The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye Story


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Post June 21, 2013, 02:47:45 AM

The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye Story

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Post June 25, 2013, 01:34:37 PM

A seventh reading of Willow Sprite

I needed to read this story a couple times to figure out what I was reading. I like the story because of its tension between the psychological and cosmological—is the protagonist McKenna unraveling due to family trauma and her escape into the world of gaming or is some worm-hole alien slowly consuming humanity through the technology of the internet. I think there is some vagueness here that could be cleaned up, but the ambiguity of insanity vs extra-terrestrial is interesting. The folding motif lost me at first, but it plays well into McKenna’s psychological life and the notion of dimensions upon dimensions. It feels like there is some bit of light satire implied toward our internet-obsessed world and avoidance of life, but if so, normal sci-fi readers will not relate—such commentary is more suited to another venue. Still, I liked it but will probably need to read it five more times—a seventh reading of Willow Sprite. :D :mrgreen:

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Post June 25, 2013, 02:38:33 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

This story is a good mix of genres: science fiction and horror. The horror is not the horror of the alien in ALIEN, but the horror of the mind and how it can be seduced when vulnerable. The story is really about seduction (in the tradition of the best demon stories) and the other-worldly, and the other-worldly may be the world of secret dimensions, the world of fantasy gaming or the strangest of all other worlds—our own fractured identities, sometimes alien even to ourselves. I disagree with the other reviewer, however; social commentary has a long history in the best of science fiction. We should not chase it away.

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Post June 25, 2013, 02:42:18 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Hi scifi--

Thanks for taking a look at Willow Sprite. In terms of criticism, I think you nailed it. I agree, it could have been tighter and a little less ambiguous, though what made me gnash my teeth were the punctuation errors I caught too late. As far as the light satire, yes, it's there and in most of my work. My sister is a gamer and has been one for years. She has made friends throughout the States and the world. It was my sister who recommended I watch "The Guild." I loved the series and it influenced some of my choices in writing this story.

It's great to get feedback. Thanks again!

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Post June 25, 2013, 03:20:11 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Oho!

*Here* we go!

A few new people joining into the discussion all at once! I hope you folks like what you see and can stay with us for at least a couple of months!

Now back I go to review this story and chip in myself!

Remember too, that now that y'all have made posts, it qualifies you to enter the Flash Challenges over in the Fun and Games section!

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Post June 25, 2013, 05:09:38 PM

Re: A seventh reading of Willow Sprite

scifiafictionado wrote: It feels like there is some bit of light satire implied toward our internet-obsessed world and avoidance of life, but if so, normal sci-fi readers will not relate—such commentary is more suited to another venue.


I think I disagree. Sure, plenty of great sci-fi has "complicated action plots", but the use of satire has been a deep part of the genre at least since the 1940's with a few pioneer examples even earlier.

I agree that the rise of internet entertainment creates new "meta-choices" for free time. It used to be people got bored because your only choices were to sit there and stew staring at the wall if you didn't like whatever was on TV, or to go desperately hang out with your buddies in one of your few favorite spots. On the internet one minute gets you to any of a million different end destinations.

Just look here! We're chatting virtually, and I bet you're way too far to see at a coffee shop!

So then every other activity *has to fight the meta-activity* of the net!

I think the story hovers a little too vague, and I'm not sure at all whether I would prefer the horror side or the satire side to be strengthened. Staying on the figurative side, I will have to ponder the story's message because I definitely struggle with getting entwined with net activities. Now see, in small towns that's often the only escape for smart people who are bored when the hottest news of the week is Mrs. Wumple's new tulips!

But then when things change, it's quite hard to change ingrained habits!

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Post June 26, 2013, 12:51:03 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Thanks to those who read or will read Willow Sprite.

Reading the posts on my story and the stories of others here, I can see the depth of sci fi knowledge and familiarity with conventions.

I fell in love with science fiction as a teenager when I discovered a cardboard box full of paperbacks full of stories by Asimov, Sturgeon, Bradbury and Clark, among others. The best summer of my life.

