded men with bloodhounds so close at times, you could smell their hungry breath.

If i'm not mistaken, the KKK was founded after the Civil War, so i don't think there had been Klansmen around catching fugitive slaves before 1865.


It was a real pleasure reading your story. It has proven a valuable lesson for a writer like me, who has still much to learn. As a reviewer, it is for me a privilege to assign you a well deserved 5 stars rating.

Keep up this excellent work!


25
25
Review by Xarthin
Rated: ASR | (3.0)
I too remember vividly that day and, ironically,
i felt the same when i turned on the tv to watch
cartoons. I turned it off, disappointed, and only
a friend who came ringing at my door told me what
was happening.

Then i turned it on again and i had the same impression
of watching a movie plot unfold before my eyes.

But it was a different story, a real story. And after 2001
the history of the world has never been the same.

2001, together with 2008, is where an era of Western history
has gone to die.
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