Saturday, December 18, 2010

12 Days of the Ethereal Gazette Issue 12 - Day 4

I had Christmas parties the last two evenings, but now that those are over (whew!), we will continue our journey through the latest issue of the Ethereal Gazette:

“And the Name of God Is” by Barry Eysman

In the Table of Contents, the name of this story is listed as “An the Name of God Is..”.  The editor has made yet another mistake.

This story – written in a very stylistic, literary manner – is about a boy whose ultra-religious-in-a-nutty-way parents beat the word of God into him time and time again. One day, he decides he has had enough.

The style of writing was initially a bit off-putting, but I persevered and began to get into it. Unlike the previous story that used a similar style (“A Black Awakening”), this writer had a method and a clear idea of where he was going.

Grade: B

“Depths” by C.I. Kemp

This was a very enjoyable story about two boys – Dennis and Randy – who discover a secret cave, one that appears and disappears at will. Dennis and Randy are misfits in grade school, not the popular boys, and the cave provides a refuge for them over the years. Dennis’s life after high school takes a different path than Randy’s, and in the end, the cave performs one last act of salvation or retribution, depending on one’s point of view.

It’s harder for me to write about why I like something than why I dislike something. I liked the author’s voice in this very much – casual, informal, like a 10-yr-old and later an adult might actually speak and think. It made the story easy to read. I liked the bits of humor and how realistic the situations of the boys’ lives were. I liked seeing Dennis’s growth. The writing was pretty clean and didn’t distract from the story. I would read more stories from this author.

Grade: A-

“Fatal Humors” by Lucian Anabeli

A crime reporter, who secretly wants to be a horror writer, goes to visit his uncle at his uncle’s farm. He is intrigued by a century-long series of mysterious deaths have been occurring in the area and wants to explore them further. He gets that opportunity.

This story is written in very stiff, formal, and over-written prose, almost as if the author is trying to imitate a much earlier style of writing. The dialogue is equally stilted and unnatural; I don’t believe that anyone would speak the way the characters do. For example:

“Uncle Elwood, it is Lucian! I know you have enjoyed reading my articles in the Burlington Herald but the shadows of loathsome scenes have darkened my mind one too many times and I have decided it is time to retire and focus on my true passion, horror writing….”

Followed by:

“It would be wonderful to have you, Luke, I have been lonesome since my wife passed away these long years since,… But if it is the grim you wish to escape, I beg you, turn around and come not

There are some unintentionally funny grammatical issues such as:

“I picked up the phone and dialed.“This is Elwood,” came the voice through the receiver, recognizing immediately the sound of my Uncle who lived in nearby Readsboro.”

The voice of his uncle recognized the sound of his uncle? This is not the only place the writer struggles with the basics of writing dialogue.

The beginning paragraphs were all backstory, which didn’t hook my interest at all. The ending was melodramatic, where an admittedly tragic event, causes the narrator to begin “[his] descent into madness.”

It was a chore to read this to the end.

Grade: D

No comments: