Book Jacket


rank 1478
word count 28094
date submitted 16.08.2012
date updated 22.09.2012
genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, ...
classification: moderate

When Both Sides Surrender

Scott Devon

We gave weapons a sense of morality to keep us safe. Now our enemy is growing their own bullets and nothing is safe.


Organics have changed the world. Self-aware weapons grown from seed and given a moral code to protect the innocent. A perfect system of control keeps the weapons safe, or so we thought.

For now, somewhere in the city, new bullets are being grown beyond our control. Bullets that believe that we are guilty as charged. So when the first body is found Special Agent Peterson is given forty-eight hours to find this new bullet farm and shut it down. But Peterson doesn’t know that he has just become involved in war far larger than anything he can imagine. For Peterson soon realises that this new enemy has permeated everything, law enforcement: government and perhaps even his own family.

Who can be trusted? Who is what they seem? Peterson must answer these and many more questions as he struggles to find and stop a man who wishes to break the back of God himself. For if Peterson fails then none of us will survive, and God will be only a memory.

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lostprincess13 wrote 539 days ago

I saw your book posted on the Sci Fi group and decided to give it a read. It's a very unique story. Crime solving mixed with science fiction. I love it. One suggestion though, maybe making chapter one a bit shorter. Very nicely done though. Best of luck with it.
-Julie Rainey
The Journey Home

JMF wrote 547 days ago

A return read.
Well, this is interesting and different - I haven't read anything like it before. I have read the first chapter. I did find it quite long - I'm not sure if this is because it's on the screen or if it is actually long, but you may want to look at it. You cover a lot of ground and I think it would work better if it were broken up a little bit more. Having said that I found the subject matter quite intriguing, although at times rather confusing (the end of the chapter, in particular). I don't know enough about the science fiction genre to comment much more than this and it is perhaps not a book I would choose to pick up and read. Nonetheless, you have a good writing style and I wish you well with it.
Shadow Jumper

AudreyB wrote 561 days ago

Hi, there – this is your return review from AudreyB. I am often accompanied on my reviews by my English teacher alter-ego, The Grammar Hag. If I say anything you don’t like, it was probably her idea.

After reading your pitches, I am not sure what this book will be about. The sp is fine, but the lp introduces too many diverse ideas without giving us enough of an idea what they mean. Organics? My mind wanders to fruits and veg. Organic bullets…that will get me thinking along the right lines. Then we’ve got this special agent, who is tasked with shutting down the bullets. OK, so it’s a thriller. But then we get two references to God in the final paragraph. So I am not sure if I’m looking at sci-fi, a thriller, or a morality tale. If it’s all three, the ideas haven’t been linked well enough to whet my appetite.

“…like his arrival…” should be as if.

“…even now, at ninety-eight…” this usage made me think of age rather than number of bodies. There are many ways to fix it; I’ll leave that to you.

“…laying before him white and certain…” should be lying.

Now that I’m into this first chapter, I can see that the premise of organic bullets that self-destruct has wonderful possibilities. And I’m very curious to know what dream-training might be.

“…three body scanners, two weapons scanners, plus a retinal scan…” This phrase jumped out at me as being clunky but I am not able to say why. Perhaps I was looking for a number rather than ‘a.’ Perhaps the 3-2-1 construction seemed unlikely.

He had so many shadows dancing as he moved… This is the place for a strong image, so we get an idea of what this place is like. The one you’ve got isn’t quite pulling it off. The following sentences, however, are excellent!!

This is totally not my thing, but your ideas are fascinating!! Bullets that grow on trees. Swords that blunt when an innocent person touches them. I’ve never read anything like this.

The word er is an interjection. It’s usually got a comma before and after.

The plural of Wood is Woods. No apostrophe.

(You know, even though I don’t read this genre, I watch tons of it. I love police procedurals and TV detectives. Weird, how we develop these random preferences.)

Is your first chapter unusually long? I feel I’ve been reading it for a very long time. If it’s fairly long, you might want to consider breaking it into chunks.

When Matthews does the search that takes over three hours, you tell us how long it took and then tell us what she did while waiting. I think you want to show us how bored she gets while waiting, and *then* give us the info on how long it took. Also—it seems like she’d have a few backup tasks to do while waiting for a search. We all have tasks we can turn to when we’re stuck on hold, such as completing paperwork or organizing a desk drawer.

I wish I knew more about this genre so I could say this with confidence, but to me it seems you have all the makings of a strong seller here. Organic bullets seem like a possible natural outgrowth of the kinds of technology we do have today with GM crops and so on, and police/detective stories have timeless appeal. The mistake many writers and movie-makers tend to make is that they align the moral of their story to personal politics. If you can keep the moral in the realm of morals (vs. what is Caesar’s), the story will remain gripping no matter the political climate.

Forgiveness Fits

MauriceR wrote 563 days ago

SF42 review

Hi Scott

This is quite a slow starter, which you don’t normally get on the attention-grabbing competition that is Authonomy. The opening scene of a detective called to a body is very generic - which has the advantage that it doesn’t need a lot of description as we all know the scene from movies and so on, but it does flirt with cliché.
A slow start can be a sign of your confidence in your writing, but I was still a little uncertain what to make of it at this point.
Then the scene at the bullet farm. I guess this comes down to a matter of opinion: mine is that tech stuff like this is better under-explained, or at least left until later. That way creates more intrigue. There is nothing overtly wrong with this section, and it has some good lines like the space ship in the cricket ground, but not really enough to give it any X factor. It didn’t really grab my attention.
The story didn’t really hit its stride for me until after that, especially once he got to the sewer. I like your dialogue a lot. (I worked on a sewage system once. Our motto: ‘it may be shit to you, but it’s bread and butter to us’)
And it just got better from there. I particularly liked how you ended the first chapter. In contrast to the set piece opening, the suspense scene in the cold was very original and the trick with the waterwheel identifying his location was a great quirk to end on.

