Book Jacket

 

rank 78
word count 22139
date submitted 31.03.2010
date updated 21.08.2012
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Popular ...
classification: adult
incomplete

Firewall

Freddie Harte

When what's virtual becomes real and vice versa.

 

Real life revolves around compromise for Mark Weir. He lives with his partner, the long-suffering Katie, but dreams of Violet. Then, one day, he hears Violet has lost her short-term memory in a car accident and now spends the majority of her time in the virtual world of Second Life. Mark creates himself an avatar, Bysshe, who, without him quite willing it, becomes female. Together Mark and Bysshe set off together into this new dimension in pursuit of lost love. Frustrated however by their failure to track down Violet, they hire a virtual private detective to find her. Tobias Hives charges $20,000 in Second Life currency for his services but does his job. Violet’s avatar is called Alaya Twine.
Alaya Twine spends her time in a roleplaying underworld known as Gor. Here, torture, rape, bondage, slavery and male supremacy are dramatised with relish through the costumed avatars and their animations.
When Mark finds himself face to face with Violet after seven years of estrangement he is a female slave and she is the prisoner of a woman with SS boots and a whip with whom she is engaging in cybersex. He makes the decision not to reveal his true identity.

 
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Sly80 wrote 1485 days ago

I quickly recalled just how bloody entertaining and amusing this is, reminding me of many a happy hour spent in WoW in the company of swarthy strong men and lithe beautiful women who were, more often than not, spotty thirteen-year-old boys, 'u r turning me on. lol.' (I think you may have a full stop or two too many there). Raine is an example of Second Life in reality. 'One of those songs I wanted to listen to again from the beginning long before it ended', I'm sure I must have mentioned that the first time around. BTW Is there any reason why some of the text 'dialogue' in Second Life has speech marks, and some hasn't?

The switches from the profound to the mundane and back are dizzying, 'as impersonal and all-encompassing as the sky at night', to, 'Old Trafford on a Champions League night' (not saying which is which). 'I could feel a computerised affection begin to grow between the two tiny heartless bloodless female figures on my screen', nice, plus I like it I'm not the only one to miss out commas when they really aren't needed. 'I began to look down on all the avatars who weren't VIPs', LOL. Then the contrast with his father's imminent death, so clearly expressed that we have no option but to experience it for ourselves, 'such relentless pleading intensity'.

Freddie, thank you for giving me the opportunity to read this again. I enjoyed and admired it even more the second time. The range of emotions explored here is staggering, from belly laughs to desolation, and the language is that of a past master. It will be published, just a matter of when.

glot wrote 299 days ago

My favourite lines from chapter one =
“Her new body causes her no apparent distress though it quickly solicits propositions from a succession of gloating, foul-mouthed, barrel-chested males.”

“The night sky to which she pays no attention contains some unblinking galactic debris but there is no turbulence in the atmosphere to make the stars wink.”

“Half way through a cigarette I am already craving a new one. Contentment, it would appear, is wasted on me. It scares me or I find I am not quite ready for it and want to return to the moment prior to its arrival.”

“The bus was stuck in traffic. It was shuddering like a fat animal that’s just been shot by a tranquilliser dart.”

Lots of great writing and wonderfully kooky.

dodo whip wrote 343 days ago

Read the first chapter. Superbly well written with lots of humour and telling observation.

Ludmilla Herzog wrote 352 days ago

super entertaining and exceptionally well weitten.

DCHedlin wrote 403 days ago

Chapter 1 is smart and entertaining. I liked particularly the writing style and word choice of first full paragraph. I'm not from a megalopolis, though I've lived near London for nearly a year, and visited several others, and read many pieces of fiction about them, but yours works - masses of humanity broken into smaller and smaller units that drift farther apart into little nations of shared consciousness. To be expelled from one would be frightening. Your writing captures the thrill and precariousness of such an existence.

Though much of the writing is very good, there were places that might be tightened up just a bit. For instance, the paragraph beginning, 'By the time I arrived...' is much longer than the rest, and changes the rhythm. The sentence, 'It was shuddering like a fat animal...' is longer than it needs to be, and the sentence near the end of that paragraph, '...sly little technological theft of our autonomy is surreptitiously...' has a redundancy. Surreptitious repeats 'sly' and isn't needed. I'm not sure how to pronounce Bysshe - Bi-she?

