Reviews

A Final Update from the Observatory

“The Veilonaut’s Dream” is, I think, the most widely reviewed story of mine so far, and for the most part these seem to be broadly positive. Please indulge me as I list a few below… it’s not often I get the chance.

“A beautiful story that weaves through the distant mysteries of space, contemplating the impossible depths of the universe and the existence of life beyond our tiny stake in the ground. It’s part space exploration, part terror, leaving you a bit dizzy as your imagination tries to keep up with the originality of so many space landscapes.”

Jacob Olsen, Reviews & Robots

“In this literary, mesmerizing, multi-layered story”…. “Szabranski is a master at building tension.”

Jeffrey Steven Adams, Tangent Online

“The piece is tense and centers memory and distance. Not just the distance the Discontinuity stretches, though, but also the distance people keep from it, trying to avoid the dangers it represents but also, maybe, missing out on what’s really there—what’s really possible. It’s a story about being lost and, maybe, depending on how you look at it, being found.” … “To me, an argument for faith where science fails—not religious faith, exactly, but rather a leap of faith in humanity, that maybe we can find out way even in the vastness of space. A great read!”

Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews

“A very eerie story with haunting imagery that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Definitely recommend this to anyone who likes darker sci-fi with a slight mystical feel.”

Stephanie, Goodreads

“How did Szabranski keep me reading? This is certain death.”

“Uncle Josh”, Better Writing Through Reading

“It’s a classic science fiction story told with heart.” … “There is particularly effective use of altogether different science-fictional imagery as the titular ‘dream’ is revealed near the story’s conclusion, linking the narrator’s personal drama of the explorers with a the grander story playing out. The whole comes together to tell a great space exploration story.” … “Highly Recommended.”

Eclipse Review of Science Fiction

 

Now… is this truly the final update from the Observatory, out there beyond the orbit of Pluto? Perhaps not. The Others and their Discontinuity feature in a few of my stories (not an intentional series, more like a handy future history backdrop I can dip into), of which “The Veilonaut’s Dream” was the third written. I’ll post news about the fate of another one of those stories next month…

outer-space-science-fiction

2016 Wrap-up

2016. Huh. Started well. Went downhill really quickly. Then it gathered speed. At this rate it’ll bust its way into 2017 and beyond.

Similarly, first half of the year started well for me, writing wise. Second half of the year…not so much. Here’s the obligatory wrap-up. Excuse me whilst I warm myself beside some scraped together reader comments. Every little helps.

1. “The Osteomancer’s Husband” – January, Diabolical Plots.

“We are left with curiosity and wonder of what may have been and what things will come. I hope that a follow on comes at some point because I really would like to know what happens next. I was captured by the story and in such a short time I give the author a great deal of credit. Well done.”

– Eric Kimminau, Tangent Online

(Also on the Tangent Online Recommended Reading List 2016.)

“This story had me reading faster and faster, eating up the words. Good read.”

– Becky, DP comments

“Brilliant and so bewitching! I ripped through this. The imagery at the end of the bone flower is awesome.”

– Julia, DP comments

“Yes, beautiful prose. A soaring imagination. Enjoyed it. And feel any story that touches on intolerance is worthwhile.”

– Lisa, DP comments

2. “In the Belly of the Angel” – January, Metaphorosis.

“A rich tale and disturbing. Beautifully told.”

– Gerald Warfield, Metaphorosis comments

“Mind-blowingly imaginative!!”

– Julia, Metaphorosis comments

3. “The Velna Valsis” – February, Fantasy Scroll Magazine.

“Well okay then. You know, as far as Nazi stories go, this one isn’t bad… it is a nicely balanced and flowing story. There is a sweep and flow to it, and a slow reveal. So yeah, go check it out.”

– Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews

“…sometimes a short jab to the gut is all you need to make your point, and this one hits the reader hard.”

– John O’Neill, Black Gate

4. “Against the Venom Tide” – June, Mirror Dance.

“Nice, unique idea for the reed islands. Bravo.”

 

– Matencera, MD comments

…And so.

What will 2017 bring?

I predict a riot.

 

“The Clay Farima” Reviewed

What’s the very worst that can happen after a story is published?

Terrible reviews? Death threats from readers? Death threats from the publisher? Being disowned by your spouse and children?

No.

Roaring silence. That’s the worst thing. Was the story any good? Was it really bad? Did anybody like it? Did anybody hate it? Did anybody read it at all? 

So I’m really pleased to see these reviews that came in for “The Clay Farima” after it was published in BCS #128 last month.

Terry Weyna for Fantasy Literature: Magazine Monday reviews BCS #127 & #128:

“It’s a fascinating tale” … “and my favorite in these two issues.”

Michelle Ristuccia for Tangent Online:

“From Farima’s direct and vivid introduction to the dramatic choice she faces at the end, Szabranski provides an engaging tale full of enjoyable complexities ranging from the magical to the familial.”

Lois Tilton for Locus Online:

“Surprisingly, this ends up being a story of love.” … “As the author is a theoretical physicist , the Source seems to be casting the working of magic in those terms, which more SFnally oriented readers may appreciate.”

…which all sounds great, don’t it? But hold up. Lest my head explode, giddy from praise, note also that Lois says:

“Farima as a narrator is too overwrought particularly in the beginning”

and Terry notes the story is:

“a trifle clumsy at times”

…but, hey. That’s cool, too. I still consider myself very much a beginner in the business of story writing.

It’s great to get any coverage and input from reviewers. It really helps.