Reviews for Dust and the Helix
Mislav chapter 1 . 8/7
Very interesting story with a good moral. It pulled me right in. It read like a dark fairy tale. I especially liked the way you described the throne room, and how the king explained why not even destroying the weapons would stop the war. But even he had to admit that the war was mostly for profit. He sure had a cruel and unusual fate in store for Archemis-picking up raven droppings, yikes. Discovering the Art of Transmutation must have been a great relief to Archimedes, but also a large burden. This part made me LOL: "Archimedes grunted. "The gnashing of cocks, the futility of war."" The ending was sufficiently destructive, and appropriate. Hopefully no innocent people got hurt. I liked the way you wrote it: "With a flick of his wand the once motionless suits of armor clattered to life and struck down the approaching guards in a golden bloody fury. Another wave and the King was bathed in a pale blue light purer than water, purer than the infinite sky, and the precious jewels about his neck began to rust and disintegrate, his exotic furs and leathers became ragged and stained and his crown slipped down about his head like an iron halo, shrinking, tightening.

Archimedes cackled with maniacal glee as his automatons formed a protective ring around him. He waved his wand in deft circles, magic sparkling and dazzling from its tip. Throughout the Kingdom blades crumpled and turned to dust in their scabbards, battlement towers toppled from the sky like fallen great oaks, catapults and ballistas dusted away into soft ash of rust and splinters in the wind, and when the King reached up to try to pry the vice from his skull he bled with the rest of his Kingdom."

Keep up the great work. I always like reading your stories.
Sjoorm chapter 1 . 2/8/2016
Has this Arch Wizard been in the employ of the king for a very long time? I find it almost insulting that he offets somebody who by all rights should be one of his most trusted advisors a position cleaning up bird crap, and I feel like the Arch Wizard should be a bit angrier at the very least from the very suggestion of it. That brought me out of the story almost instantly and for the next few paragraphs it stayed in my mind as I was reading.

Now for some minor corrections.

"Boomed the king" as a personal note I feel this would read better more along the lines of "The king said with an air of authority".

"Polished oak wood door" could read "polished oaken door" for the purposes of conciseness.

When you describe the size of the hall (throne room?) I feel like the wizards comparison to his own Alchemists chamber would be better served at the end of his description, so that the reader can take in everything that the king has and really have it driven home how little the wizard is given for his service.

"For years you were the best..." Should read "you've been the best..." If he is still current the Arch Wizard.

"Craftiness is only belied by your nervousness" I really disliked this sentence, and I'm not sure if you should just remove it outright or not, but I read this over in my head five or six times and it still did not read properly for me.

"Thought maybe you would enjoy..." This whole sentence sounds very informal, which is odd because in the beginning of this paragraph the king is speaking very formally to his subject. I would suggest choosing informal or formal for your kings speech patterns as it reads too confusingly otherwise.

I liked the story, but I had major gripes with the dialogue, I would change almost every sentence of dialogue you have in here but that is a bit of a ridiculous request, which is why I chose a few key sentences. This is an old piece, so I'm assuming you're rewriting this and that's why you'd like reviews? Either way keep up the good work! :)
Cheddar-Graham chapter 1 . 8/5/2014
For the Review Game (Easy Fix)

I like the general message of peace and how, contrary to what might be expected, the alchemist does not wish to use his transmutation for gain but for a lofty ideal. That tempers somewhat the deed he does in the end, although it is in fact no less a barbaric act than if an actual barbarian had done it. Also, I like the irony of this piece, in that the champion of peace and pacifism achieves his goal through violence and bloodshed. I think the impact would have been even greater if he had killed the king with his transmutation, eg turning the king into a spittoon or something, but this works too.
Longe chapter 1 . 6/29/2014
Review Game- Easy Fix

Your opening is neat and very concise; the reader won't get confused as they read on. Since it is so straight to the point, your story flows very well.

