Reviews for Better
TuneOut chapter 1 . 1/31/2009
I thought the writing here was excellent. The society that you created was so different yet wonderful in its strangeness. The last couple lines made me think. In a way, I kind of felt sorry for Stella but then again, I would be pitying a girl who wasn't priviledged anymore because being pretty wasn't society's standards anymore.

Nice job.
Elliptical Shapes chapter 1 . 2/27/2007
Interesting, I must say. I like your style and think I might have a go at a few 'one shots' myself. Seems a decent style for my mind to explore.

BTW, not offended.

Keep writing,

Alan.
And Your Little Dog Too chapter 1 . 12/23/2006
no offense taken my mom has cancer but this was an interesting take on it all. thats how i always thought of people with cancer too. Oh well it hits you in the face eventually hehe good one-shot its creative kinda like "among the hidden" had a diff take on the world though
The Breakdancing Ninja chapter 1 . 8/23/2006
The Breakdancing Ninja gives this piece a HUGANTIC 4 out of 5 for its satire, crispness and originality. He enjoyed its twisted definitions of “lower class” and “Better” and enjoyed the format in which it was presented. Refer to the criticism below for more details.

You’re one of the lucky ones. You’re going to be the recipient of my famous “Hertz Analysis” style (which has gotten me more angry reviews than I could count on both my hands and toes), dubbed after one of my clinically insane, resentful teachers—a genius, but still pretty insane and resentful. His style goes like this: 1) personal layers, 2) the psychoanalysis of a character’s actions and words, 3) the symbolic intention—not meaning, intention—of certain concepts in the story. The goal is just to be able to connect plausible ideas with things that your (as the author’s) subconscious might have been thinking about when creating your story.

The idea of someone who is “Better”, according to the story, could be derived from the main character, Stella, who isn’t: “[an] under-privileged [person], living and breathing in a substandard condition.” Though the story is relating to the topic of Cancer, a person who is living under than a “Better” could also be interpreted to be sociologically inferior, too. Minorities can be considered “under-privileged” and living in an environment unsuitable for cultivating someone’s full potential in the working world. The story even refers to someone who isn’t a Better as someone from the “lower class”.

Of course, the irony with this story is that to be a better, you must not be like either Stella or John because they “live longer”, “don't live in pain” and lead “better lives”.

["I wish I was one of them," a voice next to Stella sighed.] The idea that Stella wants to be (a) “Better” shows the natural envy that a person, who considers him/herself to be inferior (and considered inferior by a certain standard) might feel. Though, the “sigh” that she emits isn’t one of passionate resentfulness, but rather, a resigned form, as if she realizes the impossibility of becoming (a) “Better”, or someone who could successfully make it in this world. The irony is that Betters are probably extremely sick and handicapped, and probably don’t even have the basic means to survive on their own, and they rely on healthy people (who are no longer in abundance in this story’s world and reality) to take care of them. The comparison of sick to healthy people is of that and whites and blacks in the present era (as racist as that might sound XD;;).

The fact that she wants to be unhealthy shows something about the world that is emerging and real—things are polarizing, and other things are going in reverse. Suddenly, it’s more hip to look poor (hence the ripped shirts and the dirty jeans made to purchase), it’s better to look malnourished, it’s better to follow all sorts of unhealthy trends. The story addresses this absurd kind of envy, and it also addresses a society that gives more attention and accolades to those who probably don’t even have enough strength to really earn it. People are even hanging around at the park anymore, John notices, because everyone seems to be a hypochondriac.

The story is forewarning of what might happen. These people seem to be in an era where, to them, the social class is as it’s always been.

Stella and John seem to be the old kind of superiority. The Aryan kind. And the social commentary is both cynical, witty and sort of sad—and of course, ironic.

Hahaha though I don’t think that Cancer patients necessarily have it better. It’s kind of weird that I think it’s funny, but maybe I’m just one big giant dick basket rofl

I think the underlying idea is of someone’s personal struggle with envy. The satiric nature of the piece covers a lot of resentment that the author might feel toward people who are “Better(s)”. In a strange way (Hertz would call this a “revenge fantasy” or a “self-gratification jot”), the author attempts to make the “Betters” look emaciated, pathetic, weak and sick—handicapped. So the idea is: Even if they’re “Better”, I’m still better off. The same effect would be if a black man wrote about the white race as being something completely inferior to them.

