Reviews for A Semblance of Life
the-goldengirl chapter 1 . 7/12/2008
I thought this first chapter was beautifully written, you have the talent of giving complex and important matters a carefree glaze yet adding towards the layers of importance the subject holds. Okay. I am no poet, but I hope you get what I mean. For the fact that you like Ray Bradbury alone makes me lick your feet...um...yeah! And even though I'm only measly 13, I still can't display my love for his books. Yeah. I read your bio. And I'd be very interested to stalk you from this current day forth (just kidding! :)). Hmm. My life is pretty lame at the moment. Anyways, back to the review, I really liked how you started it off, Lewis, Lewis, and Lewis. But when you switched to the other two girls Annali (wrong spelling, probably) and Alice I was like: Okay. Cool. Wait, I know what happens next, they befriend Lewis yadyadayda. So I'm VERY happy that didn't happen! Props for originality! :) I kind of got ticked off at the overly extensive description, though. But I'm one of those people who like the character unfurled as the story goes along. If you're into Sci-Fi, I'm currently working on a form of a novel? Well, it's labeled untitled. I'm going to go read the rest of your works. Wow. This is a long review. I hope you get this within the next Earth year and I don't have to wait and wait and wait and wait for a response! :) Feel free to email me if you would also like to stalk me. And if you're wondering, I'm like this in real life too. Gah. Enough about me. Must shut up. Must shut up, must shut up...
Brackish Song chapter 1 . 7/10/2008
When you say "Velociraptors", I hope you don't mean the ones they portray in "Jurassic Park" because those are "Utah Raptors" not Velociraptors
Solemn Coyote chapter 4 . 7/8/2008
This is a long-ish chapter. Apologies if my review is equivalent in size.

1)"I would like to say that they were nice, easy-going people" the narrative voice you used here surprised me a little bit. It doesn't really disrupt the story much, but it's still kinda weird to see a narrator show up now.

2)"and it’s main commodity," "its" 'It' is a rogue that defies apostrophes to work normally around it. I'm constantly fixing the mistakes it causes me to make.

3)"The voice on the other line was both a human voice and not," you have a great knack for describing the mundane and making it feel utterly mysterious.

4)"Lenny asked in a tone of voice that, if compared to a physical action, would be like a wolf pursuing an elk." great line

5)"talking small talk or about shinty" shinty?

6)"one that you've always told be you were going to find" told me

7) I'm constantly surprised by your ability to write characters from different walks of life. I've never had a real aptitude for that.

8)"After a few more moments of appreciating the great artistic value of the scene, he decided to step forward. It was like entering a painting." maybe not an amazing line on its own, but in counterpoint to the longer sentence before it, it works really well.

9)"Some of the stuff in the shop was pretty old, and not just the stuff that was meant to be" the story drifts a little bit here, sidetracking from the confrontation with the old woman to talk about the shop some more.

10)"They didn’t mind. They didn’t even notice he was gone for good." Lenny is another character who is thoroughly likable through his quirkiness.

11)"just making the whole thing up to set the stage for a legitimate threat stage for some quick cash." take out the second 'stage'

12)"halfway behind the woman at an angel" angle

13) This chapter is just big enough that it might scare some ficpress reviewers away. Ficpress reviewers in general being a lazy breed. Consider splitting this chapter at the 12:13 AM mark.

14)"he decided to make lodge." make camp?

15)"What had caught his attention, however, were the pair of legs that were just a few inches apart from the tools. They were female, and a very nice pair too; but the fact that they were there at all puzzled Lenny. He followed them with his eyes and, thankfully, they were attached to a body, which was attached to a head, which had on a face that Lenny knew well." another great section

16)That's...a very mysterious end to the chapter. This story feels like it's really woven out of four different short stories that only happen to casually intersect. That's a cool concept, of course, but I find myself hoping against hope that they'll find a way to all tie together.

-SC
Solemn Coyote chapter 3 . 7/8/2008
Okay. Recently, I took a little bit of a review hiatus. But I kept meaning to return to this. The prospect of future velociraptors was just too promising to pass up. So, here I am again. Reading, reviewing, and hopefully being somewhat helpful.

1)"A very, very big thank you to Solemn Coyote for his most helpful reviews." ...and now I feel really, really guilty.

2)"He was slightly alarmed when he realized he couldn't feel his left hand, but, after a few moments of searching, found it again." That's a great way to jolt your reader out of their sleepy reviewing-trance. They sorta glide right over that sentence. Then they come to a screeching halt at the end and have to re-read it. Your wording there is subtle and well-executed.

3)"Just taking a call from ma' wife, she said the little Niño's got into a fight again." Just the one Spanish word feels a little out of place there. Usually, when I accidentally slip into a foreign language, it comes out as a stream of foreign words. I'd offer to help by suggesting a few more Spanish words to substitute in...but unfortunately every time I try Japanese comes out instead.

Every new foreign language I learn pushes the previous one right out of my head.

4)"you got bangs over your eyes and all that" 'bags under your eyes', unless that's an intentional muddling of the phrase to reflect that Jose isn't a native English speaker.

5)"I'm just kidding." "Yeah, right," every time speakers change in a dialogue, start a new paragraph. It's kinda a hassle, but it cuts down on reader confusion.

6)"Jose was a family man, just into his forties, with three sons and a beautiful wife. Whenever Dave visited them he couldn't help but feel: "this is what it's all about."" Simple, but a great line all the same.

7)"Other kids used it to pelt you out of nowhere and hold you down and bury you in." great job characterizing Dave. With only a few lines about his past, you justify his present situation and get kinda deep into his psychology besides.

