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  • September reviews

    First submission in. 'Spose we'll have to have a look at that rota at some point soon...

    But you don't really care for music, do you? by Rosamunde

    Second and third submissions

    Brief Candles by tangent

    Inside Out by Mabus


  • #2
    Well I missed my go for this so... I'll do whatever is wanted ^^; Might not be as practical to go by the old rota since things are still just getting started here maybe?

    Comment


    • #3
      Yep, we're going to have to have a look at the rota, and try to work out who is still on board and who isn't - I don't think Andrew (Kold) has felt inclined to make the transition over here to the new board, for e.g. A show of hands might be helpful?

      I'm off on my hols from Saturday. Feel free to chivvy up a few more subs for September while I'm gone

      Ros has very neatly disqualified herself from reviewing this time around

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Llywela View Post
        Yep, we're going to have to have a look at the rota, and try to work out who is still on board and who isn't - I don't think Andrew (Kold) has felt inclined to make the transition over here to the new board, for e.g. A show of hands might be helpful?

        I'm off on my hols from Saturday. Feel free to chivvy up a few more subs for September while I'm gone

        Ros has very neatly disqualified herself from reviewing this time around
        Sorry about that! If I'm allowed, I'd be happy to review any other submissions, although obviously I couldn't make the final decision!
        "When people call people nerds, mostly what they are saying is, 'You like stuff', which is just not a good insult at all, like 'You are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness'."
        -John Green

        Comment


        • #5
          Hope I'm doing this right! It's been way too long since I reviewed for the written

          Brief Candles

          Pen: 4
          ZOOM
          ROOM TEMP

          This fic would've got a higher "pen" marking from me, had its grammar been a little better. Tangent really needs a beta reader, because his punctuation isn't the best, which is a shame, because whatever the quality of a fic, it is hard to enjoy when you are constantly noticing grammar mistakes!

          The fic's structure is very clever, and the best thing about it. It focuses on Spike at three different times in his life, first as William the human, then as William the Bloody, and lastly as Spike. Each time, the story is centered around the play Macbeth, and through Spike's reactions to the play, we learn a little more about his character. This works quite well, and is very enjoyable for Shakespeare fans, who can pick up on all the little references.

          However, after the enjoyable structure, the fic falls down. For an introspective story, it's not really introspective enough. We see Spike first with his mother, and watch him interact with her. This is quite nice, but unfortunately doesn't really delve any deeper into the relationship between them. This is true of the section that focuses on him and Drusilla, as well. When I read a ZOOM fic, I want to learn more about the character than I see on the show, or see the character described in a new way. In this fic, however, I didn't really feel I learned anything about Spike that I had not known before, or felt I had discovered a new side to his character. It is in-character, which definately gets it some points, but I did not feel it had the depth of introspection that really would have made it work.

          Therefore, the fic only really feels room-temperature. It's not a bad piece: it's nicely structured, and I think the Macbeth approach is quite original, but Spike's character needs more depth for it to work. I want an introspective peace to really make me feel for the character, or at least see them in a new light, and this just doesn't do that.
          Last edited by Rosamunde; 10-09-07, 04:14 PM.
          "When people call people nerds, mostly what they are saying is, 'You like stuff', which is just not a good insult at all, like 'You are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness'."
          -John Green

          Comment


          • #6
            Inside Out

            Pen: 5
            ZOOM
            HOTTIE

            It's hard to know where to start on this fic. There isn't really anything resembling plot, or even structure, but that doesn't matter, because the quality of writing and the emotional depth just blew me away! This fic is full of lovely language and a huge variety of descriptive writing.

            It deals with Fred's death and what happens to her spirit. Any story describing a spirit's fate needs to be imaginative and creative and Mabus' fic does just that. It uses unusual imagery to get across a sense of what Fred is feeling. Descriptions like "toppling out of the portal into green, an explosion of green and her insides are back in her insides where they belong, she can smell the green again finally and it's a forest" get across a sense of her tumult and yet makes this experience concrete so the reader can imagine it.

