The hurricane story is not the literary equivalent of a Rorschach test.
Out of seven Critters critiques, I had four full groks, two partial groks, and an “Oh, God. Your story is so long and it has so many characters and I give up! I’m not even going to try! You’re making me work too hard!”
Why, yes, I probably am. Pay attention! There’s a test later! Heh.
Careful readers were thrilled that I rewarded them with information that not-so-careful readers missed completely. Two specifically mentioned liking that. I want other readers to find that information, but I don’t want to take the cookie away from the careful readers. Hmmm.
I think what I need is a less steep entry point. I throw a lot of character names at them right at the beginning, which several people mentioned finding confusing.
Also, seven critiques is a lot for an 11,000 word monstrosity in the Critters queue. I must be doing something right.