Player Comments on The Unsightly Treatment of One, Benjamin Schatz.

Wow. I never would have imagined so much content could be packed into so few words. But this doesn't make the story too intense (although I'm not saying that it isn't), or too brief.

From the very first page you're thrown into the deep end, and I LOVE this. Well, from the name of the competition, it doesn't seem like you had much room to manoeuvre any way. And your choice of words was excellent. Their lilting creepiness really contributed to the flow of the story. And as for the italics, they helped me to work out which part of the story I was in, so thumbs up for that.

The one thing I thought could have been better was the bit about the End Codex. I agree with jster02 on how the description was a bit "lackluster". And maybe this was intentionally left out to add to the mystery of this story, but it seemed a little odd how Kauffman (apologies if I spelt that wrong) obtained the Codex. Maybe it would have made a bit more sense if she was part of a secret rebellion, or something, and was trying to defeat the system from the inside out.

But apart from that, this story was perfect! There was little enough info to have you guessing at what happened for days after. It was way better than anything I could ever write, and your other stories have now been moved right to the top of my 'to read' list. Great story!
-- ApprenticePortentous on 6/4/2020 7:39:23 AM with a score of 0
This was a really interesting story, and one that demands time in thought about it way out of proportion to the amount of words. The narrative is often (intentionally) vague, and leans really heavily on wildly-swinging emotional beats. The timing of the story is totally perplexing, to the point where I wondered for a moment if the story got mostly accidentally italicized by accident, but it creates an offpointing, time-is-out-of-joint effect that I think works well here. I read it thinking--wait, *when* am I?--and anything that creates that sort of uneasy, dislocated effect is already halfway to getting reader buy in for such a creepy story.

Do I know exactly what happened here? Not...really. I read this a few times with a month between then and came up with a rather different interpretation each time. This is Good.

And it is creepy, and poetic. It's got some purple prose, especially at the start, but it didn't bother me, because it was well done, and it knew when to end. Yes, it doesn't have much branching or super intense cave of timing or anything like that. But there's enough for what is after all a mini-story. And the atmosophere has been nailed. It didn't need any more words. This is the right number of words for this story.

My internal scales are obviously wholly out of whack because of many of the stories I've seen around here lately, but when I see a story that is well written, you know, with things spelled right and punctuation used effectively, I want to rave about it ever before I read it. Add a decent story onto that, and I'm sold.
-- Gower on 5/26/2020 7:39:45 PM with a score of 0
Excellent work here, you managed to pack quite a lot into less than 3000 words. This feels like a snapshot of a greater story. There are some things that go unexplained, but that's okay because they didn't really need to be. The main point of the story still shines through clearly without having to explain absolutely everything. If anything, this added to the story, as trying to piece everything together while reading is half the fun.

I only have two small gripes. The first is that it took me awhile to figure out whether the italicized text was a flashback, a hallucination, or something else entirely. I'm not saying you should've stated the fact that it was a flashback outright, but it might have made a little more sense to put those scenes in the past tense as opposed to the present. The second is that the scene where the protagonist opens the end codex feels a little lackluster. You just kinda told us that all the knowledge in the world got poured into him, without really going into what that would actually feel like. I imagine it wouldn't exactly have been pleasant, to say the least.

But aside from that, this was a great story. If I could give you a round of applause over the internet, I would, but for the time being I guess my words alone will have to suffice.
-- jster02 on 5/20/2020 3:03:56 PM with a score of 0
Wow short but pretty impactful and powerful writing. I enjoyed reading it a lot!
-- alpenianA on 7/29/2020 3:03:02 AM with a score of 0
This is a neat short story about getting tortured and why. There isn't really a whole lot more to it. Just reading a book and getting cut on. Give it a read.
-- DerPrussen on 7/16/2020 4:04:19 PM with a score of 0
I read all the 2/8 length stories on the New listing and this was the best one by far. I'm still processing it, it's so dark and I'm not completely sure I understood it all, but it's amazing and you're a great writer.
-- Starbourne on 6/22/2020 3:37:55 PM with a score of 0
Not a lot of clear answers to be found here, which I really respect. I like how everyone can more or less get their own wholly unique story out of this.

The "italicization as flashback" trope isn't a bad one at all, but I'd caution against it in a story as set in the past as this one because all the slanted text gets a little irritating.

I genuinely felt a little bad at the ending I got, when I found out I did the thing I did (left intentionally vague). So you've crafted something engaging and worthwhile here, in my humble opinion.

This is a worthy addition to the site and a game to be proud of. Great work, I'm looking forward to seeing what else you publish. :)
-- hetero_malk on 6/17/2020 1:00:57 AM with a score of 0
This was a very good and chilling story. (lol pun) Some parts were confuseing but I liked it and read it twice.
-- Jiri on 6/13/2020 8:09:18 PM with a score of 0
Not that bad, not bad at all.
-- Kytty on 6/5/2020 1:59:07 PM with a score of 0
Incredible! The poetic way you describe everything. The atmosphere of dread and mystery. The wonderful way to play with the reader making it believe that they are running away when they are being tested as soldiers. The only thing is the linearity, but that is understandable due to the word limit.

Really, my favourite story of yours.
-- poison_mara on 5/16/2020 12:29:07 AM with a score of 0
Really, really good. Even if it'll sound like I'm being biased here.

I've read all of your other stories before and I have to say this is the best written one so far. Aside from the stories that have variables for this topia jam, I can't think of a better way to do the theme/word limit than you did here. Looping the story back around by using the interrogation as a way to sorta backtrack it was creative. The flashbacks combined with going back to the present day was done well. I like that there were only two real endings, it focused more on story over a CYOA type of thing which makes sense for the theme of the jam.

My only complaint is that it didn't get fleshed out enough, but it's also to be expected because of the short word limit. I loved the concept of the story and it was perfect for a short story. So I can't really hold that against you there. Well done, as per usual!
-- TheCanary on 5/15/2020 1:27:52 AM with a score of 0
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