Read When You Were Pixels by Julio Alexi Genao Online


A standalone short story in the Syntax universe.An assassin has come to Tower 072, and no one can keep him from his target.Only minutes from escape, he suffers a violent seizure, collapsing in a service corridor.A lonely surveillance operator becomes the only person in the building to see him fall. Antho is no murderer, but in watching the killer stumble he recognizes someA standalone short story in the Syntax universe.An assassin has come to Tower 072, and no one can keep him from his target.Only minutes from escape, he suffers a violent seizure, collapsing in a service corridor.A lonely surveillance operator becomes the only person in the building to see him fall. Antho is no murderer, but in watching the killer stumble he recognizes something that links them together.When he rescues the assassin in secret, he finds the monster on his screen is only a young man, cursed with the effects of a trauma as outsized as his deadly skill—and somehow linked to the stirring of a terrifying power. Unable to walk away, Antho makes a choice that could cost them both their lives:He takes the assassin home.Revised Second Edition...

Title : When You Were Pixels
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 18168902
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 32 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

When You Were Pixels Reviews

  • Julio Genao
    2019-04-22 04:00

    see excerpt belowPRAISE FOR WHEN YOU WERE PIXELS“Lovely, heartbreaking—and hot.”J.C. LILLIS, author of How to Repair a Mechanical Heart“Beautiful. Every line reads like poetry. Like stark, desolate poetry.”LISA HENRY, author of Dark Space"Amazing... reminds you that love can happen even in the darkest of places."HEIDI CULLINAN, author of Love Lessons"It's very nice."MARIA GENAO, author of Julio Alexi GenaoAUTHOR'S DISCUSSION THREADGoodreads is a place for people who love books to be social, and those of you who know me are fully aware that I'll be social with anyone, anywhere, at any time, about anything at all.Except on your reviews of my work.You should be free to read and comment and complain and squeeplode to your heart's content, without worrying that a surly author will be coming 'round after you to assess the tenor of your discussion.Cuz that's just fuckin' creepy.This—the thread below this review—is the place for comments, criticism, and any extravagant praise that you wish me to see or respond to.Have a question? Wanna yell at me for killing off the cat in chapter two? Want to make sweet, sweet lo tell me what you thought of the story?This is the place.Use spoiler tags—but anything else goes, as far as i'm concerned. I'm not even wearing clothes right now.Hope you enjoyed my story as much as I enjoyed writing it, and happy reading.JAGSTORY INFOGenre: gay, science fiction, dystopian, post-apocalypticTags: (view spoiler)[hurt/comfort, tearjerker, anterograde amnesia (hide spoiler)]Content warnings: (view spoiler)[no explicit HEA, possible HEA, some violence (hide spoiler)]Word count: 7,015 name is Antho, and I love you. You don’t remember me. That's okay. I'm going to leave this for you in that long black coat you wear with all the secret pockets. It might take you some time to find it, but I don't mind. I watched you kill my boss. Then I watched you fall. I think I maybe loved you even then. He was an asshole. But that's not really what I need you to know. You'll need to read these words one day, and I hope you believe them: You are not alone. You forgot me three times, and every time, we started over. Maybe I’m already dead. Maybe you killed me like you said you would. Doesn't matter. I loved you even when you forgot me. And—for a little while—you loved me back.©2014 Julio Alexi GenaoAll Rights Reserved

  • Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
    2019-03-30 11:03

    Fabulous, really fabulous stuff here. Joolz, you lived up to your hype, babycakes. It was worth all of your blood, sweat, and tears. I loved it. I loved it so much. This short was truly breathtaking. Gritty, heartbreaking, romantic and filled with beautifully crafted, meticulously thought-out prose. This story really touched me. And I wanted mooooorrrrreeeeeeee. That is the problem with something so wonderful. It makes you hungry. I can tell that there is so much more story to tell with Antho, with this harsh world that Joolz created. I want so know the whos, whats, whens... I want everything. I'm feeling quite greedy right now.Read this story, friends. It is so well done, so beautiful, so deliberate. You won't be disappointed.