Ch. 2
The opening conversation about the dream could be rewritten to feel less contrived. At the moment it feels like it is there mainly to inform the reader, not something the characters would naturally say. Perhaps change from out-loud dialogue to thought/recall.
Other than that, all good. You do a great job of keeping the plot moving along, keeping me wondering what will happen next.

There is still a bit of editing/tightening up to be done. These are the main ones I noticed.
Ch. 1
six foot frame should be six-foot frame
“Governor of the northern hemisphere” -> “governor of the Northern Hemisphere” If it can have a governor, it needs capitals. Rules on capitalization are a bit arbitrary - so long as you are consistent I guess it’s OK. Some say you should use lower case for job titles. (

“There, There” -> “They’re, They’re”

Hope this helps

elsanovel wrote 571 days ago

Hi Scott
taking into consideration other comments I think you have a great styles of writing. The dialogue is great and the character development is excellent. Your writing is outstanding and it keeps the reader intrigued.
Well done

Joshua Roebuck wrote 580 days ago

When Both Sides Surrender, Scott Devon. Chapter 1.

This is a gripping read from the start. There are lots of nice original touches and the writing flows very nicely. The characters are introduced at well-paced intervals and with just enough information.

OK, it's taken me a long time to get around to commenting. I read from a printed copy which is older than the current upload and I notice you have already corrected some apostrophes and hyphens, so I'll assume you got all the ones I noticed already. If I comment on anything else you already changed, you will know why.

I wasn't sure if the reference to the m/c's enhanced age is needed in paragraph 1. I found it a bit distracting and in the second loner para it is better explained. The puddles with goose bumps is a great line. The whole organic bullets concept is compelling. The breath like a stillborn felt uncomfortable for me. It would work if it was more clearly his thought, rather than the author's description. Not sure about the fan getting messy, maybe it's just me missing a joke, but I have a literal mind and can't help thinking 'but the point is the room gets messy'. Matthews' quirky speech patterns are great and the character being a woman really worked for me. I craved some more character description of her.

Thomas' explanation of why the farm is secure, I found a marvel! At one point in P&T's conversation, P says 'etc', which is impossible; he should say 'etcetera' in speech. Not sure about the concept of organic glass and how it functions, perhaps because glass is a material and the science is established. Perhaps you need an 'object' rather than a 'material' to apply the concept of adjusting temperature to? Windows for instance (which could be made of a new transparent organic material). I was a bit surprised (earlier in chapter) that P should learn for the first time that an organic bullet wouldn't hurt an innocent and so his dead guy was involved. If it's such a universal feature of the organic bullets, wouldn't a cop already know this?

With P back in his car, the sentences starting "So, these new bullet farmers... before the bullet eats it" and after 'knee' are thought-speak, so should be italicised. The 'silk tie' section is brill. After, the dead guy is named as Wood but you also refer to Wood's. So is it Wood or Woods? (Wood's or Woods', possessive apostrophe?)

Otherwise, for me this is flawless. I would not be surprised at all to find this as a paperback and I would buy it too!

Joshua Roebuck (Undertow)

Paul Richards wrote 580 days ago

An SF42 Review:

Scott, you have a very compelling concept. I love sci-fi that does not give just one more act of the same concept. I was engaged and pulled along and your descriptive writing skills are really good. I saw and felt the cold that Peterson was in the middle of while hanging on the ladder. Your overall pace is good the way you are moving between POV. I expect this book to be a winner and I've put it on my watch list to read the next two chapters that are posted.

I don't don't nit pic grammar reviews as there are plenty here that can do that for you and it is very valuable. There are a few places but I just breezed over it. I give you an idea how I as a reader connected or did not connect and my reactions while reading. Here are a few.
Great pitch - if I read this on the back cover in a book store, I would probably pick the book up and likely buy it.

Your current first chapter is too long for my comfort. I think you will not lose anything if you broke chapter one into at least two if not three shorter chapters. If I look at a book and the chapters are long, I shy away even though I rarely read any chapter in one sitting.

I suggest that as you go through this process that you consider seriously re-editing and thinning out some of the passages. I'm thinking of the bullet farm visit. I know it is very important for the reader to grasp the idea of how bullets are "grown" and your emphasis on the control and supposed perfection of organic over manufactured items is vital. But the visit got bogged down and I wanted to push Peterson through the process. This was a recommendation made to me and I am doing my third major rewrite just for that purpose. It is helping the pace of the story greatly. I think I can identify that you have this wonderful idea and you want it all out there for us to appreciate and understand but pacing and keeping the reader in the book is more important. For people like me that want pacing AND the detail, I suggest putting the detail in an Appendix where I can go and dig deeper.

Overall, the thread of the story makes sense and you have the right things in pretty much the right order in my opinion. Silk Tie might be perfect as he is or he might be a little bit overconfident and I like the way you communicate that. That Matthews is a woman has to constantly be repeated for me...She's a cop with a male name and I keep visioning her like that. It's strange when a her or she pops up - you should see the transgender transformation that takes place in my head. ;)

Keep it up. It's a great story. Sci-Fi murder spy mystery. All the best genre rolled into one (except the old west gunslinger - ha)

Paul Richards
The 4th Kind

Mark Cain wrote 582 days ago

A very interesting read! A sci fi police procedural, it reminded me of Bladerunner ("Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep"). I liked the understated style ("just the facts, ma'am").

