Ahoy, Critterfolk!
New entry Dec 07

Critter Notices

Critters is 23!

Yes, 23 years ago Critters was born. Wow! Thanks so much to all of you, who've made it such a resounding success!

Books from Critters!

Check out Books by Critters for books by your fellow Critterfolk, as well as my list of recommended books for writers.

New Book from a Critter Member

**NOW IN PRINT EDITION TOO!** Awesome new book, HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SPECULATIVE FICTION OPENINGS, from a Critter member whose unearthed a shard of The Secret to becoming a pro writer. Really good piece of work. "...if you're at all concerned about story openings, you'd be nuts not to read what Qualkinbush has to say." —Wil McCarthy, author of BLOOM and THE COLLAPSIUM

The Sigil Trilogy

If you're looking for an amazing, WOW! science fiction story, check out THE SIGIL TRILOGY. This is — literally — one of the best science fiction novels I've ever read.


I was interviewed live on public radio for Critters' birthday, for those who want to listen.

Free Web Sites

Free web sites for authors (and others) are available at

ReAnimus Acquires Advent!

ReAnimus Press is pleased to announce the acquisition of the legendary Advent Publishers! Advent is now a subsidiary of ReAnimus Press, and we will continue to publish Advent's titles under the Advent name. Advent was founded in 1956 by Earl Kemp and others, and has published the likes of James Blish, Hal Clement, Robert Heinlein, Damon Knight, E.E. "Doc" Smith, and many others. Advent's high quality titles have won and been finalists for several Hugo Awards, such as The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy and Heinlein's Children. Watch this space for ebook and print editions of all of Advent's current titles!

Book Recommendation

THE SIGIL TRILOGY: The universe is dying from within... "Great stuff... Really enjoyed it." — SFWA Grandmaster Michael Moorcock

Announcing ReAnimus Press

If you're looking for great stuff to read from bestselling and award-winning authors—look no further! ReAnimus Press was founded by your very own Critter Captain. (And with a 12% Affiliate program.) [More]








Weekly Notes

Notes for 22-Jan-2020...

Fun book today helping out the Critters Fund Drive this week, a new release, never before been published, by a three-time Nebula finalist (and winner of assorted other awards)--

	NOBODY RIDES FOREVER by Craig Strete - $3.99

		ReAnimus Press Store:
		 (available in both ebook and paperback)
The even more authentic life of Billy the Kid.
Being the secret death bed confessions of Pat Garrett, one time sheriff of Lincoln county, New Mexico, by whom Billy the Kid as such he was known was finally hunted down and personally rendered deceased which ended up his foolishness in no uncertain terms.
Including desultory facts about the mysterious killer of said Pat Garrett as revealed from the lips of the dying Pat Garrett himself, as told to Puking Bird.
 Translated from the original vapourous Indian language
and edited and corrected for general drunkenness
by Craig Strete, himself the unnoted author of other unrelated literary droppings.


Thanks for the donations, folks!  We are 83.8% of the way to the fund drive goal with contributions from 144 donors, leaving about $700 to go.
Thanks especially to

	Wulf Moon
	Bill Leonard
	Jeani Rector
	Larry Hodges
	anthony lavely
	Philip Lindeman

for their recent donations to help keep Critters going. Much appreciated!

[See for more information.]

Woohoo!  Congratulations to...

	- Richard Zwicker, who sold his (Critter'd) short story,
	"Repeat as Necessary" to Hybrid Fiction.

	- Derrick Boden, who sold his short story, "Hustle" to Escape Pod.

Please report your Woohoo!s via the web page.


This week's Most Productive Critter award, for 7 critiques (at time
of judging), averaging almost 800 words each, goes to...

	Charles Gull

To redeem an MPC, visit:

Congratulations!  To everyone else -- Crit early and often!

(For an explanation of the MPC award, see the page.)


Recommended Reading...
One of the best writing books - Secrets from the 6-time Best Editor
Critters Workshop

This week we have... [get from ]...
     Title                      	Author
Week of 22-Jan-2020 (Crits due 29-Jan-2020):
 F   The Girl Who Never Dreamed         Russell Adams -#28914
 SF  A Fox at Christmas                 Kevin P. Hallett -#28915
 SF  Merka, Chapters 1, 9 & 26          Pamela Najar-Simpson -#28916
 F   Borderlands, Episode 2 [sample]    Charles Gull -#28917
 H   + 30 Seconds                       Madison Estes -#28918
 F   Sacrifice                          Sean Masters -#28919
 F   Soul Testing in Major League Baseball  [@] Larry Hodges -#28920
 SF  Changelings: Rebirth, Chapters 9-10  Liam Corley -#28921
 SF  Those Above                        JC Crochet -#28922
 F   Eye of the Storm                   Casey M. Schneider -#28923
 SF  A Million Tiny Bombs               Joe Follansbee -#28924

Recommended books on writing:

	ReAnimus Press Store:


STAYIN' ALIVE - A WRITER'S GUIDE by three-time SFWA President Norman Spinrad
	How things really work in the art and commerce of publishing |

	(A 99cent essay on SF and writing) |
Because you might enjoy it... COMMENCEMENT by ROBY JAMES
The Sting was what made Ronica McBride special... now she was crashed on an unknown planet without it.
Pieces up for critique in other workshops...

