|Reviews for The Weird Fishes|
| Complex Variable chapter 2 . 9/25/2013
As being of a more-or-less socialist political disposition, I definitely empathize with the frustrations about the US economy that are being voiced in the long second paragraph of this chapter. ;) However, I don't think that they really belong here in this story; at least, not from what I've read of it so far. It feels too dense, didactic, and info-dumpy. xo
Looking over the story's summary again, I can see that you intended to portray a dystopian future for the USA. If that's the case, then I would recommend trying to sprinkle bits of dystopianisms throughout the opening chapters of the story so that the reader can get a sense / feel / taste of what the world you're describing is like. But do it in small pieces; it tends to be more effective that way.
For instance, in my opinion, the short paragraph [The cheap buildings marked most of Gentry's home town... The entire area seemed in one tired voice to cry "food!" hands and mouths open with no one left to offer anything.] does more to convey what Gentry's world is like than the massive paragraph which precedes it (The one with the Upton Sinclair reference in it.) Try to break up these large chunks of information into smaller bits, and to distribute them more evenly in the story. That will really help to build a mood/atmosphere of dystopia in the story. In my own work, I've found that the overall mood the reader discerns in a story is really, really important for world-building, because it sets the parameters and boundary conditions of the readers' imaginations; they'll tend to imagine things that fit in with whatever emotional atmosphere they get from the writing itself. Use that to your advantage. :D
The description of the "lower class" vehicle is good—that's the sort of thing that helps to establish emotional atmospheres in your writing. :
[ No one truly cared for the sea anymore, no one sincerely cared for anything anymore. What would it harm if Gentry smudged his own numbers for once, if he informed his employer of something catastrophic going on in the ocean's depths? What would it harm if for one last time Gentry was able to board a craft and venture out into the distant seas, back in the place he'd trained so long and hard to reach, to study and to protect? Once more, just one time more Gentry would fulfill all he ever trained for, his own expedition.] - - - Here, again, I feel that you are saying more than you need to say. Just making it " No one cared about the sea anymore. No one really cared for anything anymore." would be far more potent and poignant—at least, in this author's opinion.
I like the nostalgia and sense of loss that you evoke in the second half of this chapter—when Gentry begins reflecting upon the sea and his and his society's changing attitudes toward it (and, by metaphorical extension, their attitudes toward everything else). This chapter does a much better job of presenting Gentry as an individual with individual needs and wants than the previous chapter did. I recommend trying to combine these two chapters into one; better yet, you should try to open the story with Gentry's thoughts about the sea. You could create a wonderful sense of contrast by juxtaposing his thoughts about the sea and his past with his location in Palm Springs; not only is the desert a polar opposite of the ocean, but, you could use it for its symbolic power. The ocean would represent the past—the things and values and cares that people used to have; the desert, on the other hand, would represent the present: desolate, stale, and totally dried out. :D? (I really like this idea!)
Also, once again, you need to go over and comb through this chapter, cleaning up and breaking down some of the messy, run on sentences. That big second paragraph, especially—it needs to go, or at least be majorly shrunken down.
| Complex Variable chapter 1 . 9/25/2013
[The sounds of oldies radio tunes drifted on the sticky air around a small condo in the middle of a dried out town, where a man was seated upon a lawn chair in the center of an over watered and over pampered lawn.] - - - My eyes had to stumble through this sentence; I suggest breaking it up into two separate sentences so that it flows better.
[Gentry Schwartz] - - - Love the name—especially his first name. "Gentry"… that's awesome! :D
*Reads some more*
[He turned to return to his air-conditioned Cando] - - - I think you mean "Condo". ;)
Okay, so, you have a lot of sentences that feel like run-ons; sentences that, at least to my ears, could have a much better grasp of good rhythmic sense than they do now. This might just be a sign that the piece needs to be edited more.
