Infinity Squad, by Shuvom Ghose (5:05)

IOD-InfinitySquadToday we see that nobody believes in life after death—not really—until they’ve been there many times.

What I gleaned about the story: Jonah Forrest died in battle. And he will again. And again. Because in this army, each man is truly in a company of his equals.

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Kudos #1: Cool cover concept

Details: Normally, weak layout/art on the cover is a turn-off for me, but despite the execution here, I quite enjoyed the concept. It conveys the gist of the story, and manages to include a bit of humor in the bargain.

WTF #1: Weak editing

Analysis: The Hell-Spider who had managed to sneak into our base cafeteria in the middle of night knocked the chef down, stepped on his head with one tree-trunk-sized leg and THEN turned back to finish disemboweling Fredricks as the private screamed and screamed. First off, that should be “in the middle of the night.” And second, emphasis is created with italics, not block-caps. In extreme crises, I have seen block caps used effectively to convey a short and emphatic bellow of dialogue, but certainly not for plain emphasis. An experienced editor would have caught both of those problems.

WTF #2: Echoing headwords

Analysis: Not really bad, but a pair of “He” sentences, followed a bit lower down by two “The” paragraphs and it was enough for me to notice. Especially coming on the first page. Curiously, my sensitivity to echoing had already been raised by the fact that the author had used the technique very effectively in the first three paragraphs. So hitting the awkward ones so quickly afterward made them stand out all the more.

WTF #3: Unbelievable character behavior

Analysis: The concept is intriguing: an army of soldiers, all of them clonable. So when one dies, he reboots into a copy of himself and carries on. Same name. Same rank. Same memories. But the problem is, our protagonist has just been killed in a fire fight, exhibiting the kind of calm, quiet behavior that only comes from deep-down certainty that he is going to reboot. Only, this is the first time our protagonist has ever done so. And I don’t care how many training videos he might have watched, nobody faces oncoming death with that kind of measured confidence in his own immortality until they have actually experienced it a number of times.

Note: There’s something in this one that gives me the impression it might be a good read, camouflaged under a weak edit. I just might come back to it in a few days and try it again without the glaring lights of the treadmill and see how far I get.

 

The Zoey Chronicles, by Sophia Grey (2:01)
Daimones, by Massimo Marino (3:32)

About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is underqualified in just about everything. That’s why he writes.