Reviews for 20200
C. V. Atwood chapter 1 . 5/12/2015
I love how you describe her increasing fascination with the moon as a perpetually inflating balloon. It is great imagery, and the continuation about it bursting really foreshadows the ending where she is trying to kill herself. This makes it a very strong line.

I also like how you give your character the name Madonna Selene, or at least that she calls herself that. The fact that she did away with her real name because it was too common helps establish her as being edgy, something you build on with the drinking and other activities.

Very good job. I greatly enjoyed it.
lookingwest chapter 1 . 1/30/2015
There's a line I liked here, when Selene is described as canceling her appointments to study the moon - except you use the words "celestial body" to describe the moon - which, given Selene's professions, was a nice nod that I think echoed her past obsessions in conjunction with her new one. Cool moment. There were others too, the simile of bat wings, of light having sharped edges, etc. that I appreciated and contributed to creating a full scene. The visual image of her apartment with all the moons hanging from the ceiling was also a nice touch - when she's sprawled out on the floor.

Overall, I can't say I really "get" this piece - I'm not super sure what happens in the end or why the crescent moon cut made her realize her days were numbered - unless she literally just realized she would never get over her sudden obsession and decided to kill herself. Interesting moment where she realizes her obsessions too - those in moments of psychosis don't always access to self-awareness in regards to their behaviors. But anyway - I won't say that I didn't "like" the ending - but the sudden throw in of goddess figures threw me off since they weren't mentioned at any point earlier - maybe some references to pagan rituals could help when she's first becoming obsessed. I get that she dies at the end. I get that the ending is supposed to carry the weight of ambiguities - but I think what I don't get is the thematic arcs or maybe that there was a little too much tension for my liking between the question of whether the reader should interpret this as something that realistically happened (a woman gone mad) or if during an eclipse Selene was suddenly killed due to some mythological ancestral link to her womanhood and...something, haha. But that's why I say I won't tell you I "didn't like" it - it does make me think, and I do like that! :)
deadaccount2019 chapter 1 . 10/5/2014
The writing could use some tidying up throughout the story. It's especially noticeable just after the phonecall with the landlord because a mix of things pop up. There are a few incorrectly used words ("bowels" instead of "bowls", "wretched" instead of "wrench", etc.) There are also a few times where the sentences become redundent ("frosted ice", "gnawing" and "gnaw" in the same sentence, etc.) In terms of flow, the writing really suits the twitsted whimsy tone, so fixing up

The progress of Selene's obsession was handled very realistically. Although a person doesn't necessarily need to be hard or menial sort of life to become obsessed with something, it certainly gives them the circumstances and (in Selene's case) the time to become fixated on something. The initial interest in the moon and how it hooks her in was pretty relatable (although I can't say I've ever been *obsessed*, I've definitely had times where I got pretty hooked on a specific video game or tv show for a while), and the realization of how messed up her life's become because of it reminded me a lot of the reactions a friend had when they realized their drinking was out of hand.

You do a great job obscuring where the story is going, and while I didn't feel there was as strong a twist here, it actually works well in the end. I don't recall bleeding being a symptom from looking at an ecplise, so it leaves me wondering if this is a result from an actual supernatural experience, or if it's something more mundane such as a result from her recent living conditions or a disease she's contracted from prostituting.
LiVEWiRE360 chapter 1 . 10/5/2014
I have no idea what happened in the end. Was it a curse of the moon? I couldnt stop reading it, it was good. I just dont totally understand the ending. Anyway, good story :)
Jalux chapter 1 . 9/30/2014
I think the story being based on the moon and revolving around it is interesting and well executed, especially given the real moon and these "fake" smaller moons. It gives the story a sense of originality. I also think there is a sense of progressing madness in the main character which is well done, you want to continue reading because you kind of want to see where she'll end up. I like the ending, I think it's very open-ended which ties in nicely with the rest of the piece.
m. b. whitlock chapter 1 . 9/23/2014
RG Depth #4,436

This is a very visceral, freaky story with a lot of cool symbolism and metaphors. In this in depth review I will be focussing on metaphor and your visceral approach (writing/technique/style essentially), as well as discussing the opening, the ending, character, and relationships.

