toxicfur said: This one was a nice story -- a little too nice, I guess. It also felt like the beginning of a much larger fantasy work, rather than a 2500ish word short story.
Sherry is a nice guy, if painfully shy in a way that's covered up by his preppy upbringing. He knows how to fake it, but in 2500 words I didn't have time to set that up better.
ana said: Cool creation of a whole world, and an interesting character or two, in just a couple thousand words. The bit about wandering through different dimensions as you turn corners in a city crackles like lightning about to strike.
Thanks. It's hard to pull off. In the opening chapter of the novel, reality shifts around Sherry's boss three times, and Robert Benjamin changes from the wizard in this story to an IT guy with no magical ability.
Gevondur said: Good dialog and good characterization. The flow of the story was easy, with the exception of the name Sherry and Sherwood. I never got if the protagonist was a man or a woman. Not that it matters to the outcome of the story, just a little weave to the outside.
The last sentence of the first paragraph refers to Sherry as "he." I didn't pick the name. He came into my head with it.
Gevondur also said: The story leads us on a small journey in a magical world where magicians, math, science and parallel universes are all dealt with. It was a fascinating glimpse into a new world. I have to say to the Author, that the world concept behind Spike has legs. Flesh it out and run with it.
Thanks again. The novel is my next major project. I'm going to have to be careful not to over-Moorcock it, since his Jerry Cornelius books do a lot of parallel universe shifting, but it isn't always easy to follow or figure out why he bothered. Then again, Moorcock may have been writing on amphetamines to fulfil a contract, and didn't care if it made sense.
Blue Oregon said: Dump the pop-culture references (see: Hogwarts). In any case, it's Harry Potter meets Jasper Fforde. Hyphens-as-m-dashes make me cry. "I should have been cheesy" should be "It should have been cheesy." Stories with spikes need vampires, and this one doesn't have them. At least it came in under the word count. Barely.
Yes, there's a typo, and yes, I chose to use hyphens-as-m-dashes to make sure there was inter-platform operability and none of the question marks you decry in other submissions. Vampires may be in one of the other parallels, but probably not because of the fiction exclusion rule, which is sort of like Plank's constant for this world. I have a hard time writing very short stories, and had to go back and trim to make the word count. I like the exercise of doing so. In fact, I find it fun.
Blue Oregon also said: The "conclusion" just seems like a way to wrap it up (close on the word count) with passing attention given to making it "meaningful." The spike works as a Magical Plot Device. It makes the main character feel confident or with purpose until Bob/Robert is found, and then it doesn't. So then it is contemplated, and then Bob pontificates about "finding your own." How therapeutic. Otherwise the math-plus-'magic'-plus-whatever epistemology and ontology shows promise. There is some playfulness in/to the system, but the ending ruins it for me.
Some truisms are true. No one can practice your scales for you if you actually want to learn to play the instrument. If this short intersection with the novel's world were a novel of its own, we'd get more of the system presented through the lens of Sherry learning it. Yes, I ended it because it was time to stop, like the natural break point of a chapter. I'm not so good at short fiction, Egg being an exception, and I enjoy the challenge of putting myself through the exercise of telling something with a beginning, middle and end, all within the word count. It's fun.
Kellnerin said: "Information architecture" is peripherally part of my job description, and man do I want to do that kind of info arch. If I had to quibble, I'd say the dialogue felt a little flat, exposition-y, but the description itself was excellent.
I want to do that kind of info-arch, too. Some of the dialog felt like writing for a Sci-Fi TV show, where they have a lot of exposition technobabble. Glad you liked it, but I'm surprised you didn't guess me for it.
yicky-yacky said: Tantalising. Very tantalising. In some respects this was the best of the bunch, particularly the way that it handled its exposition. The start was superb, with elements, motivations and reasons flowing nicely into each other to develop a rolling sense of momentum. And where did that momentum drag us? Back down the 'Fantasy/Sci-Fi' aisle, unfortunately. Similar to 'Connecting Trains', it felt cropped rather than compressed. It had its moments, though; definitely.
It was cropped, all right. The challenge is to write things that aren't standard Fantasy/Sci-Fi, but aren't set in the here-and-now or historical context. In the longer shape of the novel's world, items like the spike become what they are through metamathematics. If I wrote the novel about Sherry, he'd learn that the spike itself never had "power," except that Benjamin had left it as a variable, and it had a concrete value after it was back in his hands. No magic wands, and no vampires. Sherry simply has the aptitude for the work, like some people do for programming.
druisan said: It sounds like this is probably a good story. I voted for it, but I don't think I'll read it. I don't want to disillusion myself.
I'm sure you would have liked one or two lines, but been unsatisfied.
scrymarch asked: What's the product of a meme and an anti-hero, integrated over the exchange of ideas in an internet chat room?
That line seemed to amuse people, although the actual quantifiable amount of ideas in a chat room aren't that high.
And it will be up to me to host WFC8, which I expect I will do after the NaNo crowd has recovered. It will be writing. It should be fun. I'll try to make it a challenge.
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