  • Lisa Henry
    2019-03-27 07:52

    Every word here is perfect. Every line reads like poetry. Not a single one wasted. Read this. That is all. Actually, that's not all. I'm gonna go all writer on you guys now. So, sometimes you read a story and it transports you to somewhere entirely new, and entirely unexpected, and it's wonderful. And the reader in you loves it. And the writer in you curls up in a little ball and says, "Why didn't you think of that? Get me more wine." But, you guys, it's not the plot. Plot, meh. It's the execution of it. It blows you away, and makes you feel inspired and inadequate all at the same time. Am I gushing? Fuck, I'm gushing, and I don't even care. Read this. Read it slowly. Let it work it's magic. It will haunt you.

  • Vio
    2019-04-12 09:08

    Julio, you amaze me, your talent shines through every word and your wonderful gift of the gab wows me. Pixels is an emotional heart-kicker and god you made me cry like I haven't in very long time. You're lucky I still love you especially after putting me through the wringer. Beautiful, powerful storytelling and a definite favourite, an unforgettable experience. There is no way my review does it the justice it deserves. I seriously wish I was a wordsmith right now. Check out the brilliant reviews and read this fabulous story, you wont regret it.....

  • Rosalinda *KRASNORADA*
    2019-04-20 10:52

    WOW. What a beautiful journey! I wish this had been longer. This is the first time I read a book from this author and I’m totally speechless. I must admit I was a little reticent about this one because this is not my genre but seeing my buddies loved it I decided to give it a try and it completely blew me away. I am not giving it 5 starts because of the length (but I am pretty sure Julio is a 5 star writer).His voice is just MUSIC TO MY EARS, this was way close to poetry!Antho and his story will captivate you. Both characters will stay in your heart forever and you will keep thinking about them when you’re done. Because you want the best for them, because you know they can be good together.As the blurb says, this is the story of Antho who works as a surveillance operator on tower Oh-Seven-Two. He decides to rescue an assassin and take him home. Crazy, huh? Sometimes you need to do crazy things to experience LIFE!!!There is something very special in this story, I can’t even put it under spoiler tags because you might want to open it and I’d kill myself. THAT little thing made the story way more interesting. I loved Antho, L-O-V-E-D his capacity to give love. He gave me hopes!Please read this little gem, it’s a freebie, this is the link:

  • Richard Derus
    2019-04-02 05:14

    Rating: 4.5* of fiveThe Author Says: An assassin has come to Tower Oh-Seven-Two, and no one can keep him from his target.Only minutes from escape, he suffers a violent seizure, collapsing in a service corridor.A lonely surveillance operator becomes the only person in the building to see him fall. Antho is no murderer, but in watching the killer stumble he recognizes something that links the two of them together.When he rescues the assassin in secret, he finds the monster on his screen is only a young man, cursed with the effects of a trauma as outsized as his deadly skill—and somehow linked to the stirring of a terrifying power. Unable to walk away, Antho makes a choice that could cost them both their lives.He takes the assassin home.My Review: TERRIBLE! Just AWFUL! I hated it, hated it, hated it!Because it's not long enough. Because I want to know more about Antho, about the Undertown, about the world of Syntax. Because this lovely evocation of the power of longing, the majesty of giving yourself to longing and need, made me want to immerse myself more deeply in its bittersweet satiny-smooth sweetness.Because it's a goddamned PDF, I can't quote the passage on p22, about the smell of fabric and warm skin, that made me gasp. But trust me, I'm a tough room, and Genao sold me, made me completely buy in to the dreaming desperation of longing and the titanic power of need.This is a gay male Fifty First Dates set in the Bladerunner dystopia and made as powerfully sexy as it's possible for a story to be. There is a sex scene, but it's very sensual and it's very sweet...a lovemaking scene, really, not a sex scene in the oof-grunt-thrust sense. How lovely it is.This one's a keeper, ma.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • Heidi Cullinan
    2019-04-24 07:08