Opening:
I really like the fact that you her named her Selene, a.k.a. the Goddess of the Moon:
"It was a date that had burned itself into the mind of twenty seven year old Madonna Selene and unbeknownst to the young woman, she had no idea why."
This works to form a symmetry at the end where Selene bonds with mystical female lunar deities like Hecate, Diana, etc.. It also immediately bonds the character to the sphere above because she has called herself, essentially invoked the spiritual aspects of the Moon.

I also like the opening because the Moon and Selene's obsession with it is so prominent. The rest of her life is just little scraps at the periphery of our vision and hers. This really establishes the outsize domination the Moon has over her right from the beginning.

"Although she was not sure of the importance of the date, she suspected that her anticipation for the end of April was connected with an intense fascination she had developed for a certain unusual object."

Okay, so April 29th, 2014 is still the future for Madonna. I thought at first it was the same for her as it is for us, the past. Perhaps consider knocking the year off the date. That way it might be the future for us, or it might be the past, and you won't have 'dated' your story. :)

Relationships:
I really like the way her relationship with the Moon starts out:
"It started off innocently enough with her going out on the fire escape of her cramped apartment and watching the stars and moon while sipping wine coolers and smoking weed." Great human relationship metaphors here. It's almost like she's in middle school sneaking out of her parents' place to make-out with a boy. Like it.

I really like the way this description depicts an obsession like that of an irrational sexual desire (I imagine her looking at the pictures almost like they are of a person she's obsessed with), but I would cut "*so that*" and break it up into separate sentences:
"By April her book collection had grown to well over one hundred and she began to decorate the walls and even the ceiling of her cramped apartment with pictures of the moon clipped from the numerous volumes *so that* she could not enter any room without being greeted by dozens upon dozens of bloated full moons and sharp crescent moons."

Metaphor/Writing/Techniques/Style:
"Selene lay sprawled on the floor beneath one hundred moons, *unable to justify her irrational behavior but for the life of her* unable to tear her gaze away from the hanging orbs."
I also don't feel you need the ** marked phrase above. It just reads a bit awkwardly to me.

"Some elusive revocation swelled inside of her like a perpetually inflating balloon and she knew that once the balloon burst she would finally get to the bottom of her fantastical addiction"
Really great visceral, physical body-related metaphors here. I don't quite understand your use of 'revocation' here though. Perhaps you mean, 'invocation'?

Really like the metaphors you conjure here:
"A profound shock gripped Selene so tightly that a cloud of rationality engulfed her moon fantasies and for the first time in weeks she was able to see – truly see – the state of decay in which she'd been living."
The "cloud of rationality" works well because we all have seen clouds engulf the moon. YOu are sticking with the 'celestial/sky/night' theme and developing it nicely!

Character:
This is a really good and scary character self confrontation:
"She wiped her mouth and stared at herself in the mirror only to have a stranger stare back at her, a stranger with filthy, lusterless clumps of hair and pale, sickly looking skin, but the worst part was her eyes, grayish blue bloodshot orbs that rested in darkened, swollen sockets."
You really bring us into your character's head in this part. The fact that she sees herself as a stranger foreshadows her doomed end…

Ending:
I think the ending is powerful:
'Because it wasn't tears that flowed down her cheeks.

It was blood."

You achieve a sense of symmetry here. Metaphorically as well as structurally. It's like the guy of her dreams has abounded her and the high of the love affair has evaporated into a cold reality of despair. You also set up the ending well by mentioning the crescent cut on her arm earlier.