Overall, there is a very interesting absence of solid spaces where the mind moves and feeds amidst the virtual with more success than in the real. It reminds me of a conversation I overhead between two 20-something males. One had arranged to meet a girl for coffee and realized that he was late, but he hadn't wrapped his game, so he texted her and gave her an excuse why he wouldn't make it. And both guys thought it had been very funny. He didn't have coffee, and my impression was he didn't wrap. You capture very nicely, and with fluency and smartness, the (in my opinion) terrible ambiguities and ambivalences of our modern world with its 'sly technology'.

Cathy Hardy wrote 498 days ago

Written really well and lows like a dream. Very polished and funny :)

Abby Vandiver wrote 564 days ago

I really am unsure about this book and its story. I guess, then it would classify it as intriguing. It seems out of order. The first paragraphs we find of an avatar made to find Violet. Yet, at this point Violet is not missing. I don't see the point of it. Just write it when it happens. It is not a cliff hanger and just gives away the story. The writing is good. The girlfriend seems to be defined, I didn't like her making me understand his need to find Violet. But he seems weak and not well defined character. I only read the first chapter so maybe we learn more of him later but first impressions are important.

Good job.

Abby

Nanty wrote 577 days ago

Firewall.

This hook hinges on Mark Weir's obssession, which has disabled him from really having any kind of meaningful relationships when he lost the object of his desire. Violet lurks forever within the recesses of his mind. His wife Katie, knowing she is second best, still wants his luke-warm affection. The characters are well drawn, her initial anger subsiding into resignation, with little bursts of resentment are realistic. Mark on the other hand, comes across as a perennially petulant teenager, constantly sorry for himself, for his losses and lack.
Having read all the author has posted on site, which isn't very much, I can see Mark's determination to find Violet, albeit in a virtual plastic world, will propel him into a downward spiral, where all he thinks he has evaporates because of his pursuit. The teasing questions are, in my opinion, if he does find Violet will she be as he thinks she is? Perhaps he'll find he's been chasing rainbows? Maybe, she really is all that, and he's setting himself up for another rejection.
Not having ever seen obsession displayed in quite the same setting, I found this an original and intelligent read. I quite like the flashbacks, though it would be nice if there was some kind of delineating mark to signal this, instead of being jolted into them. Mark's family, and his seeming coldness towards his mother and father, contrasts with his passion for Violet. In need of a little editing, this is well-written and was an enjoyable read.
High stars.

pickarooney wrote 582 days ago

Hi Freddie

Yours was one one of the most fascinating long pitches I've read in a long time. I just had to read some of it based on that. Well done on the concept and the hook. On the other hand the title doesn't evoke much and the cover is very unbecoming.

I've 'played' second life once or twice for a few minutes and it confused the fuck out of me but your descriptions of it are very vivid and I can relate to them. I'm not sure how clear/confusing these scenes are to people unfamiliar with SL.

ch.1

Switch from pluperfect to present in line two. Should really be from simple past to present.
'his burgeoning chest' - is he about to grow breasts?

Bysshe Artaud flew up - change of tense again

Nicely wound up ending and set up for the next chapter


ch. 2

there was an absence of meaning often - often an absence of meaning?

maybe use some sort of paragraph break to distingush between action in game and out

I didn't even bother them comparing them - extra 'them'

I love the use of the shopping trolley - very acute observation

he was only person who looked - missing 'the'


ch. 3

Chapter three is a thing of beauty. I have nothing to say but wow.

It vexes me a little to have to stop reading here for the moment. I'm going to have to throw someone off my shelf for this.


Richard

N J wrote 608 days ago

I've been on the site 3 days - found this on the forums and have just read it all ... it's very entertaining. A unique premise and some fine writing. I don't know how to do these reviews, haven't done much of it before. Five Go Glamping's comment made me laugh though!

Enjoyed this, mate.

Five Go Glamping wrote 612 days ago

Hello Freddie, I am returning the read as promised in the swap from the Foggy Book Club Crit group and couldn't help but notice there doesn't appear to be much fog in what you have uploaded. Perhaps this comes later in the parts that you haven't uploaded yet.
However, despite the absence of fog, I read on and have one or two suggestions. I hope you don't mind, this is just my opinion, so feel free to ignore.
1. I thought perhaps you could introduce some fog in the Second Life scenes . Something along the lines of "There was some fog." or "It was very foggy in Second Life" or "Second Life was quite foggy."
2. If you didn't want to introduce some fog in Second Life, perhaps there could be fog at the dinner party? You could either have "swirls of fog" around the guests at the table or the fog could be outside and "tap at the window". Something like "The fog swirled around outside and tapped at the window, calling their names."
3. It would be great if one of the characters could wear a stetson. Doesn't matter which one.