    This story, short as it is, did an amazing thing for me: it healed a story in my head that had been bothering me for some time. That one was a Hallmark movie I got sucked into on TV last spring, a sweet story about a man with no long term memory due to a health issue. He falls in love with a woman each day, and it was super sweet and amazing. But the movie broke the ride. It promised me sweet and HEA and gave me bittersweet HEA. It really, really fucked with my head. It left a hole I had not been able to fill over. Every now and again I’d think of that movie I’d let into my happy place, one that had said, “And by the way, everything sucks.”“When You Were Pixels” healed that spot because much like the movie, I hadn’t been expecting it. This is a romantic story, but it doesn’t even pretend to have a schmaltz soundtrack. It’s a dystopian future backdrop, and the basic premise is the narrator watches an assassin and falls in love. Like my horrible Hallmark movie, the assassin has chronic memory loss. He remembers for a time, but then they reprogram him and it’s all over. We know it’s coming. We’re told it’s coming—and that’s what makes this work.“When You Were Pixels” is set in a dark, dystopian future, but it’s about love. About catching sight of someone at a glance and truly seeing them—and understanding yourself. About how freeing another person can help someone free themselves. About how, actually, it’s not the happily ever after that makes us okay, but knowing how to get there.I think that might be what the Hallmark movie was trying to say and failed. I prefer this story’s version better. Unlike the movie, it never lied to me, never promised me sweet but gave me pain. In fact it went quite the other way, a delicate flower rising boldly from muck. It said, “Sometimes everything sucks, but some people can still make that okay.” Actually, what it said was, “You are not alone.” "When You Were Pixels" reminded me that love and happiness can happen in the darkest moments, a strength and power that nothing can erase from the heart. Thanks for that, Julio-Alexi Genao. Thank you a lot.

  • Bev
    2019-04-20 10:10

    **edit 24/10/14. Thought it was about time I re-read this, this being my shiny 2nd edition copy from Amazon, instead of my LHNB freebie copy from last year (which is forever locked away in my Best of the Best). Just as bloody good as last time. Many congrats Mr Published Author, and I hope Mrs Genao is still as proud of her little boy!!** Joolz, you're a natural my dear. I said it would be a matter of when and not if you became an author, well, congrats, you've achieved your goal. This little story was perfect, beautifully written, a superb piece of fiction that is going straight onto my best of the best shelf. 10 out of 5 stars, and as you like my dancing girls, let's bring them on shall weAn amalgam of all that I love about sci-fi films, especially two of my absolute faves The Matrix and I, Robot. This review includes a special vote of thanks to Maria Genao for her immense contribution to this project, namely the author, and yes it WAS very nice, we owe you!!

  • Vivian
    2019-04-02 12:16

    Sublime. A tightly-crafted, elegant short story that utilizes the freedom of science fiction to expose truth. Questioning now while projecting the discourse onto another plane, circling around and bringing us back to our human condition--now. Well done. Antho--existing in stasis, a sober and sterile life that is both better and worse, awakens one day. Choices. Why? Sometimes the answers are unclear, but he starts a dance--between love and sorrow, accepting both as a panacea to the emptiness that enveloped him before.Before love. The question is... Do we love for another or ourselves?Favorite quote: But the treasure of it was in the giving, not the keeping.

  • Ami
    2019-03-30 03:56

    4.5 starsI loved you when you were pixels on a screen.How can 7k short story with such efficient choice of words was able to make it feels like it grabbed my heart, squeezed it, and took it out from inside my chest? I have no words. It was just brilliant, delicately poetic, and achingly beautiful. I am sorry, you all need to read reviews from others. This story dismantle my capability to form an opinion.Yes -- it is almost perfect. It will be perfect if I can bribe Julio to give us the sequel, like fricking yesterday!

  • Ingela
    2019-04-23 10:04

    5 Tender Stars - so nice and beautiful - my heart is soreThis pretty short, but so sweet, M/M-story managed to make me feel so much in just a few (35) book pages. I marked so many beautiful lines of text, but because the story is so short, I don't want to give you too much here. Then perhaps I reveal too much and takes away the magic of the story for you. Instead read this lovely little shorty - it's free on ‘I gave you all my secrets, and you lost them all. You lost a lot of things. But the treasure of it was in the giving, not the keeping.’We are somewhere in a future world, after the Energy War, and Antho is watching a computer screen with images from surveillance cameras in The Tower. He sees an unknown young man on the two hundred and nineteenth floor. It's a man in a black "old-timey" leather-coat who take the life of Antho's - dick to - boss. Antho follow the man's movements in the tower on his screen and finally he sees the man start to wobble and fall together in the service passage. Later he picks up the unconscious man and takes him secretly to his own room (mini apartment) in the same house. A slightly different and surprising story takes off. I enjoyed every single line...'I loved it.Not your distress. Never that. I loved— I loved being there. Next to you. The pile of limbs that was Us. Together in the same bed. Even if it meant waking up with a few new bruises.’Wonderful, magical, tender and so loving. I always love stories involving loneliness and a desire to be loved and seen. My heart bleeds for Antho and his humility and hopeful mind. I believe and hope for a magical end to their story. I eagerly await more great stories by this promising new author.I LIKE - lots, much, extremely AND I want more...