There's a good use of language and imagery here, e.g., "a soft ping came from the lift." I also loved this line: "How long do you think we have before the fan gets very messy?" Very funny, in a deadpan way.

There are some editorial issues, but nothing that copy editing wouldn't fix. Trivial. If I have one suggestion, it's that you not use so many incomplete sentences. I know this is intentional, and an occasional one is fine, but you have too many here. When you use them this much, it ceases being an effective stylistic element, and begins instead simply to look incorrect.

Fine story though. High stars, and on my watch list.



Terry Murphy wrote 592 days ago

Hi Scott,

Wow, this is very impressive.

Great pitch, story concept, storyline, pace, characterisation, dialogue and flow. The writing is very polished and there's lots of lovely phrasing that really suits the characters and the genre.

And in terms of genre, I see this story as very marketable right now.

Staying with genre norms, I agree with the reviewers about chapter length - less is more in this market.

Aside from a few stylistic conventions [also noted below] there is no useful crit I can offer here as it is all good. I'd be happy to buy this and I don't say that very often as I don't buy [or read] many fiction books.

One 'odd' thing I found [on first reading] was the line, 'even at ninety eight', as I assumed this was the guy's age and then thought it didn't compute! I spent a awhile seeing if there was a different [more sensible0 construction]and wondered if you meant the 98th body he'd investigated. It is made clearer later, but anyway, you might want to change the wording around to remove any confusion. Or maybe it is just me being dumb!

Brilliant stuff. I will get it on my shelf when I can.

Best wishes,


Mommy Lynn wrote 593 days ago

HI Scott,

I've read through chapter one, and I'd have to say that it's well-written. It flows nicely. The pacing is good. The narrator's voice keeps you engaged in the story.

I did manage to write down a few notes for you to consider in addition to the comments you have already received:

- This chapter is extremely long. And, despite the enticing voice of the narrator, I found it hard to want to keep reading because of the length.
- When writing double-digit numbers as words, make sure you hyphenate. ie: 98 = ninety-eight
- 4am should be 4 a.m.
- "...forty seven with an extra fifty one years of dream training..." - Comma after "seven." Hyphenate "forty-seven."
- "You MIGHT not want me..."

Overall, I think this is a great start to an intriguing story.

Surviving Sunset

ChristineRees wrote 594 days ago

Hey Scott,

So I’m here to finally give your story a read. First, I think you should space out your long summary a bit. One long paragraph doesn’t exactly draw attention. Spacing it out a bit may make it easier to read.

“For Peterson soon realises that this new enemy has permeated everything, law enforcement: government and perhaps even his own family.” – this line needs a bit of tweaking.
Maybe instead… “...enemy has permeated everything[.] Law enforcement[,] government and perhaps even his own family may no longer be trustworthy. With no knowledge of what has been tampered with, Peterson is forced to answer one very important question. Who can be trusted?...” etc. I think that the last part of your long summary needs to be a little more hard-hitting in this area.

Chapter One

One thing I think you should consider is shortening your first chapter. Having a very long chapter one may not exactly entice the reader, but might do the opposite. You want to capture the reader’s attention. So I would split your first chapter into two.

Same thing about a few of your paragraphs in your first chapter. You may want to split them into two or even three.

“He already knew what was under that sheet, and even now…" - I’d remove the comma after ‘sheet’

“For a few seconds Peterson scanned the world around him… would have seen and heard nothing.” – these two sentences can be fixed to give a better description. Right now, it sounds kind of well, boring [sorry!] But if it’s changed a bit I think it could definitely be better.

Puddles given goose bumps? Maybe ripples would be better.

Your strong suit, from what I can tell so far, is definitely within the dialogue and the short descriptions you give in between. It really draws me into the story, but when the big paragraphs come up, I start to zone out a bit [sorry!] I think just breaking them up a bit more will fix that… as I’ve already mentioned a few times.

Also, I wouldn’t say things like “he thought” or “Peterson thought” because it takes us out of the story for a moment. It kills the flow of a sentence. It’s alright sometimes, but the few times I’ve seen you use it is unnecessary.

I just want to apologize if any of my criticism seems harsh, I don’t mean for it to be. I just hope it helps. I like your story line and you do a very good job of making the characters easy to picture. Your decriptions need a little bit more work, but other than that I like what I’ve read so far.

It’s interesting, and mysterious. Peterson is a likeable character, yet definitely reflects the characteristics of people from CSI, etc which I definitely enjoyed.

Anyway, I think this story definitely has potential. After some a bit more work is done to it I think it could be a hit. It definitely has an intriguing storyline.

Highly starred, and I look forward to hearing what you think of Spark.

All the best,

Christine Rees

Lourdes wrote 598 days ago

Hi, Scott
I apologize for taking so long to respond. Your first chapter is long, and I’m afraid I didn’t have the time to read it all.
Interesting concept though: bullets with their own DNA tag that grow on trees, Fields that grow swords and bayonets, and a Special Agent who’s forty five years old with an extra fifty one years of dream training.
I took a few notes as I read, mainly on punctuation.
“He already knew what was under that sheet, and even now, at ninety eight (comma here) Peterson hesitated.”

