industrialistDragon

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  1. Joe, Zac/k, Art, Roy, Butch, Scott, Rob, Bob, Bert, Mike, Kev/in, Carl, Pat, Kim, Bruce...? Edit: Dennis, Steve, Randy, Roscoe, Brian, Al, Ed... Edit 2: Zeke, Joel, Cody, Ted, Brent, Matt, Doug, Jeff, Luke...
  2. So, over all, I agree with @kais and @shatteredsmooth for the most part. Definitely count me as thirding what @kais pointed out re:gender in the first part. I pinged on it too, but she's put it better than I would. So other than the gender stuff, what got me about the first part with M was the similarity between all these different sentient creatures. Job-as-gender is a really cool idea! But I got knocked off the rails HARD in this section with M because the whole interaction plays out like there were three humans from roughly the same background chatting with each other. It feels a lot like the criticisms that get thrown at a lot of Star-trek aliens -- the alienness, the non-human point of reference, it's just superficial like a funny forehead prosthetic. How different from us does a society have to be that ends up at job-as-gender? To me, it'd have to be pretty dang different, and that would color the entire interaction. There are a lot of differences even between our plain old human cultures, and, as all those books about business etiquette in other countries can attest to, having different frames of reference interacting with each other requires a decent amount of knowledge and work-arounds from both sides. I'm not getting that here. The bit about the colors is really nice and goes towards this, but there's not much after that. It goes back to the issues I was having with En last chapter too, I think. I want the aliens to have different, alien frames of reference, but everyone acts like they have the same frame of reference, just, like, different accents. I still don't like Re. I'm also cranky he mostly gets away with no repercussions for willingly and knowingly handing his supposed friend over to overt torturers. I get that he's like unconsciously gay for In, but that doesn't give a person a free pass to be legitimately inhumane, grumble grumble. He's not even punished for it! Not even grounded, not even a little bit. He's just demonstrated dangerous levels of uncontrolablility, callousness and self-interest, and they just, like, glare at him. It sort of makes me think that nobody feels like En is worth as much as a person as In. They're all like "darn, it's too bad we had to give another person to evil hostage-taking terrorists and proven torturers, but at least it was just En. And we got In back though, so good deal! I'm sure she'll be fine." I really wish S got to at least be the one to spot the cool thing at the end. It's a really cool thing! And even I'm starting to notice the fact that he hasn't really done much this book. I really like the bits about him being able to get over his issues to take care of In, and I'd really liked to have seen more of that, instead of just getting it in summaries and self-recriminations. It really feels like there are a lot of meetings and summaries in this book. DEFINITELY thirding the request for more on-the-page Ri/O! I'm fairly confused about Ri, to be honest. Am I remembering right that she was supposed to be having some kind of breakdown? I can't tell from her actions. She seems to be keeping it together pretty well now that we're away from the prison scenes, so i'm unclear as to her state of mind through all this. I'm sort of missing a unifying mindset or train of thought to go with her actions, I guess. At this point, I think I'd rather just not have Ri's POV at all, and simply see her through O. Their POVs overlap a lot, so I don't think I need both of them, and I feel like I don't need to be inside her breakdown, and I'd get more emotion out of watching her disintegrate (if she is falling apart at all) from the POV of someone who knows her intimately and can see all the little tics and mannerisms that're going awry. Like, O's not dumb, so why's he still hooking up with Ri when it's clear she's not really in a good state of mind and this can't possibly be a healthy relationship? Is he trying to keep her safe from herself? Is he trying to put her back together? Does he just want the hookup? how many different ways has he tried to stage interventions for her at this point? I guess I'm just not that interested in Ri this time around.
  3. There's one week left on Fireside Fiction's latest open submissions period for flash fiction and short-short stories (1500 words and under. Deadline April 12). They also accept poetry. https://firesidefiction.com/submissions
