Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Commuter, by Thomas Mays

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(Military Fantasy) Jack's daughter, Abby, forges his name on a permission slip and ends up stranded in Faerie. So he goes on a quest to fetch her back. (4,500 words; Time: 15m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆, Not Recommended

"The Commuter," by , published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: The fight scenes at the end are excellent. Plenty of cleverness and tension. By the time he rescues Abby, he's definitely earned it, and the joke about the pink shirt ends it on just the right note.

Con: Getting to the fight scene is painful. The dialogue is unnatural, with at least one as-you-know-bob, and the narration is uneven, with a few too many info dumps and narrated emotions. The interactions between Jack and his boss are particularly hard to believe.

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Thank you for the read and comments, Greg. I'll echo what David Van Dyke said in another thread, just because a certain group has made a recommendation to your work, doesn't mean you identify with or agree with the practices of that group. I originally wrote this as an entry for the first Baen Fantasy Award, and when it didn't place, decided to self publish it as an experiment. That it was picked up by anyone and got eyes on, I appreciate. The ways in which that makes myself and my story a pawn in some ideological/political fight I appreciate less. Regardless, even if it wasn't a story you'd recommend, thank you for the look.

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  2. Ah, so there was no editor at all for your story? That's a pity. I think a little editorial attention would have boosted this story from a 2 to a 4 for me. Most writers have trouble without help from an editor, or so I'm told. As I said above, once your hero got to Faerie, the story was magical. It just needed to be that way all the way through.

    The best way to avoid being a pawn (forgive me for presuming to offer advice, but I think you opened the door) is to decline the Hugo Nomination, if you get one. You don't have to play the politics--you could simply say that although you someday hope to write an award winning story, you don't think this is it. If last year is any guide, that'll get you an invitation to George R.R. Martin's private party. :-) That's got to be streets better than watching the fans vote your story below No Award.

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  3. I read that you chose to withdraw the story. I know that had to be hard to do, and I salute you for it. Best of luck with your future stories!

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