  • Apeiron
    2019-04-14 09:07

    Donald Davidson once wrote,A picture is not worth a thousand words, or any other number. Words are the wrong currency to exchange for a picture.And a professional con artist called Gorgias once wrote that even if we could apprehend something, we wouldn't be able to convey it to another person. And that guy was trying to be a smartass, but he still managed to say something so painfully true:Even if we could find the perfect words to tell another person about our feelings, we can't make them really understand what we're feeling. Because what we're feeling are not words or ideas.The only way to make someone understand what we're feeling is to cause them the same pain that is inside us.And even then they might not understand, because the only person who can feel what you feel is you. You are always utterly alone in your head.But Julio... He comes clawing at that cold, dark, suffocating aloneness that we carry in our lungs and we dedicate our lives to pretending we can expel it like a breath. If we're lucky, we can forget it's there, for a while.He is not a messenger, he's not coming to tell you about pain. He's a torturer. He will immobilize you and carve into your heart to give you wounds that mirror his own. And maybe he'll be somewhat off the mark; after all, your hearts are different shapes. But he will make you hurt. And even if you're sharing a different pain from his, for 32 pages you'll be sharing something.

  • MLE
    2019-04-12 11:09

    I have to admit that I waited to read this not because I didn't want to read it, but because I really did. It's a habit of mine sometimes to hold off on reading books I‘ve been waiting to read because I know that once I finish they will be over especially when I have to wait for more. I’m really glad I finally read this, but sad as well because it’s over. I’m a bit pouty at times.On to the review at hand.I really loved the writing style. The point of view made the story feel more powerful, and more immediate to me. The letter format can be distancing, and sometimes makes me feel less involved, but this story made me a part of the action, and I was really invested in the outcome. I liked the slow reveal of information, and was glad there wasn’t an sort of information dumping, or awkward exposition. I found the characters and premise interesting, and well developed. I felt like I was given such a complete picture of the world, and the characters and their relationship in a very short period of time. I’m really looking forward to more (no pressure). I’d love to see more of the world and the people in it.

  • MostlyDelores
    2019-03-27 07:02

    Guess what, kids? Second edition is out today!I should not have loved this.I don’t like dystopias, or read much science fiction, or poetry. And I don’t like to read stuff that makes me cry. Usually if a story makes me cry I feel manipulated and ticked off. When You Were Pixels is a heart-squeezing piece of poetry set in a futuristic dystopia. It is a love letter and a goodbye letter and an introduction to a world which will continue in future stories.Full disclosure: I edited this for Julio, and read it eleventy-squillion times, because he is the fussiest writer who ever fussed, and he picked and chiseled and carved until he was satisfied. I saw this story evolve from a really good rough draft to this brilliant finished product—and I got the shiny eyes every time I read it.I love this story. You should read it.

  • Lena♥Ribka
    2019-04-13 10:52

    4,5 amazing beautiful heartbreaking stars!WOW.I was unprepared. I had no idea what this short novel is about. How long? 32 pages. 32 pages of enchanting poesy. Beautiful. Amazing beautiful. Heartbreaking beautiful.It touched me in a way I have never expected a short novel can do.You won't remember me. You won't need me anymore.You will leave me again.I forgive you. I forgave you. I will always forgive you.You should know that for a little while, you were not alone.Not alone.I loved you when you were pixels on a screen.

