Reviews for The Porter War
Skyward Ending chapter 1 . 10/5/2010
I have to admit, it took me more than halfway to realize that this was America's Civil War that you were talking about, and that this is a steampunk (if you can call it that?) twist on everything. I'm not sure why the main character would have to disguise herself as a man if a Japanese lady was on board-and not only that, but the Japanese lady's presence simply does not make any sense. Why in the world would an Asian woman be present here? Furthermore, why would she be educated to the point that there was no one else who could take her place (namely, a man)? Some of the jargon seemed a bit off, with "aye aye" coming off as reminiscent of the sea rather than air. You also might want to elaborate on the appearances of the characters and the landscape and the vehicle they're using.

In short: more description, clarity, and awareness of anachronisms (which I suppose is a bit weird seeing how this is a steampunk-ish fic, but I can't tell if all of the language was intended or just something you felt like using).
Faithless Juliet chapter 1 . 10/2/2010
What I really liked about this piece (and I noticed it right off the bat) was the smoothness and ease of your narration. Your story read very cleanly – there weren’t too many spots (especially at the beginning) when I had to stop myself from reading to grow accustomed to the scene that was unfolding. Your detail was very crisp as well, I think the only thing from a telling aspect that could be improved was to introduce people a little slower. Toward the middle and end I felt like a lot was going on, and this is only your intro section, as a reader I would have liked a bit more space between this and that, especially at this stage.

Your characterization and dialogue were also very good. Although I didn’t catch on that your protagonist was a woman until she actually pointed out that she was a woman. I might have missed something but that twist felt a bit awkward, sense up to that point I had been envisioning them as boy. The dialogue was superb though, it flowed naturally and it felt perfectly matched with the characters. Nice job so far, keep up the good work.

Much love,

Juliet.
Karper-John chapter 1 . 10/1/2010
Wow..Im am speechless. You are a really amazing author... I look forward to reading more of your works.

Sincerely,

John_Karper
lookingwest chapter 3 . 9/19/2010
My cheeks were red and I could see that Oriole was clutching her can so tight...

-Edit: "can" should be "cane"

The sultry voice belong to a woman that sat...

-Edit: "belong" should be "belonged"

-Style Edit: would omit "that" and replace with "who"

I liked that above paragraph as a whole, because I think it went into great imagery and I liked the part about the metaphor of the woman being a proud lioness, and then the next paragraph, direct and focused, was a good way to follow up. Interesting that you make the point that her beauty is the only thing that's saving her-had she been an ugly woman, she might not find herself so fortunate with her command of the room, so I like again, the new woman-type you bring into the story.

"Set a trap for them," She said...

-Edit: un-capitalize "She"

However no one could quite decipher a reaction from their emotions.

-Edit: "However" needs a comma after it

-Style Edit: or you could change the sentence to: "No one could quite decipher, however, a reaction from their emotions."

Jealousy was so warm in my chest that I almost felt the need to rip off my shirt and expose myself for who I really am.

-Edit: "am" should be "was" because you've been in past tense this whole chapter

"I was caught using counterfeit coin, that's all," She playfully said...

-Edit: un-capitalize "She"

"We jailed her on the charge of using counterfeit coin," The Marshal crossed his arms.

-Edit: either un-capitalize "the", or replace the comma after "coin" with a period

"We can draw them out into an ambush, Marshal" The captain said...

-Edit: needs a comma after "Marshal"

"Its the best chance as we're ever going to get."

-Edit: "Its" should be "It's"

"I'll be a good girl," She smiled warmly she then locked eyes...

-Edit: un-capitalize "She"

-Edit: I think it should read: "She smiled warmly, [and] then locked eyes..."

"I can say it," The captain said decisively.

-Edit: un-capitalize "the"

"Captain Wright is a veteran," The marshal sighed.

-Edit: un-capitalize "the"

The woman was briefed with a substantial cover story and set out on a mixed Iberian.

-Style Edit: here, I would writing out her name, Seven, instead of calling her "the woman", because at this point we already know her name

However I was needed to help Oriole with her work aboard the Caroline and...