“We already did the DNA check on the bullet.” What time period is this? Perhaps the reader should know that already.
“Even now at forty seven years old with an extra fifty one years of dream training (comma here) Peterson still winced when the sheet went back.”
I read this sentence several times but didn’t get it. I wonder if an agent or publisher will take the time to read enough to understand it.
“OK. I want an ID on that body, priority one, got it (question mark here), or, got it can be taken out altogether, as you have it again at the end of the sentence.
“Half an hour later (comma here) Peterson passed through three body scanners…”
I wish you well with this, Scott. It's a fresh idea and with the right audience, it could be a hit.
Maria x

Sara Stinson wrote 599 days ago

Hi Scott,
Your story started fast-paced and great! I feel you have something unique going and you will move up the ranks faster than a bullet! :) Special Agent Patterson and Agent Matthew's characters begin strong. You scene during the early morning is intense.
I have listed errors and suggestions. I wrote as I read. Please use what you wish and throw away the rest.
* OK -- (Usually written 'okay')
* This sentence has the word 'that' three times in the sentence. I feel it needs to be rewritten.
"Alright Jesus, if the press get wind THAT we've got a new source of weapons THAT we can't control.
hell, THAT we can't even find.' ( Do you think it sounds better to omit the first two?)
* You not want me to do it, Sir -- (I think maybe you need to add 'Do' at the beginning.)
* well practiced smile approached him from a side door. -- (well-practiced) needs a hyphen (adj.)
* hello,' said the young man(,) holding his hand out. -- add comma
* 'Laborers have their own lift?(') Peterson asked(,) allowing his voice to sound puzzled. -- (You have
missed a quotation mark) (needs comma after asked)
* man made sunlight -- ( man-made) used as adj.
* There are open air farms nearer the equator of course, -- (open-air) used as adj.
* Again the soft ping came, and again the smooth sliding as the doors -- ( You might consider --
Again the soft ping sounded, and the sliding doors opened smoothly, but this time ...) Just a suggestion
of course. :)
* According to several dictionaries I have, 'flagstone' is one word
* A flagstone path twisted between the and rows of double(-)stacked sunlight ---- (I'm not
sure but I believe you need to reword. Also, I feel there needs to be a hyphen between
double-stacked since it is used as an adj.)
* If only the same WAS true FOR the past -- (were, of)
* You might consider shortening paragraphs. Readers tend to lose interest if there are long paragraphs.
The same is true for long sentences. (They lose interest or concentration.)
* Peterson asked(,) turning back to face Thomas. -- comma needed
* You have 4 that's in this paragraph. Many times other words can be used such as (This, It )
Maybe... [It's fairly standard. See those, err the blue with the white stripe? They'll kill the target,
even if it's just a flesh wound, but nothing more The RR was the first organic, you see. Everything else
is merely an improvement (from the) initial breakthrough.]
* Peterson ignored the HINTED AT REPLY -- This sounds awkward to me. I feel you need something
here. Would it not sound better if you said... Peterson ignored the hints made by Thomas. He didn't ask...
* The word JUST. Use only when you need it. EX: just the right amount (but just the most secure
area.) I would delete 'just'
* Whatever this young man said in his confident PR tone SAID someone out there...
* What about mines, grenades, and explosives? (I would delete like that.)
* They know better than that. -- I would delete (than that)
* Peterson LET THAT last comment slide. (Wouldn't it flow better to say...
(Allowing the last comment to slide, Peterson stood...

COOL how the blade dulls to the touch :) Safety first! :)

* Thomas walked across the wooden bridge THAT crossed the small river THAT circled the
Maybe reword. (Thomas walked across the bridge, which crossed the small river, circled the
showroom, and exited a small door in the side wall.)
* When anyone is thinking in your writing or saying something in their head...italicize the words
* I would place this sentence in italics. (Fifty one years of dream experience), Peterson thought
methodically as he followed Thomas, (I'm just a Special Agent.)
* Hyphen between seventy(-)two
* Always use action verbs over passive when you can (On the other side, leaves splattered the vast
* Moved ONLY when the wall -- delete only
* From their branches enormous grape like bunches of black bullets with blue spots drooped from the
branches, ...
* each casting a million million -- You seem to have written an extra word
* Thomas said(,) spreading his arms wide,... -- comma needed
* said Thomas(,) tilting his head to one side -- comma
* Peter JUST stared at the clear glass columns THAT stood inside the vault. (Maybe say...
Peter stared at the clear glass columns. They stood [like soldiers] inside the vault.
* Its organic glass, yeh? -- (It's)
* said Thomas(,) straightening his silk tie - comma
* The seeds SIMPLY pass through it. -- delete simply
* Again, I know I continue to mention the word 'that'. Perhaps,,, (Peterson walked forward to the nearest tank.
The entire tank looked like a striped-colored shoal. The first tank contained jet-black fish the size if tuna.
Red fish were next, and the green fish followed. Each fish glowed a warm color. The colors
seemed to emerged from the center of the fish sprouting out. A warm light gave each scale a flickering of
its own.
* Thomas said(,) holding his card out.

Perhaps let this be the end of Chapter One. The last sentence leaves goose bumps. Good ending.

You might want to consider letting someone read your book out loud to you. Or read out loud to yourself. This worked for me. Scott, I am already loving the story and the original ideas. You have done a great job! Pat yourself on the back! I have been working hard myself on deleting words which I do not need and rewording for the story to flow better. Avoid repetition of words (that, just, only, simply, etc.) And remember, sometimes
short sentences are better and simple words are definitely more clear.
I hope this help. High stars and I am placing you on my watchlist! If you would like for me to read again, I
will be glad to.
Sara Stinson
Finger Bones

Lenny Banks wrote 601 days ago

Hi Scott, I read chapter 3. I found the pitch very interesting and I think you have a great idea fopr a wook, the story was gripping and I wanted to read more. The characters are interesting and you put out the stage very well, I really imagined the flower. A few small nit piks, I noted you used 'o.k.' personal choice but a lot of people prefer 'okay', I do like it and it looks more proessional dfor some reason also you put - '...waited under Mrs Peterson...' shoudl that be until?
Love that term '...thud thudding...' not seen it before, very entertaining, well done.

