The Tube Riders, by Chris Ward (4:41)

IOD-TubeRidersToday we see that a moment’s inattention to continuity can undermine an otherwise engaging moment.

What I gleaned about the story: Marta and her crew are tube riders. They get their kicks by grabbing hold of passing subways and riding the beasts for dear life. I suspect there’s more to it, but even that much is pretty cool.

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WTF #1: Echoing headwords

Analysis: The very first two sentences begin with the same word: “The.” This can’t be ignored in such a prominent location, but sadly, it suggests that this author might be deaf to them, so I’m expecting to see more.

WTF #2: Grammar problem

Analysis: Eyes narrowed, teeth gritted, she stared into the blurred, rushing wall of metal and glass, what in these moments was the Reaper, was Death. This use of the word “what” seems jarringly out of place to me. Coming in the middle of the sentence like that, I wondered if we were transitioning to a sudden interruptive question, as in, “What the hell was that?” But no, it appears to be standing in place of “which.” Unfortunately, it was enough to jerk me out of the story as I tried to reconstruct what was supposed to be happening.

WTF #3: Continuity problem

Analysis: In front of her, from the carriage window, a reflection of her own face stared back, thick dreads of hair fanning out around her like columns of smoke. The narrator is clinging to the side of a rocketing subway car. If she’s staring at her reflection, she’s facing the glass, so her hair should be straight out to her side, pulled toward the back of the train by the fierce wind. For it to be “fanning out around her,” she would have to be looking forward, and unable to see her reflection. And even then, I think “fanning” suggests too calm and lazy an image for the scene that is actually being described. Anyway, I found the image conflicted with my understanding of the geometry and had to go back and reread it, so immersion was broken.

Kudos #1: Fascinating premise

Details: This is actually a really cool concept for a story–kids riding the outsides of subway trains in some sort of adrenaline-junky street gang ritual. The writing is pretty decent, despite the few hiccups that jolted me out, but unfortunately, I didn’t get far enough to assess whether the story lives up to the potential of the idea.


Night Terrors by Valentine King (5:50)
Hero for Hire, by C.B. Pratt (12:04)

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.