  • SueC
    2019-04-01 07:09

    If we each had our own personal reading paradise, mine would be When You Were Pixels.You know those moments when you need to put down your reader and take a breath? The times when you have to pause and ponder and wallow in the delight that's in front of your eyes? When the feeling inside you is close to euphoric? Well, this story did all those things for me.Pixels is a heady mix from the very first line; a cocktail of emotions and reactions. It serves extreme doses of both pleasure and pain. It is fraught with tension while simultaneously making you feel like you're luxuriating in a warm, deep bath. It's everything I love in a story; tragic, hopeful, beautiful, poignant, poetic, painful and completely original.I will end up ordering a signed copy just so I can hold it close.

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    2019-03-29 11:57

    Review to come when my husband ungrounds me from the computer. Insert cuss word here.And since I'm at work and away from the boss goes!Julio-you broke my cold little heart with this one. If any of you guys don't follow/friend go do it in a hurry. He cracks me up every single day.This little short story packed so much punch. Just frigging wonderful. All those cookies were worth it. I think these kittehs read it too.

  • AnnaLund
    2019-04-11 08:05

    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.

  • Duchess Nicole
    2019-03-30 11:51

    THIS IS A FREE DOWNLOAD!!! GET IT NOW!! don't even know what to say...this is such a short story to pack such a powerful punch. I mean, I had tears in my eyes over a couple that I've only known for 23 pages! Ah, the power of words from a talented writer. If this is the first example of things to come from this author, I cannot wait to read more.This is a sci-fi/dystopian M/M romance, but you're not really hit over the head with any of that. I literally sunk into this world in seconds...felt like I already understood everything that was happening, which allowed me to really focus on the message conveyed. This is a love story, written by a man to his new lover; a lover who forgets about him over and over again, a lover that he may never actually see again when this story ends. And that's all I'm going to say because I think it needs to be experienced.What I think is seriously made of awesome...well, besides this how this story came about. He was shown a picture and asked to write a story about it. And this is what he came up with. There is an example of why I could never write. I just don't have that in me. I'm in awe of people who do, and I wonder how personal these characters must feel to them. Because they feel personal to me and I just observed from the outside. Here is the link to the art that inspired this story: you read M/M romance, this is a must read!! MUST. READ. Beautiful.

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    2019-04-11 03:52

    Here are some things I don’t do: • Read short stories • Read self-published work • Read stuff my Goodreads friends writeI decided to break all my rules because Julio makes me laugh every day and every once in awhile I need to break out of my comfort zone and take a risk. I also figured if I didn’t like what Julio had to say he would either (i) be totally gracious or (ii) so entertaining while lighting me up that I would still want to be his friend.How I feel after reading When You Were Pixels?I got a pocket, got a pocket full of sunshine . . . Julio can write!!! Like write REALLY well. His story was hot, but not over-the-top-make-you-wish-you-had-skipped-lunch-‘cause-now-you’re-gonna-puke-it-up hot (*cough* Sylvia Day *cough*). It's just hot enough to make you get a little "You smelled like sweat, and leather, and a little like ozone." Ummmmm, yum and yes please : )Bonuses? Great storyline, awesome world building, and sooooo much feeling! My only complaint? I wish it were longer. I want moremoremoremoremoremore. I see it says "Syntax #0.1", so hurry up Julio ; )Oh, and I believe one is obligated to post their “fantasy image” of the characters when reviewing a romance. Here’s my choice:They aren’t MY brothers so just shut the fuck up and let me pretend they aren’t related and have my naughty fantasy.

  • Ann
    2019-04-12 11:00

    Wow, just wow!There was so much anticipation for this story and it did not disappoint, it was amazing.You sure do give good sentence Joolz. I really liked the format, a letter written by Antho, pouring out all his emotions to the mysterious assassin. A whole world built up just by reading a letter. My heart broke for him, but I felt his hope and happiness too, even if we both knew it was for too brief a time. The letter read like poetry and so much emotion was conveyed in very few words.Really amazing, thank you for sharing this story. You should be really proud of your gift with words and I hope you'll share more soon. I'll definitely be reading them.

  • Macky
    2019-03-31 11:59

    Beautiful! You made me cry. I want more. Enough said. Thank you.

  • Tina
    2019-03-26 05:15

    Amazing.Breathtaking.Vibrant.Poetic.Heartbreaking.Romantic."I loved you when you were pixels on a screen..."