-Edit: insert comma after "however"

Great description in the paragraph detailing the "purple light on the horizon", and I liked how you incorporated all the different senses, especially the point about the captain's cigarette.

"A siren," I interrupted, "Have you read the Odyssey, captain?"

-Edit: un-capitalize "Have"

-love this dialogue too!

"...She set off to find the cities of gold in the north."

-Edit: take off the quote after "north" for correct grammar format when splitting dialogue into two paragraphs

...experienced woman, however not experienced...

-Edit: needs comma after "however"

"But down worry yourself none, kid," The captain...

-Edit: un-capitalize "the"

"Like Odysseus tied to the mast," I murmured.

-Whoa, *nice* allusion here! I haven't seen an allusion this wonderfully integrated since...well a very long time, XD

They figured I was talking nonsense to them at this point.

-Style Edit: would omit "at this point" because it's unneeded

I liked the big section about the siren, and how you made your own little mythology centered with the myth of the west. Also, really random, but I loved the part when you described the captain as having his goggles off and around his neck-I just got this wonderful steampunk image, haha. I also like how you keep our narrator's perspective on things so unique, because she's from a different country and also a different sort of societal background.

Oh! And great moment with the setting up of the plot! I liked that a lot, and it gives me a lot to look forward to, for sure. The integration of Seven is quite a twist I wasn't expecting, so I'm excited to see where you'll take the characters!
lookingwest chapter 2 . 9/15/2010
Ah, so our narrator once lived in high society Victorian England? Indeed this is a special character if she's still alive after losing her position-most "angels in the houses" drown or taking a powerful sleeping drought after such an occasion. She's definitley a much more dimensional character coming from that sort of background, for me at least, it comes with all sorts of connotations.

I think you use a good balance here between background information of our narrator and then the action of progressing the plot. I get a sense of both of them and the background information doesn't feel like a info dump or anything, it's well integrated for sure.

I was told that the bullet had nicked the bone on it's way through.

-Edit: "it's" should be "its"

I find it an interesting observation that both July and Oriole are fronted by so called "powerful men" but really, they're the ones sort of pulling the strings-while our narrator has the ability to move freely as a disguised man. If anything, she should stay disguised as such, doesn't seem like the women get half as much recognition as the men, but then so goes that western ideal, etc. I would expect nothing less, XD, but I think in that respect you're doing a great job keeping it realistic as far as the historical fiction aspect.

Overall another good chapter, we learned more about all the characters introduced so far, and I liked seeing the depth in Oriole's character because she seems quite capable. Good work with dialogue too, I found no switch of discourse there and it was all consistent. It's moving along well, and I also appreciate a moment to open up the wider plot arc with the mention of the outlaws too, that leaves some to the imagination and intrigue for sure.
lookingwest chapter 1 . 9/14/2010
Well first off, I'm in love with your avatar-my bloody valentine is an *amazing* band, I saw them live about a year and a half ago and I feel so lucky, their performance blew my mind! But anyway, onto the story...

I think you should mention that the Caroline is a steamship, because at first I had to read the sentence twice, and I still didn't know what you were for sure talking about, if it was an army group or something else, but then you do mention it's an "airship" which I've never heard a ship described as, though I have limited knowledge of it. I'm kind of conflicted because I know this is in the sci-fi genre but is this steampunk or cyberpunk in nature? If steamupunk, I feel it's still necessary to mention that the ship is a steam boat of some sort, and to also indicate sooner if their flying in the sky, I didn't see complete mention until the end of the fourth paragraph, but I think it should be hinted at more explicitly when you first mention the Caroline.

I never appreciated when the captain called me kid for I had been called so by deceased husband.

-Style Edit: insert comma after "kid"

-Edit: should be "by [my] deceased husband."?

Orieole comes out of nowhere with the dialogue, it was confusing because I didn't know where she came from-maybe mention she's part of the pilot crew before introducing her through dialogue.

She had a slender frame as was average build of her race. She was oriental.

-Style Edit: It would almost read less jarring as, "She had s lender frame as was average build of her oriental race."