Kindest Regrads and Best Wishes
Lenny Banks - Tide and Time: At The Rock

Colin Neville wrote 601 days ago

Full marks for concept, dialogue, and imagery. This is a most creative premise - I liked the irony behind the term, 'organic bullet'. Pace is good, dialogue sharp, and tells the story; the imagery is fresh - I particularly liked the shadows dancing scene. Good writing. The sewer scene was very atmospheric, but I wasn't convinced by the Supervisor telling Peterson it was a set-up 'But my orders were to make it look like an accident'. I felt it would have been more plausible for him to to just walk away - in case the agent survived! I know he is presented as a bit of a blunt tool, but this felt too blunt!

You wrote '...landed like a di in the very centre of the farm'. What's a 'di'? Not in my dictionary.

Minor typo: 'cause there [their] full of...'

Chapter one was very good - but very long, particularly for online reading. I felt you could have ended it with Peterson's hanging on for life on the ladder, fate unknown.

Overall, I liked this: the story, and the craftmanship of the writing.

Daniel6394 wrote 603 days ago

You write well. You keep the suspense going. And, you have very interesting ideas, a very interesting plot. I look forward to the rest .

SpicePepe wrote 603 days ago

An edgy believeable novel that gripped me even though I'm not a huge fan of science fiction. Writing is tight and story draws one in. I cannot wait to read more. I've placed it on my WL for further pages...
All the best
The Road from Makhonjwa

Natalie1 wrote 604 days ago

Excellent and original! Reminds me of a Michael Crichton novel. I love this genre and apart from a few typos here and there, it is well-written and well structured. Sadly, as usual, the site wouldn't allow me to read on, but I have read enough to know I will thoroughly enjoy this. HIghly starred and backed as soon as I have space. Well done, Scott. Natalie (The Diary of John Crow)

Laura Bailey wrote 604 days ago

Hi Scott,

As promised, I have gotten around to reading a sample of your work. I don't think your pitch does your writing full justice, as I think you have some exceptional passages of writing and imagery. I think your concept is strogn and you quite clearly know your subject, which I think is crucial in this genre. I think the opening is strong, powerfula nd very well paced. It is gripping and engaging from the start line, which is highly commendable. If I had to pick a constructive criticism, it is that you sometimes over describe as situation, particulalrly with methaphors. I think this can disrupt the pace of this genre and runs the risk of the age-old show/tell debate. I know this is a fine line and it is something I find difficult myself but I think perhaps removing or spreading out some of your more flowered paragraphs would help, without losong your wonderful words.

Overall, highly starred and backed because I think you have a great foundation here!

Good luck!
Beneath The Blossom Tree

Lakeshia Davis wrote 605 days ago

I don't know where to start. The concept is genius and I absolutely loved what I read. I was very impressed after reading your work and I must agree with the below comment by Searcher that your long pitch may need to be revised. I probably would have skipped reading the book had it not been for us doing the book swapping. I am so glad that we did though be this is a great read. It's sad that we do judge books by it's cover, but that's life. I enjoyed every minute of the story. There was so much detail and your writing has an easy flow to it. I could tell that Peterson is really firm and compassionate about his work. Thomas seemed sort of cocky from my point of view. I could tell that he was trained and had probably given the tour of the farm many times. I never would have thought about organic bullets. That's what I meant about pure genius. Have you have experience in the police field or did you just research it? I am curious to find out who the mystery man is on the phone and what does his job consist of. I backed the book and I added it to my watchlist. I will definitely be reading all of it. I really did not have anything negative to say, but I hope that I don't offend you by what I say next. That is truly not my intention. I noticed a few long sentences that I thought should be broken down. You have a unique writing style and I can appreciate that. I love it and that's part of the flow I was talking about. However, I noticed you would start a sentence and then add a period, but begin the next sentence with the word And. This is ok as long as the sentence is a complete setence, but once I thought that it seemed like a fragment. I apologize and I will try to go back and find the sentence, but I was so busy reading along and enjoying the book. I did want you to look at this next sentence and consider breaking it down. 'Numbers beyond counting, endless lines of Weeping Willows but with deep brown autumn leaves, moving only when the wall fans blew a wave of air across them, like a mother’s breath to keep her children warm in the winter.' It seemed really long and I struggled to get to the end of the sentence. That stood out to me. Again, your writing is very professional and that is just my opinion. Also, I noticed a line from Thomas and you may have purposely meant to have him speak that way, but look at this line also. '‘Ever the policeman aren’t you, Sir.' It was in quotation marks so that is probably just how he speaks. I picked up on a slight accent from Thomas. I loved the book and I gave it six stars. OUTSTANDING!

mick hanson wrote 605 days ago

A truely original and well thought out plot. Well done - Mick

Wanttobeawriter wrote 605 days ago

This is a story based on a clever idea: organic bullets grown in your garden are the new threat to society. Peterson is a good main character. I like the way (after the bullet zings by) this begins as just another detective at a crime scene – then immediately turns into one of the strangest crime scenes ever. Besides the clever basic idea of this, a second strength is your writing style. You have some complicated explaining to do here but you ease into it so smoothly you don’t bog down your story. Makes for good story telling. I’m starring this highly and adding it to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

Andrew Esposito wrote 605 days ago

When Both Sides Surrender is propelled by a very captivating plot. In a future world, ninety eight year old Detective Peterson is investigating a murder that involves a knew kind of bullet. This is where the plot intrigues, as the reader is thrown into a world of organic bullets - grown on trees on controlled Bullet Farms.

