Reviews for Negative Horizon
IronicPuppies chapter 1 . 7/5/2016
[enjoyment] This was such a creative piece, I love the universe that you've created. It's so unlike anything I've ever read and I enjoyed not only its originality, but that it seems like there is so much more to this world than you included in the piece. It sounds like this is a small glimpse into something from a longer piece of writing, but if not then you did an awesome job of creating such depth in a short piece.

[writing] One of the things that stood out to me was the efficiency of words. For example just the mention of the "routinely-females" and the few sentences afterward gives a window into the complex nature of how sexes work with this aquatic race, just enough to provide context and questions for the reader without slowing down the pace. Same thing with the "slats that line my neck," it's useful exposition in a couple short sentences. The only phrase that struck me as odd is the mention of "copper-tasting red" during the encounter with the shjyak simply because it's not really obvious to me how an undersea race would have easy access to copper, but I guess I don't know much about these people.

[plot] The most intruiging part of the plot for me was the Mother Hydra. It was not only an ominous presence throughout the piece but I love the religious reverence that the narrator has for it, especially the line about hearing the thoughts of the pious, one of many specific details that brought the story to life. I guess my only critical comment is I wish the attack was described in more detail, as the only image I have of it is dark tentacles so personally I'd feel like that would be a more dramatic scene if maybe we got a better description of it or of what it does to the High Ones.

[setting] Finally the setting was very clear to me. Once again I thought you had great efficiency with words, with only a few sentences I had a vivid picture of what this murky underwater location looked like. Sometimes I struggle with describing the surroundings in a story so I admire when someone can do it like you have here.
Henry Palmetto chapter 1 . 7/2/2016
Hi Solemn,
Let me start with the obvious. You have some really nice descriptions here: you conjure your atmosphere with a host of increasingly brilliant images which give the impression of the world as seen through a series of hi-def snapshots.

There is nice tension in the relationship between the protagonist and his adopted home of Sandy Trench, after his original planet died. It could be an interesting relationship to explore, especially if shown side by side with the ancestors of the original planet.

I also liked the world-building in this story, however to be frank I think it was sloppily done. There are a lot of foreign names and places that are meant to allude to a deeper world beneath the surface narrative, yet none of them are very deeply explored. Add to this their sheer volume and the reader can quickly become overwhelmed in a world for which he has no map to navigate. High Ones, Mother Hydra, Shyjak, enclave, Elsereaches, Interloper, Devil Reef and PredatorMouth-all of these terms are just sort of dropped into the text without any narrative reason.

There is also the pacing of the story, which I had problems with. This is essentially about a character who, chagrined with his adopted home, when out on a scouting mission, sees approaching danger and makes the decision to return to warn the others, for better or worse. The beginning, or about thirty percent of the text, is nothing but backstory which did little more than establish the character's presence. This could be done in one sentence.

There is no tension other than the fight against the shyjak, although the fight itself is more or a plot device to lure in the greater threat of the Hydra. There is also the connection made between the mother and her 'children' whose relationship resembles a kind of death drive, but the few sentences devoted to this idea get drowned out.

As for the language, while I did enjoy many of the descriptions, the story would definitely benefit by simplicity. I also doubted the character's conception of himself: people do not pay mind to their necks when they are breathing, much less give metaphor to their pupils, or use the word 'flanks' to describe their thighs. I understand the character is a humanoid, but that HE also sees himself as a humanoid is, I think, a mistake.

I am sorry if this sounds harsh. I did like the setting and the choice of character, and I think there are good ideas which are right now being buried by a voice that doesn't fit and unnecessary details.

Thank you for posting!
Rona Calan chapter 1 . 6/12/2016
This is fantastic! I love how you incorporate bizarre attributes of real sea creatures into yours. My one problem is the behavior of the shark seems far-fetched. A shark injured by its prey would swim away if it had the chance, not go back for another attack.
augie.toaste chapter 1 . 6/8/2016
Solemn, your descriptions are fascinating. I admire the way you spin new words like some sort of scarf clad ancient spinner person. I would be interested to see a drawing of these sea creatures.