The Black Death by Jeani Rector


Tell us what you thought about the May 2008 issue!

Moderator: Editors

Master Critic

Posts: 767

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Johnstown, Pa.

Post May 15, 2008, 08:05:32 PM

The Black Death by Jeani Rector

Very good narration. Easy to read, good English usage, and a great feel for character development.


Elissa found London to be almost overwhelming, and the city bombarded all of her senses with excessive stimulation. Everything appeared to loom larger than life.


In the above passage, show how London made Elissa overwhelmed and show how her senses were bombarded by the many different sounds and sights. And show how everything in London appeared larger than life by her reactions through her senses. And use concrete nouns, specific with some description.

Outside of a few areas in the story where showing should replace telling, I thought the story rather good. And Jeani’s vivid description and detailed explanation placed me in London with Elissa.

Stories about the Black Plague have been with us for centuries, they will continue to be referenced in many stories because the interests in it never wanes.

A bit of Anne Rice in this one and I really did like this story for its beautiful language.

Keep it up Kid, you’re a winner!!
Tesla Lives!!!

Master Critic

Posts: 889

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post May 16, 2008, 06:25:45 AM

The Black Death by Jeani Rector

also liked this one a lot. Elissa was a very sympathetic character, you felt for her and was sad that she had to face so much horror. it must have been a terrible time to live through, although it also probably seems worse through the magnification of history. from a writer's perspective, it takes a lot of guts to attempt writing about times that have already happened, and Ms. Rector's tale didn't seem stereotypical at all - it didn't have that air of trying to match readers' expectations. in other words, it was good and very flowing. the ending can be seen as a bit on the overly optimistic side, but not for me: it felt appropriate after such a dire run.

CCC

Senior Critic

Posts: 258

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post May 16, 2008, 12:50:20 PM

Re: The Black Death by Jeani Rector

This was a very unhappy story.

I knew that the Plague had been a time of terrible trouble and worry and death; but I'd never really thought before about how bad it must have been then.

And the worst of it is that the reactions of the people, the fear, the uncertainty, and what that fear led them to - the worst of it is, it's not only all believable, it probably all happened, in one form or another.

A very well written story.

Master Critic

Posts: 889

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post May 18, 2008, 11:44:43 PM

The Black Death by Jeani Rector

couldn't have been very pleasant living in those places when the disease was running wild. lived in Beijing during SARS and even that one was quite creepy, like driving around town with no traffic, waking to realize my high rise was near empty etc...i'd imagine the black death was like a thousand time worse!
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 845

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee    USA

Post May 19, 2008, 06:55:00 AM

Re: The Black Death by Jeani Rector


I apologize to Megawatts for starting a new thread after he had done so.  I looked at the list and didn't see it. I can do the same thing with a gallon of milk in the refrigerator. Man stuff, I think.

I've deleted my post. Now if Neoadorable (or perhaps the Lord High Technical Wizard, Webmaven?)could delete his, some confusion may be averted. And personally, I think there may be enough of that particular worldwide state, already.

But for your reading pleasure, here's the text of my post, in its entirety:

_______________________________________________
It's good to know that even with society breaking down, the dead not being buried, and sick, starving people looting the streets, the 'public stable' kept her horse alive and serviceable.  It's surprising nobody ate it.

The above is the only true quibble I have with this story.  It was well-structured, with very little distraction from awkward grammar or punctuation mishaps.  


Within the harsh limits of an almost-entirely narrative style, the story held our attention, touched on some basic issues, and allowed the character to grow through adversity and challenge.  All the things a good story is supposed to do, and then some.  It wasn't till the final blurb that I realized that this was a teaser story shilling a larger work, but it was enjoyable, nonetheless.


Some might argue that this is historical, rather than science fiction.  To tell the truth, I can see it either way.  Just putting in the flea/rat/human symptoms to Bubonic Plague doesn't necessarily make it SF, but at least everything was accurate. And who's to say that the sciences of epidemiology, the social science of a society under pandemic plague conditions, and the psychology of both the medieval European merchant class and humanity in general, aren't 'hard' enough for SF?

