|Reviews for The Immortal Curer|
| Silver Sparke chapter 1 . 11/10/2011
Your idea of a camera zooming in and out is clever, but I don't think it was executed right. When toy said "zooming out...zooming back in...", it really distracted me from the rest of it.
I also like the idea of incorporating science within a story and it was a great take on the prompt, but to me, it read like an essay a lot of the time.
Overall, the story was good, but I think it had the potential to be much better.
I'm really sorry if I sounded harsh...
| Ioga chapter 1 . 9/28/2011
Hi, picked this based on the death-on-cellular-level summary.
Henrietta's tale is brought into the story with an educative flourish. I found the high-achiever angle to cancer cells really sweet. (Like many high achievers, though, they hit a bad "local maximum" and can't get out of that. Bad idea to kill off your host entity, when it comes to spreading your DNA further... Or maybe we all this cancer showing up now that they've realized someone might pick them up and grow them in a bowl just for being special! Pick me! Pick me! I'm extra special!)
I like the dark humour in this piece.
As for the KuRa strain, it took me a while to figure out that Kumar was indeed a kid from Bangladesh - that came a bit suddenly. The success and failing of the surgery was a fun, wicked touch.
Minor nitpick: "Once Oprah is on board" - it ties to events narrated in the past tense, so maybe it should be that "Once Oprah got/had gotten on board, there was no turning..."
When we get to Atiq, you break off from the very eye-catching "Firstname Lastname. Narration about the person." style. It breaks the symmetry a bit. Maybe break it earlier already, at Kumar? The reference to the scientist was a bit sudden - it pulls us a bit aside. It might also be a good idea to describe a bit the setup of the laminar flow hood, because I at least had trouble visualizing it right. "How did it get under the hood." The laminar flow hood was there to do X and covered the culture plates. - Then he did not notice / forgot about the ultra-clean glass of the hood. Some extra hand-holding. (I'm still pondering what 'laminar flow' is. ;))
Starting with "She" for the fly made me blink - not in the sense that it was described as a person, but the fact that there was a person in the story who hadn't been introduced and suddenly was already a 'she'.
I also had some trouble understanding the staphylococces on the floor - no wait, on his hand! (No wonder I had trouble with it, my brain was misplaced!) Atiq wouldn't allow "it" to occur - is 'it' the fact that his blood/hand had some bacteria on it (he'd have to drink rather a lot of antiseptic to stop that, I think?), or that the remains of the fly did, or that he wouldn't allow them to go start a colony, or that the specific strain of bacteria was bad (in which case we maybe should be more closely introduced to what they're all about, so we can also form a stronger personal relationship with Papa and Baby ;)).
All in all, I loved the start, towards the end it got more, eh, acidic (or 'cracked'). All in all, nice. Although I saw the prompt related to another story and it was ieeeeegh. (First prompt link I clicked, wondering now if it was last. X-))
Thanks for this!
| A. Gray chapter 1 . 9/19/2011
I have to admit that while I usually love your work this didn't do it so much for me. It was still really interesting to see your take on the prompt, and how you flowed, very well, through the different POVs. I probably would have enjoyed this a lot more if I understood it better, the history and the biology involved. I liked how you reminded us, though not too repeatively, that he couldn't save the boy. I also found it stilghtly sad in the end that the last bit remaning of this child was gone with a a fly and a wash. It was intresting that the man was considereing commiting suicide after the accident thought. That part really made me wonder. I did like the mother fly being pissy at the son that went into an ultra clean facility. It gave a bit of humor to this slightly heavy toned peice. Well done on this and I look forward to reading more of your stuff!
| Porterz007 chapter 1 . 9/17/2011
You are obviously a well-rounded writer with a great vocabulary; the first segment attests to that. But the formatting of this story was so incredibly...confusing. It was hard to go through the story of what -1000 words?- split up in to five different sections. And it might be pointed out that the first two segments of the story are quite similar. That said, I do appreciate the creativity of seeing the story through the eyes of things such as flies and bacteria, and I do understand that backstory was necessary for this story to be possible, but it just doesn't feel good to read. It was obviously a good effort and your grammar is not half bad- I only saw one thing that might have been a fragment, maybe. The plot is also a bit childish for that sort of prompt, and the scenes are not long enough to get any real sense of character. The most that I got out of the lab assistant was 'clean' and 'slightly bitter'. It would be much better if perhaps the pace was slower, so that one might gain a clearer grip upon the points of view.
| LiberryBooked chapter 1 . 9/14/2011
I really enjoyed your writing style in this piece, it just felt really unique to me and captivated me through the whole piece. I liked the progression of the piece and how you structured it as well. Even though it wasn't a story with the same characters throughout, I liked how it retained a clear plot and story. Overall I think you did a fantastic job with this one!
| Laoch chapter 1 . 9/13/2011
I liked how you added different parts of the prompt (the fly). Good job. I liked the plot as well, as it drew you in from the beginning and left you wondering.
Just a little thing; there was a lot of jumpiness from part to part; perhaps you could find a better way to split this? But all together good. :)
| lookingwest chapter 1 . 9/13/2011
Characters was definitely the biggest thing about this short. I really loved the progression of each of them and also love that it was based off a real person. The beginning was fantastic, I loved the opening line, love the name Henrietta Lacks and how you played off of that. I think by far her character is my favorite as far as what you did with her and the play on her name. I know how you played on the other names too but that one was the best for me, it felt most natural.
I like how you form the plot from the characters and the cancer, especially how the cancer changes them. There is a lot of telling involved with this, because you don't have time to show us, and that might be the only problem that I didn't quite like the most. Despite that though, I mean, I wasn't thinking that while I was reading it, it's only upon reflection that that kind of comes up-so I definitely think you developed and did a great job going from character to character to develop the ending plot and the ways the scientists took advantage in some cases and helped, etc.
Overall I really enjoyed this piece, I thought you did a great job and had a super unique take on the prompt. No one else dealt with this subject and that makes it a strong contender! Best of luck with the WCC!
| Sarah Isaacs chapter 1 . 9/12/2011
This was excellent! Mind-blowing really. Your clean, factual sentences kept my interest peaked, and you blended in subtle imagery to keep the senses involved.
I also love your use of irony, as with the names. As a reader, I can tell that you didn't try to hard. The whole thing just flowed. Even the bit with the flies.
Overall, this flowed well, you used wonderful grammar, spelling, punctuation, la-dee-da, and all that, so I have nothing to criticize. It's also a very powerful piece. I was amazed that it's a result of a prompt. It is so original. Fresh. Stinging. I won't be forgetting this.
ps. I don't think that you crossed any lines referencing Henrietta Lacks, I actually appreciate the depth it added to the story.
| Javajive chapter 1 . 9/11/2011
Ah. I have grown to expect amazing things from you. With each of your submissions to the WCC, I’m stricken by what a unique take you have on the prompt and this particular one just floored me. It’s pure brilliance. You’re just in a category all of your own.
I know next to nothing about the history of cancer research and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed how you introduced the fate of these different characters in a humorous but affectionate way. Also how these strains of cell cultures took on a very human form, as did the bacteria (Papa S and baby S., I was almost rooting for them to make it and then Atiq was there with his disinfectant..hmm).
I’ve never heard of Henrietta Lacks before, but your story made me curious. I most definitely will check out the book when I get a chance.
‘They are just high achievers in the cellular world.’ That line is so clever. It made me think how we characterize cancer cells as malignant or benign, good and evil, and forget that really they are just cells. Our own cells and they have no intentions in either direction. I liked how you mentioned Satan and the devil, playing on how we demonize cancer because frankly the word in itself is strikes such fear.
I particularly admire how structured this piece is. The distinct parts, the repetition of ‘save the boy’ throughout, the play with words, KuRa, HeLa.
The story of the lab manager and how you incorporated the fly, just made me smile. I could picture him frantically trying to catch the insect and I could sympathize with the poor guy, how he was worried about what his boss might say. Each of the stories bring forwards strong emotions and I really like how you can make me both sad and bring a smile out of me in the matter of a few lines.
Good luck in this WCC my clever friend!
| berley chapter 1 . 9/8/2011
I really liked your play on words at the beginning, and I have to admit that I think I liked the first two paragraphs the best out of all of them. It was really interesting to see this kind of a take on the prompt, and I liked that you incorporated both the picture, the bloody hand and the fly, as well as the quote on the bottom. It was very original in your own way, even though it’s based off of a real person and a very controversial subject that I think everyone has their own opinion on.
Good luck in the WCC!
| Stephanie M. Moore chapter 1 . 9/7/2011
Interesting concept. I like the way you use the quote from the prompt as well as the picture.
The cancer angle is unique, and I think it's cool the way you incorporate the story of a real person. And I like the way each section addresses a smaller life form.
That being said, I like the repetition throughout the piece, it helps to solder everything together.
Personally, though, I enjoyed the first two sections best. I love your play on words with the "healer" and the "curer." I thought that was very clever. The last section seemed a bit too technical without the benefit of the sarcasm you used in the third part.
Yeah, so kudos on your creativity! You definitely have a standout piece here. Best of luck in the WCC!
| Ezekiel Finch chapter 1 . 9/6/2011
I like how you were able to take this quiet humor from the prompt. There's a bit of sarcasm, a bit of satire, a bit of dark comedy throughout and it's much appreciated. The insightfulness and neutrality allowed you to make these witty bits of humor. There's a truth behind the humor and that's what makes it so great.
In addition, I also like how you were able to combine three different stories to create this one grand arc. It reminds me of following a family tree or tracing the evolution of a species. We start with the origins and follow it to the present form. And of course, I'm a sucker for historical little bits so you had me hooked already.
The line, "he could not save the boy," appears four times and each time it is linked. Each time the line is used, someone is trying to save "the boy." From brain surgery to flies, you really cover all forms of life. But on top of that, the number four represents death in Chinese mythology. Four cases of death and four stories within this story signal the end of your piece. Really well done!
I wish you luck in the WCC!
| rgarner31 chapter 1 . 9/5/2011
hmmm this is a really interesting take on the prompt and i like it! I think my favorite part was talking about the contrast between Henrietta and Kumar-it was so sad, yet altogether interesting. I think you pulled off a really nice piece here!
Good luck in the WCC!
| Inkspilled chapter 1 . 9/4/2011
I really love the narration and POV, very unique and nice to read. I like what you did with this, very original and interesting. All the details add to the story and never becomes boring. Nice work. Well planned and well written. :)
| Narq chapter 1 . 9/4/2011
Just finished first sem of med school and the cancer and telemere and all the terminology that you've noted in this story is still really fresh in my mind. Maybe the familiarity of it makes me really identify and love this story.
I enjoyed your style. I was unique, the twisting and turning of the POVs, at the start, I got annoyed by it, but then when I stopped fighting it and just let it flow, the feeling was actually quite cool.
"unknowingly, she traded in cancer" - such an awesome line. made me stop and think what you mean, and then I realised because she traded in tabacco, and that's basically a cancer causing agent... she's traiding in cancer. beautiful! (writing, that is)
Oh, and I loved the play on sounds/words the HeLa (healer) and KuRa (Curer). that was pretty fantastic too.