  • Vanessa North
    2019-04-22 08:21

    I read this three times.I read it, then i dragged my finger across the screen along the bottom, taking me to the beginning to read it again. The last time i remember re-reading anything so immediately, I was twelve years old and had just finished Marion Zimmer Bradley's the Firebrand, a book which has been a favorite for decades.After reading it the second time, I needed to think about what I was going to say about it, because i had all these mind-jumbles going on. Then i felt like i'd waited too long to review it, so I read it again.So lets go with the obvious--this story is told in a letter from one man to another. It's told in a quiet, confessional voice, first person to second. It's almost like Antho was writing a diary to someone else, in the form of a love letter. It's also a goodbye. I loved that Julio chose to tell the story this way. It feels intimate, and it feels a little voyeuristic, like maybe we found this letter and are reading someone else's secrets. It sets the mood perfectly.The worldbuilding--anyone who has ever slaved away, unappreciated, in a cubicle probably pictures what i did: stretches of monotone walls, bleak, depressing, unforgiving, unrelenting. And the orbs? Creepy! So once I have this corporate tower nobody image, it's so easy to see why the assassin moves Antho: he's different. He has purpose. He's new, and Antho is the guy who doesn't get to have new, different, purposeful. The assassin is a bit of violent poetry in a bland-prose world.The relationship: Antho takes care of the assassin because he's fascinated, because he's lonely, amd because it gives him purpose and meaning in a desperately lonely life.Beautiful, and haunting, and a reminder to find beauty where we can in those moments when we aren't alone.

  • SheReadsALot
    2019-03-25 06:52

    I wanted my last book of 2013 to be meaningful, something that would stick in my craw and stay with me into the new year."When You Were Pixels" does just that.A little over 8000 words to describe a love letter from a lonely surveillance operator (Antho) to an assassin. An assassin who is deadly and delivers a world of hurt to those that cross him. But for Antho, this assassin is worthy of love, Antho's love.The story aches with loneliness, hope, hurt and love. It has #feels written all over it. I understand Antho's need for his assassin and more importantly, I believe him and his need. No rehash of the plot from me. Just know that it is great and timeless. I love reading about lovers with a palpable connection. I want more of this story, of course.I can't help but hold onto hope for more. I don't need a bubblegum ending with cupid arrows and glitter. I just want more.My rating? 4.5 stars Genao, you slayed me.

  • Brian
    2019-04-15 10:15

    I read this twice today - once to myself and then again aloud to my wife. I wanted to be sure that it wasn't just me that felt a dissonant longing for more.You see, we were both early adopters on the Hugh Howey bandwagon. We read that first short story and wanted more. Having finished all of the Wool series (but none of the fan-fiction. Please.) I can only say that Genao's world building in this story left us more excited than when we finished Howey's first short story. There are so many things about so many things that I can't mention here without fucking up the story. It's that good.Genao writes in compact, terse sentences that contain entirely more meaning than the ostensible message between the periods. The science fiction, distopic setting that we are able to glimpse but tangentially is a world I want to know further. I am excited to see that the author has more coming from this universe - one short story isn't enough.

  • Silkeeeeee
    2019-03-28 03:54

    This story made me crave. Yes, I know, I'm an addict to books, cigarettes and coffee but this story is right up there with my deadly three. The style is what brought it, as far as I'm concerned. If I had read a blurb about this storyline, I would have probably passed it by since it's not in my regular type of subjects. Julio made it shine. I was glued to every word and wanted, more, more, more. I'm so glad that he's working on that, "more," thing. Yes, this story is a bit sad, but I love an emotional, sexy read. Read this. You're missing out if you don't. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

