Review: “Christmas Past,” a Short Story by Owen Adams

by Jason Varrone

Rating: 2 STARS

Genre: Science Fiction

Type of Story: Short Story

Summary: The time travel story with a dark side. A man died while the snow fell. His body would be hidden until summer, but there are strangers in the woods today. During a long forgotten Christmas, three time travelers come to town. Is their presence just a coincidence or are there darker secrets hidden beneath the ice?

Review: “Christmas Past” tells the story of three time travelers searching for answers who arrive in a strange place in an unknown time. They are trapped in a maze of time travel portals and, after finding a man who they believe can help them, stumble upon a stunning secret.

This story appears to be the first of a series (The Timewasters), and Owen does a nice job of creating a fairly entertaining story. It was difficult to get a clear sense of the characters. Graham, Mark, and Annie are the three time travelers, but through a lack of characterization it is difficult to get a sense of what makes them tick. The story started out well and had an interesting premise, but then due to an overabundance of description it lost me in the middle before bringing me back for a solid ending. Owen has a flair for descriptive writing. I could get a very clear sense of where the characters were and what they were looking at, as evidenced below:

The room was small but covered in an ambitious amount of clutter. The doctor himself appeared oblivious to it and invited them in without a trace of embarrassment. A fireplace smouldered in the corner, but the rest of the room’s contents sprawled out around a delicate armchair. Books lay upon every surface, most left open or askew.

But the description went overboard at times. I think science fiction authors feel the need to over-describe because of the unique elements within their stories. The ending was well done, and sets the stage for more Timewasters stories to come.

One of the primary issues with “Christmas Past” is the lack of correct punctuation and several missing words. This is the primary reason for the review rating of 2 stars. I do not know if Owen had a professional editor go through this story, but I recommend that he have someone proofread it. Owen has the makings of a solid story here, and perhaps the genesis of a series that could be continued to greater lengths in the future. But before he goes down that road this short story should be proofread to eliminate the errors that are present.

Available at: Amazon

Author Site: Website

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4 Comments to “Review: “Christmas Past,” a Short Story by Owen Adams”

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to review my story, and I’m glad it offered you some entertainment. I’m sorry (and embarrassed) that there were proofing problems in the document, and my next job will be to get a second, and maybe third, pair of eyes over it to fix it up. I think this is a really fair review, thanks again.

    • Owen, It was a pleasure to read this, and I hope this does not stop you from submitting the sequel or any other stories going forward. I am interested to know what happens next!

      As for the errors within the story, I can recommend proofreaders if you’d like. Proofreading is relatively inexpensive, especially for short stories where the word count is minimal. As a fellow indie author, I feel it is crucial that we take extra care when publishing our work since we don’t have the machine of the traditional publishing industry behind us. It all falls on us!

      Thanks again for the submission. All my best.

      Jason

  2. I’m definitely not put off from submitting again. This was the first piece that I really pushed myself to write and put out there and I was much more interested in a fair and accurate review than a great one. Your comments have boosted my confidence in a few areas where I was flagging, and though I’ve made a stumble with the proofing, I don’t feel like I’m moving in completely the wrong direction. Any recommendations are very welcome,

    Owen

    • You are definitely moving in the right direction, Owen. Believe me, I know about the lack of confidence that writers have about their work; I struggle with it daily. But if you love what you are doing, if you love the process of writing and pouring out your soul on paper, then it is worth it in the end, regardless of a review or what Joe Shmo says.

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