Alright, so there are a lot of things that I really like about this as a whole. I LOVE the steampunk nature of it, I never find steampunk on FP and this also shows the expertise of someone who knows how you write really well, and there's so much potential to take it so many places, and I feel you won't lead it astray. I also really loved the fact that your narrating from a first person of a strong woman character-or what I hope will develop into a strong protag woman. It reminds me greatly of the penny novel The Female Marine that historically was published in Am. Literature during this era, and the fun idea of having a woman cross-dressed as a man in on a ship is very reminiscent of how many women did cross-dress to be part of the navy. I also loved that you used historical reference points to place the story in time, and give us the alternative history, the moment that really stuck was when you mentioned when the Caroline was built in the fifties in Britian, and that really brought it together for me. I loved the fact the ship was flying through the air too, it provided some great imagery and the integration of using the reference points of Nebraska was genius, haha. Really, high praises for this, it's definitley one of the more interesting premises I've come across recently and I look forward to having the opportunity to continue!
Equilibrium chapter 3 . 9/10/2010
I'm rather partial to steampunk fantasy/sci-fi, so I liked the setting of this story. You also used some actual nautical terms and slang in the narrative, which helped to give it a sense of realism. However, I think this story would be a lot better with more variation in sentence length and structure. Also, use more sensory descriptions - I'm not getting a very strong feel of the place, and I'd love to feel like I'm right there just by reading about it.

Other than that, nice job.
brittle.star chapter 2 . 9/10/2010
Wow. I really really like your dialogue, it's easy to read and interesting, sounding like something that people would actually say. You're story line has me hooked, it's not too slow, not too fast, and already you have me interested to read more on the characters; they seem like well developed people. I'm adding this to my favourites, i hope there's more soon!
Aphelion7 chapter 1 . 9/10/2010
Here's my review for the review game:

The first chapter definitely left me with many questions in my head. What was nice about this chapter is that it makes readers interested on what "The Porter War" is all about. The introduction is slow and smooth, persuading readers to read more of the chapters to understand the story further. The airships also made me ask of what is the time line of this story (since airships were invented in the 19th-20th century) or if this story is in the alternate history genre. And since this is an action story, I am quite interested how the battle scenes will go. Especially that the story started off with those airships (an air battle perhaps?).

The bad points of the story was that it wasn't gripping. I found myself a bit bored on the middle paragraphs and further. I suggest that you add a prologue to the story, something that would give readers a little background of "The Porter War". It's only a suggestion though, as I see that this would go against your writing style. Overall, the chapter would get a 7.6/10 in my scale.

Keep writing.

-Aphelion
brittle.star chapter 1 . 9/10/2010
I like the way you clearly know what you're talking about when you describe the ship and all it's parts. When I right I sometimes make up words like, 'thingamagig" haha. I didn't quite like, the beggining, I felt it could have been a more dramatic opening scene, like media rese perhaps.
deefective chapter 1 . 9/7/2010
Hmm, interesting set up for a story here. I like to read a lot of realism but I'll admit that I'm not that into historical fiction. I liked the narration in this. It's got a very polite and formal tone to it but I feel like it fits the story. As for the person doing the actual narration, I'm getting hints of personality here and there but it's a bit too...standoffish. But at the same time, actually, not really...Hm.

Anyway, you do a good job of describing the setting and the action going on around. I got a sense of where everything was and what things and people looked like. And you didn't overdo it. Nicely done.
Sakina the Fallen Angel chapter 1 . 9/7/2010
I like the way you introduced your cast of characters, focusing on one or two attributes that they have to make them memorable, rather than dumping a load of description at once, as it reads more professional, and allows us to develop our own impressions of the characters. The detail about the captain's arm particularly intrigued me, and I was surprised to find the narrator to be female, as I'd assumed that the narrator was male due to the androgynous style of your writing.

The second half of this chapter felt choppy, and didn't flow as well as the first half, which I think is due to you not varying the sentence length and structure enough, e.g.

"The ship made a terrible racket as it made contact with the ground. I hated every time that we set down. It was not that I disliked being land side."

Spotted an error:

"Now [if] I had an engineer to keep the engine -"

~ Sakina x