Aug 28 2008 4:11pm

Homeless Moon Review

More than a month ago, I posted about Homeless Moon, a group blog of young, promising writers who had released their first publication and were giving it away for free. Or you could send them a $1 to cover postage to get a print copy.

At the time, I made some ridiculous promise to review the chapbook about a week affter I posted about it, and we can see how that turned out. Nonetheless, here is the promised review.

Overall, I thought the chapbook was strong; I enjoyed three out of the five stories quite a bit, the other two didn’t work for me. When the first story, “Construction-Paper Moon” by Michael J. DeLuca, used the moon as a motif, I was hoping that every story would follow suit, but that was not the case. I think that might have given the chapbook better coherence, given the reader something to follow from story to story instead of just being random stories about random things.

Alternately, if the first story had a moon--i.e., night--then the next story could be dawn, then mid-day, then evening, and back to night to close out the chapbook and come full circle. Since all of the authors are new, I felt it needed some sort of theme, or something to tie all the stories together into a nice package. However, since this was a giveaway, you can make a reasonable argument that there's no need for a theme.

I enjoyed DeLuca’s story; as a newish father, the back-and-forth between the main character (a high school student) and her father really hit me hard. I found the characters totally believeable, and although I had some trouble sussing out what exactly had happened prior to the story, it didn’t detract from what I felt was the main thing: the father and daughter relationship.

Next up was “Impracticable Dreams” by Jason Ridler. I felt there was too much telling in this story. Jeffrey Ford’s “The Way He Does It” does something similar, but shows instead of tells, and it works where I felt Ridler’s piece didn't come together cleanly in the end.

“Colonized” by Scott H. Andrews was next, and this piece didn’t work for me at all. He’s taking some recent news events, and turning them on their head. Normally I like this sort of story, but there wasn’t enough changed for it to make an impact for me.

I have the benefit of having read a few pieces from Erin Hoffman, so her “The Recurrence of Orpheus” felt familiar to me. (I am publishing a story from Erin in an upcoming issue of Electric Velocipede) I like this different take on the tale of Orpheus. The story feels a little light, and it’s almost flash fiction really, but I don’t think her conceit could support the weight of a lot more words. One of the things I like about short fiction is that an author can take chances with words and stop before things get too out of hand.

The closing story, “Welcome to Foreign Lands” by Justin Howe was my favorite of the collection. A man has a mishap on his vacation and ends in the center of the Earth instead of his intended destination. And it just gets stranger and more wonderful from there. I like that this story has a completely unique voice and a unique concept. Very original.

As I said, I think this is a strong chapbook overall. There were two stories that did not work for me, but for free, this is definitely worth trying out.

[photo from Flick user Rhys_Jones_photography; CC licensed  for commercial use]

Joe Sherry
1. jsherry
So you're the reason I bought it! I couldn't remember who posted about it and for a buck, I figured what the hell.

I have the print copy but haven't quite gotten around to reading it.
2. teh2

So. When I click the link "free" above, I get this:


What do you suppose that signifies?

Arachne Jericho
3. arachnejericho
It signifies that their Wordpress installation got hacked in some way and someone needs to tell them about it.
Arachne Jericho
4. arachnejericho
I just sent off a contact to them (or to someone who knows them) via the other, unhacked site of

I don't know any other way to contact them. I tend to act quickly to contact people in cases like this, because it's a time critical sort of thing. Google could take a day or more to vet a site again---and that's after it's been cleaned.

Also, can someone make that image above smaller or something? It's taking up most of the page.
5. Erin Hoffman
Hi all. John, thanks for reviewing the chapbook -- much appreciated. :) We appreciate the mighty eyeballs of Tor.

Re the access comments -- I am just arrived in Long Beach and accessing the net via bluetooth internet share with my phone, but I'm able to access the site and download the chapbook just fine. I'm not sure if Mike fixed something in the last couple of hours, but the above message to me actually looks like some kind of security setting and not something on the Homeless Moon's end. teh2, do you perhaps have your security set to reject all but specifically approved sites?

Your contact will likely get through to Mike DeLuca, who can give you a more detailed answer, but let me know if you still have difficulties and I can email you a copy of the chapbook. erin.n.hoffman at gmail will get to me. :)
John Klima
6. john_klima
Sorry about that folks. I obviously didn't check the links before I posted them. I also cannot get to the site, and I definitely was able to before. On the same computer and everything.

The only thing that's new is that I'm now with FF 3.0 and I wasn't before. Is there some security setting FireFox that could be causing this?
Sammy Jay
7. Malebolge
I managed to download the .pdf. I enjoyed 'Impracticable Dreams' the most of the lot, largely because of the recurring broken moon image and the various consequences of that- the image of the eternally placid ocean and whatnot. It was a small touch, but it added depth to the world for me.

'The Recurrence of Orpheus' was fun and clever, but seemed to end in a bit of a rush. The mixing of myth/magic and computing always gets me to smile, ignorant as I am about magical internet boxes.
John Klima
8. john_klima
Yeah, on that warning screen there is an option to continue to the page regardless. I tried it, and there's a red bar across the top of my screen asking if I want to report the site.

I do wonder even more now if this is something that's part of Fire Fox 3.0?
Torie Atkinson
9. Torie

I had to shrink your image, it was breaking the page.

I get the same thing on FF3. If you click on "Why was this site blocked?" it looks like third-party trojans and malicious scripts have been known to run on that page. Yikes! I'd recommend that people wait for the webmaster to clear all this up before proceeding to download that publication...
10. Michael J. DeLuca
Hi. Teh2 and Torie: Thanks for the heads-up. I'm the webmaster. There was a spam email virus running on an otherwise inactive email account. I deleted the account. Everything should now be cool.

And John, thanks for the review!
Arachne Jericho
11. arachnejericho
Actually there was more to the Trojan than that. A javascript was hacked at the bottom of the website that unpacks some nasty code.

Since then it's been removed, so the site is safe again as far as I can determine.

But generally the FF3 setting *is correct* about these things.

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