In the lit workshop - :
 L   What We Talk About When We Talk About Enlightenment  Michael Gruver -#28815

In the mystery workshop - :
 M   Katrina Cut                        Jim Steele -#28848

In the nonfiction workshop - :
 NO  Belief in Proportion to the Evidence, Cha. 7 Without any Loss or Dishonour  Jim Parry -#28884

In the script workshop - :
 SC  Loose Lips                         Robert Qualkinbush -#28625

In the kids workshop - :
 YP  Saul T. Unyon: The Short End of a Tall Tale  Michelle Henrie -#28566

In the comics workshop - :
 CG  Magna. logline/ synopsis           Brent Claridge -#28885

In the western workshop - :
 W   A Message to Santa Fe, Chap 1-3    Frank Coombs -#25375

In the romance workshop - :
 R   Pack Chapters 1-3                  Anastasia Bromberg -#28384

In the video workshop - :
 VS  The Gallery of Henri Beauchamp     Jay DeTalente -#21424

In the music workshop - :
 MP  The Shade Riders and Nocturnal Ned song  Beth Zurkowski -#21675

In the photo workshop - :
 PH  Dry Mud and Cinder Cone            Bill Wight -#19627

In the art workshop - :
 AH  Art Man, a portrait                Robert J Cleary -#27847

In the website workshop - :
 WW  Ax-yZ The Creative Projects Platform  Charles Gull -#27088

In the critters workshop - :
 F   The Girl Who Never Dreamed         Russell Adams -#28914
 SF  A Fox at Christmas                 Kevin P. Hallett -#28915
 SF  Merka, Chapters 1, 9 & 26          Pamela Najar-Simpson -#28916
 F   Borderlands, Episode 2 [sample]    Charles Gull -#28917
 H   + 30 Seconds                       Madison Estes -#28918
 F   Sacrifice                          Sean Masters -#28919
 F   Soul Testing in Major League Baseball  [@] Larry Hodges -#28920
 SF  Changelings: Rebirth, Chapters 9-10  Liam Corley -#28921
 SF  Those Above                        JC Crochet -#28922
 F   Eye of the Storm                   Casey M. Schneider -#28923
 SF  A Million Tiny Bombs               Joe Follansbee -#28924

You might also like... UNDERHANDED CHESS by JERRY SOHL
A hilarious handbook of devious diversions and stratagems for winning at chess

Standard notes:

If you need help with anything, see -- there
are FAQs and a form to ask questions.

Critters is donation funded & volunteer run, so if you'd like to
help out with our current fund drive or otherwise, please visit -- Thanks!!

Remember to send the critiques directly to me,, so
I can forward them to the authors _and_ give you credit for your effort.
Please send only one critique per mail message (makes it easier to
archive).  Please make sure the "#" symbol and manuscript number are in
the email Subject: line, like Subject: #1234.  (Conversely, if you want
ol' Aburt to personally read the message, i.e., it's _not_ a critique,
don't put a "#" in the subject or I won't see it.  Also -- put my current
anti-spam code word in there: see .)

You may also send your critiques via .

Note that all critiques will be available to everyone to read the next Saturday.

Remember, authors and critiquers, we're all friends here.  Be polite.  Be
considerate.  Be tactful.  You can say you thought a story was drivel in a
courteous way.  Try to point out the good and the bad; offer alternatives
if you can.  Never, ever, attack the author -- only the story.  Authors:
Remember that some reviewers may lack tact.  Try to be understanding,
but if you get any that you feel are just plain mean-spirited, too short
to be of any use, or too "feel good," let me know and I'll withhold the
reviewer's "credit" for that story and/or cajole them into something
more insightful.  See for more...

If you want to send a short critique that you know is too short for
credit (200 words or less of your own meaningful content) please put
"NC#" in the Subject (NC=No Credit, like Subject: NC#1234) -and- say
something like "not for credit" inside your critique.  (Remember also that
for MPC purposes, a critique must be 300 words or more.)

Comments -other- than critiques (such as discussion of the critiques,
or Woohoo! announcements, or chit chat) should be posted to one of the
official Critters discussion forums (See the
web page for full info, guidelines, etc.)  Don't post stories or critiques
(mail those to

Please pare the ms. down if critiquing in-line (don't quote the whole ms.!).
Other format rules are at .

Past reviews are on the web page.  The current week's manuscripts are
also there, as are prior mss. and even some rewrites.  There's a Master
Page Index (site map) with tons of links to common items.

Authors for this week -- if you aren't getting email'd critiques from
me (as they come in) within a couple days -- ask me and we can verify
I'm sending them to the correct address.  (Send me a phone# in case I
can't get email to you.)  Check the format of your story ASAP to make sure
it's all there and readable.

If you want to change your email address or preferences (# mss. emailed,
SF/F/H type, or whether you get the huge critique batches at week's end),
point your browser to .  Please don't
ask me to do this by hand, it's quite a chore!  (E.g., if you're going
on vacation and want to suspend mail from me -- do this before/after
your trip.)

If you're unable to reach to get manuscripts, I've set up
an emergency backup site at where you can get the
week's manuscripts (but not much of anything else :-).  Speaking of backups --
don't forget to back up your own manuscripts so you don't lose them!

If you want to quit or go inactive, drop by .

Critters is funded by donations, so visit
if you'd like to help out.

Because you might enjoy it... TO SAVE THE SUN by BEN BOVA AND A. J. AUSTIN
Earth's sun will soon explode, unless a massive engineering effort can save it.

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