Emsbabee wrote 619 days ago

This is so incisive. I know very little about Second Life, but you've done a beautiful job of deconstructing this sort of slightly sinister online behaviour. I think your next book should focus on a community of writers paddling around an internet slush pile?

The only criticism I have is that Katie's relaying of Violet's story at the dinner table sounded overly formal. But that's it. I'm hooked. On my shelf for the foreseeable future.

Wezzle wrote 659 days ago

Hello, Freddie.

I enjoyed the mixed up emotions of Mark, never quite getting to the bottom of a woman's mind - and you know, he never will, 'tis what makes us women so alluring!

This was an enjoyable read. Just about everything was mentally assimilated with appreciation and high regard. On my 'to shelve' list :)

Lynn

LittleWhiteWolf wrote 662 days ago

Interesting concept drew me in and the writing got me hooked. I have a bit of a soft spot for arsehole narrators, although his fathers death did illicit some sympathy. I've read halfway through and will be back for more later.

Keith Gilbey wrote 665 days ago

Wow!

KG

Michael Jones wrote 669 days ago

After finishing this I looked up and realised I had become a character in my wife's performance ... she's not happy! We were supposed to go to the pub for lunch but I kept saying 'in a minute' - now it's too late and I'm in Coventry, awful place. And the football's on tonight! Oh well, never mind, eh?

Don't think I need to say anymore, really. An absolute blinder of a read. I wish there was more but obviously, my wife doesn't.

Shelf soonish.

Mick

Sal Barnes wrote 731 days ago

I hadn't thought I'd read much of this, but it really drew me in.

Sal Barnes wrote 732 days ago

This is really well written! I enjoyed the read.

Moonage 7 wrote 779 days ago

Superb writing. Great insights into the human condition. All in all a great read.

Katy Johnson wrote 787 days ago

Firewall

The most stunning aspect of this book is its insight. In such a false and dellusional world, I felt genuine emotion and true understanding. Your MC seems to be the consumate observer, understanding himself and the women in his life better than he may realize.

My favorite chapter was the one depicting the death of his father. I have never read a more realistic narrative on the death of a loved one. The guilt, the awkwardness of an uneventful death; I could truly feel the ache and the emptiness. Very well done.

However, the entire book was full of brilliant observation and analysis. So many times I re-read something becuase it rang so true for me. I have no examples, but I felt this throughout. It seems you either took a very long time to write this, or you are just brilliant. Or both.

Bysshe is awesome. I love her (and your MC's) humor and sarcastic intelligence. It rings true especially for most of us on this site who are annoyed to death by "online english" and texting short-cuts. Your virtual world feels organic and (sadly) true to real life. The fact that Mark found it most appropriate to hide behind a women speaks to not only current online cluture in games such as Second Life, but also to his stalking of Violet. he knows it is incredibly invasive and absurd, but cannot stop. Therefore, he has to make this avatar as opposite to him as possible, because then it's almost like he isn't really doing it. I love it.

Having a shattered and self-defeating MC is a common motiff. Hell, I have one. Yet, Mark is the most authentic one I've read in a non-published novel. Usually, I have to suspend my disbelief when reading through the sordid details of their ridiculous lives - not with Firewall. He reminded me of Johnny Truant from House of Leaves. He is the perfect mix of wit, humor, and self-hatred and deprication. He's perfect.

I truly and honestly have absolutely nothing negative to say.

I wish you the very best of luck with this.

Katy
The Promenade

Kathryn Page wrote 804 days ago

What an excellent idea and you execute it successfully as well. I really like the tone of voice used here and the obsession with a past romance seems realistic and convincing. Very well put together. I look forward to reading on.

Kathryn Page wrote 804 days ago

What an excellent idea and you execute it successfully as well. I really like the tone of voice used here and the obsession with a past romance seems realistic and convincing. Very well put together. I look forward to reading on.

Kim Padgett-Clarke wrote 839 days ago

I found Firewall a very intriguing read. The first line had me hooked straight away! Brilliant opener. Some of it went over my head but it didn't spoil my overall enjoyment of the structure of the story. Your characterisation is very good and your writing style is easy to read so it is a compliment to you that it is still understandable to someone like me who doesn't know much about this Avatar world. I agree with one of the previous comments where it can be risky to write something that is so 'modern' but you have pulled it off very well so it's not a big risk. Well done and six stars. If you want to check out my novel Pain you are very welcome.

Kim (Pain)

northside salta wrote 851 days ago

Sorry to see this has a red arrow. Great book.

peto wrote 859 days ago

Favourite line - "The bus was stuck in traffic. It was shuddering like a fat animal that’s just been shot by a tranquilliser dart." Ha ha.

Lulie wrote 869 days ago

Hi. This is not my kind of thing, but I think the writing's FAB. Really excellent tight, clever, amusing narrative. I particularly like the girls' hair arranged in '...post-coital disarray.' Five stars!
Please take a look at 'Jelly-Boy'; I'd be very grateful.

Jack Hughes wrote 869 days ago

A great concept but I think agents might be a little daunted by it. The setting you create are authentic and well defined, the pace is very good and there is clear strong voice. Excellent work. I think I backed it before, but what the hell, I'll do it again anyway. All the best, Freddie.

Jack H

Diwrite wrote 893 days ago

Really interesting concept for a novel.
We got involved with Second Life at work (digital marketing) a few years back and one of the guys said he ended up having a long conversation with a flying toilet brush.
My only concern with a book based on it would be the timing. I fear Second Life, WoW and similar are becoming out-dated and as such, so would a novel about it. Digital media and entertainment moves so quickly, getting a novel written and published while something is in fashion is always going to be difficult.

All that aside, the writing's good and the flow keeps things moving at a comfortable pace.

Good luck.
Diana
Pascual's Birthday

daveocelot wrote 899 days ago

Hello Freddie,

Came to have a quick scan of your book cos RossClark is always banging on about it (and he usually knows his eggs from his onions) and ended up reading the whole thing. I don't really have any criticism to make other than that its too good.

I felt the same pangs of jealousy I experienced whe I read afe Smiths "Dawn Rising" recently. Just like her, youre able to create not one, but two fully realised worlds - whilst I'm still tearing the gossamer as I attempt to render one completely.

What really shines in your book is the terrible, desperate honesty about male sexuality. And the humour:

"Robert Style's looks like he's been fumigated."

Like the narrator, I have no idea what that means either - but I think it may well be one of the funniest sequences of words I've ever seen.

I don't have anthing else to say on the matter, really, certainly nothing negative or even remotely constructive. Except that Chapter 3 went on a bit, but other than that I think it's excellent and I'm backing it. You bastard.

Dave

Andrew W. wrote 916 days ago

Firewall

I've read quite a bit of this now, interesting stuff.

You have a killer opening line, disorientating and intriguing in equal measure, we're sucked straight into the story. You play the disorientation card well and reveal things at a pace that enables us to enjoy the kooky camera angle without being lost. Zany, 21st century and not like very much I've read before. You do well on the shocking, camera-at-a-strange-angle bit that entices us in, Second Life is a very interesting place to spend some of a novel, although what is done there as well as seedy and escapist, seems quite run-of-the-mill. The dinner round the table is quite mundane, perhaps that is the point, to show how gaudy, colourful and engaging Second Life is compared with the First one.

You have some lovely turns of phrase and good comic timing, the line about him being the Big Brother contestant to be evicted first was a particular favourite. Your characters are dystopia, amoral, difficult to like. Your writing style is kooky and compelling, but at present just too disparate I think to hold things together. Chapter Two contains again some lovely descriptions, the bus as a just tranquilised beast is particularly stand-out as is the notion of the commuters as different species briefly inhabiting the same environment. You have a lovely observation eye and a great way of transforming those observers with just enough detail to evoke a response in the readers mind that engages us, painting strong pictures in our heads.

But back to my point about disparateness, be there such a quality. At present your kooky, crazy narrative feels like its need tightening, not necessarily to remove any of its kookiness - that's great - but to order the storying in a way that the information we need arrives when we need it. Your discursive style is not something you should hide away under a bush, but it does demand behind the scenes a discipline in terms of narrative delivery. Amongst the gorgeous asides and the tangential drift of the plot, I think you need some narrative anchors in each chapter to ensure we are clear, like signposts along the way.

