Reviews for Khmoc
Mademoiselle Rouge chapter 1 . 5/6/2012

I'm happy to have read this. Visited S-21 a few months back and was horrified. It's great that people talk about the Pol Pot regime - and not only at school or in the news - so that as many people as possible get to know what happened.

And - what needs to be known is that defenders of Khieu Sampha, Ieng Sary & Douch were defended partly with European lawyers... This is just despicable.
spottedstempunk chapter 1 . 3/20/2012
Hi! This was really cool! It was thoughtful, reaching out beyond the normal topics on the supernatural. Dualy weilded forms of past and present interchangably brought out the unearthly feel in this.

Having alot of description and little diolouge is tricky to handle, and you may want to work on it a bit. Using things like ( he/she said...) can assist you in defining a dulled edge to speaking bits, so that while you're not supporting your writing wholly on diolouge, it's also not falling apart without it.
YasuRan chapter 1 . 9/14/2011
I remember reading this a while back but didn't find time to comment. I'm still a bit rushed for time here so I'll just say that I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. Eerily atmospheric and artistically-rendered. You certainly deserve all the praise :)
Dragon made me do it chapter 1 . 6/3/2011
Whenever I think of what happened in Cambodia, I get an icky feeling in my stomach and just can't make sense of it all.

I think you have conveyed this reality very sensitively.

I understood the line "Phnom Penh is a city filled with people that never were." To mean that people, first of all had their identity whitewashed by supplanting their family with the state. Then they died young. Then they were not given proper burials but just lay in the fields of skeletons, with no individual identifiers. And then they were forgotten by their family and friends, because, as a result of this removal of the concept of family, they did not see them as their relatives. As well as this, in order to find some way forward, it became easier for the living to forget the dead.

I think this is a perfect opening line, and it sets the scene for everything else that is described throughout the piece.

Have you ever been to Cambodia or did you do this all by text based research?
Ioga chapter 1 . 4/8/2011
o.O This was really powerful stuff. I was just browsing the historicals section for kicks, and picked this because a) it stood out as something exotic and b) I had a friend from Cambodia when I was wee (we were small enough to not discuss her home country, so I just have this vague sympathy for the country as a result).

A big thank you for all the details and the strong atmospheric descriptions, it really felt like a dive into history that I've never gotten around to investigate from more formal sources. And extra thanks for including original words and relevant terminology with translations.

I can hardly believe this was a challenge entry - it's the first time I've seen something really noteworthy come out of a time-constrained creativity competition so far.

This was really a successful throw-in product, too: I ended up tagging a couple of your other stories for sampling, and if they're anywhere near as gripping, I cannot rest before I've read everything here. :)

Alas, I found no points of improvement to suggest or typoes to fix. I can only praise.

Thanks for this!
What Happens Now chapter 1 . 2/25/2011
"Phnom Penh is a city filled with people that never were." This opening gave me mixed feelings. On one hand although I do want to know why this happens. I feel as though the description given would be something more like a passing remark. In this however it is the beginning sentence, I suppose that's alright but I think it could have been better.

The next paragraph really stuck out to me, the picture of the bustling street was fantastic. I could picture the crumbling mansions and the scenery all around. The best part was the "...the sounds of construction vie with the melodies of hawkers" I thought this made the scene a bit more harmonious and sets up the next few words for some contrast which helps out the scene as well.

You come now to Tuol Sleng to learn. You learn not about Maths and elephants and Khmer script. You learn about suffering. This seems to be the theme, it was all in second person. The second person perspective makes things more personailized. Just thinking about being in Tuol Sleng, with the sounds of the streets and such is haunting.

"When the Khmer Rouge became Angkar and ruled our country, we had everything. Everything a good worker could want." This was the last line that really caught me, I was so surprised after reading this over, that you started things off this way. The next few lines seemed to show the opposite and like many other Communist socities in popular Western fiction it shows suppressed strife, and forgotten sadness. You seem to unlock this emotion through the Khmoc who sit in the pagodas hoping their own names would be called, though never thinking it would.
xenolith chapter 1 . 1/30/2011
Very strong opening here Sophie. It's quite eerie. You paint a picture of a seemingly normal city and then fill it softly with ghosts. And the wording, even in this first paragraph, is beautiful, as always.

'The city's people have now risen to two thirds of the population in 1975.'

- I think this could be altered. I don't quite understand it. Maybe start off with 'By 1975' and then put in a little note about the country? Is that right? Two thirds of the population of the country?

Hmm loved 'skeleton crew' right after ghost town. Very nice.