Some examples of sentences that seem messy to me:
No one was out in the cozy suburban neighborhood, it was much too hot, and even if it were not it seemed people had a way of hiding themselves in their small houses, or leaving them for cooler months.]
[Gentry, who grew up and worked in the northern and more sociable edge of the country found it both unusual and depressing, but it was what he'd come to his condo in Palm Springs to experience; time to himself, time to bask in the terrible heat.
[He set the chair in it's designated spot near the closet door and wondered inside to shut off the radio which had gone on to excitedly describing new products and services.
[A knock at the door awakened him from a dream he hadn't known he was having and surprised him enough to get him to his feet and to the door's peep hole.]
[He took a moment to acknowledge the fact that the foldable lawn chair wasn't by the closet door, in fact there was no closet door, it seemed he was back home.]
[The creature was unmistakable, a third or fourth generation mutt with one floppy ear, a clear under bite, brownish red fur tone and the clear signs of being an unaltered male.]
The problem I see with them is that you're rushing; you're trying to cram three or four different ideas/events into individual sentences. The resulting jumble is confusing to read, kind of like listening to someone talk really, really quickly about something. Stop, take a deep breath, and relax. There's no need to rush. If and when you go back to edit this, I'd recommend trying to break up those longer, run-on sentences into smaller bits, making sure to give each thought or event described therein its proper time in the spotlight.
[Gentry couldn't help but feel sorry for the woman's children, if she had any left that she hadn't bitten the heads off of.] - - - xD Funny characterization; I like it. It made me smile. :)
Also, this chapter is a bit short; in fact, you could probably get away with making this story into just one or two or three chapters. As I reach the end of this chapter, I feel like not enough has happened yet to justify its ending; I want to see more before I have to go to the next chapter. (Especially since it was starting to get interesting!)
On another note, I like what you're trying to do with characterizing Gentry—and it almost works, actually. "Almost", however, because of the fact that al those messy sentences I was telling you about earlier definitely make it difficult to follow what's going on, and—more importantly—to gain a thorough impression of what the mood of the scene, is like, or the dispositions of the characters, and so on.
| Order and Chaos - Qui Iudicant chapter 2 . 6/16/2013
Again, the first paragraph can be divided into two smaller ones, and there were a few typos, nothing bad or anything, that I saw, but not important at the moment. Great chapter, I wonder what Gentry is thinking about 'There will be nothing but blue skies and distant horizens.' Makes me wonder. See you next chapter.
| Order and Chaos - Qui Iudicant chapter 1 . 6/16/2013
Well, my only critisisim is that the first paragraph could be divided into two smaller ones, but other than that, I like this story a lot. Different from the other one, but along the same lines. :)
| Ashley M chapter 4 . 9/23/2012
"thrilled with the (fulfillment) of their assigned duties."
"The dock, to Gentry, was the gate to Heaven, and at (its) end"
"The vessel itself was small and bobbed in (its) place along the dock in a wobbly manner, but it would would float and float far. "
"The draw-bridge was carefully dragged aboard the small craft, (and) the craft then promptly untied."
"unleashing a grand German (S)hepherd dog upon"
"The draw-bridge had slipped from (its) place and dropped into the water, "
Very ominous. New layers of Gentry are being peeled back and you're doing a wonderful job of that. He's becoming real. He's not a one dimensional character with just a dream, but also a conscience and a past.
| Guest chapter 3 . 9/23/2012
"Gentry Schwartz was required to present his findings before his employer before requesting f(u)rther study, since at the end of the day his employer determined if f(u)rther study was necessary. "
"Gentry wasn't concerned() with how much he'd altered his findings(,) it could be classified (as) a matter of public security. " no comma needed.
"He knocked on the thick wooded door of the small apartment complex, for once (he was) alone; he'd left the dog in the safety of his home in the slightly less impoverished side of town. "
"I'm Gentry you….?"