I get he is unhappy. I get he is looking for something, not just Violet or revenge or resolution, but hope too. Your story has a wonderful existential undertow to it rolling away behind the words. His hedonistic, nihilistic, self-destructive personality is revealed through your chaotic approach to storying. It works when we're inside his head. It is also a moral tale, a warning. But at present I need some simple ideas embedded in my psyche as the reader, you do this well in the pitch, but it doesn't convert to the narrative proper as yet. I wonder if we it might be interesting to miss out the dinner party bit completely and go straight to the bus ride and the titilating glimpse of Violet (or not). You might argue that the dinner party embeds him in the now, shows the flow of the river of life on from the relationship, but I wonder if you can conjure, through the running condensation on the windows of the London bus some reflective stuff where he takes us by the hand into his Past Life (with Violet). He is such a strong narrative voice and it is after all his personality and its break-down, its virtualisation, that is the focus of the book. I wanted more of him in the narrative, more claustrophobia. He sells the story, he is the story, we should spend all of our time with him, even when he is being a her!

Of course, it is very impertinent of me, I've only read a bit and all those bit players are probably very important to. I suppose, very unclearly, all I am saying is he is a great character, there is a great modern, post-modern actually, premise running here and the more time we spend only in his head the more it piles on the sense of obsession, claustrophobia and delusion you're after, it'll sharpen some of those narrative elements too.

Perhaps some of that was useful, but equally perhaps not, what I'm clear on is that you write very well and I will be supporting you within a week or so with a thread in the forum.

Best wishes and good luck, clever, experimental stuff.
Andrew W
(Benevolence)

K.T.Bowman wrote 946 days ago

I stumbled across this book by accident and got hooked in. I love how the whole SL aspect is explained but not in so much detail that it becomes boring. It feels obvious what's going on, but at the same time there's enough mystery to keep things interesting.

The descriptions of people especially are great, and I like how the action is both obviously online but also given personality and interaction. I think the only thing I didn't enjoy about this so far was the interlude regarding the death of Mark's father. I just didn't care much - I was far more interested in returning to Mark's journey to find Violet, and although I wouldn't presume to tell you what's important in your own book, I do get the feeling that you could easily cut out most of that section and stick to the real story without it taking anything away from the book.

It was my honest intent not to rate or back anyone until I had my own 10,000 words up, but your book feels like something I could have picked up in Waterstones and bought, so you're going to be the first person on my shelf.

Helianthus wrote 948 days ago

This is so, so clean and so, so good. I can hardly say much else.
I've played online games extensively, so maybe I get it in a way that someone who hasn't played them wouldn't... but I doubt it. I suspect anyone could understand this, once they got a bit knitted in with the idea. You move from the second life to the first one and back smoothly, like whipped butter over toast.
I am just aching to read more of this.

zb etc wrote 949 days ago

Terrific stuff. Backed.

KGleeson wrote 962 days ago

I deferred returning just so I would have the time to really savour this next chapter and I'm glad I did. Through some very clever dialogue and narrative structure this novel plays on our own voyeuristic tendencies while we oberve the main character's troubling desire to hunt down his old girlfriend who know longer has a memory. Does he have a second chance now that she can't remember why she broke up with him? This is a man who has the "firewall" the risk averse gene that won't alow him to fully participate in life. It stands to reason that that a virtual avatar would be the only way he could ever approach his old girlfriend, and he is so risk averse he must do so as a female avatar. In this chapter we the reader enter the virtual world with him and though we are constantly and cleverly reminded that Bysshe is just an avatar ("I turned her body around") we can't help but feel and interact with the action. Like a reader who escapes into fiction as we are doing here, the main character becomes Bysshe and goes off on his quest. For really what is this but an old quest novel in which the hero hopefully will be changed for the better by the obstacles he encounters? But despite all of this there are some lovely sinister undertones that, like good sci fi, show us what might be, and what is really already here and troublesome. These ethics, these morals and values that are blasted constantly by the eye blinkingly rapid changing world we live in.