Scott, the story could be Philip K. Dick, but I suspect you've found something highly original. I constantly paused to reread the details, assuming they were figurative - only to be pleasantly surprised that the details were 'facts'. I agree with Peterson's conclusion, 'the whole set up, very clever'.

Scott, I have rated When Both Sides Surrender very highly and will keep it Watchlisted for further reading. It's excellent SF and I'm sure it will climb the rankings on authonomy. Backed onto my bookshelf! Best regards, Andrew Esposito / Killing Paradise

jessicajones wrote 606 days ago

Hi Scott,
This is a fantastic idea, an organic weapons farm and genetically modified so they cant reproduce! I love it. You have a very good writing style that flows very easily when reading.
You're ideas are original and quite terrifying really, imagine if this was real!
Great book and well written.

High stars and on my WL for a stint on my shelf in the near future.
Kind regards
The World Through My Eyes

Searcher wrote 606 days ago

Hi Scott, Wow! What a start! Love the 4am dark too!

DNA - organic weapons! I'm trying to figure that out. That's original and you give excellent descriptions! I'm seeing those bullet trees in my head .. what an interesting concept!

The mystery deepens!

Like that you explained the dream pills

I'm going to back to your short pitch now because I couldn't get a feel earlier. Your short pitch would not have hooked me. Something like: "Organic weapons ... bullets with a brain" may have. That's just my opinion. And, keep in mind, I'm not a reader of war stories or interested in weaponry. I had the sense that's what the book was about from your short pitch.

I've read all you have uploaded. I wish I had this book in my hands. You just keep drawing the reader in. Maybe a bit wordy in spots (in the beginning). At first I thought, Matthews at times seems a bit flakey, like a puppy wanting to please too much. Later, I'm not so sure about that. I need more shelves! For now I'm giving you ******6 stars & will keep the book in my Watchlist to see what happens!

Jane Lawry
The Genealogists: On Holy Ground

Su Dan wrote 606 days ago

great idea, told very well. your descriptive narrative style fits perfectly with your story...
read SEASONS///

A Nerdy Rogue wrote 606 days ago

Very interesting concept you have here, Scott.
The story is very quick and fast moving, you don't have a chance to get bored and put it down.
The plotline is well developed and the characters are easy to adopt.
You want to continue reading due to suspense.
Lastly, the description was really well done in regards to scenery and in regards to the concepts of the farms and weaponry. You aren't reading it wondering what's going on, you know and understand; which makes this book all the greater read.


High stars :)

- Bree

patio wrote 607 days ago

I read chapter one. I was hooked from the paragraph with the "4am dark". I'm going to set my alarm to wake up so that I see what it look like.
I already gave you six stars but still reading and more comments to come.....

Julie_Undead wrote 607 days ago

Hi Scott!
This is an incredible premise for a sci fi novel. I love that it is centered around organics, fish, trees, eggs/ much more of a relevant sci fi theme now than robotics or even computer technology taking over the world. This very forward thinking sci fi idea, paired with the old-fashioned-ish detective story, and the very human Peterson makes this a real winner in my book.

The background on the farms and organic weaponry is very thorough, and approached really well by giving Peterson the tour. It never feels like mile-long description that one would breeze over. I would like to hear more on dream training, which I instantly was interested in, and why it is that he is 98 years old and so spry.

From a technical standpoint, just a couple of little typos that would be an easy fix: missing a comma in "even now, at 98, Peterson..." (pgph. 1) "Before the fan gets very messy?" don't get it, but that's just me. In lines following the bullet/life ratio part..."wanted to whistle, but his mouth was dry. How many lives?" not lifes.
In the part w/ the man with the 3 fingers..."at all times" add an "s" is all.

Also, I would shorten up the Peterson in the sewer section by half at least. Take his most intense thoughts and observations there only, it goes a little long.

When dividing up this book, I would suggest breaking up when the setting changes, and possibly titling each chapter or section with the new setting, like "The Farm," "The Tanks," etc... I just think it would add a little punch to a very punchy storyline.

Scott, this is very inventive, really exciting and drags you right in. I look forward to seeing more work from you.
Running Home

TaraDevi wrote 607 days ago

Had a quick look, Scott and you have done well to jump straight in. I'm not very familiar with this genre, so I am not sure if this is useful feedback or not, but in the very beginning - first few pages - you might be able to tighten it up a bit. You hit your stride later in, so you can do it first thing too. Having said that, I am not sure how to actually DO it, it just felt like you could.

Great idea too - i do like the fantasy!

Good luck writing further. How far have you got?


TDonna wrote 607 days ago

It's got the intrigue from the start. You've introduced the character early and gave him a distinct voice, connecting me to SA Peterson by appealing to a human instinct -- even though he's experienced, he's not numb. Even though he's seen many under the sheet, he remains sensitive to life and death. I liked that instantly about your character. Setting was great too, with the rain, and her bringing the umbrella, those acts brought a subdued mood to the crime scene. Then you threw me into the deep end with a fascinating concept. Visceral descriptions brought scenes to life. Great pace, I thought you moved it along very well, although it is a long chapter. And what a suspenseful ending, a page-turner, mouse-clicker for sure. If it wasn't for time restraints, i'd read it all, but will have to return for the remaining chapters.
No Kiss Goodbye

Kenneth Edward Lim wrote 608 days ago

This book has the cold, hard feel of a marble slab on which a corpse could be laid out for dissection to determine the cause of death. Hard-nosed investigator Peterson fits right in with his analytical mind, tenacity and iron-clad stomach for gruesome finds. Certainly in a futuristic setting where an organic bullet cultured and grown as farm crop, results in conflict and bloodletting, Peterson is in his element, at the right time and place, ready to apply his skillset. Your descriptives are meticulous making each page a canvas for the scenes you paint., your dialogue conveys backstory cleanly and smoothly. Thank you so much for the intriguing read.