            This fic does fall down in places: there is a whole dialouge between Angel and Angelus that I found completely unnecessary, using voices that do not ring true for either character. I felt this fic could have stood a bit of editing: there were unnecessary paragraphs and sometimes an excess of detail. However, those are very minor points when compared with the fic a whole. It is an unusual piece and an interesting insight into Fred's character which makes it work as a ZOOM piece. The use of language may not be to everyone's taste, but to me this fic absolutely felt like a HOTTIE.
            "When people call people nerds, mostly what they are saying is, 'You like stuff', which is just not a good insult at all, like 'You are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness'."
            -John Green

            Comment


            • #7
              Brief Candles

              PEN ? 5
              ZOOM
              BUFFY
              WARM / HOTTIE (wavering in the middle)

              I found this to be an interesting idea for a fic, taking three stages in Spike's life. The fic is a good contrast between three very different Spikes, the very tender William, to the Dru-mad William the Bloody and finally the drunkenly heartbroken S3 Spike, carefully woven together and linked by the Macbeth quotes. Which I thought fairly fitting seeing William's literary pleasures. I found all three Spikes very believable, I can see that tangent obviously knows Spike very well and seems to have a knack for writing him, he gets into his head very well. Characterisation (not only of Spike) is definitely one of his strong points.

              As for tangent's writing style, I quite enjoy it. It's a fairly light and easy fic to read and it's all there, every explained very well, but in some places I found that he went a little over the top in that department and the fic became too easy to read, it wasn't as much of an adventure and a discovery as it could have been. Though I quite enjoyed the soft mystery at the end of each section, I found that to be a good touch. However I'm going to have to agree with Ros that the fic didn't go anywhere the show hadn't treaded before, if tangent had merely made a tiny step further in each of the scenes I think it would have got a higher wild card grade from me.

              One of the things that really does bring the fic down are the technical aspects like punctuation (especially in the vicinity of speech with the lack of commas) isn't entirely up to par. Sometimes there is no capitalisation when there ought to be, no question marks at the end of sentences? little things mostly, but they're still a flaw that brings the fic down. I'd agree with Ros and say that tangent really does need a beta reader, someone to really show him his technical mistakes. He appears to have a pretty good creative mind, but technically it just brings the fic down unnecessarily.

              Though to end this review on a positive note, I have to say tangent has improved on previous entries, most noticeably with him formatting which has definitely become easier readers eyes.

              The fic did make me feel something, it had a lot of heart and quite a bit of depth in it which is something tangent out to be congratulated about.

              Inside Out

              PEN- 6
              ZOOM
              PRO
              WARM

              Wow, this fic was very surreal, interestingly abstract. I really haven't seen many fics like this, it's really not your regular run of the mill type fic. It's really a new direction in fic writing which I haven't seen much of.

              Even though I still haven't got round to seeing the final half of Angel S5, I loved the very poetic approach Mabus had. It's not your typical, structured beginning-middle-end type fic, it's something completely different. Very Restless-esque in my opinion "you're asking the wrong questions" (obvious resemblance). I liked how he completely disregarded the rules of punctuation and did it in a way that was intentional (well at least I hope) and artistically daring.

              Though I have to say in some parts I was confused. Maybe I don't have the best opinion seeing as I don't know all the ins and outs when it comes to Fred's death but the seemingly random Angel/Angelus parts just baffled me. I agree with Ros on the issue of how some aspects of the fic seemed unnecessary seeing as it was meant to focus on Illyria's destruction of Fred (or whatever, I don't know exactly.) I can't say I entirely got all the quotes either and piecing it together wasn't easy, but it was a challenge. Which is rarely what I'd call a bad thing.

              To be blunt this fic is simply weird, very dreamlike in its rowdiness and style, but I think it works.

