Apologies for not being able to make the Tuesday meeting this month. My thanks to Luke for taking the following notes…
The Tuesday meetings are still going strong! Last night we had a very healthy turn out of ten people with four pieces to critique. Industrious as we are, we managed to get through all four critiques quick enough to have an extra half hour down the pub.
We would like to welcome Wendy to the group who attended her first session last night. You gave some fantastic critiques and we are looking forward to reading some of your fiction in the future.
- Len presented the first half of a short story called ‘Life Can Be Hell’. Plenty of nice comments about the black comedic elements, there were some actual laugh out loud moments for some readers. Some confusion over whether the piece was self-contained or an unfinished short story. There were some concerns that the piece did not work as flash, so it was a relief to hear there was more to come. After hearing about one of Len’s dreams a couple of weeks ago, some members put two and two together and have worked out where the hapless protagonist is heading. It’s gonna get weird!
- Eliza presented a piece called ‘Treading Water’. I think everyone enjoyed the fantastic world building in this piece. There was a split in the group about whether the level of world building required a longer story. Some wanted to see the story expanded so we could see the marine courts and meet the seawitches, some wanted more of a description of the different folkloric creatures, whereas some felt the length was just about right.
The double fight scene felt a little repetitive for some readers. Perhaps she steals the flap of Selkie skin from Steve through subterfuge in the first scene and then has the big confrontation with him in the second one. Some questions over whether all of the elements of the story were appropriately wrapped up – What about the mark of the sea witch? Couldn’t Steve trace Iona through that? A few comments that the relationship with Kai felt tagged on.
- Eric presented a piece called ‘Slave’. Lots of praise for the strength of the idea in this piece. I think everyone agreed that the computer antagonist was great. The arrival of the Lovecraftian Old Gods at the end of the chapter were surplus to requirements for some. Many felt that in its current incantation the story comes across as very told, with the relevant plot information coming through narrative summary. Some readers called for a longer piece where we could see the events as they happened. Some comparisons to ‘Person of Interest’ were made, and some of our more computer literate members (nerds!) had some worries that the Quantum computer was unrealistic, specifically in terms of what quantum computers are capable off and their hardware dependence. Some questions over whether the nanobots are needed? Some felt that delegates came across as stereotypical of their given nationalities.
- James presented a piece called ‘We always look and we always look to them’. Most members of the group really enjoyed this piece, with a few people even suggesting it was the best thing James had submitted. There were lots of comments about the allegorical nature of the story, with some recognising themes of socio economic class and prejudice. Lots of nice comments about the dreamlike quality of the piece and the strange imagery that it conjoured. Comparisons made to Thomas Ligotti’s brand of weird fiction. There were a few questions over the dialogue of the suited men, and some worried the ending did not bring enough resolution. Some clarificatory questions about whether the creatures were human or not.
Afterwards we all scuttled off to Common for a drink and chat. Topics included: ‘Call of Cthulhu’, a certain Prime Minister’s alleged misadventures at university, and James’ pitch for a cop show whose hard boiled protagonist is a Eunuch (Sign him up HBO!)
Next meeting: Wednesday 14th October
See you there!