Okay I stopped thinking after that. There's nothing really I can say. This piece is remarkable, so tender and emotional and sad. I think my favourite part was near the end when we go back to Phnom Penh at night. It's just so perfect! Perfect pitch, tone, mood and image. Gave me chills. You really are a fantastic writer.

This is going on le favs for sure XD
thefaultinourpatronus chapter 1 . 1/21/2011
I liked the last bit, especially. The whole piece had a haunting air to it, very awesome (: Powerful work, and extremly well written! Great job.

x mandy
Robert Shannon chapter 1 . 1/14/2011
'Phnom Penh is a city filled with people that never were.' Does that mean the children the dead never had? That would have been an interesting story, but I don't think it's the story you wrote. Perhaps I didn't get it.

You did a wonderful job describing a haunted city. I particularly liked that you did it from the perspective of the ghosts - it gave it more pathos and gravity.

'The liquid eyed young khmer girl...' Did you do that to bring tears to my eyes? It worked. I had a little girl too.

If I wanted to teach somebody the history of the Khmer Rouge, I'd show them this before I'd show them a dry account of numbers and dates. History isn't facts and figures, it's people's lives. We each have a history - and you portrayed it excellently.

*Complements of the Review Game's Review Marathon. See my profile to find out more.
StoryMonster chapter 1 . 1/13/2011
Ooh, pretty creative!

I liked the whole melancholy yet accepting air of it.

It was interesting and very well written.

Great jobb!
lookingwest chapter 1 . 1/10/2011
I loved this Sophie. There were so many wonderfully scary moments about it. I loved the feeling-it really felt from the heart, so perfect and really reflecting those moments in history that only a creative writer can capture, and you did it with such authenticity, I feel. You're very, very, very, good at that, and I found myself seeing your brilliance once again shine in your home genre of historical fiction. This had such moments of poetic clarity and chilling fright. It really felt like the ghost narrator had come to life and was really looking right into the reader-amazing. Professional, fantastic, not one thing I would tell you to change or felt out of place. It read very smoothly, the tone was spot on and dramatic, and I think you did a very creative piece that tied into the prompt in a way I totally wasn't expecting. It was genius! By the way, also, congratulations on making the Project Fiction one-shot list! That's such an honor, I feel like I know a celebrity, hahaha! Best of luck in this month's WCC. This was really a stunning star of short story here. Blew me away!
RedactedNoLongerWriting chapter 1 . 1/10/2011
"The city's people have now risen to two thirds of the population in 1975."

-I understood what this was saying, but it seemed awkward to me.

"I knew once..."

-I absolutely loved this whole paragraph. I could picture everything and feel the narrator's sadness. Truly haunting.

Very sad piece here. I didn't notice any grammar or spelling errors; I was too into the story to notice anything if there were! Haha, very nice. Good luck in the WCC! :)
Sercus Kaynine chapter 1 . 1/9/2011
Holy Jesus, this caught me by surprise. Not knowing the language, I had no idea what this was about when I started reading, but man, did it capture a powerful message.

Writing this from a ghost's perspective was what really made this topic shine. From third person POV, this wouldn't have been as personal, as shocking. The way you revealed the identity of the narrator was truly chilling.

This was a strong topic and you were daring in taking on such a piece, and I commend you for it. Brilliantly written.

Good job and good luck in WCC!
lianoid chapter 1 . 1/5/2011
Sophie, you never cease to surprise and astonish. This is one seriously powerful piece. One in which I’m with Punslinger in calling it more of a poetic essay.

I cannot even begin to put to words how reading this made me feel. I began to feel a little uncomfortable while reading because I was suddenly overwhelmed with grief. My god, your writing is remarkable.

The tone of the narrator, the casual use of second person, how you slid in and out of speaking directly to the reader and falling back into first person along with the collective “we”. There’s just so much about this that is brilliant. So many descriptions that are horrifyingly vivid or tantalizingly near.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved this, Sophie. I’m torn between grief and elation; elation, mind you, from reading such a well-written piece.

I don’t think you’ll need it, but best of luck in this month’s WCC.
Punslinger chapter 1 . 1/4/2011
An unexpected tour de force. Not really a short story, but a poetic essay whose casual understatment gives tragedy a special impact.

"A life lost to one is lost to all." That echoes John Donne's "No man is an Island..." And the overall tone reminds me of John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields."

The quote from the UN Declaration of human rights is grimly ironic, as the USSR was a founding member then went on violating its promised idealism all around the world, including Cambodia.