              But you don't really care for music, do you?

              PEN ? 5
              ZOOM
              PRO
              ROOM TEMP

              I quite liked the gentle approach the fic seemed to have with its soft, precise descriptions. Like tangent's the fic comes across as fairly simple and direct with fleshy, very well written flashes into Dawn's life and her head post-Chosen yet also packing with an appropriate amount of emotional punch.

              Technically and grammatically it was flawless, at least I didn't spot anything.

              However the fic seemed to lack a sense of purpose or reason. I know it was about Dawn and brief flashes of her life after Sunnydale but on an irrational and simply emotional level it just felt like a few random events in Dawn's life? It just didn't seem to go very far or prove a lot. I just craved something more after it, it just didn't feel finished.

              On the other hand I enjoyed the way Kit was slid into the fic, as if she'd been there all the time in Dawn's life, but just behind the scenes. Top quality writing. .

              Not an easy choice, but for me the FoTM is Mabus' entry.

              Comment


              • #8
                But You Don't Really Care for Music, Do You? by Rosamunde

                PEN: 5
                PLOT: 2
                PRO
                WARM

                A very entertaining little fic, which I'd like to see get FotM.

                Simple and beautiful style, quite poetic at times. Rosamunde takes us to her post-season 7 world in which Dawn is touching, really joss-y and wonderfully human. Her friend Kit, with her own experience of life in the aftermath of the apocalyptic Hellmouth events, makes this fic even more realistic and unique. The reality of Buffy's weakness as perceived by her sister, the anxiety of not knowing if she's OK, if she'll be back, if the two sisters will be happy again, and the parallel feeling of hopeless hope undergone by Kit combine to give this story a much appreciated jossverse touch.

                A few shortcomings. I haven't given this a BUFFY marking because of the "blowjob not like ice cream" line. I can't hear Buffy saying that in so many words on the show. I haven't given it a 6 for PEN because it lacks a little humour to be absolutely worthy of a 6 for me. As for the plot, we have the basis for a continuation of BtVS after season 7, clear evidence that this world is well defined and structured in the author's imagination, as well as a specific storyline for Dawn, to anchor her in that reality. However, nothing that blew my mind, hence a grade 2 and WARM feel.

                I can't fault Rosamunde for style, the whole fic reads lovely, which is why I give it a PRO marking - pro in the sense of pro fanficker.

                In a way, strangely, the tone of this fic isn't drastically different from that of tangent's submission, that almost falsely optimistic resignation that life - or the lack thereof - sucks but there's always tomorrow. It's that grey area between the hopeful fantasy of happiness and the intimate knowledge that it's a fantasy, which is beautifully touched on here, and appeals to me as a jossverse fan.


                Brief Candles by tangent

                PEN: 5
                PLOT: 2
                BUFFY
                WARM

                Scrumptious little fic for the Spike fans among us. This is in fact three zooms, but because they're nicely linked together, I consider there is a plot there. It's a greatly written evolutionary portrayal of Spike which is very faithful to the character.

                What's interesting here is that the evolution of the character is inversely parallel to the development of the story. (Cor, didn't expect that, did you? Neither did I. ) What I mean is we start off with an embryonic Spike, indeed he's not even a vampire yet, but the story, however, has reached full maturity by being an original flashback in its own right, independent from the show since it is purely the fanficker's creation. In part II both evolutions continue, Spike is now a grown up vampire, but he's still "learning" and is heavily dependent on Dru. Meanwhile, the story is getting closer to canon, we have more canon characters and the whole scene has a "d?j? vu" feel about it. Finally, in part III, Spike has become independent, he has lost his Dru, his "salvation" and in the process, he has lost any illusions he might have had about life, unlife, and happiness. He doesn't depend on anything, any hope, anyone but himself. Tangent's story, on the other hand, is now meeting with canon: Spike is on his way back to Sunnydale in mid-season 3. Spike's evolved to be the mature vampire we know, and the fic's evolved to be closely intertwined with the show. Of course that's my own take on this fic, but that's how I explain particularly enjoying the unusualness of this story.

                Problems with this fic. I probably enjoyed this as much as I did Rosamunde's, and that's mainly due to the brilliant characterisation. However, there are still punctuation and layout problems tangent hasn't sorted out despite the Panel's previous recommendations, so I don't think the fic deserves to be FotM as much as Rosamunde's submission. This isn't a HOTTIE for me, because although Spike is amazingly close to canon, the story doesn't have the "wow factor" I would expect in order to grade a fic HOT.

                Now, this fic contains a serious error, a major, unacceptable discrepancy with the show.

                Spike lurched unsteadily down the deserted street, the near empty bottle of bourbon that dangled from his hand banging rhythmically against his right leg as he went.
                It is absolutely disgraceful that any self-respecting fanfic writer should get away with that sort of enormous inconsistency. Indeed, on the show, Spike would NEVER have his bottle banging rhythmically against his right leg, but his left leg.

                Of course I'm joking. About the enormous and disgraceful, that is, I'm serious about the left leg. Sorry, couldn't resist, I love this kind of pathetic nit-picking stuff. I may even PM tangent about this.

                All jokes aside, though, a lovely read.


                Inside Out by Mabus

                First of all, Mabus, if you read this... don't. I am writing it as if it was meant for someone who doesn't have access to my comments, as would be the case if you weren't a Panel member. What's intended for you is the final review as compiled by miss edith, which will probably be worded very differently from this.

                Spoiler:
                If you choose to read it anyway, I apologise because it may sound harsh, but again, not my fault if you've read something you weren't supposed to. Your choice. Just like it's my choice to take the risk to be very unpopular with you. Integrity, eh, who'd have it?

                PEN: 3
                PLOT: 4 or ZOOM, I'm not quite sure
                PRO (unfortunately)
                COOL

                I didn't enjoy reading this fic. And unfortunately, that's the main purpose of fanfiction, to give readers pleasure. It may "look" like it's well written, it may "feel" like the author's talented, it may "sound" like it's impressively deep, at the end of the day, a fanfic's job is to keep me, the reader, entertained. So, as far as I'm concerned, Inside Out fails to do its job.

                What got in the way of my enjoyment, mostly, was the way it's written. The arty-farty omission of punctuation and capitals, for instance. We know what the author's doing. We know it's on purpose, to stick in a "stream of consciousness" thang. Is it really necessary for the story, though, or is it just to make this fic stand out by its literary style? The fancy style didn't impress me, it just irritated me, and contributed to confusing me as I was reading. Another irritating element is the inserted Poe quotes. Maybe it's me not having a poetry oriented mind, I just saw them as little more than a name-dropping stunt. I would have been happy with one at the start of the fic and that's it.

                Another criticism I have, is that the fic is very confusing. Okay, we're in a dreamlike setting, I get that, but what's the deal with Angel and Angelus? I'm Aissy. I'm basic. I read fanfics expecting to understand everything at first read. (And, no, by the way, I'm not basic, only I choose to be basic when I read fanfiction, if I wanted an intellectual challenge I'd reopen my Lucretius but been there done that got the A Level.) I think that fanfiction, or at least AtS fanfiction, should read smooth, be entertaining, make me smile, make me sad, make me feel stuff other than flimsy admiration for the author's cleverness. I punctuated my reading with actual out loud "WTF?", "What's going off here?", "Who the hell's Agathos and Oinos and... google... what the hell are they doing here? Oh, right, more name-dropping, why didn't you say so.", "What's Jasmine doing here? Could've been a good idea, if we knew what was going on." and "Klingon? On what planet? Whose head am I in cos, definitely not Illyria, and I know Fred's geeky but I never pegged her as a trekkie."

                So. Sorry, again, if you're reading this, Mabus, the reason why I'm so harsh is because I got annoyed with this fic when I could have thoroughly enjoyed it.

                This is why I grade it "PRO (unfortunately)". It reads as though the author is very skilled, has an excellent grasp of his art, has extended knowledge of his fandom and a few others, and writes like, for want of a better word, a pro. So much so, that you feel his story would be more successful as a piece of pro, original writing. It lacks the amateur's candidness I personally enjoy in fanfiction. This may not make much sense or may seem unfair, but I didn't read about Illyria and Fred in this fic, I read Mabus. And that's not what I want from a fanfic, I want it to be close to the show I love, not overintellectualised - not because there's anything wrong with intellectualised writing, but because that's not the way I watch Angel. As a TV fan, I'm in it for the feelings. This was too intellectual for me, too literary, too pro. That's not what I read fanfiction for.

                Now for the good points. Yes, there are some! Some of the ideas in this are brilliant, and I would love to see them conveyed in a more accessible way. For example, Fred still being present in Illyria, and Illyria juggling both lives. That's excellent, even though it's definitely Mabus's own take on the old infection. Illyria "letting Fred out" when she modulates her form in 520: good stuff! I never saw it that way and it's great to read other fans' interpretation and to go where their imagination takes them. The flashback in Pylea, too, nice touch.

                The dialogues as well, nice and joss-y. They ring true and it's a shame there aren't more of them.

                My advice for Mabus, of course I speak only for myself, would be to keep and develop his brilliant and off-the-wall ideas, but to lose the inaccessible literary style, at least while he writes fanfiction. It gets in the way of the story and it's not especially pleasant to read, or joss-like, for that matter. When/if he writes his own original works, he's more than welcome to use his own style to appeal to a more literature orientated reader base.
                "I'd like to keep Spike as my pet."
                "Get out of my temporal lobe, House!"
                "Confessssssssssss!"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ooh. Well, that sets up a bit of a dilemma, as Yosso and Aissy have gone for completely different fics as FOTM, and Ros can't vote as she's a contestant.

                  Anyone else read the submissions and got any thoughts? We really need to make a decision as quickly as possible. I'd rather not keep everyone waiting for final results for too long.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Llywela View Post
                    Ooh. Well, that sets up a bit of a dilemma, as Yosso and Aissy have gone for completely different fics as FOTM, and Ros can't vote as she's a contestant.

                    Anyone else read the submissions and got any thoughts? We really need to make a decision as quickly as possible. I'd rather not keep everyone waiting for final results for too long.
                    But You Don't Really Care for Music, Do You? by Rosamunde. I agree with Aissy on Mabus's entry that there's an important distinction between original writing and fanfic writing and this is - um - The Written.

                    Leaving it, for me, between Ros's entry and Tangent's.

                    Apart from the reviews already given for "You Don't Really Care for Music ..." I'd endorse the beauty, the simplicity
                    Spoiler:
                    a bit of relief after "Inside Out", which just about describes how my brain felt after reading it
                    and say although I missed the light pedal, still heavy on the angsty I was feeling it and Tangent's didn't quite make Queen of Hearts in comparison.

                    Does that help?
                    * supporting the WGA strikers *

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well I hate to make this more complicated, but I tend to lean towards Inside Out. While it certainly has its faults, I really enjoy that dreamy, bizarre style, and I found it to be a more stimulating read than the others.
                      Last edited by miss edith; 01-10-07, 04:51 PM.
                      "Day Six: Lurked a bit, brooded some. Think I'm getting better. V. easy to go back to old hobbies, like riding a bicycle. Never forget a good brood." (Angel: Days of our Unlives)
                      The Very Secret Diaries...on the Hellmouth!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Does that leave us with an impasse again?

                        Alex? You said you'd review, but then stuff came up - are you available again now to break the deadlock? Or does it fall to me/lots of arguing and debate? Because I can't get in solid brain-work until tomorrow now... However, you are all free to argue among yourselves all night if you want

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Llywela View Post
                          Does that leave us with an impasse again?