  4. Always, unless you need more different eyes.
  5. Over all, I agree with a lot of what @Robinski says (except that part about S -- I think he's at about the right level of anxiety for this chapter, since he's affected by his anxiety, but managing to cope, so it's not holding things back unreasonably), and "I enjoyed it but I could have enjoyed it more" is pretty much exactly how I felt. As I go It feels like there is a lot of walking-to-meetings in this book... I really like the tie-in with Journey, but I feel like I got cheated out of the best part when this narrative skipped the meeting with the avians. I feel like, either the meeting should be there to the same extent as the walk to and from it, or the whole thing should be summarized -- or even scrapped -- since right now the avians seem to not have much to do with the plot of this current book. (Much as I am enjoying the discussion happening around and about them.) I agree that there's a lot of jumping around this chapter, too. It feels very disjointed to me I also agree with @Robinski that the relationships have felt a bit tepid in recent chapters. There was some real heat between E and S (and the In of S's imagination) in chapter one, but ever since, it's just kind of fizzled. I feel like E is out of character in this chapter. I didn't take her for the angsty, anime-style self-sacrifice type, from what I've seen of her so far. I'm having a hard time believing her sincerity in this chapter, and I feel like she's coming off as needier than S. I think this is connected, but I'm a bit confused as to what being a "linked instance" actually entails. From what I've seen, it's just another way to say "sibling" -- that is, there's nothing In and E have done that I haven't seen attributed to plain old human siblings or twins, with or without a setting that involved magic. I love weird psychic connections, and I really wanted to see how different Ari really were. E and In give a great insider POV to highlight where and how they differ from the human shapes they're ultimately only emulating. I'm not really seeing that here. Basically, I'm not buying that E, even being raised in human culture, is reacting to the potential loss of a sibling and/or potential suicide in what I feel like is a purely human fashion. Clearly being linked has some sort of special connotation to the Ari, the concept having survived literal millennia of persecution and secrecy. Maybe it was in the other book more, I don't know. But I feel like if there was anywhere to showcase that Ari aren't just "humans, but cursed with awesome shapeshifting powers," then this stuff around linked instances would be it. The part investigating S's power I enjoyed, though I feel like I still had a bit of trouble grasping just what his power is. I had a bit of trouble following the chain of logic that got the two mages to their conclusion as well. I'm a little concerned that it being a largely academic segment following two other largely academic segments diminishes its importance in the scheme of things. And I think this is the most important section of the chapter. To be honest, the last segment with E I ended up skimming.
  6. Over all: I think I'm suffering POV fatigue. I had a hard time staying focused on this chapter. I also feel like we've skipped back in time a little? Maybe that's because we're back in the assembly again. Maybe it's just WRS. I don't know. I feel like there are really neat things happening here, but I couldn't seem to get worked up about it. As I go: At this point, if I was reading this in paper, I'd just be skipping the povs that I feel like aren't in the "main story" -- and right now that's anything other than S or E. M's sections are enjoyable, but I feel like they're clearly the B-story in this, and I feel like I'm being pulled in too many directions, so I just would find that, then decide later if it would be worth it to go back and read the rest (it's usually not, when I feel this way. Jane Lindskold's Firekeeper books I went back to pick up the POVs I'd skimmed/skipped, but I can't think of anyone else). Nope. Definitely don't like R. Don't like the way he talks, don't like the way he thinks, don't like his decisions. At. All. It's good plot information, but the vehicle is a pretty big turn off for me. And then the E section right after that basically summarizes the R section and adds more interesting forward momentum to it. I'd've definitely skipped R in paper. If I'm being honest, there's nothing wrong with R from a critiquing standpoint other than my personal dislike, but the way his section is summarized in E's section makes both sections feel less useful. I kind of feel like having all these POVs overlap and summarize each other before they add new bits is starting to make me less interested in the story on the whole. It was part of the problem with earlier S sections too, I think maybe. They just kept rehashing things without moving forward (even though I know with S some retread is part of his character, I feel like maybe having it just be his sometimes thing, and not his all the time thing and not everyone's thing would make it not seem as bad?)
  7. This is a fun enjoyable story and I quite liked the ending! However, I did think that it was a bit slow to get going. I also got confused by the ogre/other monster thing. I thought she was an ogre coming for revenge and it did throw me a little to have it be otherwise. Though, it wouldn't be a bad twist if it was intentional, or more of a lampshade was hung on it, I feel like. One thing I noticed while reading was that some of the phrasing felt needlessly obtuse for where it appears in the text of the story. For instance, calling S "the girl" until she introduces herself, that's fine, but when J is noticing S's otherworldly nature, it's phrased as "an arm" holding "a knife" and that really threw me out of the story. We've already named S, and by that point, we've had her POV to know what the knife is. In-story, J knows whose arm he's looking at, and he can surely make a guess about whose knife it is. Other sections felt awkwardly long, such as "less than the moons of winter’s sky" -- evocative for sure, but I have no idea what amount of time it's supposed to convey, if it is in fact supposed to be conveying time. I feel like there's a balance to strike between wordy, elevated stylistic choices and straightforward prose for readability. Right now for me, this is a little too far into the abstruse and wordy side for me. With just a little bit of clean up, I think this could be really great!