Sheesh, how many sciences do we need to make it work?

It was a good read, and I enjoyed it.

Bill Wolfe


Last edited by Bill_Wolfe on May 19, 2008, 06:58:41 AM, edited 1 time in total.
"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."

Senior Critic

Posts: 263

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: California

Post May 19, 2008, 02:21:31 PM

Re: The Black Death by Jeani Rector

A well crafted Dark Ages tale replete with biological and historical accuracy (when I was in school the plague bug was still called Pasteurella pestis). A morality play of sorts, with Elissa losing and then regaining her faith. The prologue was a bit reminiscent of that in Stephen King's plague novel, The Stand.

gino

Master Critic

Posts: 767

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Johnstown, Pa.

Post May 19, 2008, 05:59:58 PM

Re: The Black Death by Jeani Rector

Hey bill, I overlooked things many'a times. Like I forgot to pick up my wife once!! Well, maybe twice! Well....
Tesla Lives!!!

Master Critic

Posts: 889

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post May 23, 2008, 04:46:56 AM

The Black Death by Jeani Rector

mega, the less we know about that the better...

as for Bill's public stables comment, well true, but yours strictly adheres to the "what happens in fiction, stays in fiction" mantra, which means i won't tie fictional events to what we know and expect in this world.

but sure it stood out, i mean, the horse was just waiting there, all ready to go. it's like in videos games - GTA IV has you smashing cars left and right, but just park them in your home spot and they get miraculously fixed.

surprised no one at it...good one Bill.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 845

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee    USA

Post May 23, 2008, 11:21:03 AM

Re: The Black Death by Jeani Rector

.  .  .the "what happens in fiction, stays in fiction" mantra, which means i won't tie fictional events to what we know and expect in this world.



Interesting comment, that.  I'm not really sure what it means.

To me, a blaring, unexplained inconsistency like the horse just waiting at the public stable after a tight, well-paced description of how society was falling apart, distracts me from the story.  I actually went back to see if I missed something that might explain why that might be.  Needless to say, when I got back to that part of the story, I had to 'get back in the mood,' so to speak.

Nothing wrong with making the reader think, but they shouldn't be booted from the storyline by something that jus' plain ole don't make no sense nohow.

But a story set in the real world should reflect the real world as much as possible.  .  .or at least explain where things are different.  I've noted this before in other stories where writers have people thrown through walls and rise-up unharmed.  That's Hollywood, and in my opinion, not good writing.

Or is this just me?

Bill Wolfe
"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."

Master Critic

Posts: 889

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post June 04, 2008, 06:11:01 AM

The Black Death by Jeani Rector

sorry for the belated post, Bill...it's not just you btw, most people would agree that stories need to take our reality into account, otherwise the storyteller runs the risk of losing their audience and otherwise coming across as a goofball or total liar. suspension of disbelief i guess it a compromise in this regard, and i know what you're saying re: the public stables.

however, and while i also had the same reaction initially, you gotta always put story first and make concessions to that. this is why i say whatever happens in fiction stays in fiction...if in this version of 14th century England public stables are totally inviolate, i have to accept that as a reader, just like i accept this mysterious gravity that present in pretty much every piece of ship-borne SF, for example.

Commenter

Posts: 3

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post June 19, 2008, 12:57:56 PM

Re: The Black Death by Jeani Rector

Hello.  I'm Jeani Rector, the author of THE BLACK DEATH.  I want to thank all of you for your very nice comments, and also for the constructive criticism about the public horse stable.  I needed to hear that...it was an oversight on my part and you can bet I will be more careful to proof my work in the future!  :)  Keep up the great comments on this site; I love Aphelion and its readers.

As you know, THE BLACK DEATH is a compiliation of parts of my novel titled WE ALL FALL DOWN which is available on Amazon.  Again, thanks for your comments.

Please feel free to contact me any time through my website www.opengravenovel.com

Jeani Rector

Return to May 2008

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware.