Monday, January 3, 2011

I Never Wanted to Be Popular

Now that you know the magazines I read, I can dramatically reveal my banal new blog feature: "Wread This First" (graphic Coming Soon! Oh boy!). The title plays off Wreaders, in which I laid out why Writer/Readers are different from Readers.

The whole point of the exercise will be reviewing short stories that are available so I can link to them in full, almost certainly from that list of magazines. It'll appear on a loose schedule of Whenever, but it's not that hard and there are plenty of stories within clicking distance.

I don't often see short story reviews, and since I really like short stories I'll just do it myself. My scale is (Perfect)/Great/Good/OK/Bad, and is purely based on (1) how much my time was not wasted by reading the story and (2) how much of the story (image, plot, characters, cool new words) I can remember whilst writing the review. If it's Bad, I won't bother to review it. If it's Great, I'll talk about what techniques I would steal more than picking at the plot.

Since this is Wreading, it'd probably be best if you read the stories first before reading the review. Since I won't post "Bad" stories, it can't be too horrible.

As usual, if you disagree, leave a comment. I guess I do want to be popular. Just not "liked".

Not The Protagonist

Wread This First -
The Summer King (Megan Arkenburg)
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue #59


It felt a little too long for me, the middle dragged a bit (especially considering the ending), but the story pulled me along by being the kind of political-maneuvering plot that I like. I rather liked the opening scene: start personal, then grow.

Two things pulled me out of the story: the characters say "shit" a lot, and the transition "By the time the carriage stopped at the Hôtel Camus the bleeding had mostly stopped." had me going back to see what happened.

I liked the setting, something of a Rome meets (mild) Gangs of New York with a monarchy. The balance of characters was good too, with the Bosses running from evil to banal to good (a bit too good, in the case of the heroine), but I would have liked to see some more overt expressions of the Assembly being evil.

1000 words? Yes
Short Story "Science Up Some Love"
- - - -
Reading - ?


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