From the perspective it’s written, it’s safe to say that the author identifies more with the “real” Betters, people who are much more rare in this story’s world and reality, as opposed to those “Cancers”, who are in abundance and not something special or unique. The author shares in the envy and resentment that the characters feel.

A “Cancer” is something unwanted, something revolting. People are insanely afraid of getting it. They wear sun block and avoid eating certain yogurt or other canned/processed foods. A “Cancer” is something deviant and mutated in the body.

As for the red dot—the color red is either something passionate or something extremely evil. It symbolizes communism, too. The blinking light is a constant reminder, something bothersome, of “condescending superiority”. This of course, probably has something to do with a subconscious tick. The subconscious says: ‘I’ll call this nagging feeling a red, blinking dot that summons everyone else but me to the party.’ It reminds the characters of their loneliness. They are outcasts in this world.

Alright, so finishes the Hertz Analysis. XD;;

As for the story itself, it was a pretty enjoyable read. This is my first read by you, and just by your pen name, I’m pretty sure anything on this site will be enjoyable to read.

It’s very simple, unadorned with a lot of flowery language or “ultra” techniques to confuse the reader. The writing style is unassuming and loaded with parallels of thought. It is accomplished because it doesn’t seem to have a lot of anxiety written into it.

A very level-headed writing style which lends to the story’s smooth, un-complicated read.

I enjoyed reviewing this, too.

Rock on, sketchingaCYNiC.
superheroesarereal chapter 1 . 8/18/2006
This is really creative, but kind of odd. I had cancer myself when I was about eight years old and am now currently living with a chronic (but mild) form [of cancer]. It's not an offensive piece, though. If anything, I guess, it's kind of a twisted compliment. The only thing I would say is that I'm pretty sure that needles don't leave holes in your skin after you've been poked in the same spot too many times. Your veins get bruised, but there isn't very much visible damage done to the skin. All in all, though, I pretty much liked this story. You're a very creative and talented writer. ) Good job.
Agathy chapter 1 . 6/29/2006
Very, very intriguing! I don't know if I understand this completely- is it a comment on our health care-obsessed, hypochondriac society? And did you intend the definition of cancer to parallel the events in the story (the uncontrolled cell division and cells invading other tissues, like the uncontrolled Betters and their ability to invade the lives of people who don't have cancer) or am I just reading too much into your words? Stella has a point, except- is a society that honors the beautiful any better than a society that honors the dying? Or maybe the whole idea of superiority, that anyone has to be better than anyone else, is...ridiculous. Anyway, I really enjoyed this piece. It made me think, which is not something I generally find on this site, especially in so few words. (Also, thanks for reviewing Green Grass and Epilepsy and Iona Cullioni. There's only one chapter left in the latter, so I really should just upload it soon.)
524120 chapter 1 . 6/23/2006
oh wow. I actually really like this. It's a clever concept and I'm eager to read more. It's interesting how you switch everything. I especially like the whole paragraph that Stella says at the end... fascinating concept. It makes one wonder if something like this /would/ eventually happen. I look forward to reading more!
Weeping Duck chapter 1 . 6/21/2006
Maybe it's too early for me, but I can't stop smiling. Something about this piece was really gripping. Perhaps it was the relatively suspenseful feeling, wondering why the Betters were so great or if this could be our future. These days, not having cancer is considered normal, but having a day where the "normal" because "abnormal" is a really interesting concept.

The depth of this one-shot really makes me think. It sort of reminds me of employment...how race and sex can determine getting a job. What if not having cancer determined everything about your existence? Very fascinating thought.

I have nothing to critique you on, but I have to applaud you for how thought-provoking this view is. Incredible.
Shannah chapter 1 . 6/19/2006
wow. This is really odd. almost disturbing, but to innocent to really be. I like it.