I’m so glad that this story anchors the collection. “Surviving the Fall” is a homerun with emotional ups and downs that had me on the edge of seat. It was scary, lustful, and tender, as the plot pushed the ethical envelop of underage sexuality.
Okay, so what is the story about? It is the story of two lonely and needy people that find each other, find true love and compassion, in a perverse and evil world. If any of the stories make me think of the title, Lighting the Dark Side, it is this one.
James Goodal, love the pun by the way, is a software programmer. His wife has left him, left him the house and a closet full of her cloths that she will never claim. James is lonely. He has a big heart and a lot of love to give. When James was a child he collected displaced animals and cared for them, nursed them back to health.
It was no surprise that when James saw Ashley Metcalf tossed from a moving car into the middle of the street that he had to help her.
Ashley is a complicated, oversexed fifteen-year old. Ashley has been a prostitute since her mother tricked her out when turned ten. So, it is no wonder that she is afraid to trust James and except his help. However, she gets into even more trouble that sends her to live in James’ guest house to the shock and disgust of James’ sister.
James and Ashley’s relationship is a rocky one. James is very frank with Ashley that she is underage; he only wants to help her get back on her feet. However, James sees Ashley as a sexual creature that has had more experience that he ever will. Meanwhile, Ashley can not except that he doesn’t want her. She sees how he looks at her. She wants to give him what she has; what every man she has ever known wants from her. For the first time in her life she wants to have sex with someone. The tension created between these two well written characters is the stuff of great literature.
I really think that any fan of short stories and novellas should visit this collection. There are number of wonder full stories that should not be missed. It has been a pleasure spending that last month with the thoughts and dreams of William R. Potter.
This is an odd story for sure. It has a very hefty swerve toward the end. If you are hoping that I will reveal it, well, I won’t.
The story starts out like many of Raymond Carver’s. A couple of families have gathered to enjoy a summer day relaxing by a pool. The pool is in the back yard of one of the couples. They all have kids. They all have drinks. There is meat on the grill. It is a picture perfect day in the suburbs.
A van comes crashing through the privacy. Men jump out and snatch the kinds. A fight ensues, but the kidnappers win and leave a cell phone behind. This is the beginning of the longest two days that anyone has ever experienced.
The dialogue is very well executed throughout the story. I will look back on this one when I get stuck. The dialogue is what kept me going. The story, well, I will say that it was entertaining, and quick. I’m glad that it was not any longer that it was. I just found the swerve to be very hard to believe; Plan B was executed so well that no one got hurt and very thing at the end was lollypops and rainbows.
What I enjoy about a collection of short fiction by one author is that each story is different; trying to accomplish something that the other’s in the collection could not, but that the authorial over tone is still present. I feel like I enter into a short term romance with the author. I get to find out the authors interests and sometimes what drives the author to write, something that I don’t think is always present in novels. I don’t think that I’m quite there yet with William R. Potter, but there are still two stories left.
In “May 18, 2010,” the reader will meet Trevor, a simple auto-mechanic who is struggling with a father who has Alzheimer’s, in a relationship with a woman he loves and loves to fight with, and he must survive the end of the world as caused by Ivan. Ivan is a comet on its way to Earth. Scientists predict that it will either collide with Earth or with the Moon. Either way, the impact will bring with it long term ecological changes in the environment, possibly even the extinction of human race.
The story is takes place on May 18, 2010, the day that Ivan is scheduled to hit. Trevor is at work. He realizes that he will never finish the jog he is on before needs to leave to pick of his girlfriend to go up top some sky slope and watch Ivan’s approach.
What is nice about this story is that in light of such a crazy, but not improbable situation, the plot is still driven by the character’s choices. Should I have a beer before leaving work? Should we all leave work early, play hooky? Should I get out of the car or stay in the car? Simple decisions like these help to give the illusion of control even when the plot is tightly written.
The story is broken up into three sections. Each section is the same day, May 18, 2010. I loved the first section, I whish that the story would have ended on the bottom of page 129. It didn’t. The first section is movie worthy or perhaps a play. Either way, I really like the dialogue and way the story moved through time and used up scenery. However, and I don’t know if it is just because I’ve seen too many movies, but the Groundhog Day, scenario is too over played.
