CSFF Blog Tour – MindFlights, Day 2

We’re continuing the CSFF Tour for MindFlights, but I want to make an announcement first. This month we’ve been taking nominations for the Clive Staples Award. Although I’m sure there are other fans of speculative fiction who aren’t yet aware of the award and would like to include a nomination, I think we’ll have to set a deadline so we can get on with the judging. So, last day for nominations will be June 15.

And now, back to MindFlights.

Today I read one of the short stories offered and thought I’d give a review of it. Because I’m a fantasy fan, I chose “The Other’s Mission” by Matthew Wuertz.

Summary. The story mirrors a missionary story, with a person from another place coming to tell a people group the Truth. Even though it is recognizable, I didn’t find it predictable. Wuertz hooked me from the opening by creating a likable point of view character and a likable protagonist.

Strengths. I already mentioned the strong opening that pulled me into the story and the appealing characters that made me care. Wuertz also created a world I could easily imagine. Without stopping the action he provided vivid descriptions. He also created a strong central conflict that drove the story, and he added increasing tension and suspense. So even though I knew the direction the story was going, I wanted to see how it played out.

The theme was clear and strong but Wuertz avoided the dread “preachiness” of authorial instruction or explanation to his readers.

Finally, the writing was strong. Nothing jarred my inner ear or pulled me from the story. His similes were appropriate for the culture and character he created.

Weakness. I liked this story so much, it’s hard for me to think of something to point to here. One way Wuertz could strengthen the story would be to include description appealing to all the senses. Mind you, I felt like I knew this world, these people, but I am a visual person, so it was easy for me to “see” them as Wuertz described them. But looking back, I noticed places where an appeal to other senses would have sharpened the scene. For example, the smell of the ogres or a word about how the POV character felt, especially when he fell.

Recommendation. If “The Other’s Mission” is representative of the stories in MindFlights, then this publication is going for high quality. Highly recommend you take time to read this story and others you’ll find in the genre of your choice.

Don’t forget to stop by other blogs discussing MindFlights:

*Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Kameron M. Franklin
Beth Goddard
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Michael Heald
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Kait
Carol Keen
*Mike Lynch
Terri Main
Margaret
Pamela Morrisson
*John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Rachelle
**Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Mirtika or Mir’s Here
Rachelle Sperling
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
*Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Linda Wichman
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Bold type indicates a site I know has posted.
An * indicates “must read” content.
** “Must read” content, an intriguing discussion you might want to join

3 Comments

  1. I liked “The Other’s Mission” as well – for many of the same reasons. It was a solid story of friendship and sacrifice without being heavy-handed in its message. The setting was intriguing – primitive, almost Amazonian, and so when ogres were introduced I assumed they were just the name of some foreign beast that preyed on the humans – had a bit of mystery to it. But then the story mentioned dwarves and that threw me out a bit. I wasn’t picturing this world as a fantasy world at all – but more a different time and place. So overall, very solid, but could have eliminated the dwarves reference and it would have been just fine, imo.

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  2. Rebecca, thank you for your review. I find it very encouraging, and I appreciate the time you put into it. You make an excellent point about appealing to the other senses, and this is something I will try to be more aware of in future works. Keep up the excellent work of spotlighting Christian literature and tying blogs together for this common purpose.

    Lyn, as to your comment about the dwarves, I can understand how that might throw readers for a loop. I was trying to share more of the ogres’ background and how it related to the families in Yirte. I’m also tying this story into the larger fantasy world beyond Yirte, a world that was partially built by my other publications in The Sword Review.

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  3. Hi, Lyn, thanks for adding your feedback. The dwarves didn’t bother me nor did the ogres. I didn’t find the latter to be so different from orcs of Lord of the Rings. And in a fantasy I expected fantasy elements.

    Matthew, I’m glad you stopped by. Thanks for the comment. The cool thing about MindFlights is that we readers can give this kind of feedback and receive your response right there in the forums. It’s very cool.

    Blessings on your writing.

    Becky

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