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review 2018-01-21 18:42
RBE delivers another interesting anthology
Challenge! Discovery - Frederick Tor,Jason M Waltz

Challenge! Discovery by Jason M. Waltz

S.E. rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Rogue Blades Entertainment has a great track record for delivering anthologies (Return of the SwordWriting Fantasy Heroes,Rage of the Behemoth, and more). Challenge! Discovery is the 2017 edition, which posed a challenge: look at the cover, and write a story about it. The illustration features a scantily clad female warrior and a panther emerge from jungle ruins.

 

The concept is cool, but the entries range in quality, and I disagree with the judges. Apparently the last two won 1st and 2nd place by the judges, but if I were to rate by (a) inspiration from cover and (b) storytelling (good pacing, show not tell, etc.) then I would have chosen 2 of the below:

- "Inner Nature" by JOHN KILIAN

- "Someplace Cool and Dark" by FREDERIC S. DURBIN

- "Witch with Bronze Teeth brushed" by KEITH J. TAYLOR

 

1) "Witch with Bronze Teeth brushed" by KEITH J. TAYLOR: 5-star blend of military Warhammer-esque battle and zombie horror

 

2) "Fire Eye Gem" by Richard Berrigan: 3-star; too corny for me; features a do-good Kimmeriorian barbarian named ‘Jack’?. ugh

 

3) "Inner Nature" by JOHN KILIAN 5-star, started ok and but ramped-up very satisfyingly

 

4) "The Ash-Wood of Celestial Flame" by GABE DYBING; nice fairy tale elements

 

5) "Someplace Cool and Dark" by FREDERIC S. DURBIN: 5-star, it is first person, weird funny and dark.... and I heard this exact story before! It took me a while to figure it out, but I heard him read this at the World Fantasy Convention 2016. A bonus essay on the writing of this story is added and is as engaging as the story

 

6)"World inside the Walls" by Frederick Tor : 3-star. Nice inspiration from the cover, but delivery style was dry narrative

 

7) "In the Ruins of the Panther People" by DANIEL R. ROBICHAUD: 4-star. Started slow and has cheesy romance lines, but ends with a huge bang, science-sorcery Meat Stamp! Loved the Meat Stamp!

 

8) "The Serpent’s Root by DAVID J. WEST, young adult pacing, but fun. 3.5; not obviously connected the cover as the other stories.

 

9) "A Fire in Shandria" by FREDERIC S. DURBIN; 4-star. Decent Amazon warrior story with a dragon (not sure why there was a dragon and not a panther)

 

10) "Cat’s in the Cradle NICHOLAS OZMENT (awarded 2nd place): 3-star Inspired by the cover for sure, but for a short story most of its pages are dedicated to non pertinent content. Pacing off.

 

11) "Attaberia" by HENRY RAM - (awarded 1st place): 4-star. Viking story with nice concept; starts as a 5 and ends as 3 (there is a disconnect between the tension & remoteness of a mysterious island and the inhabitants).

 

View all my reviews

Source: www.selindberg.com/2018/01/challenge-discovery-reviewed-by-se.html
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review 2017-12-30 17:09
A bit unfathomable – fantasy science-fiction comic collection
Black Cloud Volume 1: No Exit - Jason La... Black Cloud Volume 1: No Exit - Jason Latour,Ivan Brandon

 

 

Maybe it's me but this comic collection is a bit hard to follow. A fair amount of patience is needed and perseverance although it is nicely-produced and quite interesting. It's about crossing over from a dream world into ours with a heroine leading the way and deserting her world for ours.

 

Not sure about this as you may have gathered. I like my plots to be a bit more straight-forward and easier to follow. Might be worth a shot for devoted comic readers.

 

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review 2017-12-22 18:07
Gwen and Castle Versus DD/Kingpin
Spider-Gwen (2015-) #27 - Olivia Margraf,Veronica Fish,Jason Latour,Robbi Rodriguez

Keeping in mind that Matt Murdock, aka the biggest creep ever, is The Kingpin in this universe, and responsible for Gwen's father being in a coma?   That makes way more sense, now, doesn't it?   

 

Castle has killed The Rhino, who did the dirty work of beating Captain Stacy into his coma, and Gwenom isn't dealing well with her loss: her father being in the coma, and the loss of her chance at revenge against the main who was physically responsible.   Everyone tries to talk her out of this: Silk points out that he only controls her if he allows her to, and that revenge won't bring peace.   Not giving him another thought, though?

 

Maybe if she weren't Venomized, maybe she could let this go.   But Venom is in her now, and Gwenom can't let this go: can't forgive Castle, and can't forgive Murdock for engineering all this.    

 

The thing is Castle wants to go up against Murdock, too.  And so I misspoke.   Almost everyone is trying to convince Gwenom to let this go.   Castle is trying to convince her that now that she doesn't have anything to lose, she should absolutely join him and take down Murdock.   It's creepy all around, and Gwenom is doing what she wants - but also is a pawn of those who would try to convince her their horrible, horrible way is right.   

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review 2017-12-22 18:02
Gwen versus S.H.I.E.L.D
Spider-Gwen (2015-) #26 - Jason Latour,Robbi Rodriguez

As everyone starts to realize that the things Spider-Woman are doing are so out of character, and that there's something wrong with her, SHIELD even starts to take notice.   Can Gwen regain control, or is Gwenom here to stay?

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text 2017-12-22 16:09
Reading progress update: I've read 17 out of 22 pages.
Spider-Gwen (2015-) #26 - Jason Latour,Robbi Rodriguez

 

This sounds so massively wrong out of context.  

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