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From the Comfort of their Favorite Armchair
  August 03, 2001

Today's Featured Author - Scrambler J

   by: Nelson

When I first went looking for stories by Scrambler J, I found two at Crystal's Story site. I found that I hadn't read them before, for some reason the synopsis didn't pull me in. One uses very advanced technology to cause the change and the other employs strong magic.

As I read the stories, I observed the writing for several qualities. Without thinking about it, I do this for all stories I read. When reading for these reviews, the analysis is given more thought.

The first thing I usually note is proofreading. Are the right words used? The sound-a-likes seem the hardest for many people. Spelling and grammar also fit in here. Anything that causes the mind to stop and ponder, a stumble if you will that interrupts the smooth reading of the story. Scrambler J's stories need some minor polishing. There were a few spots in each story; the later ones have fewer than the first ones.

The detail and descriptions can make or break a story. Scrambler J did a fine job in this area. With a little imagination, the scenes took shape as if one were watching instead of reading. The detail of a piece of clothing or the color of a dragoon scale, each was described well.

The depth of the writing and characterizations of the cast tend to draw one into the story. Again Scrambler J did a fine job. A few times I caught myself nodding in agreement or smiling or almost crying as a scene played out. Also the plot lines seemed to work well. There were few jumps and dodges to give a feeling of discontinuity.

A Hunter's Tale, his second, is the basis of its own universe. It contains magical beings, monsters and near humans. All of these are users of magic in one form or another. Each being or monster has different levels of magical powers. In this universe, dragons are the most potent. The Hunters Guild is the protector of humanity, which doesn't even know it exists. Its members are simply known as Hunters. The others are grouped together and known as Nightwalkers. This is the story of one clash between the hunters and the nightwalkers.

Onboard the Raven is his most recent tale. The setting is the future where the technology is so advanced it seems like magic. A universe filled with such things as warp drive spacecraft, transporters, electronic surgery, body suits and much more. The main character has just completed training and graduated from the Academy. He is on his way to his first assignment, the starship, USS Raven. The story has a number of twists and mishaps that change the way he is perceived and how he views himself. This portion ends at the conclusion of his second day onboard.

Sadly only one story can be considered complete, the other feels like the beginning of a novel that has much more to be revealed. Personally, I hope Scrambler J will continue working on his craft and the stories he has begun.

by: Maggie Finson

The works of Scrambler J. are of the type that many skip over, due to size, subject matter (Science Fiction/Fantasy) and violence in some of the stories. Many readers at this site prefer the more traditional TG themes, and that's fine, a person's taste is his or hers alone and shouldn't be questioned by others. I will not do that here, either, but would like to take time and let you know that if you haven't read any of these stories you are missing out on some truly good ones.

In "A Hunter's Tale", set in a universe called Nightwalkers, the writer introduces you to a great many mythical creatures of horror and fantasy who not only walk around in his world, but have a great deal of impact on that world. The hunter of the tale is a specially gifted and trained human(?) who hunts down these evil creatures and works to keep Humanity safe from their evil influences.

If you like stories with vampires, zombies, werewolves, demons, and dragons, this one is for you. Briefly, the hero is caught in an ambush and captured by an evil dragon who transforms him into a woman to become one of his wives and bear hybrid dragon/human offspring. It is a complex story with good pacing and continuity, reads well, and does keep a reader's interest.

Now for the spoilers on that one. It is a very violent story, with use of firearms and other weapons very prevalent throughout. If you have a weak stomach or delicate sensibilities regarding what you read, this one is definitely not for you.

"On Board the Raven" is a different matter entirely. The story is multi-part, which tends to be a turn off for many, but is well written, nicely paced, and has none of the violence "Hunter's Tale" does. This one is purely science fiction with some very nice little twists added for spice. The protagonist is young academy graduate looing forward to his first shipboard assignment. A practical joke played on him by some friends that involves a body suit that he can't get off, and a definitely female appearance as a result is the premise of the tale.

The main character has to board his new ship as a female, thanks to the joke, then things beggin to get out of hand. Poeple who should have known what was going on and be aboard to help him out of his difficulties aren't, the ship is crewed by all females with a very fierce captain who insists on proper dress codes being observed by crew members. One thing leads to another in a piling up of errors and misunderstandings until the hero has been actually made to appear female without the body suit. I'm sure you can take it from there.

Both stories are entertaining reads, and as stated before, well enough paced and thought out to hold a reader's interest. Language could be a problem for some in "A Hunter's Tale", but I would recommend these stories to those of you who enjoy a good tear through both SF and Fantasy related TG stories.

Editor - Heather Sinclair

 

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