Still, the third section was also executed well and had a few surprises at the end. Overall I liked it, but so far, it is not the strongest story in the collection.
Tower Games came through for me this week. They were able to come up with a copy of CthulhuTech for me. I’ve only had a few minutes to page though it, but I know that I’m already a fan. I’m already trying to figure out how I’m going to con a group of RPG players to give it a go.
Last night, after I paged through it while watching Women’s Olympic Gymnastics, I had very disturbing Mythos dreams that still haunt me.
I was in my home. I was fixing dinner, what I don’t remember, but it was a very common occurrence. Then hooded Cultists broke my door down and pinned me to the ground. They tore my shirt off and started to tattoo my chest. I remember it so vividly that I can still feel sore. When they were finished they welcomed me into their society and led into the bathroom to see their work in the mirror.
The Cultists had tattooed the following on my chest, and strangely, I could read it in the mirror even though it should have been backwards:
Along the shore the cloud waves break, The twin suns sink beneath the lake, The shadows lengthen ..................................................In Carcosa. Strange is the night where black stars rise, And strange moons circle through the skies But stranger still is .................................................Lost Carcosa. Songs that the Hyades shall sing, Where flap the tatters of the King, Must die unheard in .................................................Dim Carcosa. Song of my soul, my voice is dead; Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed Shall dry and die in ................................................Lost Carcosa.
9 to 5 Poet and I just finished preparing our condo for the contractor that will be putting in our new hardwood floor. We decided that we would save a little cash by removing the carpet ourselves. It went quicker than what I had expected leaving me enough time to review the third story in William R. Potter’s story collection, Lighting the Dark Side: Six Modern Tales, that I finished on the bus Friday evening.
“Prominent Couple Slain” is a hard-boiled, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, styled mystery that doesn’t pull any punches. Perhaps, I over exaggerate. What the story does is provide a fast passed who-done-it with old-school line-of-evidence detective work that kept me from paying attention to my bus stop. I missed it by two, thanks a lot.
Jack Staal and Lesley Degarmo are on the scene of a double homicide, a married couple of substantial wealth haven been shot. The gun is at the scene and in one of the victim’s hands. However, with some slick CSI work (that happens off stage), it become obvious that the shooting was done by a third party.
I don’t want to go to much more into detail about the mystery. The trouble with mystery’s is that when you know the answer, reading the story or watching the show, movie, what-have-you, is all that less exciting.
What I will say is that the detectives and detective work are believable as are the criminals. Also, the story seemed too short. I was caught up in the charters and plot and was felt wanting more at the end. I wanted to know that I could tune in next week and watch Staal and Degarmo solve another. Here is hoping that these characters end up in a novel.
It is a story of loss, anxiety, and one man’s struggle with racism. Love found the narrator, Jerry, the story is told in he first person, while he was selling his paintings. She bought the most expensive piece he was showing.
The problem is that his parents will never accept her. His parents won’t even acknowledge that they have granddaughter because she is half yellow.
To be honest, the subject matter, important as it is, is old and tired. I know that mixed race couples still have trouble. I’m glad that people are still writing about it. Love is love, love who you want regardless of what others think.
The refreshing angle to the story is that it is told completely while the narrator is on the phone with his mother. The reader gets the most interesting details though the conflict of what the narrator is thinking and what he carefully chooses to say. I really liked the writing.
I don’t want to give away too much of this story. Besides the well executed banter between Jerry and his mother, there are a few other surprises.
I just got Lighting the Dark Side: Six Modern Tales in a mail a few days ago. It is a collection of short stories and novellas that focuses on relatively normal people in strange situations. I haven’t finished all of them yet, in fact, I’ve only read the first story. I will get to the others. For now, I really want to tell you about “Bent, Not Broken,” a story that should not be missed.
Dwayne suffers from OCD. I think that after finishing the story that some of my own compulsive tendencies have flared, but I’m not Dwayne. Dwayne must live in a world of odd numbers preferring 3s, 5s, and 7s. One of the more touching moments is when Dwayne is out on a date and he needed an extra chair and place setting at the table in order to feel comfortable, and I think that I’m hard to live with.