                          Alex? You said you'd review, but then stuff came up - are you available again now to break the deadlock? Or does it fall to me/lots of arguing and debate? Because I can't get in solid brain-work until tomorrow now... However, you are all free to argue among yourselves all night if you want
                          I don't argue nowadays unless:

                          a) not arguing means somebody gets hurt; or
                          b) there's a free, nekkid man involved

                          so let's hope Alex can break the dreadlocks
                          * supporting the WGA strikers *

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Llywela View Post
                            However, you are all free to argue among yourselves all night if you want
                            Well, I don't know what else to say, think I've made my opinion quite clear.

                            Obviously, we don't need a unanimous vote (else we've had it) but maybe we can compromise. For example, miss edith, if you enjoyed that fic, you could always word the Results review accordingly, since you're writing the Results post.

                            However, if someone really wants a specific fic to be FotM, I would expect a full review on it from that person, explaining why they think it deserves it (in more words than three lines).

                            Otherwise it's a bit easy to just say "oh I think thigy's fic, cos I like it, innit" and have that vote get the same weight as a fully-argued review.

                            In other words, if you think a fic deserves for you to fight for it, fight for it.
                            "I'd like to keep Spike as my pet."
                            "Get out of my temporal lobe, House!"
                            "Confessssssssssss!"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Aissy View Post
                              Well, I don't know what else to say, think I've made my opinion quite clear.

                              Obviously, we don't need a unanimous vote (else we've had it) but maybe we can compromise. For example, miss edith, if you enjoyed that fic, you could always word the Results review accordingly, since you're writing the Results post.

                              However, if someone really wants a specific fic to be FotM, I would expect a full review on it from that person, explaining why they think it deserves it (in more words than three lines).

                              Otherwise it's a bit easy to just say "oh I think thigy's fic, cos I like it, innit" and have that vote get the same weight as a fully-argued review.

                              In other words, if you think a fic deserves for you to fight for it, fight for it.
                              oooeer, scarey aissy ...

                              This is a good point - no use putting my two-pennorth in and expecting it to be factored in - I'll withdraw my vote because it's not properly backed up with a full review - does that make a balanced review any clearer?
                              * supporting the WGA strikers *

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ferdy-m View Post
                                This is a good point - no use putting my two-pennorth in and expecting it to be factored in - I'll withdraw my vote because it's not properly backed up with a full review - does that make a balanced review any clearer?
                                Thank you, that was my point exactly, but I wasn't very clear. I would like to think that votes for FotM don't count unless backed up with a proper review. As a general rule thing. Thanks, Ferdy, for clarifying.
                                "I'd like to keep Spike as my pet."
                                "Get out of my temporal lobe, House!"
                                "Confessssssssssss!"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I generally find that calculating the mean grades works as a good rule of thumb.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Llywela View Post
                                    I generally find that calculating the mean grades works as a good rule of thumb.
                                    very specific, anya ... Jo, I agree!
                                    * supporting the WGA strikers *

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Well I have dutifully averaged the markings, and Music comes out on top with a 5 for Pen (the other two each have 4.7). However, if you sort of average the feel, none get better than Warm.

                                      I've also just re-read Music, and I'm fine with that as FotM. So if there are no objections, I guess I'll get on that...
                                      Last edited by miss edith; 02-10-07, 04:43 AM.
                                      "Day Six: Lurked a bit, brooded some. Think I'm getting better. V. easy to go back to old hobbies, like riding a bicycle. Never forget a good brood." (Angel: Days of our Unlives)
                                      The Very Secret Diaries...on the Hellmouth!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Ah, excellent that it all works out in the end. And not that late either.
                                        "I'd like to keep Spike as my pet."
                                        "Get out of my temporal lobe, House!"
                                        "Confessssssssssss!"

                                        Comment

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