Reviews for The Biomass
JaveHarron chapter 65 . 2/13/2019
Well, well, I read the revised version of the story, and I was blown away. There's some minor grammatical and formatting issues, but overall, you've really outdone yourself. Your supplemental material is A LOT more well developed and defined than the earlier iterations of this story. I got a heavy Mass Effect vibe from certain parts of the story, and the Biomass itself reminds me of some of my favorite creatures, the Brethren Moons in Dead Space. More particularly, I like the archival format of the story, as I think too few writers in speculative fiction use that method. I think you might enjoy Peter Watts' novel Blindsight, given the physics, species, and biology in the story here. Again, this is awesome, and hope to see more from you in the future!
8circus12head8 chapter 64 . 11/6/2018
I just noticed that "Mortabio" roughly translates to "Death-Life." That has to be intentional.
8circus12head8 chapter 44 . 11/4/2018
"You have to shoot the legs off and then the arms."

Dead Space reference? :D
8circus12head8 chapter 32 . 11/4/2018
It's odd that there has been such an extreme loss of life and assimilation of organisms, yet this little personal story really got under my skin. I felt so bad for the trapped Beulous begging for help, but the rest of the galaxy is far too preoccupied to help a lone survivor. It's brutal.
8circus12head8 chapter 28 . 11/3/2018
“Well, my foot is sore, so I’ll conclude my tale for now.”

I totally missed that little detail on my first reading. Brilliant.
She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 65 . 11/3/2018
So, I’ve reached the end... huh.

Well, it very much seems that you’re going for the theme of the inherent value in potential. It’s not exactly a happy ending, but it is an optimistic one. As long as there is life, there is potential.

I’ll repeat that I find it a very good choice that you did not spoil the story before it started. The narrator in the first chapter could have started with the “everyone will die” story but, because they didn’t, it keeps the readers’ reactions more genuine.

I’ll be honest, I forgot who Dr. Ayleen is. The name is familiar but I forgot what her story was. I may have to reread this someday. I think this story has a high reread value.

It’s been my pleasure to follow this story from so early along until the end. Keep writing.
8circus12head8 chapter 24 . 11/3/2018
This was by far my favorite chapter. The banter between ships, and the way C goes from quipping to all-business was really effective. Also, the delay was a cool touch. I hope you know I'm putting off reading my Alastair Reynolds book for this, that's how much fun I'm having with it.
8circus12head8 chapter 18 . 11/3/2018
A minor nitpick, but there should be a dash in “cross-referenced.”

It’s hard for me to decide on the verdict myself. Ten elapses doesn’t sound very old at all, but Maubeio did lie deliberately to save himself, putting others at great risk. I was also wondering if he was physically present in the courtroom, which sounds extremely dangerous for all those present.
8circus12head8 chapter 17 . 11/3/2018
That ending was chilling. I also loved the scene where the family-hybrid fights with the Phrug. You give just enough details to let my imagination do the rest of the work, and it’s brilliant.

I found a lot more typos than usual, so I’m gonna PM them to you. This is such a good story, it deserves to be typo-free.
She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 64 . 11/2/2018
Well... I see the end is near, this explains some things about Dr. Mortabio. To be honest? I didn’t expect anything about him to ever be revealed flat out.

The themes you delve into here leave much to think about. Pride, nationalism, nuclear weapons, prejudice, colonialism, war, the value of the individual over the group, the arbitrary means by which people justify their power. Even so, while the potential parallels between this universe and our own are many, is it right to make such a comparison between our own intra-species conflicts and the relations between different species altogether? It seems the GSC is in the wrong here, but I also see it isn’t so simple. It seems monstrous to tell another creature who has the ability to comprehend the words, “You are not sentient.” But I also wonder where one would draw the line. Maybe there are species that are intelligent and form bonds with one another but don’t communicate with language, maybe there are creatures who would understand “You are not sentient” but would not feel anything about being told that. I don’t know. I am not defending the GSC but I wonder if there is more to their side of the story than what we’ve seen. Has interference ever been more harm than good and that’s what led to their policy?

Actually, now that I think about it, it’s the numbers and percentages thing that seems like the wrong-est thing about the GSC. Maybe if NO members of a species met the criteria for sentience it would be different, but why fifty percent? Clearly it would be horrific to declare individuals within a species as “sentient” or not - that’s just setting a society up for all kinds of horrible things - but really, if one person in a species exhibits “sentience”, should that not mean the whole species should be treated fairly? Everyone has the POTENTIAL in that case, and it’s not really anyone else’s place to say “you’re not curious enough”

Hmm. Anyway, you’ve left me a lot to think about (and I’m not even done with the story!) I do think this is an interesting deconstruction if the “earth isn’t invited to join the Interplanetary UN because we’re so evil” trope which occasionally crops up in sci-fi. Humankind is also capable of great love, do we not deserve credit for that?
8circus12head8 chapter 15 . 11/2/2018
There may be a small mistake in Uoweeiu’s first paragraph. I think it should be “We assume that if the combined might *of* the Galactic Community...” Just missing that *of.*

Overall, this was a fascinating chapter. I love how two major players have come together, and somehow I feel like I know so much about them despite the little information we’ve been given.
8circus12head8 chapter 5 . 11/2/2018
“Subjective: here we go! Into the fray to sterilize the infection.”

I found this line to be hilariously sardonic. On one hand, I wouldn’t expect a drone to sound so upbeat about its mission, but on the other hand, it revealed how unsympathetic it was towards its grim task. It felt so out place in the best way possible.

I was actually planning to write a story very similar to this, about a technoplague that infects Earth told through various viewpoints, but all by electronic media and messages. Needless to say I find your story very interesting, I’ll definitely be reading more.
Rhyscat chapter 63 . 10/29/2018
Ah! I only just started reading this two weeks ago and it's almost over. But what a great way to celebrate the end of my seasonal job.

This has been one of two reads that ever held my attention for more than a day on this site and I really enjoyed the way we saw the story progress through fresh eyes every chapter.

To any new readers, give this story a go. It's chilling to see the effects of a pandemic like this and the hardships that people endure.
She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 63 . 10/29/2018
That sheds some light on the siliconoids. If the expatriates form bonds with others though, that sounds their culture is “soulless”, not their species.

Oh wow, only two chapters left!
She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 62 . 10/25/2018
Interesting how Khyarokk and Uoweeiu both place blame on each other... sometimes no matter what choice you make, you can do nothing.

Also interesting how, despite what one might expect from each’s position, Khyarokk’s private thoughts are kinder.
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