To Plainlabel and Tao Phoenix, I agree satire has always had a place in science fiction.
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Post June 27, 2013, 12:40:40 AM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Exceeding strange . . . and it reminded me of an old poem:

Do diddle di do,
Poor Jim Jay
Got stuck fast
In Yesterday.
Squinting he was,
On Cross-legs bent,
Never heeding
The wind was spent.
Round veered the weathercock,
The sun drew in -
And stuck was Jim
Like a rusty pin...
We pulled and we pulled
From seven till twelve,
Jim, too frightened
To help himself.
But all in vain.
The clock struck one,
And there was Jim
A little bit gone.
At half-past five
You scarce could see
A glimpse of his flapping
Handkerchee.
And when came noon,
And we climbed sky-high,
Jim was a speck
Slip - slipping by.
Come to-morrow,
The neighbours say,
He'll be past crying for;
Poor Jim Jay.


[The end]
Walter De la Mare's poem: Jim Jay


Sort of a tangent, but you can see the similarity.
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?

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Post June 27, 2013, 01:15:27 AM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Fiddleedee--a strange to-do.

Thanks for Jim-poem, Master critic!

Much appreciated.

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Post July 08, 2013, 04:28:41 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

I especially liked the characterization of McKenna in this story. It seems like she knows it's all going to end badly, but she's still going ahead with it anyway because her virtual life is better than anything in her real life. The horror comes from watching the hypnotized prey as the predator slowly sinks its teeth in right before our eyes. I find these near-future, virtual reality-type scenarios pretty interesting too. It's easy to relate to.

I was a little distracted at the beginning by the use of present tense throughout the story. I think it's difficult to pull off using present tense effectively, especially when shifting to past tense throughout the story to tell the reader about previous events. I just think it makes the reader have to work a little harder which can detract from the storytelling. I can see in a horror story wanting to use present tense to create immediacy for the reader and an increased sense of horror, but in the case of this particular story I'm not sure I see much of an advantage to doing it. My opinion here might be in minority though.

Good story. I enjoyed it and hope we see more submissions from Marjorie Kaye.

John

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Post July 09, 2013, 12:44:35 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Thanks for the feedback John. I agree, using present tense, then switching to past is tricky. I was hesitant, but decided to give it a try in hopes creating the impression that McKenna is in a trance-like state, where the past and present are not clearly marked. Her grasp of time has been compromised because she is cut off from reality. At the beginning of the story, she asks herself how long it's been since she's left the house, and later, uses a bank statement as a time marker.

In the process it seems readers were as confused as McKenna. Working with shifting tenses effectively can be a bear. I'll continue to wrestle with it. :|

Thanks again,

Marjorie

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Post July 09, 2013, 01:08:51 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

My apologies, John, for getting your name wrong. :oops:

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Post July 09, 2013, 01:28:36 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Just shoot me; I thought I had called you Dave.

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Post July 09, 2013, 04:50:53 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

David is my middle name, so I would have answered to either. :)

marjoriekaye wrote:In the process it seems readers were as confused as McKenna. Working with shifting tenses effectively can be a bear. I'll continue to wrestle with it. :|


I do think it's a good technique to experiment with and a valuable one to master.

BTW your story's title is very catchy.

John

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Post July 09, 2013, 06:01:54 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

You're right; it is a worthy one to work on and hopefully master.

Re: The title--

Thanks :D

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Post July 10, 2013, 05:38:26 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

This story was simply a delight to read! And as I try to read them all in order each month, it was like saving the best for last (or next to last in this case).

What a "fresh" concept and it was also so wonderfully executed. Sci fi/fantasy with a horrific element. Nicely done.

Writing this good really makes me curious about her novel... Might have to add that one to old reading list!

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Post July 10, 2013, 06:39:48 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

I agree with jay that the writing is excellent; I just think some of the implied social commentary presents gamers has having no life other than online, no personality other than game personas; which may be true for some but not the majority. The internet here is shown demonic and alien in the sense it undermines true self-esteem. I have not seen this to be the case among the gamers I know.

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Post July 11, 2013, 12:00:13 AM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Hi Scifi--

I agree that the place where McKenna ends up can described as sinister and alien, but she doesn't end up on the web, but is caught in one. The predator in the story, like any predator, isolates her, not only from the physical world, but also from her fellow gamers. My review of The Guild on my book blog ends by saying that unless you're a gamer, you can't understand the rewards of friendship people gain by becoming part of this culture. It's true. In the story, McKenna rejects her best friend Lindsey and alienates other gamers, opting for a smooth talking predator who promises romance.