Kenneth Edward Lim
The North Korean

Geddy25 wrote 608 days ago

Just read a load of this and was impressed by your imagination. I love the idea of the futuristic world with organic weapons that are grown from fish eggs - really original.
I felt your story was well paced and constantly of interest as I was always waiting to find out what new things there were. I was a little confused about the arrangement and make up of the suns in the underground farm - the spiral etc. Perhaps you could have expanded on that aspect?
I found a few bits that stuck with me but then got engrossed in the story and made no more notes. Ignor emy suggestions at will! :)
"Matthews didn't answer. So Peterson knelt, pulled back......" - I felt that you either needed a comma instead of a full stop, or should get rid of "So".
"How long would he last, after all, in a world..." I don't think you need "after all" in there.
"...if the press get wind that we've got a new source of weapons that we can't control..." Three suggestions here - 1: get rid of both lots of "that", 2: change "we've got" into "there's", or 3: a mixture of 1 and 2.
"We choose an old mine..." chose, not choose?
"And security on site is strict, and that's......" I'd ditch the first "And". I wouldn't personally start a sentence with And. You did the same thing another couple of times - "....of him. And beyond him was a garden." "And looking up Peterson saw..."
"Thomas started down the path explaining as..." Need a comma after path?

These are just my personal suggestions - only trying to be of help.
All in all, a very promising start to the story. I liked your fresh imagery and imagination!

mightyscoo wrote 608 days ago

This is a difficult read in that I don't want to stop!!! The idea of the technology will appeal to a large number of people. I would agree with some of the other comments that your sentences are somewhat long. The age of 98 was unclear to me for a while as he is only 47. You tend to be a bit wordy but it does work for you. I like chapter one and intend to read on. Good luck.

R Scott "The Dryad's Kiss"

SteveSeven wrote 608 days ago

Hello Scott,
You have handled the theme well of the curse of technology in the wrong hands or with the wrong motivation. This is a subject that is in the back of many people's minds and the closer that we get to the 'perfect world' with automated everything, the more of a threat this all seems to be in many quarters. It is also a common problem that technology seems to be replacing the natural world and that is something that you illustrate well with your idea of organic bullets. I have no doubt that your book will appeal to or challenge many people about where we are heading as a culture. Your imaginative and original plot is just the right sort of medium to do that. Kind regards, Steve.

Tod Schneider wrote 608 days ago

Nice stuff here! I love the concept of organic weaponry -- original and intriguing. You handle dialogue nicely, and establish characters well. Plus, I thought your opening line was awesome. One thing I'd change would be "police line ticker tape," which is awkwardly phrased and not what it's called in the business. We call it crime scene tape. Ours is yellow and plastic, comes in long rolls, is tied between whatever's handy and usually hangs slightly bowed. No biggie -- I think you've got a good story here. Best of luck with it!

PM Jordan wrote 608 days ago
PM Jordan wrote 608 days ago

I like this. It is original and edgy.
You need to have your first page pitch perfect...a couple of rewrites will do it.
Pound said, ‘Fundamental accuracy of statement is the ONE sole morality of writing.’ Without absolute clarity you can lose a reader.
If you’re going to use similie you have to be natural at it. Some of your similie works, at other times it doesn’t quite so well. Peter Hoeg in 'Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow' is amazing at this. I just can’t do similie.
Im taking a PhD in Minimalism where every word counts. My style reflects this: short sentences and paragraphs. I also love longer literary writing as long as it is simple and direct. Sometimes you over-elaborate. You can get away with this in a novel (as opposed to a short story) but it weakens your work. The previous comments by are spot on...I would agree with them.
Good luck
Your pitch is very good. But I would suggest taking out the penultimate line...and last line reads...If Peterson fails...
also put a colon after enemy has permeated everything: law enforcement, government
Look at McCarthy's fat on the bone and cinematic.

PM Jordan wrote 608 days ago

Scott. I'll have a look. I also have an MA, i have some experience of critical feedback. For some reason it won't upload. This happens occasionally with this site ...i'll try again later. Peter Jordan

Jenny-B wrote 608 days ago

In the first paragraph you state that Peterson is 98, but then further down you clarify his age as being 48 with 51 years of dream training (very interesting concept, by the way). This confused me, so I actually had to go back and read that first chapter again. You might want to say something like the character has X number of years experience, rather than giving an exact age in the first paragraph.

The home grown bullets are scaring me a bit. Leaving only bones behind - let’s hope this doesn’t catch on in the real world. Of course, chances are, someone is already working on it.

The dialogue is realistic – character driven and gives us a good sense of the personalities. Nicely done.
You need to be very careful about verb tenses, there are a few places (that might only be typos) where you slip from present to past tenses. Some of your descriptions do this as well.

If the light is so intense, and you go into so much detail about not using anything magnetic, etc. then why didn’t Thomas offer Peterson protective eye wear?

