After a one week hiatus, we’re back with more slush pile readings for Triangulation: End of the Rainbow. The anthology is starting to shape up now and we’re starting to become more aware of how a particular story might fight into the mix with other stories we’ve purchased. One more hurdle for writers to overcome, alas.
Story 1 (950 word fantasy). This is a sharp little polemic on the nature of us humans and our deity of choice. There’s nothing wrong with it and quite a bit right, but in the end it’s something of a diatribe rather than a story. Rejected.
Story 2 (2369 word SF). A story about consequences of child abuse. There’s some good writing here, but it’s pretty much a one trick pony that counts on a reveal of the mystery for its impact. Not much narrative and too much repetition in the character back story. Rejected.
Story 3 (769 word fantasy). This is a slice-of-life story about child abuse. Must be something in the air this week. This one is a simple reveal. Additionally it’s not particularly well written, with a number of sloppy word choices, grammar mistakes, and tense confusions that muddy the telling. Rejected.
Story 4 (100 words). I rather like this clever little piece of flash, but it’s really only an observation. No story at all. For another collection, it might be a good fit, but I don’t think it will fly for us. Passed to second read.
Story 5 (2100 word fantasy). A story about a storm cloud. This is an intriguing idea, but the author has settled for setting it down on paper prematurely. As a result, it feels rather generic and flat and reads long. Most of the story is taken up by a fight scene which is not all that exciting. It’s a pity. This idea could have made a very good story for the collection. I suspect it’s too far from being there for us to suggest a rewrite. Passed to second read.
Story 6 (2100 word SF). A story about an experimental soldier with overtones of Flowers for Algernon. There’s nothing really wrong with this, but it feels as if it’s trying too hard to impress. Unreliable narrator is difficult to pull off and this one doesn’t quite manage. The theme feels tacked on as well. Rejected.
Story 7 (2500 word fantasy). A nameless guy goes into a store and deals with a nameless proprietor who sends him off to read a book. Rinse and repeat. Rejected.
Story 8 (2300 word fantasy). I have no idea what to make of this one. It’s very well written at the sentence and paragraph level and there seems to be an actual framework beneath the prose, but the concepts are too diffuse; there’s nowhere solid to put my feet down and look around at the strangeness being described. It seems like there are some big ideas in here, but I’ll be darned if I can tell you what they are after reading the story. Passed to second read in case I’m just tired.
Story 9 (5125 word SF). There are some good lines here, but very little story. Basically the protagonist wants to go home, takes a walk, meets a man, gets a little bored with said man, and goes home. There’s a lot of chit chat and menial activity, but no sense of tension and escalation. Passed to second read.
The Slushy this week goes to Story 8 only because it’s ambitious and evocative. It’s not particularly close to working for me, but there’s something meaningful at work inside it that could be brought out with some clarity of purpose and character.