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Help is on its Way · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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#1 · 2
I'm in.
#2 · 1
· on Transistional Pools
This feels like something out of Stranger Things- just needed to get that out of my mind.

At first, I was thinking about the key details of things, with water boiling and freezing at the same time, I was about to say that the character, Mittie, is in extreme danger if this tells us anything that the pressure and temperature are at the triple-point of water. If this was the case, our character is dead within seconds.

But things aren’t always as it seems. I hate to make assumptions due to my track record when it comes to assumptions. If I have read correctly, Mittie is stuck in her head due to a coma or something and her decisions while in ‘headspace’ will ultimately decide whether she will be free or not.

But then, Alaina shows up and basically says to her, ‘I’m a figment and cannot help you’. But that’s assuming the flash at the end is death welcoming her, and not her waking up out of presumed coma.

I feel like this one is out of place. What are we supposed to feel? The plight? The love between Mittie and Alaina? Given that the round only allows for 750 words, I understand that not a lot can be conveyed, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

The things I like though are the vivid scene. You paint a clear picture in my mind about how this ‘room’ works. It’s the main thing conveying the futileness of the scene. Just focus on that, maybe a bit of the puzzles given, and you’ve got a solid piece!

Thanks for writing!
#3 ·
· on Adrift
I’ll tell ya, I’m a sucker for sci-fi survival stories. That being said, my review might be leaning on bias for yours. Still, I’ll give it a fair shake on what I like and what I don’t like.

What I didn’t particularly like was the transmission set for humor. I mean, I get the point that those darn ads will find you anywhere, even when you are at your lowest (Trade Systems Monthly). Still though, you could add to the fact that Jocobee (fairly certain that’s the protagonist’s name) is frustrated by the disregard for battery life (adding to the ambience of desperation) or toss it out completely. Humor seems to interrupt the desperation for a hot second. But that may just be me.

What I’m unsure about is the all-dialogue. Sure, the dialogue does all it needs to, and there is not a need for narrative. I don’t know what else to say, but, be careful. Still though, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. It seems good at where it is at.

For what I like, is that you get a twinge of the character’s desperation as they are trying to survive with limited resources. Especially when it comes to the tilithium film. Especially nice touch with Jocobee considering the pros and cons on playing the long game. Here, also, we get a glimmer of hope when the transmission denoting that rescue is near is sent. But, still, it’s a great way to end off with a cliffhanger, hope on the horizon, but our hero is not out of the woods (or out of Casleo yet). Excellent way to end!

Thanks for writing!
Post by PinoyPony , deleted
Post by PinoyPony , deleted
#6 ·
· on No Service
This one suffers the same problem as Transitional pools. The reader is suspended from the plight of the character. Again, like I said in the other review, what are we supposed to feel? Plight? This time a father-son bond that is unbreakable?

To make it worse, the problem seems to get resolved, but somehow, Joshua and dad get frozen on their way back, but alas, they are safe in the hospital! Alive too! This seems to erase any feeling the reader had before, if it was at all possible.

What I do like is the imagery in this one though: the ambience of the snowstorm, the sterileness and remoteness of the environment. I would use this to help convey the plight more, but other than that, nothing else to say.

As always, this is a crappy Pinoy review, so take it with a grain of salt. Thanks for writing!
#7 ·
· on Matsya
Chomp? I guess?

First thing I want to get out of the way is the ending. I’m not sure if I’m reading it correct, but did our protagonist just get his arm munched on by the fish? (We don't have a name, so that's all I can muster). What I’m saying though is that the ending is hard to parse, but that could easily be my trash comprehension skills.

There is also a part of me that thinks this is referencing something. Some clues that lead me in are the title of the piece or the referenced character, Manu, but other than that, I'm stumped.

Still though, this is a good piece. I’ve heard through reddit stories of people who survived suicide attempts get mid-way through their attempt and then have the clarity of the ‘I don’t want to die!’ rush from the survival instincts kicking in. This definitely illustrates it.

You feel a bit of the protagonist’s pain as they leapt off the boat. Then, you could feel the panic of trying to avoid being flayed by the rotors or drowning. Two different contrasts that bring this story to life.

As always, this is a crappy Pinoy review, so take it with a grain of salt. Thanks for writing!
#8 · 1
· on Transistional Pools
This story feels torn between a few different ideas, and I felt like it was struggling to hit the harmony between them that it wanted to. The strongest idea here is the setting and the ambience. You've created an interesting location in Mittie's mindscape, and I found myself sucked into the melancholy of it all. I was captivated by the idea of water boiling and freezing at the same time, but I would have liked to see it be expanded upon, as it almost feels like a throwaway detail.

The second side here is the plot, or what's happening to Mittie. There's very little elaboration here, and I agree with this choice. To me this story is less of a story about escaping limbo, and more of a story about just vibing in limbo, so I feel like this is the least important element of the story.