Also – wouldn’t his shadow be teeny-tiny. When the sun is at its highest, our shadows are dark but very small. In an area lit by not one, but what seems like hundreds of suns, I would think a shadow might not have a chance since there would be light from every angle. Maybe find a photographer and play with his lights a bit, so see what the effects would be.

Although – I have to say I like the imagery and analogy of the shadows description – so maybe this could be before he enters the area where the suns are strongest.

I had a small chuckle at bayonets – kind of archaic in a very advanced world – but I’ll wait and see how they are used.

I’m a little confused, having entered the vault. Seeds come from fish? So – this is cross breeding at it’s worst? Oi.

If the Sakari fish can’t produce offspring – how do they reproduce to make more Sakari fish? You give so much detail for everything else, so I just thought I’d ask.

Your first chapter is very long – it could easily be divided into smaller chapters – but only if that works for you. I didn’t have time to read the entire thing, but I think I read enough to get a good feel for your writing style.

For the most part – the writing is smooth and easy to follow. The dialogue is believable and the characters are starting to take shape nicely. With a solid edit repetitive words, verb tenses and typos will easily be cleaned up.
The story itself is a very interesting concept. You divulge a lot of information without it becoming too cumbersome or boring (to me) – largely because while the information is being relayed you make good use of dialogue and pepper in a bit of character development.

Wishing you the best of luck with this.


JB. Woods wrote 608 days ago

Well, Scott, as you requested I've looked at your first chapter and this is what I recommend.
Firstly, although not my genre it is an interesting concept and will go down well with all sci-fi fans, however. There's always a - However.
First line - Describe the projectile early. Not just any old bullet but an organic bullet.
Your paragraphs are way too long. Because of technology your modern reader has a short attention span and is going to skip bits because of this.
For the same reason cut down on your adjectives and adverbs. i.e:
It was dark, 4am dark...
Your readers know it's dark at that time - It was four a.m. - is enough. Go through your book and check for instances like this. Describe, but don't tell.
Later on you start a para - 'So what, you're telling me... - Delete - So what...
This makes it snappy and keeps peoples interest.
Avoid repetition like the word - just - in the para - Mathews didn't answer...
In a later para delete the phrase - returning to the now... It's unescessary. By doing that you maintain continuity.
As an aside try to avoid words like - just, very, move(d) so, now and that old favourite, THAT.
It's never very cold - describe the cold (he shivered in the cold N/easterly...) or if they move describe how they move.
I hope this has been useful. It will make your book a magnet for the editorial staff at H&C and look for Agents who deal in sci-fi.
Remember though, it is your book and present it as you feel, but I want to see it again after you've done an edit.
JB. Woods - 'George Barrington Hunter'

D.J.Milne wrote 608 days ago

Hi Scott,

Here are my comments based on reading the first chapter.
Well Scott you can certainly write! You have a fantastic style and the way you use and mix short snappy sentences with longer more thoughtful ones is excellent. You're narrative is polished and it was a joy to read. The characters of Peterson and Mathews sparred and rolled with one another in a sometimes humorous fashion but with that gritty detective hierarchy that is classic and well written.
As for your ideas of the organics, the farms, the trees, bullets, organic blades that sense to go blunt, fish seeds they are fantastic. It took me a moment but when I got the idea I just thought, wow great ideas and the water wheels powering the illegal system great. Silk Tie made me think of a timeless 007 Bond Villain.
The pin pricks on the skin hint at something big to come as does the last paragraph. Plot wise there was nothing in here not to like.
I picked up on a couple of things. In the opening para it finishes ...broke the running man's skull. Wouldn't shatter or Split be better? Also about this it gives the impression that the organic bullet came from far, yet later you talk about it being a close range shot.
A couple of typo's I saw, I am not the best at spotting them especially since your narrative carried me along quickly, but they were:
Oak panelled walls, thick carpet, three seater sofa, and a Van Gogh, probably fake, meet (met) Peterson’s eye
‘How kind. And were (we're) safe in this metal box are we?’
Lastly this is a long chapter that I felt could easily be split. Also one of the last paragraphs is huge, when Peterson is on the ladder thinking about his wife, this needs split to. Honestly, with a light edit, this book should do well here.
All in all I loved this and will give it a six stars straight of.
I have no room on my shelf for the moment but when I do this will be a serious contender.
The Ghost Shirt

patio wrote 608 days ago

Cat and Mouse...I like it. Couple lines yet so powerful

Let me read on

BeaconCityTourist wrote 608 days ago


I think you're on a winner here. This is a great idea mixed with confident, well paced writing. I see you have a Masters in creative writing and I'm sure something you learned was to start with a gripping opening scene. Well you've done that. Sometimes books come to you like you'd expect to see them on the cinema screen. This book does just that. I could literally hear the rain on the umbrellas at the start.

The more I read the more fluid your writing became. I did notice a few little typo's in the opening paragraphs and a few things I wuld maybe re-think.

Typo's first :

'Tell the press were making a committment..' should read 'we're making a com..'
'his arrival fitted the silencer..' I would change to 'a silencer...' You would prob only use 'the' if we were already introduced to the silencer.
'flick some of the dark hair from her face..' again I would not use the... maybe say.. 'to flick her dark hair from her...'


Some of your analogies don;t work for me...

One example 'came out like a stillborn..' does not really seem to fit.

OK so your first review and I hope it's a good one! For me personally I take onboard all suggestions as more often than not they will improve your work. (other times I'm just plain stubborn!)

You have a great 'blockbuster' of a book here and I wish you good luck with it.

My shelf is full but I will put you on my WL and rate you 6 stars! (with a little editing this book will fly up the rankings!)


- Broken Up, Breaking Down