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Thaddeus Howze's picture

The Demon Chef

By Thaddeus Howze in Teleport Us

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Enigmatic aliens violently recruit Gen Shishio to an older family vocation.


lspieller's picture
lspieller from Los Angeles February 22, 2013 - 11:02pm

nice work. you can tighten up your prose a bit by elimating words like "so" and "very," and catching unnecessary repeitition of words in a given sentence. However, you've got a nice character here and I enjoyed the world building. thumbs up.

You're welcome to check out my story if you get a chance :) It's called Gizmo

Thaddeus Howze's picture
Thaddeus Howze from Earth is reading Jim Butcher: Storm Front February 23, 2013 - 11:50pm

Thank you for the read. I see there is a lot on the site to keep people's interest. I am happy you took the time. I will likely rewrite your suggestions in when I can get a moment from my submissions schedule. I need to submit four before the month is out. 

Thanks again. I will check out your tale when my schedule frees me for more than time to eat...

Laura Keating's picture
Laura Keating from Canada is reading The Aleph and Other Stories February 23, 2013 - 11:35am

Great characters, and cleanly written. Really excellent. I now really want a Walker in my city! I can see how this could easily be part of a bigger story but while it is on it's own I think you can leave out the "Part 1" and it's introduction sub :)
Nicely done!


Thaddeus Howze's picture
Thaddeus Howze from Earth is reading Jim Butcher: Storm Front February 23, 2013 - 11:54pm

Thank you for taking the time to read. I know time is your most precious resource. This story is part of a series of stories on my website called Hub City Blues. I will edit it for the inclusion in this event as soon as I get a free moment.

Thanks again. I will check out your piece when my schedule clears up in a day or two. 

Rob Pearce's picture
Rob Pearce from Cambridge, England is reading Lots of unpublished stuff and short story collections February 24, 2013 - 2:17pm

Some good ideas and I liked the concept of Hub City and Walker. I wasn't overly enamoured with the plot (once the actual plot gets going it's not actually science fiction, is it, but supernatural fantasy). Also there's a lot of inconsistency of tense and repeated "almost", "very", "so" and the like. I found the preliminary ("Part the first:" etc.) to be annoyingly pretentious and completely redundant. Quite a lot of the early narrative is infodump, and while the info is quite interesting (as I said, I like the Hub City concept) it's not relevant to the plot.

Thaddeus Howze's picture
Thaddeus Howze from Earth is reading Jim Butcher: Storm Front February 24, 2013 - 7:18pm

Thanks for the read and the review, Rob Pearce. As far as infodumping is concerned, I recognize it can't be helped when you are making a setting that has never been seen, and is difficult to imagine. All is not as it appears in Hub City.

As far as what appears to be magic, Clarke, second and third laws apply. 

2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

As far as the "annoyingly pretentious and completely redundant" part is concerned, that was not the intent. I will make edits when my time permits.

Rob Pearce's picture
Rob Pearce from Cambridge, England is reading Lots of unpublished stuff and short story collections February 25, 2013 - 4:12am

Fair enough, but on the Clarke rejoinder I would reference Orson Scott Card on rejection by Analog, the essence of which was "I was offended! It WAS science fiction! And then I re-read it. They were right - only I, as author, could hope to tell it wasn't magic."

Joe P's picture
Joe P from Brainerd, MN is reading Pet Sematary February 26, 2013 - 5:13am

A few things distracted me from an otherwise decent story.  First, you switch between present and past tense several times.  It's got to be one or the other.  Second, I don't think it qualifies as Sci-fi, even if it takes place far in the future.  Also, I couldn't help but wonder if that was your art at the top of the story.  If it is, I'm impressed.  It not, you better give credit where credit is due and name the artist. 

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. March 5, 2013 - 9:29pm
Nicely done!  I like the idea of Shishio being conscripted by a collection of demon like entities.  Just out of curiosity are you a fan of Rurouni Kenshin?  There was a character named Shishio Makoto and I couldn't help wondering if the name was an easter egg.  The supernatural element of the story didn't bother me.  There are numerous examples of the two realms mixing in sci-fi.  Heck, you could say some of the science in sci-fi is little more than magic going by a different name.  
A few minor editing things that caught my attention:
  • Missing word at "as placed the tray" on page 7
  • Page 8: "I also remembered what fugu was also known for."  That needs to be revised.  In fact, that whole paragraph could use a read through and edit.
  • I have to agree, there were a number of tense mix-ups throughout the story.

Overall, the story needs a few more edit cycles, but is definitely a good read.

Nice Work!

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) March 9, 2013 - 4:08am

Some great ideas here, and I'd be interested in reading further about Hub City.  Once I finish reading the contest entries, I may well find my way over to your website to read more.  I'm not sure this worked as a short story though.  It's interesting, but there is little tension because we know in the first paragraph that he is going to die.  There is also a lot of background and set up in a short space of time, which is understandable given you clearly have put a lot of time into developing this world, but is harder going in a short piece.  I enjoyed the food angle, and the Eastern influence.  There is a strong sense of place, which is great. 

If you haven't already read it, you might like Bad Signal which is another contest entry with a similarly large universe with Eastern influences.  It's on page 2 of the contest (not my story sadly).

Thaddeus Howze's picture
Thaddeus Howze from Earth is reading Jim Butcher: Storm Front March 9, 2013 - 5:07pm

Thank you all for you reads and suggestions, I have been busy burning the midnight oil at my day job so I have not had a chance to get back here and respond. All of your suggestions have been heard and perhaps this was NOT the best story for this particular event. All in all, I appreciate everyone's time and energy and will look at editing this work in the future.

Yes, I have tense issues. I am an autistic and sometimes all time is the same to me. I have to consciously make an effort to remember how time needs to appear in print. My other challenges include:

  • Tracking time in the flow of the story, past to present
  • The structure of casual speech, I do not use it and have to remember real people don't talk like I do.
  • remembering to use contractions. I have such a hard time with that. I learned to read english phonetically and contractions were not used. I only noticed it when I started writing. Yikes!

Your critiques remind me I need to focus on these issues harder (and maybe hire a patient editor) who help me past these problems.

Thanks again. I will show up for a few more of your piece in the coming week. I have a couple  of days off.