There is so much to like about this novel, it is well polished and structurally interesting and complicated in a confident manner with characters that are firmly grounded :). In such a well written narrative I found only two little nitty type sentences that I wouldn't ordinarily mention but in such high quality writing they do come across a little awkwardly. One is in the sentence before you write "It was a childhood feeling that was being restored to me. "That of..." You have that in the one before and then begin "That of" in the next sentence. I would suggest you just make them one sentence with a semi colon and drop the "that of" that begins the second part. The other sentence is "I could feel the strain in her neck of her determination not to cast..."

Just wanted to get these comments down and I will hopefully return to this and finish it off some time. Highly starred. Kristin

KGleeson wrote 965 days ago

I think it was Ross' shelf that I saw this first. As usual he gets to the good ones and I see to come along later. Yes it must be Ross because this is a high quality novel that explores the theme of obsession. Just based on the first chapter (I'll be back for more tomorrow) the narrator has already persuaded me that his obssession is justified. With deft use of dialogue and a few well chosen words of description it is more what the narrator doesn't say that so cleverly persuades the reader that Violet is a woman worth pursuing by any means possible. From the opening passage the reader understands that this is not going to be the usual kind of persuit, but one that will take him into areas where morals and ethics are still very grey and so the reader is not absolutely certain how to judge such approaches and what the dangers, if there are any, might be. There is just enough in the first scene to suggest it, but we the reader aren't sure. But there is certainly enough to make us read on. Kristin

Dedalus wrote 977 days ago

Hi Freddie,

Ross Clark recommended this book to me and I am very glad to have read some. I'm writing this review based on the first three chapters.

I thought this was excellent for the most part. A really fresh and novel idea and one that you articulated very well. It was a very romantic idea and I really liked that. I think it stands you in excellent stead and offers a very intriguing story that I'm sure a lot of people, including myself, could relate to.

I thought the divide and then closeness between the virtual and real worlds was very well illustrated and conveyed throughout the novel. The language used was intelligent and very precise throughout. I cannot fault you on any aspect. The structure of the story was very well managed and how you conveyed the characters in it from how Mark uses computer language like "firewall" to convey his feelings; Violent's "unrelenting intimacy with life" (this bit describing Violet was very well brought into the story); how Mark consigns things to the past to become intimate with it was particularly good. They were all very artful and subtle and really made the story a cut above a lot of other work on this site.

While I think this was excellent and above the standard of most people on here, I do have a couple of quibbles in that for a time in chapter two I was sorely tempted to just skip towards the end as we were becoming bogged down in detail of the Second Life which I felt was not conveying any important, necessary or particularly interesting information to me. My interest returned when the search was being undertaken and that girl was recruited. Then I actually did skip several paragraphs in the third chapter after Mark had texted Violet, because it was too broken, I knew what was going to happen and it just seemed repetitive from everything already. I think the whole meaning of this (his dependence on Violet and long lasting feelings for her) became lost as you continued to focus on the dying father and moved away from Violet. I didn't feel at odds in rejoining the story when the emphasis had returned to Violet. I really do think you should alter the story to maintain the focus on Violet after the text, because we know the grim end, we know the feelings - but we don't know the Violet thing and what happens there.

That was the major problem I had which did give a negative impact to the novel for me. The only other problem I had was in the beginning of chapter two where ONLY there did I find it hard to discern when you were talking about the real world and Second Life. That moment was at its worst when you describe the girl at the bar stool and then the next paragraph is him leaning back in his chair. I was thinking as I went through that the novel would look a lot more friendly and interesting if you used a different font when dealing with the cyber world and then the regular one for the real world - but then it isn't entirely necessary either, but would possibly make for easier reading.

Some very minor things are that the conversation after "own private drain" was immediately clear who was speaking to who. "french windows" is a type, I think - French. "Was I by spying on her" I found to be very awkward.

Otherwise this was an excellent novel and I think that message may have been lost when I was describing the problems I found. They weren't major issues, but perhaps ones you should consider. But then this is only my opinion and I am most likely in the minority. But I felt I should be honest in my delivery and let you know the problems I had as well as how much I enjoyed it.

Any complaints or questions, do feel free to message me.

