Reviews for The Flying Mecca
fanfase chapter 1 . 5/16/2013
this story is beautiful. you manage to write an incredibly appealing and brave narrative without offensive. congrats, I really enjoyed it.
Hedj.V chapter 1 . 3/31/2013
(Hi! I'm here from RH, I haven't written a lot of very critical reviews before so please bare with me.)

You have some really unique ideas here and I commend you for being so thorough in your world-building. There were some points where I felt a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of new information to take in though. Besides the lengthier 'lecture paragraphs' I felt like it had very good pacing.

A couple of small errors I saw:

"Whatever colors she has are dyed red tones by the light." - I'm not actually sure if this is a mistake, I read it as though it should be 'she has on' though.
"nor would be possible to have" - it seemed like 'would it' should be used here
I also know that not everyone does this but when referred to as a planet and not simply the ground I thought that Earth was supposed to be capitalized, which you did not do (specifically noticed this near the last few paragraphs).

Overall, it is impressive the way you seamlessly integrate character development with world-building such as in Tea and Yehoshua's conversation about scarf colours. I find myself really envious of those devices that automatically record the lecture! That would be amazing to have in some of my classes. I also like the idea of a 'spotlight' because if this is what a classroom setting is like it would be necessary. It also makes sense given that class sizes will probably grow exponentially between now and then. Even in some of my classes now I find it difficult to pinpoint a student when they are speaking!

You have created a really intriguing world here and despite the big issue with too much information being distributed in this one chapter, I feel like this has a lot of potential. There is still a lot about the way that this world works that has me wanting to know more so that says something!

Good luck in your writing!
lookingwest chapter 1 . 2/7/2013
Heyy thought I'd drop by, I saw you advertising this story and returns and such on the Roadhouse, so this is coming via the RH.

Alright so - having read through it once now, this is interesting. I really like your world building because I think it's phenomenal. You do a great job with this super detailed history. On the other hand - I'm not the fan of the way it's imparted, but I think that's because I'm in grad school and in classes all day and I teach. So it really just felt like I was sitting in on another class (which isn't why I come to FP), haha. But personal reasoning aside, I felt some of the information, especially in the opening and the last big paragraph, was a bit heavy for me to wrap my mind around and digest.

I have little knowledge of Muslim culture and the Qua'ran, but I was able to follow what was happening and I really liked the ending, actually.

As a teacher at a university, I must say - I actually found this situation kind of unrealistic. Especially because there's such a huge shift right now with pedagogy concerning how students best learn (and there's a big anti-lecture movement on the horizon). Nowadays, lectures have been proven to be an unsuccessful way of teaching - and there's been a big push for more group-based discussion that puts the learning more on the students and their responsibilities. I didn't see that here. It felt like such traditionalist way of imparting knowledge - and I think it reflects that it is kind of unsuccessful, because Tea isn't very invested in the lecture-style and we get the sense that not everyone pays such close attention. On the other hand in your defense, since this is taking place so far into the future, I could see the return to the classical classroom as being justified. I just thought it was interesting the actual mode of the classroom wasn't futuristic in any way beyond the technology - same old same old, nothing new to see here.

That also relates a little to the feeling that I had right when I started reading - that, oh no, we're going to get a huge informational dump through the device of a lecture - which did happen, but it actually paid off in the end and I see more that this is what you wanted to write. Since you mentioned at RH that this is more of a short story, I think it works really great in that realm. But if this was a novel or novella, I'd urge a different more creative avenue for laying down all this history (or at least have more fun with how students learn).

I particularly liked the moment when Rana spoke and the red light was put on her. Like I said - all of the world building was pretty cool and I do like the imagery of this giant lecture theatre. It reminds me a lot of the lecture halls at the University of Minnesota. But anyway, concerning Rana - I liked the conversation that Tea and Yeh have about the headscarves afterwards. I think it opened up their perceptions and characterized them really well based on their opinions.

The way you balance characterization with backstory and a primary informational dump is kind of cool - I didn't trust you at first when I saw what was happening, but by the end I think you actually executed it well.

Another factor in this story that I appreciated was the scene when Yeh smells the spices and that whole paragraph about the lamb. I didn't really like the use of the word "nostrils" though, haha, small pet peeve - it just feels too technical and like purple prose, unbalancing the rest of the well-written paragraph. But anyway - loved the one after that imparting a sort of synesthesia. Not too many writers use synesthesia - which is a shame, because I always think there's such great poetic opportunity by using that device. That scene really stuck out for me.

Let's see...oh! Right. The relationship between Yeh and Tea was cool - it's unique that they don't really know each other outside of the class. The little quip about Tea leaving on a magic carpet was fun - since we don't really get any sense of humor before that, though, it did come about a little strangely (I almost believed him for a moment, since he doesn't feel very sarcastic/joking in his narration before this). But I did like the mysterious quality there. It works really well for a short story device. Almost like a one act play. I would say I was more interested in them than the actual giant paragraphs of lecture. I have to admit that in the last big paragraph, I kind of read the first few sentences and then just skipped to the ending one - then read from "And, yes..." to the end the first time. Reading it a second time - I don't really feel like I lost anything. Something to think about, I think.

Overall, a well accomplished story. Heavy, but definitely unique and memorable.
Bushwah chapter 1 . 1/19/2013
Unbelievable.

HUH!?

None of these fit, somehow.

Wow?

Yeah, I like Wow?

Wow?