Friday, February 28, 2014

now i can submit

I've received the link to submit my actual entries, so now I can transfer all this to the real place for it.  I abuse Blogger as a holding place.

Tales from the Sea by Alexander Flint. 

  • each short story is marginally interesting, but relies eavily on stereotypes-- characters are not fleshed out.
  • illustrations at chapter beginnings are very poor.  even well done, they wouldn't have added anything.
  • with full-length nonfiction "confessions" from hotel staff and airline attendants currently and recently popular, I can see why someone decided to write this.  But nonfiction would have been more engaging.  If the author was determined to go with fiction, it would have helped the stories if they overlapped in some way, shared periphery characters or were presented in chronological order.  And why make the whole thing so short?  The length of a proper novel would have given time to introduce and explore characters; with characters from different backgrounds and parts of the world meeting on a cruise ship, several chapters begin by jumping between characters to relate their separate stories before they meet.  This gives it a very poor flow.
The Foot Soldier by Mark Rubinstein.
  • note from the librarian in me: books this size [it's a "novella"] are generally a bad idea-- it will get lost on the shelf, be impossible to find, get shoved around, fall between or behind things, and generally get bullied by the hardcovers.  if you can't fit a spine label on the actual spine, it's too small.  perhaps combine with other works by the author or stories of similar topic into an anthology.
  • a tired simile in each of the first two sentences of the book?  not a good start.
  • I have to wonder, why write this story?  it doesn't give background or explain slang or acronyms so it must be for people who read inside the genre.  but there isn't anything particularly special about the story or character, so why would genre readers choose it?  the main supporting characters are flat, there's nothing out of the ordinary that happens.  as a short story in part of a collection, it could be ok, but it certainly doesn't stand by itself.
Ambition by Stephen Maitland-Lewis. Is the point of characters such as these to make the reader dislike them intensely, so we are invested in the book to see them all get their comeuppance?  The characters aren't bad enough for that, but they are spoiled enough that any growth seems unrealistic.  An unremarkable story.

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