Another plus is that your use detail wonderfully. It is not so overbearing that your main points are drowned out. The characters are described vividly and the action at the end finishes the story nicely.
Ventracere chapter 1 . 1/24/2014
The description of Archemedies in the beginning is beautiful, the way you describe his entrance into the king's hall. As short as this piece is, I liked the pacing and how you filled the end with rich imagery, showing instead of telling is how exactly the kingdom crumpled with the king and with the arrival of a new era. It gives a sense of fantasy, giving us a little sense of detachedness off you will, in a good way. I sure as heck don't want to he near that man anytime soon, haha.

Little things though. Some of your quotes I felt are a little this type of language, it takes a little time to digest when they are so full with descriptions. That's fine, but it would give us a little break if you broke them up a little and changed the style around so it isn't always "abcd," said so and so.
And into something like "abcd" said so and so doing something as he is talking. "Edgh"
Infected Beliefs chapter 1 . 1/21/2014
{""You may enter." Boomed the King."} - The period after "enter" should be a comma and the b in boomed should be lower case.

{""Then they would strike with their fists. Throngs [of] Northmen would beat the ever loving shit out of Woodsmen with their bare hands and if you took away their hands they will kick and stomp and if you took away their legs they would spit and gnash with their teeth and if you knock their teeth down their throats they would club each other with their cocks!""} - Great monologue but I think it went on for a few examples too many. I'm all for swearing but I dont feel that the ever loving shit belongs in this sentence. I also think you could cut the teeth example and just jump right to the cocks.

Your prose is consistent in voice and pacing and your diction fits well and is varied as well. It does feel like I am reading a piece of Song of Ice and Fire fanfiction though. If this /is/ a piece of SoIaF fanfiction than you might want to move it to . If it is your own world than you might want to make sure you distinguish itself as truly unique.

Either way you have a solid start here. Happy writing and good luck!
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 1 . 1/21/2014
I really like the ending line to this story because I feel like it packs quite a punch and it's a really cool image to end on. Very vivid and easy to picture, and I think it sums up things very nicely, how the King is being injured by his own crown, his symbol of authority and power. There's a lot implied in that image, whether or not you intended it. I kind of get that whole moral of "no matter how big or powerful you might think you are, we are all eventually turned to dust."

While I do think this is an interesting message and I enjoy the thought provoking theme of a world without any weapons, I feel like at times this got a little too didactic. I feel like this is more delivering a message instead of a theme or a story, so I would recommend the theme itself to be more subtle. I think it's due to all the information delivery through the dialogue and how quickly everything escalates - I really can't think of any way to be more subtle with the theme than taking more time and making this a longer short story, which you may or may not want to do. I will caution against being too preachy, though - it can often make a reader adverse to the story because they feel like they're being told how they should feel or think or believe. Laying on a few layers can help make it easier to swallow, like character or humor.

Keep in mind when I read short stories I normally read them in terms of literary fiction since there really isn't a demand for genre short stories. Some of the things I've always been told to avoid (and agree with avoiding) when it comes to literary fiction is being too didactic, melodramatic, and/or sentimental. Just thought I should point this out so my comments might make a little more sense as to why I'm putting so much attention in certain components of the story.
Jitterbug Blues chapter 1 . 1/20/2014
Huh, that's an interesting piece - your descriptions are very rich, and your dialogue takes on some very poetic forms here and there. I like the whole clash/debate between Archimedes and the King, because it's clever and also very visual, with both participants illustrating their points very clearly. I like how the King just seems utterly convinced that, even without weapons and armour, the world would still keep on fighting – because violence is in our blood and so forth (interesting way of viewing things). I kind of like the irony at the end – for all that Archimedes preaches pacifism, the ending sure is grotesque and violent.

The one thing you need to watch out for is the proper punctuation re: dialogue tags.
MFR chapter 1 . 1/19/2014
I too am a big fantasy fan, and reading this short story, all I can say is vivid. The way you described the room in the very first paragraph, I could see it being built brick for brick in my head; I so wish I had your ability for description. The exchanges between the characters were very clever, I especially enjoyed what the king had to say, it truly expresses the savageness and power-hungry nature of human beings. I visited your profile and saw you had a huge collection of these short-stories, I hope to read as many as I can.