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ARC Review - When You Were Pixels (Syntax #0.1), by Julio Alexi Genao

When You Were Pixels (Syntax #0.1) - Julio-Alexi Genao

This story holds the magic upon which sagas are built.


When You Were Pixels blew my mind into little pieces. Within seconds I know where I am, I see the corridors, I hear the noises of the hydraulic doors opening and closing, I smell both the dust and the faint odor of ozone that lingers after the assassin has passed.


The imagery (both more stark and much darker than even the initial prompt-image) is of a desolation that is made out of pure, stunning anguish. It is quite a feat for a short story to set the stage so fast. The backdrop is vivid.


Then, as the mystery unravels, the place and the people that live in it are brought to life, and (although one is brought to quick and summary execution), there is love here, of the intense kind. The kind that grabs you by the neck with both hands, and just won’t let you go.


And when it is over you feel bereft. Utterly shattered. You want more. More words. More stories. More loving hands walking down loved bodies. You want more of these eyes that are better at understanding than the mind can express in words.


You want more dystopian darkness, to fill your soul with the harsh, harsh Midnight Blues of loneliness.


Oh, that beast. That beast. That scary beast that rears its ugly face when all your shields are down, it just surges into your being. Takes over, until you wail and thrash trying to evade it.


Loneliness, described as the animal it truly is. Total immersion into depths that submerge me, drain me, drown me. I am lost in it, drifting in a feeling of oceanic loss.


This author writes loneliness as if it were his second skin, then proceeds to paint it on your body; it is still smarting long after you’re done reading. It hurts. God, it hurts. And, in between, it feels so, so good. It speaks straight to the soul of anyone who has ever been badly hurt, of anyone who has ever loved and lost. Of anyone who is still hurting, or at least still vividly remembers the pain of that loss. This writing is where that pain is brought back to life. But the almost scary part is that it also makes you feel good. It helps chase the darkness away, if only for a moment.For a fleeting moment in time, you feel whole again. You feel good. Happy.


It has powerful magic in it, this text. Do not tread lightly.


Absolute favorite line:


“I wanted you more than I wanted to live.”


Do not consider the status of short story any less intimidating, any less intense, or less in any other way. Because it is not. Every word is considered. Every line has been measured. Every thought was carefully constructed to fit into the next, and the next, and the next.



It is complete and stands alone.


So alone, the sorrow echoes around it. Besides, it is a part of a bigger work. There are more words coming our way in this verse.


Personally, I don’t know how I am going to be able to wait for the author to actually squeeze them out of his brain and put them in black and white for me.


But wait I shall. Forever, if that is what it takes.




I was a beta reader on this story. I watched as it came alive, in a million updates; I saw the author chip away, move, change, fuss, and love his way through this, through his story of Antho, and it has been an amazing voyage.


The funny thing is, it still makes me cry.

Source: http://AnnaLund2011.booklikes.com/post/188677/when-you-were-pixels-syntax-0-1-