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Hidden Gem on Web Fiction Guide!

By Thedude3445, author of Rainbow Destructor

Feb 4, 2019: Now THIS is a great example of what the medium of web fiction can pull off if done right. Using short chapter bursts and nested hyperlink asides, Advent paints the picture of the life of a young child from a broken home who gets involved in events out of their own control. It’s a pretty short story and not one that is good for plot summaries, so I won’t get too much into the plot.

The main plus for the story is the absolute mastery of voice by the narrator. The story is thoroughly, utterly within the point of view of this child and restricts the reader to viewing it entirely through them. You can only piece together the story through subtext and inference, and the realization of certain elements make for really emotional revelations, even if the narrator themself may not ever come to the same realizations.

And the story makes good use of hypertext fiction to expand on its story; often during chapters, there’ll be links for you to click, taking you to observations, memories, or side scenes from the narrator relating to something within the main part of the chapter. This kind of nonlinear storytelling is exactly the kind of thing that web fiction. and only web fiction, can pull off in a prose story, and we absolutely need more usages of the internet as a medium for storytelling!

Advent is a must-read for fans of web fiction, and the fact that it’s a short and breezy read means you can knock it out in an hour or less. Don’t pass it up.

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Feel a bit accomplished you read through the good, sad serial.

By Snuggle Squiggle, author of Endless Stars

Feb 2, 2019: Advent is a short and well-honed story. It’s a realistic work, written in first-person and influenced by diary fiction without leaning too heavily into the form. There are roughly twenty five chapters of several hundred words each, and for each there’s a footnote or three which are shorter.

The prose of Advent tastefully mimes a child — simple and declarative, almost suggesting stream-of-consciousness with its lack of commas or advanced constructions. Sometimes you’ll see the voice seem to grope around to describe something Luke doesn’t have the word for — “metal that’s so hot it’s liquid” instead of “molten”, for instance. It’s charming and never breaks your immersion with exaggeration or excessiveness. Aside from the flavor, the prose flows and renders masterfully. Once or twice it is marred by a typo, but chances are you wouldn’t notice.

Advent does not try to give exhaustive descriptions, or transcribe every encounter. It strives more to render vividly with details and impressions instead of the sort of immersive realism more common in web serials. While this robs the story of a certain kind of viscerality, the reader remains present in Luke’s mental landscape, and that is all what the story wants and needs.

Meanwhile, the characters of Advent are solid or even good. Luke is a study in complexities, cynical and troubled yet still childish. While I was engrossed in his perspective, it never felt like identifying. His perspective color all impressions of other characters, yet even the ones he does not care for still have suggestions of depth shine through. It’s clear that Luke and his mother are the focal points here, and their characterization is at times tangible. The other characters complement them decently enough.

The plot of Advent is perhaps its least exceptional aspect. It is straightforward to both a fault and a virtue. You wouldn’t be quite surprised at how it ultimately turns out, and yet the uncertainty and tension runs taut through it. And once it reaches its final cadences, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to tear up.

When it all comes together into a story, the result is a resonating and memorable piece of web fiction. It does not truly grip you — it doesn’t make you stay but doesn’t give you reason to leave. This is not a story that satisfies viscerally. But on an abstract level, I find it fulfilling.

The ending is not poignant, but I cannot decide if it’s a fault. It’s simple, wistful, and feels kind of fittingly empty. It is not a great ending. But I don’t know if this story could — or should — have had a great ending.

Due to its length and realism, I feel confident recommending this story to just about everyone.

Brevity isn’t a common sight in web fiction. Telling a straightforward story with a only couple characters is no less impressive when it works, and for Advent, it works quite well.

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A whale of a Time-Traveling Tale

By Mariner, member

Jun 4, 2018: This story came into my radar because of its subject matter, and I’m glad it did. History and sailing are both favorite subjects of mine, and I’m happy to say Time and Tide captured both, and from a unique perspective, to boot.

The first thing worth noting about Time and Tide is that it’s the most mature webfiction I’ve seen so far, and not in a content sense. The writing and characters both have a very "grown-up" tone to them. No fast-paced action sequences, angsty brooding, or teenage romances. Just realistic characters living their lives to the best of their ability.

Personally, I found that tone very enticing to read. Gayla (our protagonist) and Obediah (our whaling ship captain) are both wonderfully weighty characters who did a lot to capture my attention in an instant. The contrast between them – one an out of place time traveler and one a perfectly in-place sea captain – and the contrast between how they viewed the world makes for an interesting and fun story pitch.

That said, it’s easy to see how heavily the story relies on that angle when it occasionally steps away from it. A few chapters in book 2 (Essentially Arc 2 with a different naming scheme) give us a prequel-like view of how Gayla found herself traveling back in time, knowing her own future/past from historical clues. For me, this section was much less appealing than the rest of the story, and Gayla’s near-instant acclimation to the idea of time travel lacked a bit of intrigue I’d have liked to see.

But this break was very short-lived, and in no time at all the story returned to its strengths and picked back up at full sail. From there it quickly becomes a high-seas adventure in whaling and port-hopping, very well paced to give a view of the harsh daily life of the period through the eyes and commentary of our modern protagonist.

STRENGTHS: Very well written, and well researched in its history. Time and Tide offers an interesting glimpse into the past through modern eyes. Even the most mundane activities become an adventure in the full and living world the author has built. And just as soon as the protagonist has gotten used to one situation, the world throws her another even more difficult one to overcome.

WEAKNESSES: Not much in the way of plot, actually, and the story does better when it ignores it, in my opinion. That sounds like a worse criticism than it is, because Time and Tide excels when it just embraces the fantasy without searching for a logical reason. The backstory on the time travel seems to serve little purpose other than to provide quick motivation in the way of predestination paradoxes. "Why should I go on this adventure? Well because I already did, obviously!"

CONCLUSION: Time and Tide offers an excellent wandering journey through the past, and it’s at its best when it does exactly that. The world is expertly built, and the characters are appealing and endearing in a mature slice-of-life style. Following the adventures of Gayla and her captain is great fun and makes for an incredibly easy and low-stress read.

While it lacks the tension and mystery of some adventure stories, Time and Tide hits the exact mark it aims for in a more grounded tale. If you’re looking for historical sailing adventure with the novel twist of a modern-perspective on life in the past, this is definitely a story for you.

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