This was a great story. It was well written, had many powerful and memorable scenes, and explored Mike's character quite well. While most of my comments thus far have been nitpicking about grammar, I don't wan those comments to mislead you as the writing was excellent throughout. Indeed, the writing evolved and improved as the story progressed. I would have to say that my favorite chapter was "Apathy," definitely the emotional climaxes of the story. Of course, perhaps others might point to a more obvious scene as the climax
of the story, but to me the Sandy-Mike-Lucy love triangle was always more important as a symbol of how Mike was leading his life. Sandy was his dream girl in a far away land for whom he was patiently waiting. He had previously eschewed the advances of other girls to remain faithful to Sandy, delaying his gratification for that day in the future where they could finally be together. Yet, as that future became less certain, his mind and heart wandered to Lucy, the girl who is in the here and now and can satisfy his needs in the present. Of course, with Lucy things are a bit more spontaneous and less certain, but he eventually chooses her. That perfect mapping between Mike's relationships and the existential issues he faces as a result of the cancer is an absolutely brilliant part of the story.
Now, this post would be out of character if I didn't include one minor nitpick. I find it funny that you correct the typo in the last sentence with another typo. I used to always mess up 'lose' vs 'loose' as well.
There is one idea that I can't really get out of my head. It's not as much a criticism as a suggestion. I felt like there was something of a missed opportunity in the last few chapters. What if, after "The Insanity of Humanity," we don't get to see into Mike's thoughts anymore? The Waltz and the subsequent chapters would be told only from the perspective of Lucy, and perhaps Mike's mom for the interruption chapter. In this case, the reader would be left in the same position as Lucy — we would know Mike had just become somewhat unhinged and we would all be left trying to guess what Mike is thinking and feeling. I do feel as if you had tried to do this a bit; in those later chapters, you move more toward a "show instead of tell" narration that seems to avoid some of the introspection that was more common in the previous chapters. Fully committing to a perspective switch, however, could have created a very powerful connection between the readers and Lucy in those last scenes.
I'm also trying to process the epilogue still (these aren't really criticisms but my own confused rambling). The whole story had been building up to Mike, as you put it, growing into an entirely new person, which is symbolically connected to his relationship with Lucy. Yet in the epilogue, you ask the readers whether these developments are actually good for the characters. First, you bring up and also show that Mike and Lucy's relationship might not be so healthy as it isn't really helping with some of Lucy's dependency issues. Then, in a very nice twist, you get Mike to question his new attitudes toward life by giving him a second chance on life. Thus, rather than clarifying everything, the epilogue serves to muddle the main focus of the story. But for a story about (quoting from the summary) how Mike questions everything he once though was true, this is perhaps the most fitting ending.
Finally, I think you should be commended for your dedication to writing this story. At 85k words, it is nearly twice the length of the next longest BCB fanfic. And going by the first published date on ff.net, this story was 9 months in the making. Would it be wrong to say that this story is your baby? I believe congratulations are in order.
This post has been edited by Catalyst: 11 November 2011 - 07:34 AM