Posts Tagged ‘review’

Tangent Online reviews Apex #9

Tangent Online reviews Apex #9

“Locked In” by Mary Robinette Kowal is a dark and serious piece of flash fiction that’ll disturb readers on any side of the “Pro-Life/Pro-Death” issue. The story is emotionally engaging, provocative, and leaves you thinking. A fine read that I highly recommend, but only to those who haven’t had to go through such ordeals in recent months.


Matt Wallace reviewed Apex #9 and had this to say about my story.

Next up, flash fiction from Mary Robinette Kowal. It pains me to say this, but “Locked In” really didn’t get it done for me. It certainly didn’t have the impact that it seemed to have on others. I love Ms. Kowal to death, she’s a woman of many talents. She illustrated one of my stories and did a beautiful job. But this just struck me as a throwaway tale. The reason is the ending, I think. Because the story is well-written, and the narrative style was engaging (“the ball” is a great device). But where everyone else seemed to find the twist ending sick and shocking, I was let down. It was predictable and felt kinda cheap to me, like she hadn’t earned it. That sounds harsh, but that was my reaction, man. What’re you gonna do?

The interesting thing for me is that the “ouch” of this doesn’t come from the fact that he didn’t like it, but that the flaw that people seem to complain about in my writing is that it is predictable. Now, what I’m trying to figure out is if that’s a problem. See, in every case it’s been in a story where I wanted to the reader to understand what was happening before the character did. For me, when I’m watching a movie, or a play, or reading a book, it’s most tense when I know something bad is about to happen but the stupid main character is just blithely charging ahead.

I keep trying to do that because I like the sensation of mentally yelling “No, no, no!” at the main character. So, what I’m trying to figure out for myself is if the “predictable” tag means that there are people who don’t like that, or if I should tip my hand less about where we are going in a story.

Tangent Online reviews Shimmer, Winter 2007

Shimmer, Winter 07 coverWe got a lovely review at Tangent Online for the Winter 2007 issue of Shimmer

The Winter 2007 issue of Shimmer, edited by by Beth Wodzinski, is full of magic, love, poetic prose, and again, magic. Not the kind of magic you expect in traditional fantasy stories—spells and bewitchment—but the kind of magic that pulses through the veins of a well drafted collection to enchant the heart. You will remember these stories long after you have tucked the small paperback among your other collectibles.

Modding my laptop

Open computer, beforeEvery time I handle one of our vintage typewriters, I wish my laptop were so beautiful. So, I’m going to take steps to have the pretty, pretty laptop I want. This is the sort of project that I don’t have time to do, and basically amounts to escapism. Since my laptop is my only computer, I can’t take it offline to do heavy duty modifications so I’ve just been fantasizing about it, until I found a link to For $25 they will print out any custom design on a reusable vinyl sticker designed to go on a laptop. Oh boy!

For a while, I have been coveting an oxblood red typewriter out at Ace Typewriter. It is a beautiful thing, so I decided that rather than going with standard black, I would use the oxblood typewriter as my inspiration. I thought about modifying the stylings of a Remington or Royal or Underwood but finally decided to create my own brand: The Kowal Portable Typewriter and Adding Machine Company.

My plan for modding my laptop

StickerI sent the jpg off to Schtickers and three days later got my lovely vinyl cover back. The website wasn’t as easy to use as I would have liked, I never did get a preview image but it does look exactly like my test print, so, yay! While I had wanted actual silver on the detailing, I knew I wasn’t going to get it so I used the emboss function to get some depth on the 30% gray I used. It’s not a bad match.

Open computer, after Here it is in its glossy glory. The sticker really is high gloss, too. The real computer logo sticks up a bit in the center, but not too bad. If I were doing it again, I’d probably use that as a design element.

My next plan is to design another schticker for the interior of the computer. The keyboard is presenting a challenge. I think I’m going to have to paint my keys black and use stickers on them as well. The key covers are only 1/8″ thick and, after popping a couple off, their connection is four wee little tabs that I’ll be able to machine. Before I do that, I’m going to try getting a couple of replacement covers and see if I can cut them to rounds, without losing the connections.

I’ll keep you posted.

One last thing, you’re interested in saving money on your broadband, check out Usave. My friend did and he told me that they helped him find broadband package deals here. He was so happy with their services and deals.

SFRevu Reviews Apex #9

SFRevu has a nice positive review of the issue and devotes a sentence to my story.

In “Locked In”, Mary Robinette Kowal gives us a two-page thriller.

HorrorScope review Apex #9

Another HorrorScope: review of Apex # 9 is up at Horrorscope.

A piece of flash follows next with Locked In by Mary Robinette Kowal. It wouldn’t be included here if it wasn’t engaging. It concerns euthanasia in a domestic setting involving a mute participant. Of course, with any cool piece of flash, the ball doesn’t get rolling until the final sentence … and this one literally.

Apex Digest #9 reviewed at Whispers of Wickedness

You can read the full review of Apex Digest #9 at the Whispers of Wickedness website. Here’s what they say about my story.

“Locked In” by Mary Robinette Kowal is a good short story. I like the premise and the flow of the story a lot, but for me the ending was a little weak. I think the last couple of sentences could have been changed to give the climax more impact, but it’s still a strong story.