8)"Ah, the marvelous XC-145!" You go on a side-track here, but I really don't mind being taken along for the ride. This whole chapter could probably stand on its own as a character study.

9)"screwed everything up to hell." those two expressions don't quite mesh. Maybe 'shot everything to hell', if you want to keep the curse.

10)"A Velociraptor that was either chasing some sloth like thing through the desert, navigating through a dense jungle, struggling across a lightning ridden field, or doing something else Velociraptors did when they weren’t extinct." that line made me smile

11) Slow, but a great chapter all the same. I'm hoping fervently that Dave develops latent Velociraptor-transformation powers. It would make a great counterpoint to his sleepy, washed-out, dead-end job persona. As always, this story has so much potential. Even if the reviewers aren't biting, keep writing it. It's one of the few ficpress works that I can just sit back and enjoy as I read it.

-SC
Insanity Engine chapter 7 . 6/10/2008
Once again your eloquence with words greets me, this time with the velociraptors you promised. Or, velociraptor.

I think so far this chapter is my favourite. I especially like how you described the role between predator and prey when Dave looked into the lizard's eyes.

"the lizard’s eyes dark orange eyes." I think you wrote eyes one too many times.

Also there's a tense change in that very paragraph. It's not too annoying but it kind of threw me off for a second when I reached that spot.

All in all though, loving it so far. I also enjoy the way you end your chapters. It's not exactly a cliffhanger, but it keeps me excited about what the next chapter will bring. Keep it up!
Insanity Engine chapter 5 . 6/5/2008
Very good so far. There's a few spelling mistakes, nothing major, just the odd forgetting of a letter. Overall I love the feel, the way you get into the character's minds and show us exactly how they're feeling. You convey emotions very well, and the style of writing is easy to get into and holds my attention. I also like how you use the unknown as a center point that connects all the characters. Can't wait to see this continued. :)
Solemn Coyote chapter 2 . 5/3/2008
Okay. I really did want to read more of this, so here I am again. Back with more numbered reviews. Or just one, rather. Anyways, on to the actual content of what I have to say:

1)"Boys were still young enough that they still thought girls were icky and had cooties." good line, and I like the section, but maybe only one 'still'. Maybe keep the second one.

2) I like that Alice is good at volleyball. It adds a whole 'nother dimension to her character.

3)"Annali and Alice have seen these changes, have been warned of what transmogrifications they will have to undergo." tense change there. Nothing big, but it disrupts the reader a little bit.

4)"To have fun while they still could. Before their time in this world turned them into the drooling, lackadaisical adults they so loathed. It was no wonder they were so unpopular." That is my all time favorite line.

5)""Wha...I mean, no! It was my fault. I should have been more careful." "Yeah...I guess."" needs a paragraph between quotations. Otherwise, good dialog.

6)"A strange, black haired girl whose eyes were like unknown and undeniably rare pearls." it might be worth trimming that sentence down a little for more punch. maybe try taking out the 'unknown and undeniably' and see if it sounds better.

7)"“No! It’s just that...” “Just that what? What is it? Am I that ugly?”" needs a separating paragraph again, but the conversation turns in an amazing direction here.

8)"Meanwhile, the person who was arriving had arrived." that made me laugh. You have a real faculty with language.

9)"and he wakes up connected forcefully to the rest of the world he had been trying so hard to keep away." you've written the loner character in a way that isn't moody. Isn't over-dramatic. It's exactly right. I applaud you. I've never been able to pull that off.

10)first there's that complex, introspective paragraph: "He was actually glad, now, that he had met, finally met, a person that was worthy of his attention." And then there's this: ""Sure," he said, "I'd like to play..."" The duality between how much he thinks and what he actually says builds his character in excellent ways. Also, it's good that he's just a little bit arrogant. Somehow, it makes him even more identifiable.

11) "Because, during the next minute, these three children, along with others, will become more lonely, scared, and sad than they ever imagined.

But more to that later. For now, let us meet those others." that sentence drops an absolute bomb, which is good. However, the 'those others' remark weakens the impact of that line a little bit. Maybe it's good, because it downplays the drama. But if you wanted this chapter to end on a much stronger statement, you could always take it out. I don't think it's strictly necessary in order to switch to a new cast of characters next chapter.

Keep writing.

-SC
Solemn Coyote chapter 1 . 5/3/2008
It's kinda rare that I find a story on this site that I can simply enjoy reading. This has a great tagline and title, which is why I clicked it, but the story is what makes me wish there was more of it posted. I'm probably going to be slightly picky with my numbered reviews, but I want to say at the outset that you should absolutely keep writing this.

1)"She was the only person in the entire school allowed to carry her book bag around with her, and Annali, even though the reason was because she was deathly sick with diabetes, always envied her for it." that was a great line, but it was kinda hard to pick out because the rest of the story maintains a constant level of cleverness. It reminds me of Douglas Adams, albeit slightly less prone to tangents.

2)"Annali envied her best friend for many things, but never long for them herself." 'longed'

3)"She was happy the way she was. black," maybe a colon after 'was'? or replace the period with 'with'

4)"What a world, he must live in." no comma

5) Overall, this is one of the best ficpress stories that I've read in a while. You've got sort of a light touch with the characters, developing them in big ways through the littlest of things (like the insulin pump.) Also, the constant level of cleverness makes every paragraph worth reading. I didn't skim.

I'm going to keep reading this. Partly for characters, and partly for the promise of velociraptors.

-SC