Freaky cool stuff!

vb,

mbw
Shampoo Suicide chapter 1 . 9/23/2014
Writing: I really enjoyed your prose in this piece. I think it was somewhat elegant compared to some of your other stuff (not that those are bad, just different!). I think it meshes nicely with the overall tone and subject of the piece as well, which is more psychological horror than anything else. It has a nice eerie feel to it while still being lovely to read.

Opening: Can't say that it grabbed my attention, but I think it was effective in setting the scene and tone of what you were trying to establish. So it works overall given the rest of the writing in the piece, but if something flashy were what you were going for I'd revise. But I like it as it, and suspect you do as well haha. Sorry for the rambling!

Scene: I like where you're describing the moons orbiting around, I thought it was written fabulously and found it to be a very captivating scene.

Enjoyment: Overall, obviously, I'd say I greatly enjoyed this. Horror isn't my forte but the writing and the more psychologically torturous rather than ahhh scary tone made it much more interesting for me. Well done!
Maruin chapter 1 . 9/23/2014
The prose in this is fantastic, you've really hit the balance between detail and starkness that allows for some very vivid images. The ending was also unexpected and I have to give props on that because you managed to cleverly string the reader along without letting them figure out what was coming until the story was ready to reveal itself. The whole tone of this comes across as kind of lilting and ethereal which provides a nice juxtaposition to what is actually being told and the images conjured. The over all pacing works very well as well, because you get across exactly what you need to without any unnecessary bloat which isn't easy to do. All in all this was pleasantly unsettling to read.
cybersheep chapter 1 . 9/17/2014
Much love for this strange thing! While I'm not really sure of what it represents (and would love to know, if you can pm!) I really enjoyed reading, and trying to figure it all out. So I figure a lot of this is about addiction, maybe to things you can't have (a la the moon) - how she completely loses focus of what’s actually around her so she can stare a little better. I'd love to know what the precognition and the title are about because I feel like I'm being an idiot. These questions didn't detract from my enjoyment at all, btw - I love that you made us think. I just bet I'm missing something amazing and you'll just blow my mind. Oh and I loved the descriptions of her place when she realised how gross it had gotten - so delociously grotesque!
Highway Unicorn chapter 1 . 9/14/2014
[She could not even recall her last meal, just the vague remembrance of eating canned tuna.] So, did she recall it or did she not recall it? She's recalling something if she can remember the canned tuna.

I have a lot of thoughts after reading this piece, but honestly, I have no idea if any of them even come close to actually describing what just happened.

One theory I have on this is that Selene contracted a STD/STI, a very deadly one at that, and basically is just wasting away; however, in a means of denial, she focuses on the moon to get away from that truth. The main reason as to why I think she caught a disease is because of the information stated about her prostituting and the fact she feels and looks sick.

Leaving away from my above theory, I also think I caught the meaning of the title "20/200." I believe it's a play on "20/20" vision, but obviously by the end of the story, something happened to her vision. She was able to *see* something, so to call it 20/200 is to imply she was able to see past the norm. If that makes any sense xD

I've also noticed that you like to play around with a common idea in some of your works (I've only read a few, but this is what I noticed from said few.) There is a common theme of women and their sexuality throughout your works (including this one) and I just find that interesting. Don't get me wrong here: I'm not trying to imply I find it weird at all, which I don't. I actually like the fact that you're exploring that area since, in my opinion, it isn't quite a popular of a subject to explore in lit. I mean, yeah, sex is popular, but to go deeper into that than just plain old sex is rather interesting. Basically, I feel that it adds more to her character by doing so.

Now I can't tell if this really was supernatural or not. I suspect the ending is just one big illusion/hallucination, but on the other hand, all that stuff could have actually happened to her making it supernatural. I suppose you're just going to leave it up to the reader to decide.

You had very lovely imagery throughout the piece, especially in regards to the moon and her rather unhealthy state of living, which I found really boosted up the suspension and belief in this story.
Orgaya chapter 1 . 9/13/2014
Your stories are very much like an episode out of The Twilight Zone. Pretty interesting but simple premise that gives way to a myriad of complexities. There is a lot of detail here, all of it pertaining to this woman's utter decay, which made for an enjoyable read.

