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Neo-opsis: Issue 8 2005

Hell of a Salesman


This page contains comments from reviewers on my stories.


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The Fix review of Writen Word Online: Saving the Shore.

“Saving the Shore” leads off in a J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings meets Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal cover story. Frido, the mayor of The Shore, aims to stop greedy developers ruining the character of the otherwise unnamed seaside town. Hank Quense weaves an amusing tale, including a wizard named Mamzer, Gimlet the dwarf, and Wygga the dragon, who is the only one who knows how to work the magic of the rings. Dementia, an elf maiden who “just graduated from Bard and Beautician Trade School,” tags along on the quest

SFReview: Fast Living: Flash Fiction Online

We are told that "Fast Living" by Hank Quenze is a Feghoot. It's a one-pager about brothers being treated for a condition that makes them age rapidly. This all leads up to the entire purpose of a Feghoot, an atrocious pun. I loved it.

Sponsored By . . . : Darker Matter: By Alasdair Stuart in The Fix

In “Sponsored by…by Hank Quense, Captain Dave Stiller has a problem. In fact, he has a whole mess of problems, starting with the fact that he’s driving a tank sponsored by Budweiser and finishing with the fact that war has a producer and a script that must be followed.

“Sponsored by…” is about as polemical as they come, but it’s well handled and smart, and most of all, plausible. The best contemporary fiction takes modern tropes and runs with them, creating a world which, as /Max Headroom/ once put it, is “twenty minutes into the future.” It’s an effective idea, well presented, and if I have a problem with “Sponsored by…” it’s that I could have stood to see it expanded a little

Review of Zaftig the Magnificent: Afterburner SF: by Donald Schneider's Literary Reviews

I find Mr. Quense’s comedic characterizations and dialogue within the piece to be excellent. I would not hesitate to recommend “Zaftig The Magnificent” to all who enjoy lighthearted, fantastical fare. Four stars out of five.
Donald Schneider: Literary reviews

Review of Sponsored By... from SciF UK: Darker Matter
From Hank Quesne (sic) we have Sponsored by… , a satirical story of corporate sponsorship, war games and innovative ways to get rid of unwanted social groups. The thing that makes it special is the principled central character, and his idealistic thinking, right up to the ironic conclusion

TCI Reviews: The Impresario: Jasmina Vallombrosa

Rhonda Minestra just wants to get a good story. Working with her uncle and boss in gritty Manhattan, Sid Glower, she is ready for the next big thing to find her perfect scoop. When a series of crazy yet intriguing time travelers show up, she thinks she could have just found what she was looking for. With the joys of a translator ring, she learns more about the truth behind Ded Lazar’s mission to her realm. The sexy musician who is simply too beautiful to look at captures her interest until Zaftig turns up. The dramaheats up as the race against time for the new portal to be set intertwines everyone together. With tension and suspense coupled with a surprise turn of events, this short story will definitely keep you guessing.

I was particularly impressed with Mr. Quense’s knack at keeping me turning the pages. There was a good balance between the flow and action of the story. While at times it was a bit difficult to follow and I found myself getting lost in the detail, I felt that overall it was an entertaining read. 

TCI Revews: Desperate Measures Betsy Gallup
When an army of marauders threaten his homeland, Brodwin pleads with fellow wizards to help protect the village. Unfortunately, the wizards lack the courage to fight, so Brodwin is left to his own devices to save both the village and to keep his pledge of safety to the lovely Glyniss. With carefully chosen words, Brodwin proves he can not only weld magical forces but that he is a great strategist and wordsmith who is truly worthy of Glyniss’ love.

The plot of Desperate Measures by Hank Quense can be enjoyed by both adults and teenagers. Quense combines a liberal dose of highly descriptive passages with a creative means of delivering the message that a battle can often best be fought not with traditional weapons but with the power of words. While his character development could be hashed out more thoroughly, his ability to tell an interesting story is top notch.

Romance reviews Today: Rogue Wizard

Brodwin, a negotiator for the Gunderland Wizard's Guild, is stuck between a rock and a hard place.  He's just been sent to slap the hand of a rogue wizard who hasn't kowtowed to the desires of the Guild's Grand Wizard.  Seeing as the Grand Wiz is also Brodwin's nemesis, Brodwin didn't get much intel on the situation and it turns out that, no matter the outcome, Brodwin loses.  Unless, that is, he uses his wit to formulate a different ending.  A fun tale that will inspire a chuckle or two. - Kathy - 9/25/06

Tangent: Hell of a Salesman: Neo-opsis: by Aliette de Bodard   

In "Hell of a Salesman" by Hank Quense, the narrator, Anthony Bello, is picked up by Beelzebub at his death and taken to a market for imps and leprechauns. For his living offences (lying to customers, overcharging them...) he is condemned to sell items there is no demand for. But Bello is resourceful, and finding out how he thwarts Beelzebub is one of the pleasures of the story.

If I have one criticism to make, it is that the last few paragraphs are jarring. The first-person narration is abruptly interrupted such that it took me several lines to see it. I had to reread the ending to see how it made sense. And make sense it did, but I would have preferred a smoother delivery.

There have been numerous descriptions of the afterlife and numerous stories with resourceful characters who outwit their opponents. What sets this one apart is the delivery of the narrator who sees everything in terms of "sales angle," "product benefit," etc. It makes for hilarious effect and at the same time makes you wonder whether the narrator really has learnt anything. Probably not, but I guess some people are incorrigible.

Tangent: Desperate Measures by Nicole McClain   

“Desperate Measures” by Hank Quense delves into the realm of sword and sorcerer fantasy. The story centers on the trials and tribulations of Brodwin, an inept wizard who is trying to help the city of Dun Hythe defend against an invasion. Brodwin is self-absorbed, single-minded, and at times quite engaging in his pursuit of victory for the people of Dun Hythe and the heart of the Glyniss, the city’s ruler.


© 2008 Hank Quense