Reviews for The Heap
m. b. whitlock chapter 1 . 1/18/2016

I really liked this when I originally read it a couple of days ago. I noticed even more cool conceptual elements weaving through from the beginning reading it again just now.

“Down inside your guts, a vast furnace made of acid mashes the poison apart into little flakes and runs it through your bloodstream.”

Really like the visceral feel, physical, organic processes, medical detail.

Repetition below, maybe choose one sentence or the other?:

“Not quite condemned. Not entirely safe either.”

I’d go with the first one. :)

Nice how you continue to develop the medical, ‘objective’ voice of the narration. Like watching life through x-ray/microscope/necroscope eyes…

Like the image, but the language below is a bit cumbersome:

“It dips a mouth like a *tattoo artist's equipment* into your bloodstream”

Maybe use ‘tattoo gun’ or ‘tattoo iron’ instead of “tattoo artist's equipment”?


“There is not a shooting star overhead. That would be pointless and melodramatic and childish besides. Flickers of hard, burning stone should not fall from the heavens at every casual contact between bodies.”

I like the first line about the absence of a shooting star, but the rest of the short paragraph I would cut. It’s just that the vibe and mood of the story seems to shift here abruptly. The voice gets hyper self-reflective… pulls me out.

Really like this whole paragraph:

“You are not reduced to a tangle of wreckage and limbs.”

Great fun, playing with possible fatal situations (for the potential roadkill as well). When I first read this story and had come to this section, I thought you would end with a body in a morgue. The riddle would be ‘How did she die?’.

“At what point should you have realized that you were under attack?”

This is an interesting deductive structure. The riddle isn’t revealed, or posed even, until the very end.

A very unique and intriguing story. It’s really dark. Which I appreciate. Like the darkness a lot (as you have probably guessed reading my stuff). But it does have a slight judgmental quality. I think this could be really amazing if you choose to revise it. I would pull back on the judgey parts, like the shooting star section, and get more into the objective, even clinical description of possibly her last night…

These are simply suggestions of course. I really enjoyed it.

Very best!

m. b. whitlock
TanteLiz chapter 1 . 1/9/2016
Ooooh, I LOVE this (right up until the last line, which I think should be your FIRST line, with maybe two more interspersed referrals - that would point up the love-in-the-time-of-war melancholia vibe which lurks below the surface).
Specific things I like: Use of second person and present tense. These two standard deviations from the norm echo your re-frame of the natural world as a battleground.
To what does the title refer?