My story “Elements of a Successful Exit Broadcast” reviewed

I’ve spotted a couple of reviews out there on the Interwebs for my story “Elements of a Successful Exit Broadcast” in the November issue of Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. I know you’re not supposed to read the things, but I’m a glutton for self-abnegation and never could resist.

Charles Payseur of Quick Sip Reviews has some kind things to say about the story.

There is a great sense something terrible has happened, and that in some ways it takes being in such a situation to give advice on it. That this list is both a manual for others and its own successful exit broadcast. That it follows its own advice, though it slips a bit, as anyone would. That it keeps the pain just under the surface, slipping only momentarily up to show in the quiver of a lip, the hesitation in a word. It’s a gripping story, a very, very short story, and a fine read.

I’ll drink to that! Or I would, if I drank.

Alas and alack, David Wesley Hill of Tangent Online was less than impressed, and reads the story as being about someone who is “concerned about looking good while dying horribly”—not quite what I had in mind with this story, although I suppose it’s a fairly accurate surface level summary.

David does make a good point about this being an implausible set of instructions, but such is the nature of the piece’s second-person conceit. Somewhat more baffling to me is that he spends the rest of the review talking about the authentic smell of burning and/or rancid meat. As he says, “Details count, particularly in a story of 200 words.” And sure, I’ll agree with that. And sure maybe I should have deleted “rancid.” (I will admit that it’s mostly there for rhythm.) All the same, this aspect of David’s review still seems a little over the top to me.

Ah well. You can’t please everybody, right? I think that’s especially true for such a short piece as this one.