I don't know why, but I see so much humor in this. When the guy takes the papers and slams the door I just find that so mellow dramatic that it is so funny. I think this guy is really going to turn out good, and if it's the end of the character then that's enough. When you showed how Gentry's hands started to become blistered that was genius, it made a harsh moment into something beyond that as if almost desperation. I really enjoyed this chapter.
| Ashley M chapter 2 . 9/23/2012
"Gentry's dog that Gentry's employer called him." I'd refrain from using the same word twice in a sentence.
"He didn't much mind the help from big-brother(;) some more proud men might have stuck it out at the grind(,) but Gentry wasn't the most determined(,) not anymore, or the hardest working."
"If Uncle Sam had bread to spare, Gentry was in had(,) after all(,) full-filled his end of the American Dream."
"Gentry had spent six years in college before the 'collapse' (and) had worked his fingers numb and his mind to capacity on something he was passionate about; the sea."
"The traffic was thick like the smog since people were forced farther and farther from their work places." No correction, just genius.
"Gentry stopped his standard issue 'lower class' vehicle (as) the brown dog waiting eagerly in the back seat, wagging his tail and patting his front paws on the torn up leather seats. "
"of course other th(a)n for the chemical waste and the animal's" (more than, less than; and then I went to the mall)
"Ever since funding failed(,) all the precautions necessary to analyze a chemical leak of this size had been reduced to a water test, which was a mockery of both Gentry's education and of his time. "
"There upon the rocks he felt himself to be on the eve of something (breathtaking). "
"For once in many, too many(,) years(,) Gentry would"
I love the characterization of Gentry and you're really capturing like a very detailed part of his inner most private thoughts. Very good. I'm so tired, I'll read the rest tomorrow.
| Ashley M chapter 1 . 9/23/2012
I can't pick up where I left off like normal people but I'll give critiques then analysis:
line 6 "condo"
When you write, "The television; there was nothing on… And no cable." you can lower case the 'a' in "and" to make it sound like one thought.
"It was a strange woman in what seemed (like, were) work clothes," try to say 'were work' 10x's fast.
"You (can) keep him." to keep with the present tense.
I love Gentry, oh my goodness gracious. In the beginning it was so funny to me. Gentry... is in the middle of his lawn... while everything around him his dried out. He's literally in the middle which makes me think "oh, he''s self centered," but then you find out he's really just a lonely guy who tries to get some human contact. I love the humor you have in this. This is really entertaining, I like this.
| ElHombre chapter 10 . 9/11/2012
Waiting for the next installment of this epic story!
| Renren99 chapter 4 . 8/22/2012
Alright, you wanted a review...
So far, so good. I'm a little worried that the chapters are short, and the suroundings could use more detail. I'm a little confused about the time setting, and what condition the world is in. I can tell it's sick and such, but where did the fires come from? Are people crazy as well as depressed? I like what you've done with the areas you have described, but they're still a bit fuzzy. I've gotten a pretty good feel for what the human characters are like so far, though I have trouble picturing them. I wouldn't really say their as important as the settings in this type of story, however.
Your grammar has been consistent, and good for the most part. If anything, make sure you don't get any run-ons. I like the 'lingo' of the story so far, so don't change styles on the writing.
Now, the good stuff. I think the story is interesting, and I would like to see what happens next. Gentry's thoughts are fairly clear to me, and very human. (That is, he's realistic, which makes it easier to believe in his actions and follow along.) Personally, I'd like to know how he got away with one year in the military, but that's really not important to the story. It has a good pace so far, and a serious, but hopeful feeling. Keep up the good work. :)
| SaraHart chapter 1 . 8/21/2012
It's so wonderful that I won't to cry
| ElHombre chapter 4 . 8/21/2012
10 - respectable times, been his employer.
| ThePhoenixDaughter chapter 1 . 8/17/2012
nice story so far!
| ElHombre chapter 3 . 8/17/2012
Manliness went up and went back down. A tad dissapointing.
| ElHombre chapter 2 . 8/16/2012
Make the marine a stud - Not some unheroic wienie!