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[2007: JUL-AUG] Feedback


FltAdml. Wolf
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This thread is ONLY for moderators to post their feedback as they write it. All other posts will be DELETED.

Remember: you are under no obligation to accept or follow the feedback provided. It is only provided as a courtesy to challenge participants, and only reflects the personal opinion of the person writing it. If you don't like the feedback, we don't want to hear about it -- just close the thread and move on.

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Guest The Lovely Lily

The Missing Statue

by Danzia

critiqued by Lily Ventu

Mysteries are very difficult to do because of the over-saturation. Even if you're not a huge fan of the genre (and I'm not), you know the various twists on the standard mystery motif. Danzia does some very clever things with her story: She uses the 'last person you'd expect' motif in an explanation that jives perfectly with the established character and species characteristics of the guilty party. In short, she manages to make over what may have been a conventional mystery on its own into a great piece of "Star Trek" literature. It struck me very much as a story that could've been done on DS9, with Odo standing in for Commander Taylor. In fact, if it were just ten years ago, I'd suggest the writer pitch her story as a freelancer to the show.

There are few things I can pick out of "The Missing Statue" for the writer to improve upon. The submission was very clean, with few errors, which is always appreciated by the reader. The main characters, especially Taylor and Mirk, were well-developed given the limitations of story length; and even Lurak exhibited, as above, the continuity established for 'mainstream' Ferengi. She uses details to great effect, without overwhelming the reader; the inclusion of bits such as the elradin, Lieutenant Sal, the young Ensign Townsend, and ex-Starfleet Hayley Martins all helped to draw me into the world she'd created without whacking me over the head with it.

Well done!

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These are other reviews from Lily Ventu, our guest judge who was winner of the last round. Reviews from other judges are also coming soon.

"The Little Monkey" was a nice little story that addresses the continued optimism of the human condition, which is really what "Star Trek" is all about. Like most of Turner's stories, it managed to do a lot in what was the shortest entry, but I felt she could have done a couple more revisions. For example, "fold[ing] her hands 'regally'" -what does the adverb truly tell us about the action? Her third-person storytelling was effective, but it shifted in terms of degrees of omniscience: "She stuck her bottom lip out in an exaggerated pout[...]" is more omniscient than "he didn't care 'cause she looked pretty." However, since the author didn't utilize Ashlyn's first-person POV, this isn't as much of a problem as it would have been in that case, and probably would've been ironed out with the aforementioned revisions.

"Who Needs A Vacation" was a strong contender for a higher position, but in the end, it was a combination of two major issues that brought this story down: The submission wasn't very clean, and it had no real ending. The story itself was sharp, and it draws the reader in right away, but it seems like a part of larger work where we understand that the story has a larger point. As it is, there isn't much to this story, and it left this reader, at least, wondering why I had been given such an ineffective ending when I had begun to invest interest in the characters. As with Turner, I believe this story could have been a lot sharper with a couple more revisions.

"Evolution" was not a bad story, but I rated it lowest because I trouble with the basic premise. A Borg trickster is an intriguing idea, and knowing Atimen's talents, I was disappointed he didn't take this in a more interesting direction. I had a very hard time believing that the Borg Queen would grant individuality to any drone; we've already seen the lengths she'll go to recruit fallen Borg in various episodes of Voyager and First Contact.

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Reviews from VAdml. Hollis:

> 4 The Missing Statue

> By Danzia

This is a complete story with beginning, middle, and end. It is all linked nicely together and does a great job of being a mystery. I have a real sense of a space port and the characters that inhabit it. All two often everyone in Star Trek wears a uniform. This shows us the civilian side of the Federation.

Characterization is strong. Plot is good. My only complaint is it ends to Conveniently. I put this down to the word constraints. Also I would suggest defining the statue a bit better at the beginning. I thought this was a beautiful statue of some size up until the end when it turns out to be small and ugly.

I could hear Bogart (or a female version of him) as I read the story.

> 3 Evolution

> by Nemitor Atimen

This reads like early scifi of the 50s. It has real energy and ends badly for the main characters. Saul is a great character. I kept thinking Heinlein as I read it. I consider Heinlein Iconic, but not not always the best story. The story is choppy and the ending is confusing, until you realize that maybe the Borg wasn't entirely sterilized. I liked that it reached for a goal that was perhaps beyond what the writer could easily reach.

> 2 The Little Monkey

> By Toni Turner

Very nice story. Turner understands children very well and little monkey is the perfect word for her character. I'd say Turner wins if this was purely theme. The story is a bit syrupy, but to that I say good for Turner. We live in a day and age when it seems everyone strives for darkness and disturbing. A dozen other writers might have turned the father into some sort of abuser.

I ranked it a two only because the other two stories had a lot more energy and there was more meat to them. The Little Monkey is like a narrative poem. A bit more back story on how the father came to be alone and what the crisis is might punch up this story.

Still hats off to this story teller.

> 1 WHO NEEDS A VACATION

> By Tal Tel-ar

What I liked about this story is what I liked about missing statue; it gives us a great look at the civilian side of the Federation. It is well written with good characters. I like the loki and surprise ending tie in to the trickster theme.

I ranked beneath the other three because it was not imperative that I finish this story. About 3/4 of the way through I found my mind wandering asking where this was going. While technically while written like the main character it lacks heart.

It too reminds me of the early Sci Fi, which painted a vision of the future that was much like today, but at its center had a surprise.

My suggestion would to play up the threat of 'firing' the George character. Make his use of the Orion dancers a more apparent manipulation of the new boss. Maybe show us the Original George on a private island drinking cocktails and watching the sun going down while remotely checking his bots day's work. Or explore the possibility that one of the 4 stolen designs is somehow the new boss.

There is a lot of potential in this story.

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  • 2 weeks later...

D'oh! Stupid Yahoo held this post to our judges list.

"The Little Monkey" by LTCMDR Toni Turner

Reviewed by Captain T’Pen

I think most of us can relate to this story. Whether you are a parent with small children or can imagine a time when you were a child, this was a compelling story.

I like the blend of moods and descriptions of what the little girl is seeing, as she attempts to entertain herself. I’ve caught my own daughter in the midst of turning her room into tornado explosion-disaster area and couldn’t help but laugh. James was a very tolerant individual, considering the aftershave doused pillows, bed clothing, etc.

There are times, when I really felt like I was watching and experiencing the adventure with Ashlyn. There were other times when I felt like I’d stepped away from her and the transition didn’t feel smooth.

Otherwise, a very good story.

Thank you.

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