  8. For me, I think it's less skeptical that such a thing can happen (I know it does) and more like ... it just comes out of nowhere in the text, and it feels like it should be a pretty big deal, but it's sort of not treated that way? Jo completely botching the interaction doesn't help. The fact that these are side characters (I think?) adds to the confusion. I do agree that if it's there, it should be revealed early on, but I feel like it's mishandled right now. So, I'm left wondering so many things. Is this the inciting incident? Is the pregnancy going to be the focus of the book? Was this a big thing in the previous book, so it'll get wrapped up here and there'll be a different inciting incident later on? I thought this was going to be a book about a demon apocalypse, but now we're in deep relationship drama suddenly, so what is happening? Does that make Jo the protagonist? Is E a side character, when I thought they were the protag? What about Je, is she the protagonist since she's having a baby? They've all had about equal screentime up to that point so it's really hard to tell... The text was sort of leading me to like Jo but now he's shown himself to be a kind-of gross person so am I supposed to not like him now? If I'm supposed to like him and he stays this kind-of gross person I don't know that I really want to keep reading... I just met all three of these people, was I supposed to figure out this twist somehow from the text? It's just like, placed where it is, handled how it is right now, it opens up a lot of confusion. With the question specifically about Jo's likability, his mishandling of the pregnancy announcement is going to factor heavily in the answer to that question. (To be clear, I think it's a realistic response, and done well, but the question was specifically about his likability, and the response doesn't make him particularly likable)
  9. I don't have a whole lot to say about this. I don't feel like this section is bad, but I don't feel like it wowed me, either. It does its job. The section with E, I also wondered about them talking about their secrets so openly. While crowd noise can keep a conversation from carrying very far, it's been my experience that it's pretty easy to overhear people that're right next to you (such as in a theater). Moreso when you're wearing anything that reduces crowd noise at all. I feel like they should be at least taking some basic precautions, even if they're not avoiding the topics all together. S's section feels a bit overly general to me. I feel like maybe I need a bit more foreshadowing, at least so myself-as-the-reader understands that there's a reason behind this summoning? I feel kind of like S is called in for an in-person meeting to show off the Eff's office, when the very general information he imparted could have just as easily been sent in a letter or some other way. Maybe this is something I'm missing from not reading the prior books, I don't know. I feel sort of like it was a lot of build-up for nothing. I do like the callback to Journey, though. M's section was probably the most interesting for me. I love a good "getting the band back together" set up, and I'm just assuming right now that his and the main story will converge at some point.
  10. Overall, I had trouble getting in to this. I feel like right now it's a second book that really needs the first in order to figure out what's going on. 1. No, I do not think this stands well by itself. I had a lot of trouble in the opening paragraphs figuring out what was going on and who the main characters were. Concepts seemed to be jumping around a lot and there are many names flying past with not much time given to them. I don't spend enough time with any one character to get a feel for them, and there is very little description for me to hang on to, to help differentiate the characters. 2. I'm not sure any of the information is irrelevant this time around, but I feel like a lot of it could be better placed, either in this chapter or moved elsewhere. I feel like I'm getting hit with a lot right now, and I don't know that it needs gone, but it might need streamlining. Some of the details around the Je/Jo/E relationship I feel like could be streamlined or parceled out a bit better, I think. 3. M seems pretty well together to me. From what I read, maybe she is a bit intense, but not falling apart or anything. I also did not get much of a sense of ongoing drama between E and M. It seemed fairly average for the circumstances. 4. Right now Jo is being kind of a booger and I don't like him overmuch. I wouldn't be overly unhappy if he got abducted right now, honestly. It's clear the E cares a lot about him, so insofar as I care about E (and I do. E is pretty sympathetic and I'm rooting for them already), and would want E to be happy, then I would want Jo to be saved. But not so much in his own right. I think @Mandamon pegged it with pointing out Jo's handling of the Je confrontation -- it's the icing on some really-bad-choices cake that does not put him in a good light right out the gate. I don't know that it's entirely necessary that I care about Jo for his own sake, however. At least, not right now. 5. This section feels a bit muddled to me, but there is definitely emotion there. 6. I had trouble with some of the psychic communications with M, but the spoken dialogue seemed to line up pretty well. I don't feel like there was much differentiation between the characters, though. They all "sound" fairly similar to me, even the nun, who is, I think, supposed to be older than the rest of the characters?
  11. It's the Oxford English Dictionary this time, with a blog post tracing the history of the singular 'they.' Singular 'they' traces all the way back to 1375, and was probably in spoken use much earlier than that. Oxford English Dictonary - A brief history of singular 'they' Merriam-Webster notes the use of singular 'they' as a nonbinary pronoun is a new permutation -- but not that new. They have evidence it was in use in the nonbinary pronoun sense 60 years ago in 1950 (and again, use-in-text usually comes after many years of use-in-speech). Merriam-Webster Words at Play: Singular 'They'
  12. Oh ye of little faith.. I look forward to being proven wrong then! Actually, now that you mention it, I do have a fictional city that could use a roundabout, but it also has to accommodate mermaids and flying carpets... Honestly though, I just like showing people (especially adults) that they can do balloon animals, no need to trade anything.
  13. Done! Though I should warn you that I'm exceptionally inept at all things martial arts.
  14. lol! I plan on bringing my pocket pump and some balloons anyway; I can totes teach you stuff even if they don't end up wanting my whole panel (which is just like 10 minutes of vocab and a handout anyway XD)
  15. Well, I just submitted my heckin-long survey. Don't know what balloon animals have to do with sff, but I can run a panel on them if they want it.