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Spidersilk by Akutra-Ramses Atenosis Cea
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This is a slim volume, and the main problem with it is it's still too long.

There is the core of a really good story here, buried in some really dense over-description. Cut ruthlessly and honed, it'd be a pretty good short story.

But it's a little hard to get to that core story, when there's so much description to wade through. There is literally no context I can think of where it's important to spend a paragraph describing the hair cut of a minor character who is just passing through a scene, nor do we need to know the fabric of the shirt our hero is wearing while driving to work. The effect is like burying a designer dress under a bunch of sweats and a winter parka; I can't quite tell what's underneath, but I can tell it'd look a lot better without all the trivia and extra layers. It needs editing and pruning and a serious attack of kill-your-darlings.

Also, this may seem damning with faint praise, but the cover is really quite nice, and I do appreciate that.

Anyway, while I would really love to rate this higher, I do tend to rate to what the stars tooltips say, and so "it was ok" is still a good high step above a 1 star.

Disclosure: I won this book in a GR Giveaway, in return for an honest review. ( )
  krazykiwi | Sep 22, 2013 |
I received this book from the GoodReads Giveaway scheme.
I did not win it but the author contacted me to offer an e reader version and when I declined as I do not read electronic books he generously offered to send me a paperback in return for a review.
I recognise this generosity and expense and as I was brought up with the ethos of not speaking unless I have something good to say, it was tempting to simply rate the book one star and move on.
However I had a draft review in progress when the author contacted me to ask for constructive criticism to accompany my rating.
At the risk of seeming unnecessarily apologetic I am willing to recognise that I am not a writer merely a reader and therefore can only approach the review of Spidersilk from the possibility that I missed some points or failed to perceive some qualities therein.

Although Spidersilk is a short read, it felt much longer than its 87 pages and was difficult due to the quirkiness of the writing which I found mostly incoherent and with a number of literary tics such as repeated words in sentences, the overuse of simplistic descriptive words such as smooth or smoothly, and most irritatingly the incessant use of the phrase 'a bit'.
The author often attempts to describe a situation or a character's physical appearance in flowery terms and then spoils things (more than a bit) by finishing with the phrase 'a bit'; he drove for a bit, the ground shook a bit, he brushed his teeth a bit (not actual phrases used, just to illustrate the sentiment). The author fails to employ the richness of vocabulary available to him and the impression is that the book did not receive a qualified proof reading prior to committing for publication.
I am quite used to dialogue being written as true to life and reflecting a specific culture, colloquialism, or youthful use of language however in Spidersilk this extends seamlessly to the narrative and does not appear to be a consciously stylistic statement, the overriding impression is that the book is written by an author for who English is a secondary language which is of itself no literary crime but in Spidersilk what could be made a virtue becomes an abomination.

To be fair none of these foibles detracts from the plot, and are in keeping as if you have read the blurb then you already have the plot, there's nothing to add, the rest is just so much padding.
When it becomes apparent that the house of Spidersilk contains more filler than building blocks your realise it will wobble and collapse at the first challenge, which is saying something for a work which is barely more than a novella.

Those mysteries as the plot aspires to contain, such as the revelation of the friend's disappearance and apparently ransacked home, turn out to be massively deflating and of the snigger behind the hand variety.
I have read some quality dream reality, time shifting, work recently, some which I like some which I don't, and this extension of dream reality to include virtual reality does not achieve even pale imitation status.
If the author truly aspires to write quality work in that genre there is a lot of talented writing out there to live up to.
Equally there appears to be a nod to American Physcoesque character description whereas in Easton Ellis' classic there is serious purpose and attention to detail, in Spidersilk the descriptive narrative is trite and banal.

I received this book with genuine interest and gratitude, as I enjoy new work and variety in my reading. The hope was for something smart and fast paced, it being just 87 pages in length, yet it turned out to be 87 pages too long.
I don't get any pleasure out of writing a negative review and was brought up not be be hurtful, however, as with so much art these days, whether written, drawn, painted, photographed, we can now easily put our work out there for consumption with few if any critical barriers before publication, and in so doing we have to be prepared for what comes our way, whether we choose to agree or not, and yet sometimes junk art has its place and finds a market, therefore I fully expect there may be those who can enjoy Spidersilk, it remains to be seen.

As an amateur reviewer I am conscious that I get things wrong, and very willing to be challenged and educated as to my shortcomings, however in the case of Spidersilk the flaws in the writing are so serious that any plot misunderstandings I may have seem of little or no consequence, which really is a shame. ( )
  DekeDastardly | May 28, 2013 |
Mark Khiop is a highly successful, creative contractor who develops video game worlds. To Mark, these games are more like an alternate thread of reality he is designing. However, Mark and his friend’s plans reach beyond the virtual world. They have long been exploring very real lucid dream environments, including repeatedly interacting with each other on the dreamscape. Like an interesting video game, there seems to always be something worth exploring in the dreamscape.
While Mark explores the people and places, one cannot help but wonder if there are more dimensions, more threads to reality? Apparently, Mark is not the only one exploring as they soon find out. Mysterious thieves begin stealing small items which soon leads to disappearing people. Where do they go, and why? While Mark and his friends attempt to find the reasoning to the thefts, Mark lands a new contract. Mark’s new contract may have a connection to these thieves making Mark a possible future target.
Will Mark and friends avoid disappearing at the hands of the new mysterious thieves? Will Mark discover more about the mysterious people and connections he is attempting to explore? Will Mark connect to a newly discovered party of interest across unknown dimensions of space and time? Hidden subtleties suggest there is a lot more to the realm and the people of Olympus than one might initially think where every person and detail might be worth exploring. ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  akutra.cea | Apr 26, 2013 |
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