Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I am in The Order of the Hot Potato

Apparently I wrote a story considered controversial enough to be included in Bewildering Stories 3rd Quarter Review in The Order of the Hot Potato. They didn't say why it was controversial, but I'm 17th out of 18, so it's not as controversial as others further up the list, but still in there.

Anyway, so, if you're curious about it, you can see my listing here:

Just click on the green link for Family Coat and you can read the story and decide for yourself.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Review of "The G.O.D. Factor" and a Farewell

Cross posted from…and-a-farewell/

Back in June this year when "The G.O.D. Factor" first came out I was looking for people who would read my novella and honestly review it on their blog or in their forum, or wherever they let out their great "yawp" the most. I got some volunteers - some of which posted reviews on their blogs and others who felt more comfortable simply emailing me. However I heard it, though, it was exciting to hear what people had to say about my little novella. (You can find those reviews here: .)

But I also wanted to seek out reviews from people who didn't know me, who hadn't read anything I had ever written, and might see something completely different in my work than what I assumed was there. My friend Angela pointed me in the direction of Hugh Fox, who wrote reviews for Small Press Review. But he was also a poet with 54 volumes of poetry under his belt, as well as the first writer to tackle a critical study of Charles Bukowski, and one of the founders of the Pushchart Prize, and that is in addition to his many other accomplishments. To read more about him (other than the Wikipedia entry above, go to the entry here.

Small Press Review is a "magazine with review columns, information and helpful hints on getting published. Published bi-monthly, it contains up-to-date and late-breaking news on the small press and small magazine industry." From what I can tell, it's been around since 1963, founded and edited by Len Fulton, also a prolific poet, writer and editor in the world of the small press.

To get such people to take the time to take a look at my work would be a wonderful thing indeed, no matter if they loved it or hated; that they would take the time to read and comment would be enough. So, I was very excited to have Angela help me with that. However, there was a little bit of a mix up in the sending of a review copy; I sent it to the wrong address. And then my other copies of "The G.O.D. Factor" were delayed in getting to me, then Len Fulton passed away on July 28, which made me wonder if this was the right time for this (Google Len Fulton and you get link upon link of people announcing his passing), but by hook or by crook, between Angela and I, we got a copy to the correct address, that is to Hugh Fox, and it was even before the book signing at Chevalier's on August 20.

After all that, I was grateful that he'd even take a look at my little novella. But read it he did and came up with the below review. It is such a completely opposite view of what I had in mind when I wrote "The G.O.D. Factor" that I laughed aloud when I read it. It's beautiful when people find things in your writing that you never saw. It can be ugly, too, but in this case, I thought it was awesome. Mark Twain was right, just say yes when people tell you what they thought you meant when you wrote something. In any case, I'm honored to have received Hugh Fox's review, copied and pasted below:

The G.O.D. Factor
Novel by Rachel V. Olivier
$6.00/ Sam’s Dot Publishing

Review by HUGH FOX

A dual-levelled book that at the same time deals with space-ships and their crews, but also is a metaphorical commentary on the place of the divine in the human universe. Very subtle:

“Monica? Monica?” The G.O.D. had finished going through all variations. It had been an enjoyable exercise if he did say so himself. And, he realized, he did. The G.O.D. ran through the systems to find Monica.Sensors indicated neither she nor anyone was aboard ship, but the ‘ship’ was much smaller than the one he woke up in,....the G.O.D. was fascinated by where it was. Running through information filed away almost 100 years ago, the G.O.D. found the charts from the Galactic War, back when they’d known this part of space. ...Humans he could help; humans that would have a better life because he, the GO.D.. would be able to show them how to have better, more efficient, life. “Get in touch with Gawwd.” (pp.48-49).

On one level it’s all spaceship games, but what we’re really dealing with is God looking back at the earth, human beings, seeing how things have gone, convinced that if mankind really dealt with God their lives would be better, better, better, that they should come back and get in touch with him/her. So there is a huge, important message here, and at the same time Olivier is a masterful writer dealing with the whole space-ship level of the book. I imagine lots of reader might miss the huge metaphorical double-level here, but some second-thinking, re-reading will eventually bring them into Olivier’s major message: return to The Divine.


Again, it truly is an honor to have Hugh Fox review one of my works, and I love how he saw an alternate vision to what I had in mind.

Yesterday I heard from Angela that Hugh Fox passed away this weekend, and this could be one of the last reviews he ever wrote; it may or may not make it into print at Small Press Review (which is still going after Len Fulton's death). But it seemed fitting that I post Hugh Fox's review with a final thanks to him for taking the time to review my novella and a farewell to him on his death.