This week I had only three stories to first-read. That was fortunate since I’ve been sick all week.
Story 1 (1100 word Fantasy): The title intrigues. The story has a nicely archaic feel to it (ala Vernes perhaps) and the dialogue is lively. SF element is introduced early enough (but none too early) and the story remains consistent to its tone. We have a bit of class tension, some rationalized ethics, and a nice escalation of tension when the gun appears. The ending is a good twist. Two problems, though. The opening of scene two describes the core concept, leaving nothing else to be discovered. Secondly, the story is well executed, but it’s really a simple twist story in the end. It just doesn’t feel substantial enough compared to other stories we’ve been accepting.
Thanks for sending xxxx our way, but I’m afraid we’ve decided to pass. The story is well executed and most of our editors enjoyed it, but it’s a little too insubstantial for the anthology. You might consider moving the lines explaining the core concept (essentially the first part of the final scene) to the end of the story where it could serve as a validation. This could add a little more punch to your ending. That would not be enough for us to reconsider the piece, but may help you place it elsewhere. We would be happy to read other stories from you that fit our theme.
Story 2 (3196 word SF): I’m concerned as the story opens. It does set a scene but the protagonist is unnamed and lacks a goal. The story then goes on for many pages describing a post apocalyptic idea, but not developing a plot. The protagonist seems to be wandering through a detritus of images rather than acting upon a specific world. There are some poignant images here, but the story never really gets off the ground and ends fairly predictably.
Thank you for sending xxxxx to us, but we’re going to pass. The main problem for us is that the piece reads like background summary for a story rather than an actual story. There are some poignant moments, but the protagonist is reactive rather than active and there’s almost no plot complication or escalation.
Story 3 (2470 word Fantasy): I’m turned off by the opening sentence, which basically minimalizes the story’s importance. I’m fairly engaged after that. The opening scene is decently portrayed and does its job. I begin to lose interest, however, once the plot turns superheroic. The SF concept is fair enough, but the story doesn’t really go beyond the superhero tropes (even) I have seen before. The final scene does come full circle but doesn’t really add a new layer of understanding, unless I’m completely fever-adled.
Thanks for sending xxxxx our way, but I’m afraid we’ve decided to pass on it. While we appreciate what the story attempts, it didn’t work for us.
The Slushy for this week goes to story 1, an enjoyable, if insubstantial tale of just desserts. And who doesn’t like desserts?