Monday, December 13, 2010

12 Days of the Ethereal Gazette Issue 12 - Day 2

Continuing on in our quest for good writing in one of Nicky's anthologies:

"Letters From the Hotel Starlight" by Ken “K.K.” Kupstis

Today starts off with a much better story than the last two. In the opening scene of this story, we learn that the guests of the Hotel Starlight have been trapped for some time, are out of food, and are hungry. Really really hungry. Clearly there is more going on here than initially meets the eye. The rest of the story is told in two alternating points of view – that of a trapped guest, Dr. Louis Mezanger, and that of a trapped employee, Rochelle.

This story held my interest to the end. The whole picture was slowly revealed, and there were a couple of twists which I thought were clever.

However, the story did have a few problems. The POV jumped between the two characters without any type of scene breaks, although this could be attributed to a crappy layout job by the editor. There were also some inconsistencies in the final scene; Louis at first appears to know the big secret (the final twist in the story) but then he doesn’t know crucial details that he should have known if he knew the underlying circumstances. Other aspects of the basic premise of the story (aka the final twist), while kind of cool, are also unrealistic. I think a little more thought needed to be put into the ending.

Overall grade: B-

"Two Alcoholics" by Paula Villegas

Social worker Lori Stanton is on her way home on a Friday afternoon. Tired of stop-and-go traffic, she takes a short cut down an alley, where she encounters a homeless man behaving strangely. She considers calling someone to get him some help, but decides against it. She drives on, distracted by the encounter, and pays the consequences.

I’m not sure what the title of this story has to do with the story itself. There’s some implication that Lori really likes her Scotch, but she isn’t drunk in the story. Neither is it implied that the homless man is drunk or an alcoholic. The story also moves very slowly. The bulk of the story is devoted to Lori seeing and reacting to the man in alley, and very little time is spent on what happens after. The conclusion to the story is a bit confusing, and I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to make of it. I wouldn’t actually classify this story as horror.

Grade: C-

"Wrong Turn" by Rosemary J. Harrison

Heather Dietrich, a directionally-challenged young woman gets lost and then stuck on a rural country road. As night falls, and with no cell signal, she goes to a nearby house to ask for help. I think y’all can see where this was going.  And yes, you’re right.

The plot of this story is not very original, and Heather doesn’t strike me as a very smart person. The story also desperately needs some editing. “their”/”there”/”they’re” are used rather interchangeably, and dialogue tags are abused. Wording is redundant in places. Finally, much of horror is implied, and in this type of story, I think it would have been more effective to have it “on screen”, so to speak.

Grade: C

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you have to remember, he doesn't even read most of the stories.. doesn't seem to anyway. His guidelines are always completely ignored. There are two zobie stories and a story set in some fantasy land in EG10, not to mention a sex scene in the story the Headlights.

this was in a magazine that with guidelines that stated all real world stories. no zombies, and we all know hois normal views on sex in horror fiction...