The last side is the characters, and the relationships between them, and this is the side of the story I think needs the most work. I actually like Alina a good bit, but I found Mittie to not be especially interesting, which is an issue when the story is about her reaction and emotions caused by waking up in her mind's own purgatory. I also don't feel the big kiss scene in the end, and I think it's because I'm just not feeling the romantic chemistry between Alina and Mittie. Because of this the scene feels a little out of nowhere. I love the idea behind it though. It would be a big moment to shift both Mittie and the reader from uncomfortable and disorientated by the location into a calmness and comfort of a loved one. If you can expand this a bit more and make this transition work for the reader as well as it works for Mittie, I think you would have a really good story on your hands.
#9 · 1
· on Adrift
I like the central gimmick of this one where the whole story is told through log entries, and I think it has an okay balance of the narrator attempting to solve technical issues and humor. I can't say I've seen too many stories about people drifting away in broken spaceships where they get messages from annoying telemarketers. I would definitely be down to read a longer version of this that has more detail on the issues Jocobee's ship faces and how he goes about solving or mitigating them.

As far as things I didn't like as much, I think starting the story with the narrator describing their dinner makes for a weaker opening. I think it's natural that the mundane aspects like food would come up a lot and it would fit well in a longer version, but it feels like a weird way to attempt to hook your audience. My other complaint is that considering the entire story is told in dialogue from the main character, I don't feel like his personality shines through so he feels a little bland during the parts of the story where he's not freaking out.
Overall this one is solid.
#10 · 1
· on No Service
The story places its focus on the survival situation, and I think this is the right call as with a few nice descriptions the reader can use Joshua as a self insert. I particularly like the phrase "icy sterile brightness," but the entirety of the first two scenes are good at dropping the reader down into the situation. At the same time, I don't think this story goes as far as it could have. I feel like the 130 unused words could be used to milk the storm section and increase the desperation. To add to that, I'm not a fan of skipping over Joshua passing out and going from them midway back to the car straight into him waking up in the hospital. The drama would be heightened by including the part where he's getting even more tired of the snow and passing out, as as it stands it feels like the climax was ripped out of the story. This is why overall I don't find this story works for me.

The ending section in the hospital is alright. I do appreciate that this is the only fic in the contest to not have an ambiguous ending, but it's a bit stilted and the final line could have more of an oomph. The current version is a bit too abrupt for me.

I also found that the following few lines sounded pretty awkward when I was reading them to myself.
“Should we turn back and wait in the car? Wait out this storm?” "Wait out this storm" feels unnecessary because it would be obvious why they'd be waiting in the car, and I can't imagine anyone I know choosing this phrasing for these questions.
"He’d been saying that a while back, and he wondered if this was a fool’s hope, looking out here for a flicker of something." Using "this" in the sentence makes it feel definite and like a final clause. I think either making the last clause a new sentence, or maybe altering the world choice to make the second clause feel softer and a better lead into the final clause.
#11 · 1
· on Matsya
First I just want to say that I love this style of prose. It's elegiac, and almost old-timey in nature yet it never reaches the point of obnoxiousness, and it makes the story itself so much fun to read.

This is interesting to me as I'm not familiar with Hindu legends at all, so on my first read before looking anything up I got a Lovecraftian vibe from the story. In this read the ambiguous ending worked very well with the tone I got from the story, although I was a little confused as to why the fish would be tricking the narrator, as it was established the fish was big enough to just eat them without pacifying them first. Looking up the character names made the vibe of the story more positive for me, to the point where I'm not entirely sure what gave the narrator a bad feeling. I mean obviously diving into a fish's mouth wouldn't feel good but it plants a seed of doubt in the reader and I'm a little unsure where the seed of doubt would be heading.

It could also be that this is meant to be both, where it applies a Lovecraftian frame to traditional Hindu lore, which I think is a really interesting synthesis and mimics Lovecraft's own story about the Canaanite god Dagon. That said, I could imagine some Hindi's might not like this interpretation.

I think for the most part this story has a good ambiguity that gives me a lot to think about but I would also love to read how others feel about it. (I also looked up the name Amalthea, so I think the boat is a stand in for the character's mother but I'm having trouble putting together that symbolism with the rest of the story.)

One last thing is a bit of a nitpick, but "I got up on the rail, shook my head, and leapt over. For a minute of terror I was caught in the churning wake left by the propellers" skips the narrator landing in the water and it made me feel like I missed something the first time I read it.
#12 · 1
I have arted.
#13 · 2
· on Transistional Pools
Short reviews from me as usual. Vita brevis est, ars longa.

I am usually a sucker for inner mindscape fics, and this one got my attention. I would have liked to see more time given to the mystery, but I don't know if the author wanted to emphasize the setting or the characters, or whether this was all the usual compromise from having to squeeze everything short. Still, evocative and an upper slater for me this round. Thanks, Author!
#14 · 1
· on Adrift
Yay, SF! This doesn't have the luxury of space to go into details, so the sparse log entries do fill things out.. One thing I would like to see in a revision would be more of a thematic link, with the chain of failing systems joined together logically so the reader can see the steps the narrator is taking to solve the problem. But that's second draft stuff. Thanks for creating this, Author!
#15 · 2
· on No Service
This one does a decent job of describing a real life survival situation. but it just didn't grab me. The dramatic tension seems to get lost in the separators somehow. There should be more continuity of action to keep things going. Thank you, Author!