Soul Searching by Phill Murray


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Post March 04, 2005, 01:00:46 PM

Soul Searching by Phill Murray

Interesting concept. Baking cookies using a touch of soul (har har).<br><br>This story didn't jump out at me as being either good or bad. It's about somewhere in the middle. I kept the mindset of this being a humorous piece, which helped me gloss over some of pieces that were a bit hard to swallow (bada-bing). Of course, if the author didn't mean this to be humorous, then there are some real issues here.<br><br>The one part I had difficulty digesting (!!) was the Londoner. He seemed a bit too complacent of the whole situation and his grammar a bit elevated at times. For example, I can't imagine someone from the poor sections of London in the 19th century saying: <br>
This is just my memories and experience in another body. My actual soul is beyond the comprehension of anybody on this planet.
<br>or<br>
You can’t talk about my earthly self and spiritual self in the same way. All you get access to is what I knew when I was alive.
<br><br>Now that may just be my prejudice as a more "advanced" person of a future time, but I expected the guy to be a bit more down to earth, perhaps screaming like a lunatic since he suddenly finds himself not in heaven, but surrounded by a bunch of prodding scientists. Then again, this may be an attempt at humor, in which case it needs to go back into the oven and cook a bit more (sorry, couldn't resist).<br><br>
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Post March 04, 2005, 05:20:13 PM

Re: Soul Searching by Phill Murray

Let me just say that Jaimie's resort to cheap puns makes me want to toss my cookies...<br><br>However, I concur with him, particularly with regard to the Londoner's complaisance over his sudden appearance in the lab. Speaking of which, am I right to place said lab somewhere in the far reaches of a Nabisco-like factory? <br><br>This piece was clearly presented as an excerpt from a novel-length ms, so I read it as such and didn't anticipate a clean ending, accepted the dearth of character development and change, and was untroubled by the lack of a climax. <br><br>Yet, if the idea of an excerpt is to entice the reader, I'm wondering if this was the best part of the ms to cull out. Perhaps a taste of the novel's key conflict or some other high point that might have carried a bit more resin-ance.<br><br>Dan E.
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Post March 04, 2005, 11:06:52 PM

Re: Soul Searching by Phill Murray

I agree with all the points brought out so far.<br><br>If this was meant as a serious ditty, Hugo was the last person who would ever be in charge of such a facility.<br><br>If meant as comedy, this lab would make a good sitcom: Expensive research facility run by loonies, time scientists on residual highs from all the THC in the air, munching biscuits all day as the one sane man comes in for inspection. Might need to be a BBC sitcom, though. American networks are too uptight for that.<br><br>I'd have to give thumbs down on setting, as I couldn't picture a bit of this story in my head, save the box of biscuits and people in lab coats.<br><br>Going on the comedy plan, Dan seems out of standard character. He's the straight man, they guy to whom everything would be strange. He's the Bob Newhart in this lab. So, after hearing that Hugo tested a subject with radioactive THC, all he says is, "That was really dangerous, wasn't it?" No follow up, no brows furrowed in confusion, just tacit acknowledgement when his friend responds "Yes, but he wouldn’t have been missed." Dan's got to flounder at that moment, boggle at what's going on around him.<br><br>Instead, he just asked, "Channeling the dead has become quite a hobby for you, really, hasn’t it?" Which, incidentally, seemed like strange conclusion that didn't logically follow from the text which preceded it. <br><br>I didn't know the conflict, unless it was Hugo had built this machine. There's no building action, no climax. Everything has to fall apart, but then wind up back to normal. That's comedy. <br><br>The dialogue wasn't differentiated well, except for the Cockney, and Jaimie already covered that. If done well, the reader can tell who's talking by their choice of words, without identifiers. <br><br>As I said, I thought this would have made a good sitcom, but needed more thorough execution to bring out the comedic style.<br><br>Nate
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Post March 06, 2005, 02:12:19 PM

Re: Soul Searching by Phill Murray

My main quibble was also about the behavior of Roger Burrick, the revived Londoner. At one point, Burrick stated that he knew nothing that happened after his death. That being the case, he most likely would have assumed that he’d survived his accident and had regained consciousness in a hospital. <br><br>He knew nothing that happened to him after his death, yet he knew that he had been summoned from death for something. He knew that his memories were in another body. How did he know that, and for that matter how did he know that he had been dead and revived? And knowing all these fantastic things, Burrick should have been awed and bewildered, yet he was nonchalant about the whole thing. <br><br>As Jaimie pointed out, if the story was intended to be humorous, then none of these points would matter; they’d just be part of the humor.<br><br>In the 50s, in occupied Japan, a Japanese director/producer made an American style western, where the cowboys observed Japanese customs such as bowing, removing boots before entering a house, etc. The director was devastated when a group of Americans viewing the premiere howled with laughter, thinking it was a comedy. (The director went on to produce some movies that received global acclaim). <br><br>Donald <br><br><br>
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Post March 06, 2005, 10:19:22 PM

Re: Soul Searching by Phill Murray

My main quibble was also about the behavior of Roger Burrick, the revived Londoner. At one point, Burrick stated that he knew nothing that happened after his death. That being the case, he most likely would have assumed that he’d survived his accident and had regained consciousness in a hospital.

He knew nothing that happened to him after his death, yet he knew that he had been summoned from death for something. He knew that his memories were in another body. How did he know that, and for that matter how did he know that he had been dead and revived? And knowing all these fantastic things, Burrick should have been awed and bewildered, yet he was nonchalant about the whole thing.

As Jaimie pointed out, if the story was intended to be humorous, then none of these points would matter; they’d just be part of the humor.

In the 50s, in occupied Japan, a Japanese director/producer made an American style western, where the cowboys observed Japanese customs such as bowing, removing boots before entering a house, etc. The director was devastated when a group of Americans viewing the premiere howled with laughter, thinking it was a comedy. (The director went on to produce some movies that received global acclaim).

Donald


<br><br>It wasn't stated, but perhaps the recalled personalities had some access to the host body's memories ... at least on an unconscious level. And just because Burrick was from a poor part of London, we can't assume that he was an illiterate lout. (I suspect that many of those addicted to Dicken's serialized novels would qualify as supporting characters in those same stories.)<br><br>I'm not sure that the Japanese 'Western' Don mentions was a real movie. I seem to recall seeing that scene in another movie (an American comedy made back in the 'good old days' when racist humor was more acceptable), where a Japanese director was mortified when his film premiered in an American theater to uproarious laughter (when the Japanese cowboy (wearing glasses with thick black frames, of course) enters the saloon -- and removes his boots). Can't recall what the movie was, unfortunately.<br><br>Robert M.
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Post March 06, 2005, 10:54:56 PM

Re: Soul Searching by Phill Murray


I'm not sure that the Japanese 'Western' Don mentions was a real movie.  I seem to recall seeing that scene in another movie (an American comedy made back in the 'good old days' when racist humor was more acceptable), where a Japanese director was mortified when his film premiered in an American theater to uproarious laughter (when the Japanese cowboy (wearing glasses with thick black frames, of course) enters the saloon -- and removes his boots).  Can't recall what the movie was, unfortunately.

Robert M.
<br><br>I thought I'd read in "Stars & Stripes," a US Armed Forces publication, of a review of a Japanese movie that had won awards in a film festival, in which the director was the one who had made the "Japanese western." <br><br>But that was a long time ago, and it may have been a review of the movie you mention that I read. The old memory gets a little hazy sometimes. :-)<br><br>Donald<br><br>
A really good story can compensate for less-than-brilliant writing, but brilliant writing will not save a bad story.

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