As a writer, my style lends itself to satire. I wrote a horror novel that satirizes the mall culture of the early 2000's. The book I'm writing now has segments where I satirize aspects of religion.

I don't think less of gamers for their chosen entertainment. The humor within a social context is a part of everything I write.

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Post July 11, 2013, 12:03:04 AM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Jay-Hill--

Thanks for liking my story. :D

Marjorie

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Post July 11, 2013, 11:45:53 AM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

marjoriekaye wrote:Hi Scifi--

I agree that the place where McKenna ends up can described as sinister and alien, but she doesn't end up on the web, but is caught in one. The predator in the story, like any predator, isolates her, not only from the physical world, but also from her fellow gamers. My review of The Guild on my book blog ends by saying that unless you're a gamer, you can't understand the rewards of friendship people gain by becoming part of this culture. It's true. In the story, McKenna rejects her best friend Lindsey and alienates other gamers, opting for a smooth talking predator who promises romance.

As a writer, my style lends itself to satire. I wrote a horror novel that satirizes the mall culture of the early 2000's. The book I'm writing now has segments where I satirize aspects of religion.

I don't think less of gamers for their chosen entertainment. The humor within a social context is a part of everything I write.

Thank you for the well-considered response. I liked the story. I would have liked to see Lindsey fleshed out a bit more since she is the only tenuous connection McKenna still has with brick-and-mortar existence. I look forward to your next fiction venture.

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Post July 11, 2013, 10:23:44 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Jay_Hill wrote:This story was simply a delight to read! And as I try to read them all in order each month, it was like saving the best for last (or next to last in this case).

What a "fresh" concept and it was also so wonderfully executed. Sci fi/fantasy with a horrific element. Nicely done.

Writing this good really makes me curious about her novel... Might have to add that one to old reading list!

Like jay_hill, I am also curious about her novel; sounds like an AI thing about brain transferring into robots or androids.

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Post July 12, 2013, 09:41:11 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Sci fi--

My novel isn't about robots. Here's my pitch to publishers:

With a nod to Ray Kurzweil’s prediction of the “utopias” that await us via mind-uploading, we find in the 22nd Century that death is optional. Transitioning to a “post-biological” destination courtesy of the Virtual Environments Industry, Gunter Holden is a computer file—folders, documents and bytes—personality codes and memory records that convince Gunter he’s still human. “Bio” Gunter was CEO of Virtual Enterprises, Inc., where slick marketing promotes “after death” packages. Gunter, a master salesman, sold eternity to the wealthy. Hidden in Gunter’s file are the murders of his brother Jacob and Jacob’s lover, Gunter’s wife Karen. My novel, Past Imperfect begins on Gunter’s suicide night, an act that will allow him to follow his victims into the high-end virtual environment, Bali Hai. The story continues sixty years later (his victims long since self-deleted) with Gunter, now an orientation guide for the recently deceased, confronting new realities and old memories. Gunter is desperate for anything new in this paradise where everything is perfect—he finds it in a newcomer, a visitor carrying a family secret and a personal mission. Part Freud, a bit Swiftian, often erotic with more than a little soap opera, Past Imperfect, (90,000+ words) is science fiction written in a literary style that asks the question: does eternity come with a price?

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Post July 12, 2013, 09:54:31 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Wow! Now I really want to read it! :-)

Seriously!

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Post July 13, 2013, 12:13:52 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Thanks, Jay. I'll let you know.

Marjorie

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Post July 13, 2013, 01:13:53 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Well look at it this way... You've already got a fanbase of 2 at least!

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Post July 13, 2013, 01:29:23 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Jay_Hill wrote:Well look at it this way... You've already got a fanbase of 2 at least!

Maybe three; my wife will buy one since you mention soap opera. :D

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Post July 13, 2013, 02:01:45 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Great point! That might just get my wife interested as well.

Good news... Marjorie Kaye, we just doubled your fan base!!

(And don't you just love geek-y humor?!)

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Post July 13, 2013, 02:38:38 PM

Re: The Seventh Folding of Willow Sprite by Marjorie Kaye St

Geeks (and their spouses) rule! :D

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