Take a Pass on This One
The “steam tunnels under the campus” theme has been thoroughly recycled has become unexciting. Most authors would give this tired topic a wide berth, so I was hoping for some fresh ideas. What I took away from this story was so much worse.
Read the story now
Rather than pick apart what I found unpalatable about the story itself, I will stick to a critique of the technical aspects. The dialogue definitely requires work. Conversations should flow smoothly without having to abuse dialogue tags. The conversation in this story was difficult to follow, and was perhaps one of the rare cases that could have used more. That, coupled with the improper use of punctuation and poor sentence structure, made this a challenging read.
My biggest peeve was the use of conjured “facts” that were obviously contrived to make the story flow. Employing such manufactured facts is forgivable in science fiction, but not when the details contradict each other, as the ones in this story often did. It seems that many were used purely to fill out or lengthen the story, and were unnecessary to the plot.
I was also expecting a list of cited sources for other, real, facts that a quick search using Grammarly exposed as having been lifted word for word from various websites. I will give the author the benefit of the doubt by assuming that he has not had a formal composition course yet, and is not familiar with the ethics of internet plagiarism.
Still, this author intrigues me. Not every story can be a winner, so I will put this one down as a failed attempt. I do promise to check out some of his other work, instead of judging his talent based on one story.