Dwayne is excellent at his job. He is calls people that he reefers to as “marks” and asks them about their preferences, surveys them about food, TV, etc, and rewards those who answer them with valuable coupon books. He holds the record for the most completed surveys in one shift. He is loved by his boss; hated by his co-workers. To Dwayne, his co-workers are the terrible trio. They play games with this desk, putting an extra pen in his up so that they number 4 or 6 or 8. These games make it impossible for Dwayne to focus.
The one thing that Dwayne has going for him is a mysterious woman that he calls Black-Coat Girl who is at the bus stop everyday at the same time he drives by on his way to work. Dwayne has made up several stories about Black-Coat Girl, who she is, what she does, why she takes the bus.
What is really nice about this story is that it has a very Punch-Drunk Love romantic twist that takes a seven car pileup on a snowy day to kick off. Dwayne has to take the bus, the very same bus that Black-Coat Girl takes. And on that day, Black-Coat Girl sits down beside him and admits that she thinks of him as her 20-Second Boyfriend.
They have a bumpy start to things, but their story ends well, not the happily ever after kind of ending, but an ending that suits the characters and left me wanting for more.
The writing is really well done. The descriptions of Dwayne’s inner experience are strange and wildly detailed. I did not need to be told what Dwayne’s illness was, the care and detail put into the character were enough that went Black-Coat Girl asks if he is OCD and has sought help, I thought that using the term was over kill. I could feel the oppression of Dwayne’s condition.
I truly hope that the rest of the collection is executed in such a dark but carrying way. I really don’t think that I’m going to be able to put this collection away until I’ve read each and every story.
I began this book with trepidation. What, after all, could a 24 year-old woman get out of a young adult book about another forbidden romance between a vampire and a human besides a lot of eye-rolling? (Shakespeare already did the star-crossed lovers theme in “Romeo & Juliet” just fine, thank you. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer took care of the rest.) But I thought I would see what all the fuss was about, since the final book in the series will be released at midnight on August 2nd.
What I found is that Stephanie Meyer’s first book, Twilight, is compelling and descriptions of the inhabitants of the rainy town of Forks, Washington feel so real that the story pulls you in. I was afraid to read this book in the evening for fear I’d never go to bed.
The story begins with 17 year-old Isabella Swan (Bella to everyone) exiling herself to the tiny town of Forks, Washington after her mother’s remarriage. Forks is the kind of place where it rains about 90% of the time and the most interesting thing that happens is a sunny day without raincoats; and Bella is fully prepared to wait out the year and a half of high school left to her and escape to college.
And then she notices the Cullens, particularly the youngest boy, Edward Cullen. The other students give them a wide berth: they’re not Forks natives and they keep to themselves instead of mixing with the others. When Bella is assigned to be Edward’s lab partner, she assumes it will be an opportunity to get to know him. She is surprised to learn that Edward has no intention of even sitting with her in class, let alone talking to her.
Their non-relationship changes on the day when a classmate’s van skids out of control and barrels toward her. Bella can’t move out of the way and is shocked to be alive and relatively unhurt 10 seconds later, thanks to Edward Cullen. Who had been halfway across the school parking lot. When she starts to piece together her observations about Edward and his siblings, suspicions begin to take shape. They stay out of school on sunny days; their skin is white, no matter how much time they spend outdoors; no one ever sees them eat; and Edward is stronger and faster than any 17 year-old boy should be. They aren’t normal by anyone’s standards. Could they actually be vampires?
And so, Bella and Edward dance around each other: neither is completely willing to let the other get close enough to learn who (or what) they really are. Edward is first afraid of Bella finding out that he actually isn’t human, and then he fears that the thirst for blood will be too much for him. Bella is afraid of losing the only thing that makes life in Forks bearable instead of boring and ordinary: Edward and his strange attraction to her.
The book’s relationship-theme changes to suspense and action when a sadistic vampire focuses his hunt on Bella due to her relationship with Edward and his family. I won’t go into detail for fear of spoiling the ending, but remember that there are three more books in the series. While I would not call this book “great literature,” I will say that the characters and story are fun and riveting. This is a great book to read if you’re a fan of young adult novels, fantasy, or just looking for something lighter with a bit of fantasy mixed with reality.