|Reviews for The Mysterious Casefiles of Marie Magnum|
| Michael Panush 11/30/09 . chapter 3
This is the best Marie Magnum story so far, and it's good that you took care of most of the problems that plagued the first were a lot less errors and typos, and the action was pretty easy to follow. The battles, particularly the ones with the Shoggoth and the Deep Ones, were pretty exciting, and I could understand what was going on. Marie and Charlie also sounded different, and it's good that Marie's got a more urban, hardboiled way of talking. The Lovecraft stuff was also a lot of fun, and the pet shoggoth was great. The technical stuff was also easier to understand, and the story itself led up to a good climax with big stakes, though I think the tension could still be ratcheted up a bit more.
That said, there were still some problems. While Marie sounds a bit better, a lot more could be done. Add a bit more slang, give her some colorful turns of phrase and expressions. Charlie also is sounding either extremely standard, or like a rip-off of Marie. He needs his own voice. The descriptions were also a bit lacking. Cthulhu, shoggoths and Deep Ones are cool creatures precisely because Lovecraft does such a good job describing them, and letting you feel how alien and weird they are. Basic descriptions just aren't going to cut it with these things, and the same for the non-Euclidean architecture in the sub. The villain also could have used work. He didn't do much beside giving a speech about how evil he was, say his plan, send his ineffective mooks to attack, and run away. Nyarlathotep is supposed to be the manipulator and schemer of the Cthulhu Mythos, and really get in people's heads, reveal their insecurities, and destroy them that way. I realize it's just some guy pretending to be Nyarlathotep, but this was still an opportunity to make a great villain, and also get into the heads of your characters and see what really makes them tick. The flatness of the character is another issue. They are developing a little, but we never really get a good look at what's driving them, what freaks them out, what they regret or long for. I do think you have to go a little deeper under the surface in the next story.
Besides that, this was a lot of fun, and I hope this series continues to get better and better. I'm a sucker for Mythos stuff, but even without that, this story was still very good. I hope you can keep up what you're doing and make an even stronger fourth installment. And I do hope the pet shoggoth sticks around.
| DeepSeaDragon 11/30/09 . chapter 3
This was a pretty fun chapter. Shoggy is delightful; a horrifying nanotech shoggoth-thing with the personality of a cute puppy? And he makes coffee, too, it seems.
The jargon was a little less thick in this chapter, too. I found myself scratching my head and popping up google to research terms on not a single occasion this time around. That ought to make things a little more accessible!
Also, there seemed to be a more distinct sense of threat this time. Although Shoggy intervened in time, Marie and Charlie were actually getting their asses handed to them at one point.
There were still a few typos and oddly-worded sentences along the way, so you might want to make an editing run. Nonetheless, I'm enjoying this story and it's got the potential to become something really special. You've got a really interesting universe with some cool characters; let's see where things go from here.
| DeepSeaDragon 11/6/09 . chapter 2
Zomborgs, huh? Groovy.
Interesting to see this Doktor Bizarro in action. I like the idea of him being a semi-pathetic villain who ends up helping humanity by accident more than conquering it. And it is rather funny that someone so tech-saavy carries a sword and a long-out-of-date gun. He's an interesting character for sure.
Do I smell romance between MM and Charlie?
| Michael Panush 10/27/09 . chapter 2
Well, this had some good ideas, but all the problems from the first chapter seemed to actually increase. A lot of the special terms were really confusing. What the hell is autistic mode? The plot itself was kind of confusing. Why did Doctor Bizarro want to turn them into zomborgs after he found out who stole his virus? Why did Doktor Bizarro follow them in the first place? When did she summon all those people to help fight him? What did they mean at the end, about the favor and the nanobugs? I liked some of the bits, like the future soviets and the Nestor Makhno types. He was anarchist though, not socialist. The characterization problems also remained. Marie Magnum and Charlie were pretty interchangeable. Bizarro was the only one who really had a unique voice, and while there was a great oppurtunity for Marie to make fun of Bizarro and defuse his bombastic brags with some hardboiled wit, she pretty much just talked to him all matter-of-fact and normal. The writing also could have used some upgrades, with the descriptions from the last story being a bit better and more comprehensive. The battle with the zomborgs was over pretty quickly, and didn't seem to present any real challenge. I was expecting a big battle with Bizarro at the end, but they just summoned help and chased him away. Kind of disapointing. Finally, there were a lot of typos, just missed letters and repeated words, but it still detracted from the overall story. I do hope you can sort these problems out before the next story, because this could be a great series, and these issues are distracting from it.
| DeepSeaDragon 10/16/09 . chapter 1
Wow, that is one seriously high-tech setting you've got going! Nanobots everywhere, downloading data to people's minds in real-time... and Ms. Magnum still insists on using a revolver. Autorevolver with caseless shells, sure, but nonetheless, it's charming. I was blown away by some of the technology on display in this chapter.
It took me a while to figure out what a fork was, and there were a couple of terms in there that I was not familiar with. I know it's a long chapter already, but a few extra notes about what exactly some of these things are might help ease newbies into the swing of it. There were some typos along the way, but nothing serious that a quick editing run couldn't finish. (For instance, I saw Charlie referred to as Chu at one point.)
I love the characters so far, and the setting is awesome. Definitely can't wait to read more!
| Michael Panush 10/15/09 . chapter 1
This was pretty good, with a well-defined setting and some good characters, but it still had a fair number of flaws. First off, I think another round of editing could have helped, as I noticed a great deal of typos and word confusion. This made some of the scenes, particularly the fight in the Triad bar, difficult to follow, with a lot of pronoun confusion. Secondly, you used a great many words, acronyms and such without fully explaining them. I have some idea what a nearbaseline is, but what is a fork? Some kind of clone or something? And what exactly was the fork going to do with the gray goo or the nano replicators? Some kind of terrorist attack? I know you understand what these are, but either add some kind of glossary or put the words into a context where I can understand them. There were quite a few parts of the setting that could have used more information as well, with large lists of organizations that I just didn't understand. And why were the Triad gang allowed to carry weapons openly without police interference? The characterization was another problem, with most of the characters, especially Marie Magnum and Charlie sounding very similar. Except for Luigi and Ragnar (cool to see him here, by the way!), most of the characters' dialogue was pretty interchangeable. The writing itself was decent, and I got a pretty good picture of the city, but more could have helped. Finally, I think a good Noir voice for this story would be great. Not neccessarily first person, as Noir doesn't recquire that (The Maltese Falcon is Third Person, for instance), but I think some hardboiled metaphors, catchy, snappy dialogue with wisecracks, and the very deliberate, minmalist descriptions of fights used by Noir writers would be wonderful in this setting. Definetly read some Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler if you haven't already. Oh, and wasn't Charlie's one-liner – ‘stick around’ after stabbing a guy – a line from Predator? In any case, it was a good start, and I hope you can remove the problems and make an even better second story.