  • Mark
    2019-04-19 09:21

    I always said, "I don't do science-fiction / dystopian." Well, now I can say, "Converted!"Short and compact, but this little gem fits a lot into a few pages.A securtiy guard, Antho, is watching an assassin on his monitor and is immediately attracted to him. Probably due to his own loneliness and living conditions. After an accident Antho takes the assassin back to his room, all in fear of his life a relationship develops that is as heartbreaking as it is hopeful. The assassin suffers from acute memory loss and keeps forgetting where he is, but Antho is always gently reminding him in a caring way."You were hurt. I brought you here to take care of you. You were safe here. You are safe here."This was repeated several times, like a mantra, throughout the book and I could feel the caring in Antho, if not a little desperation in his own lonely existence looking for a soulmate. The situation is inevitably hopeless and it has a bitterweet ending where Antho leaves this story as a letter in one of the pockets of the assassin for later. For me it was like Antho was giving a part of himself to accompany the assassin on his way that he should never be forgotten. You could feel longing, desperation, loneliness, companionship, love and loss. It was all there in one compact little bundle.It wasn't the plot that carried this book for me, but the style of writing. Short, staccato sentences, using only a minimum of tenses gave it a futuristic, digital feel to the story. However, it was also poetic in it's own right and the emotions came across all the more stronger for it. Julio creates a totally futuristic and believable world and I found myself engrossed. Has left a lasting impression on me.Yep, this story has left me thinking maybe I should try another science-fiction / dystopian book. If thirty-five pages of intense prose can change my preferences to this sub-genre of M/M romance then maybe I'm ready for another go.

  • Laura
    2019-04-11 12:18

    4.5 StarsI read for many reasons, but to *feel* could be the number one answer. Some of my favorite writers evoke and inspire huge joy and pain in my heart, but they also take a lot out of me. They leave a mark. In some ways, I guess you could say they change me. I wish I could explain it with words, put a name to it, and point it out on the big screen. But I can’t. I just know when I find that certain extraordinary element and power on the page. I can feel it. When You Were Pixels holds that energy—that something special living in the words.An assassin falls. He falls into the world, embrace, and mind of Antho—a lonely man longing for a connection. Vulnerability, loneliness, need, frustration, and such tenderness propel this story and action along. I loved the pull of the pages. I was surrounded by the dark energy in the room and the world outside. I loved it all!From the format --- letter to a lover.To the….Words & Descriptions --- “darkness lapped”, and “sexy ripple of leather”.To the….Emotions – Power left on the page and pulled out of me.A dark vibe with hope and desire curled around the edges lived, moved, and pulsed through this story. A slippery sense of hope and need filled the pages. He is there in the room. Filling it. The loneliness chased away. But for how long? I couldn’t hold on to the feeling—I couldn’t exhale and relax. I felt like it would and could all slip away. Antho’s voice shattered me. So desperate for touch, to be wanted, to be needed. Such a beautiful, painful power and ache. I can feel it on my skin still. In my heart. The force, the need still makes my blood sing. Pulls at me. Pulls at a fear and need locked inside my own heart.This short story is a powerful taste of what Mr. Genao has to offer us. I can’t wait for more.More please. Sidenote: I have to point out my *chills* moment. This short sentence ran up and down my spine. Oh, how I love getting the chills.(view spoiler)[“I always kill them, in the end.”(hide spoiler)]

  • Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌
    2019-04-06 10:12

    Even before I'd read this book, a lot of things were going through my mind. First: excitement. I mean, it's a story written by one of my GR friends, so excitement and cheers and yays and all that crap. And then, when I saw the No HEA or HFN tag, the moment of glory shattered and I backtracked a few kilometers. I do not read books or stories or fics or any-fucking-thing with no HFN at the least. At least not voluntarily or knowingly. But, it was Julio. So I took a deep breath, and started reading.And I'm not sure if I took any breaths at all after that.When You Were Pixels is vivid, it's intense, and it's tragic. You know what the ending is to some extent -- there are enough hints -- but that feeling of dread and pained anticipation for the climax continues to build and when you reach the cliff, you fall despite everything. Despite knowing that the cliff is there, and despite knowing it will hurt to fall. I generally avoid books that seem to have a dark and depressing tone, but I have noticed a trend where books that make me cry tend to rate higher. I cry easily. And I did cry, despite all my attempts to hold tears back.Julio has a very distinct style of writing, a really dramatic I-love-short-sentences one that shines bright, even in his reviews. Sometimes I can find it to be melodramatic and a bit eyeroll-y, however I did enjoy and appreciate his writing in this story.Kudos for the tears and the ache in my chest and for a story beautifully told.Rating: 4.25