Artemisin reviews Apex Digest #9

Artemisin reviews Apex Digest Number 9 and has this to say about “Locked In.”

Mary Robinette Kowal has a sick mind and Locked In, one of the shortest stories of this issue, is also the one I’ve found most terrifying so far. It’s another medical dystopia about a paralyzed man who cannot communicate with the outside world. When his family finds a way to get through to him, the result isn’t what he imagined.

Is something wrong with me that I think being told that I have a sick mind is a compliment?

Michele Lee reviews “Locked In”

Well, actually Michele Lee reviews all of Apex 9, but my story “Locked In” is in there.

Locked In by Mary Robinette Kowal is a nasty bit of text wedged into this issue. The other stories were safe, but this one is downright dangerous. The hazard comes, not from technology spinning out of control, but people’s faith in technology being far misplaced. The true evil is in the people, not the tool. The darkness in this piece snuck up on me. This one is a powerful, short piece, not to be missed.

Winter 2007 Shimmer is released into the world.

Shimmer, Winter 07 coverToday I got a box containing my copies of the Winter 2007 Shimmer.

Or cover story Juana and the Dancing Bear, by n. a. bourke has a beautiful Sandro Castelli original to grace it.

Also in this issue:
Dario CirielloDwell on Her Graciousness
Amal El-MohtarSparrow and Egg
Michael LivingstonCatch of the Day
Stephen L. MossTom Cofferwillow Comes Undone
Chrissy Ellsworth brings us a new Lucy cartoon
Cat RamboEagle-haunted Lake Sammamish
Mike Driver Night Milling
Phillip J. LeesDuets

Plus an interview with the funny and talented Cherie Priest.

This shiny new issue can be yours.

I’ll be taking this issue and several others with me up to Norwescon next weekend, where Cherie, Chrissy and Cat will be… hm. I’m feeling out of the club without a C to my name. Anyway, if you are there, you could get all three of them to sign it.

Audio fiction at Subterranean Online

Ready? Guess which upcoming item at Subterranean Online is the secret project I’ve been referring to.

For two years, Subterranean magazine has brought you the absolute finest in science fiction, fantasy and horror, from names like Harlan Ellison, Joe R. Lansdale, Elizabeth Bear, Joe Hill and Cherie Priest. Now Subterranean magazine is moving online — and continuing to bring you the best new fiction as it moves from print to pixels.

Here’s what you can expect from Subterranean Online in the near future:

* An entire novella by Hugo and Nebula Award winner Lucius Shepard

* A full-length original audio-book by Kage Baker

* New and original short fiction from Subterranean Press authors Poppy Z. Brite, Joe Hill, Joe R. Lansdale and John Scalzi

* Columns and opinion from Elizabeth Bear, Norman Partridge and Scott Lynch

* Weekly reviews of the best new fiction from Dorman T. Shindler.

All new, all compelling, all right there on your screen. It’s what you expect from Subterranean magazine — and a taste of what you can expect in the future.

I’ll be recording through next week. Basically, for each hour of listening pleasure, you can figure about five man hours of working time; that’s counting my work and the engineer’s work together. He has to do things like edit out the places where I try to say “Mazaltlan” and come out with “Mazeltlof.”

Now aren’t you wondering how Midsummer Night’s Dream and Mazaltlan both occur in one story? Just you wait. I will tell you, though, that this is a really fun read. I love Kage Baker’s work and this is a hoot.


Rob and I went to see Inland Empire David Lynch’s new film. My review is three letters long.


I will elaborate. I defy anyone to tell me that if they had seen this movie without knowing who the director was–if they had walked into a student film festival and saw this exact film, that they would have found it anything but three hours of unbearable obscurity.

IROSF reviews Shimmer’s autumn issue

Autumn 06 coverInternet Review of Science Fiction reviewed our autumn issue of Shimmer. Many thanks to all of our authors and artists and hearty congratulations to Silvia Moreno-Garcia, whose story “King of Sand and Stormy Seas” got a recommendation from Lois Tilton.

A man’s life comes full circle as he returns to his origins. When he was only a fisher boy, the sea had given him a gift.

The blade was blue with fine letters spelling conjures of protection. Once Lysander had taken the sword to a magician. He told Lysander the writing on the sword predicted that the man who wielded the weapon would become a hero. The magician, it turned out, had been a charlatan.

A nice depiction of the contrast between dreams and reality, and the pain of disillusionment.


Private Mars Rocket

Chris Gerrib has given the Autumn issue of Shimmer a very nice review on his website, Private Mars Rocket

The first thing you notice about Shimmer Magazine is the impressive physical package. No flimsy magazine in recycled newsprint, Shimmer is perfect-bound with low-acid paper and a sturdy paperback cover. Each article or story has its own illustration to boot.

Well… not quite all of them have their own illustrations, but most do.

SFRevu Column

Autumn 06 coverOh happy day! SFRevu Column gave us “Very Goods” on all the stories in the Autumn 2006 issue of Shimmer. Here is the last line of the review:

Shimmer is one of the best small press magazines out there and you should all be subscribing to it!