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S.E. Lindberg

RBE delivers another interesting anthology

Challenge! Discovery - Frederick Tor, Jason M Waltz

Challenge! Discovery by Jason M. Waltz

S.E. rating: 4 of 5 stars


Rogue Blades Entertainment has a great track record for delivering anthologies (Return of the SwordWriting Fantasy Heroes,Rage of the Behemoth, and more). Challenge! Discovery is the 2017 edition, which posed a challenge: look at the cover, and write a story about it. The illustration features a scantily clad female warrior and a panther emerge from jungle ruins.


The concept is cool, but the entries range in quality, and I disagree with the judges. Apparently the last two won 1st and 2nd place by the judges, but if I were to rate by (a) inspiration from cover and (b) storytelling (good pacing, show not tell, etc.) then I would have chosen 2 of the below:

- "Inner Nature" by JOHN KILIAN

- "Someplace Cool and Dark" by FREDERIC S. DURBIN

- "Witch with Bronze Teeth brushed" by KEITH J. TAYLOR


1) "Witch with Bronze Teeth brushed" by KEITH J. TAYLOR: 5-star blend of military Warhammer-esque battle and zombie horror


2) "Fire Eye Gem" by Richard Berrigan: 3-star; too corny for me; features a do-good Kimmeriorian barbarian named ‘Jack’?. ugh


3) "Inner Nature" by JOHN KILIAN 5-star, started ok and but ramped-up very satisfyingly


4) "The Ash-Wood of Celestial Flame" by GABE DYBING; nice fairy tale elements


5) "Someplace Cool and Dark" by FREDERIC S. DURBIN: 5-star, it is first person, weird funny and dark.... and I heard this exact story before! It took me a while to figure it out, but I heard him read this at the World Fantasy Convention 2016. A bonus essay on the writing of this story is added and is as engaging as the story


6)"World inside the Walls" by Frederick Tor : 3-star. Nice inspiration from the cover, but delivery style was dry narrative


7) "In the Ruins of the Panther People" by DANIEL R. ROBICHAUD: 4-star. Started slow and has cheesy romance lines, but ends with a huge bang, science-sorcery Meat Stamp! Loved the Meat Stamp!


8) "The Serpent’s Root by DAVID J. WEST, young adult pacing, but fun. 3.5; not obviously connected the cover as the other stories.


9) "A Fire in Shandria" by FREDERIC S. DURBIN; 4-star. Decent Amazon warrior story with a dragon (not sure why there was a dragon and not a panther)


10) "Cat’s in the Cradle NICHOLAS OZMENT (awarded 2nd place): 3-star Inspired by the cover for sure, but for a short story most of its pages are dedicated to non pertinent content. Pacing off.


11) "Attaberia" by HENRY RAM - (awarded 1st place): 4-star. Viking story with nice concept; starts as a 5 and ends as 3 (there is a disconnect between the tension & remoteness of a mysterious island and the inhabitants).


View all my reviews

Source: http://www.selindberg.com/2018/01/challenge-discovery-reviewed-by-se.html