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3  Meg posted on Jan 28, 2004
That story was so wicked sweet.
2  mjm posted on Apr 25, 2003
tee hee hee. I love this fic! You go.
1  Saggit posted on Apr 15, 2003
It's a cute idea that I've seen worked out in a variety of fiction that's appeared in waves throughout the twentieth century; perhaps most effectively in E.E.Y. Hales' Chariot of Fire, with a hero who takes up residency in Dante's lust circle of hell, and helps Cleopatra negotiate the building of a railroad to link limbo and the lower circles of heaven. CoF avoids the cliches of the genre by focusing on the hero's very unsentimental POV, on character portrayal, and plot development. Those shorter pieces which focus on a "let's view heaven/hell" scenario tend to concentrate on satire.

It's the very blunt and underdeveloped edge of the satire, here, that doesn't work for me. Putting up Bill Gates for inspection could have resulted in a bit of amusing dialog, or some wry reflection on the essentially diabolical nature of marketing, or monopolies and capitalism; what we got, instead, was the usual "you wanted world domination, you go to hell." There was much, much more to be mined, there, and I felt a bit cheated.

The bin Ladan thing was problematic. I should first state that if bin Ladan was caught today, I would be celebrating tonight. That said, your facts are wrong: he's never been interested in world domination, but getting back at what he perceives to be the evils of both Israel and modern MidEastern despotism, supported by enormous US foreign aid. His aim? A resurgent pan-Islamic culture. Do I think he's right in this? Of course not; but simply using him as a convenient punching bag (a "Mother in Law joke," as Mel Brooks used to say disparagingly about going for the easy gag), then finding him guilty of world domination, fell rather flat with me. Others will no doubt leap to this piece's defense, or attack me for sundry crimes (poor tipping of pizza delivery folks; yelling at a pet cat when he used my leg as a scratching post; world domination); and that is their perogative. It is also yours, in so far as you judge me like your St Fred (good one, that; I like the flip tone) guilty of not seeing obvious humor. So be it. I can only post my own honest reactions, in a manner I hope is courteous and without any recourse to emotional truncheoning.

When the story reverted its attention back to Spike, I found myself also expecting more. The usual pearly gates stuff--finding old friends, etc--didn't seem like much more than wish fulfillment. Spike's single greatest character trait has always been leading with his emotions, and by focusing on bland, external events, we're not privy to what's going on in his mind (other than a brief comment that he was good enough for heaven--without, significantly, any emotional weighting to the remark). There's no sense of personal epiphany until the short, final paragraph, which seems to come out of nowhere. It's good, but I found myself thinking that we could and should have had much more of a reaction to the reunion with his old life-derived family, not to mention Joyce. "She looked beautiful...and healthy" doesn't catch and summarize the emotions of the moment that might hit anybody in such a situation, much less a 150 gigawatt emotions generator like Spike.

The story was nicely paced. I found Guido's presence amusing (with his brush-off customer service air making me wonder whether your pre-heaven wasn't really a bit of hell). Good grammar and punctuation, nice phrasing. The opening was arresting, though it led me to ask a question you never answered: what Buffy did, if anything, to Xander, after the latter killed Spike. Significantly, he wasn't in the heavenly group, but that proves nothing.

In any case, please don't judge the reactions of everybody by any single review, including my own. You'll likely get some very positive reactions to your piece, and as this is your first submitted piece to AAS, I hope we'll see a lot more. :)

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