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for A Doctor's War

11/26/2011 c1 6Cole Culain
Here is a prize review from the Writing Contest Challenge. Congratulations on winning!

To begin: "I am the giver and the destroyer of hope, and I keep none for myself. Because I am the bearer of the truth." I love this quote, so much. Definitely being saved, because... it seems very powerful. Even taken out of context, and grafted onto a different situation entirely, it would still have the same effect, making the reader stop and consider.

I do not know if this was intentional or not, but I really did enjoy that the doctor went nameless throughout. It certainly added something for me, this person who tried to cast aside all of their 'self' to better serve others on their final journey. It also made the doctor seem more... in perspective. The doctor fought against death, knowing the battle could not be won.

The voice throughout was one without hope, but not because they had given up. They merely saw no place for it. When the doctor reminisces about being young and choosing a vocation, they seem exuberant. Now, in the present, they seem only tired.

Finally, the ending... It was interesting to see the doctor refer to their work as a battlefield, especially because the doctor knows it is hopeless. But it also speaks to the power of the human spirit, and the willingness to keep pressing on.

I apologize. This review isn't very helpful, seeing as it is all praise. But there was so very little wrong with this piece.
9/10/2011 c1 24Amethystars
I thought this piece was really well done in terms of emotions and emotive words/description. Some parts felt a little jumpy, but the slow pace worked well on the whole, as a reflective/contemplative piece. I think you did a great job with the prompt and crafted a beautiful story.
8/13/2011 c1 15Katalina Tomas
So true. ): So many people don't consider what a doctor goes through. They heal, yes, but they also kill. I liked the metaphor, connecting it to the prompt. Good luck in the WCC!

8/10/2011 c1 21Sercus Kaynine
I liked this piece because it looked at a different subject from a different angle. The thoughtful storytelling and the philosophical point of view really held my attention. Also, you spiced up the writing with nice descriptions throughout.

Good job and good luck in WCC!
8/8/2011 c1 11Javajive
I'm so stoked to read the different interpretations of the prompts and your piece has obviously inspired a discussion which is always a good thing in my opinion.

I liked the religious undertones and it fit well with the overall theme. This idea of doctors as some kind of magical creatures that we hang so much hope on. Like some modern day dragon slayers.

I also found the part where your narrator speaks of hope as a friend and at times an enemy very well executed. "Hope is a fickle friend and a crueler master." I can understand the narrator's wish for numbness, not to care so much, to have the ease that comes with indifference.

All in all a beautiful piece. It's going to be really hard to vote this month. You are all so damn creative :)
8/5/2011 c1 16Dragon made me do it
Review of the story

I like your introduction to this story, and your careful choice of words like 'after-death' rather than afterlife. Hospitals, however they are kitted out, have that same feeling to them. But to me, it is not just about the approach of death, but also about patients surrendering control over their lives to the doctors.

I like the way the backstory develops, and a central character is quite likeable as a child.

I have to say that I liked the first half of the story more than the second half. Perhaps this is partly because doctors are more likeable in their younger years when they are more open to new ideas, and so is an inevitable feature of a story like this. But perhaps also you could challenge the central character's views by interrupting them with competing views, whose most likely origin would come from a patient.

It is clear in lines like:

'It's infectious, though, when you see it day after day in the eyes the patient and their families, or even worse, the growing intensity, the begging in the eyes of their loved ones as the life fades from the patient's eyes.'

that the character does think about what his patients are going through, but it is not enough to challenge his position as the person who negotiates with the death over their life. many patients don't see it that way.

Despite my comment here though (which anyway I see more as a discussion of views than a criticism of your story- I think it's a sign of a really good story that you have engendered such debate in the reviews), I think that this is an original take on the prompt and a great story. It is nice to read about something different for a change!

Comments on other reviews- my two cents

I agree that doctors can be religious and many are, the question of 'should', to me is irrelevant.

I have seen a great deal more doctors of late than I would ever care to, and my condition has reduced them to their worst side. The greatest dilemma that I have seen is that doctors are taught that they are very intelligent, very talented, have the power of life and death over people. If they fail to fix one of the machines that shows up in their office, it can't be their fault because they are one of the chosen ones, it therefore must be the fault of the machine for not wanting to get better.

The problem, surprisingly to my mind, is not just that they see a person as a machine, but that they think they fully comprehend the workings of the machine when science just hasn't progressed that far yet.

I am not religious myself, but if religion can inject a sense of humanity and what's more humility into a doctor, so be it. I would prefer if that came from a sense of empathy with the patient though.
8/5/2011 c1 5Dr. Self Destruct
I really enjoyed your take on this month's prompt, it's very unique.

I'm not really sure what your previous reviewer (Elyse O'Barr) was smoking when she said doctor's aren't religious. I've met a fair few who are, and the whole 'God complex' fits almost perfectly in any situation where a person has complete control over life or death (in this story, a doctor). Some doctors might not believe in God, but there are always those who do... and those whose narcissism is proof enough that some doctors do what they do just for the opportunity to spite a higher power. Some of them may shelter themselves with apathy and atheism, but to assume they ALL DO is just lunacy. Science and religion intertwine more than a lot of people think or wish to acknowledge. I'm not a religious person, my views sometimes even border on Satanism, but I'm also not ignorant enough to claim I know the religious beliefs of a doctor. Regardless if they deal with life and death on a daily basis, they're still human... and I think this is the perfect story to show us the secluded minds of people we don't often have the chance to explore.

That being said, I believe the first line in this story has to be the most powerful. Which is definitely a good thing - I found myself smiling when I read it, and I don't even know why, haha. I think because I thought it sounded so damn sinister, but the rest of the one-shot has a much more lighter tone to it.

Being a doctor has to be one of the most challenging professions in the world, and not just because of the effort required, but because of the possible consequences of simple mistakes. It takes a very strong (or uncaring) person to be able to perform that kind of work.

[I spent my educational career reducing humanity to a series of chemical processes and electrical impulses—a knot of cells with a smattering of instinct thanks to natural selection.]

I think this line does great in showing the reader how a doctor can be forced to view the human body as a machine rather than a spiritual vessel in order to make them able to do their job. When we make something impersonal, it can't harm us nearly as much if it dies. It's kind of creepy when you think about it - I wonder what else this doctor looks towards in that kind of light.

[I am the giver and the destroyer of hope, and I keep none for myself. Because I am the bearer of the truth.]

Ah, I loved this line. Very beautiful.

I enjoyed how the doctor mentions he tries to be apathetic in regards to his patients, but their hope is contagious. It can indeed be a dangerous thing in this profession, considering sickness and disease can crawl right up a patient's back without them even knowing, killing them before anything can be done.

I really enjoyed this. Good luck in the contest! :)
8/5/2011 c1 Elyse O'Barr
Your hero is either delusional or a fool- he laughingly contradicts himself by referring to the "soul" and then calling himself a "bearer of truth." Any doctor would know that the soul does not exist in a literal sense- that's calling thinking dualistically. Factually, the brain-center of self- cannot function without the body. And then there's that God business... any doctor worth his salt is Atheist- statistics will back it up. My take- he's faking.
8/4/2011 c1 7rgarner31
i really like this clever take on our prompt! Its not *as* depressing as all our stories are (by our i mean other contestants). I love the ending especially. That closing sentance was really powerful and i really enjoyed the story.

Good luck in the contest! :)

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