The ending, though, was the only bit I don't think I understood. I'm not usually a fan of when a story builds up a mystery only to answer it with the paranormal in a scenario that isn't initially about that, but I'm not sure if that was part of her own delusions or the real thing. My main question though is what happens directly at the end - were her eyes taken from her? Why? Is this a story in Greek/Roman mythology?

And on that note, I realize because I don't understand the significance of the title in relation to this story, the meaning of the ending might have flown directly over my head. In which case I probably should spend some time figuring this story out, unless it requires external reading. If the former, nice. If the latter, then I'm sure you'll have an audience for this.

Also this line: "...a gnawing hunger that was born from agitation beginning to gnaw at her." Redundant use of the word "gnaw".
alltheeagles chapter 1 . 9/12/2014
RG Depth Review (eh, sorry it's late arriving)

The opening is not the ‘hookiest’ opening I’ve ever seen, but it fulfills its function of introducing the setting and drawing the reader’s attention to the date. However, I think it’s a bit of an oxymoron to have something that’s burned into one’s memory, and yet be unaware that one doesn’t know why it is in one’s memory.
The fridge scene was rather disconcerting at first read. I was going, OMG, she keeps dirty bowels in her fridge? And then I realised it should probably be dirty BOWLs. Well, this is supposed to be a horror piece, right? :) Another memorable scene was the crescent moon causing her to bleed somehow. It made the description of the moon as being sharp enough to cut suddenly literal!
There isn’t much dialogue in this piece, but what there is fits the setting and the characters. You’ve never been shy about referring to explicit things, but I like that you always used euphemisms because I don’t like crude language.
The ending reminded me of the bit in a Jim Carey movie when he brought the moon closer to earth to enhance the romance of a date and it had dire effects on the rest of the world. I can’t say I really understood what the moon curse actually was – an actual supernatural affliction, or a gradual mental breakdown? However, that is what a good story does, isn’t it? It makes readers think...
Aki1 chapter 1 . 9/12/2014
I don't usually go for horror, but once again there's something captivating about your writing, something in the macabre that makes it impossible to look away. I like the way you wrote her gradually descending deeper and deeper into her madness, including the brief moment of clarity she had, before it was taken away from her again. It gave just the right amount of false hope, both to her and to the reader, and made the continued, frantic descent to the end more effective and powerful.

I also enjoyed all the details you provided, from naming the model of the telescope, to specifying the date of the eclipse (which checks out; I like researching things like this, and I appreciate it when other authors take the effort too!) Very clever choice of title as well, very fitting with the ending as well, with those last three sentences feeling like a punch in the gut. Well done!
Jitterbug Blues chapter 1 . 9/12/2014
This is really different from your other works, but I liked it a lot. There's real beauty in your prose in this fic: especially towards the end when you are describing the little moons orbiting around the room, and then move to write about the real moon - it's all kind of eerie, haunting and utterly gorgeous. I would call this vivid, but I'd say it's even more than that: it's a bit outwordly, because it deals with the usual and turns it unusual (the moon). I like how you draw on old traditions (the moon always served as an object of obsession), and turned this fic into something similar, but with its own twist (the girl being a whore, her trying to break free, but failing.).

Okay, I'm saying a lot of rubbish – but I really liked this fic, because it's creepy in an non-violent, non-grotesque fashion. It's more psychological, with the person obsessing over the moon and then possibly hallucinating before falling because the moon has such a pull on her (it could also be tha all of this happened, and the moon is a malevolent force). Whatever it is, I like that it's open to interpretation, and I like that because it makes the fic even more eerie, even more unsettling. I especially liked how you described the woman's growing obsession with the moon: it's told in stages and felt realistic because of that (especially in terms of her apartment turning decrepit).