Joe

Norton Stone wrote 978 days ago

Assured. I was impressed with the writing. "A formal composition of sharp edges, rinsed acrylic colours, and thin vinyl outlines." I don't care that I cannot quite imagine it, but the sound of it is clean, without repetition, and it has a perfect length and rhythm. An original story as well! There is something a little bit 'now' about this that could give it a real chance with publishers. I am sure you are pushing hard in that direction. You may get to where you're headed quicker by that route.
Excellent work.
Norton

smgonline wrote 986 days ago

Your writing is brilliant. When I read into the second chapter I started to feel any grievances I have with this are purely because the setting of the story is not for me. I like your plot, and the way you got us into the head of the main character is chapter 1 is purely down to brilliant writing and emphatic description of everyday emotions. Unfortunately, for my taste, the stuff that takes place inside Second Life comes off as overly grandiose in comparison...but I'm willing to guess that's the intended effect. In any case, I only felt to comment because I like the writing style and best of luck with it.

Wolf DeVoon wrote 991 days ago

WL'd for future read and comment.

Rajinish Gupta wrote 995 days ago

A very interesting concept. I read the premise and loved it and hence backed it. Will take more time to read and come back with comments!!!

Rajinish Gupta

Rose Bridgeman wrote 1017 days ago

Lively, topical, funny and extremely well written.

Dave Wiltshire wrote 1018 days ago

backed on Orlando's recommendation *bows*

Richard Fenton wrote 1019 days ago

Backed on my dear friend, Orlando's say so. Will read more anon.

katie78 wrote 1019 days ago

i've had your book on my watchlist for awhile but i kept looking past it because of the cover. i get it; it's an avatar. but it seems somewhat... cheesy? the pitch drew me in and there's nothing cheesy about the writing. this is a polished first chapter. i noticed some missing commas (2 in the first 3 lines), but that was it.

i enjoyed the opening and how it highlights how unusual these internet 'realities' are.

i liked the way you build the tension at the dinner table. you've created a relatable scene by making the girlfriend have this weird need to embarrass herself via her boyfriend with this sort of overshare. i know this woman. it's more believable because it is distinct and slightly unusual, but real.

the opening refers to katie as 'my partner', which led me to assume the mc is a lesbian. i don't know your mc's gender until she refers to him as mark.

i caution you about song lyrics because i hear it can be a nightmare to get publishing rights.

my favorite part was his musings on contentment. the half-gone cigarette. i know this guy! i think i dated him... this is a genius glimpse into his head. it helps us as the story goes on to have this insight on how he ticks.

there's a great balance between external and internal, nice vivid physical description. it moves along quickly and i'm interested to read on.

great job.

Alex Simples wrote 1023 days ago

Wow now this caught my eye, just the idea that there are worlds out there that have been created and that we can enter through our PC's and live in is in itself a scarey propersition. I do remember seeing an episode of CSI NY dealing with a death in second life virtual worlds but as long as you steer away from that then you should be cool

The writing is really quite effortless which makes it more of a page turner for a reader like me.

Well done

Walden Carrington wrote 1037 days ago

Freddie,
Firewall has an intriguing plot due to its originality. It's so modern-day to someone who reads historicals which precede the Internet. This story sheds light on how the Internet has changed the world and affected people's relationships with others. Mark's pursuit of Violet in virtual reality could not have been possible some decades ago which makes Firewall a very unusual account and creates an interesting story I could not have imagined before the first time I went on the Internet.

Walden Carrington
Titanic: Rose Dawson's Story

Porta Rossa wrote 1048 days ago

Excellent stuff.

Porta Rossa wrote 1048 days ago

Excellent stuff.

Crispy wrote 1050 days ago

Hi Freddie

Thanks first of all for backing Marking Time. I've returned your backing and have now had time to read a couple of chapters of Firewall. The first thing I noticed was your flair for imagery. The comment that the Taliban fighters face was the sort that your character would want to have painted in oils, was very vivid. I can imagine the deeply lined face and the piercing eyes looking reprovingly from the notice board.

Having read Chapters 1 and 2 I would have to say I am not sure when the character is in Second Life or the real world, though suspect that this is a deliberate device to merge the worlds together. The words "A firewall comes up in me when anything unheralded threatens to enter my system. I say no to most things in life." gives a clear sign that for once he is not saying no and will pursue Violet into Second Life.

A great piece of writing!

Good luck
Crispy

andrewmcewan wrote 1051 days ago

His beady magnified eyes? I give up...

talitha S wrote 1052 days ago

Different. Fresh. Unique. Funny. Am I missing something in life? This amazing novel tells me I must be.

I love the writing. The flexible style suits the various characters, and the dialogue is fab. Fantastic pace.

Most entertaining. Backed with pleasure.

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