Within by Joshua Scribner

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Post June 22, 2005, 10:37:36 PM

Within by Joshua Scribner

I had to let this one percolate overnight to see how I felt about it.<br><br>I guess I'm still a little conflicted about it. On the one hand, Joshua did a nice job of foreshadowing the twist. I didn't guess the ending, and I liked the choice of how it did end. It's a solid story, and a good read. On the other hand, the hypnotist seemed to know more than I thought he should, and that may have lessened the emotional impact a bit. Given that, I think I would have suggested a different ending.<br><br>I don't presume to know his goals for the story. According to his home page, Joshua has a good deal more commercial success than I have, so my thoughts on it may be backwards to that which brings in sales. This may only be my 2¢, as it were, and may have no more value than that. <br><br>But... In the text, I was drawn in, trying to figure out where the story was going, why Beth was so afraid. I wanted to know. I worried for her a little. However, by the time the reader knows that Beth has been taken over by the demon, it's already frozen in place by the Doctor's command word. There is no risk--the doctor is always in control. The reader goes on to see how he removes the paranormal parasite, and it's interesting... But consider the emotional impact if the hypnotist doesn't know there is a demon inside Beth. Now, there is risk. He's just a man. He has no special magical abilities that can protect him. Against him is a murderous demon, and he has only his skills as a hypnotist to try to save himself and Beth.<br><br>That would be a plot that makes one wake up and take notice! It would be one filled with gripping possibilities. If you want creep-out, the demon wins, killing the Doc, or he drives it out and she kills him to get it back. If you want action and perhaps redemption for trespassing in a world bigger than he is, he wins, driving out the baddie, saving Beth. More "modern", he drives it out, but she dies anyway. He then has to dedicate himself to finding more & driving them out. Tragic, he dies saving her.<br><br>Also, I was forced to wonder over his statement, "I research my clients very well, though. I knew you were there. I knew you had been other places. You've murdered hundreds of people in Beth's body, without once leaving a trace of her or yourself." How does one find this out?? What kind of research can you do to track deaths by demons? Obviously, he could have picked this up during his sessions, but why bother to catalog hundreds? Once he finds a demon, why not skip to the part where you get rid of it? In fairness, it could be said, "Duh. He used magic. That's how he knows." I have no good argument against that, but it seems like a shortcut, rather than solid character development.<br><br>Obviously, Joshua had his reasons for doing the way he did, and it was still a good story with the choices he made, so I don't want to take away from that. In my opinion, however, it could have been a great story if the ending had been a different choice. It could have been one where the audience bought in with a greater emotional investment, one where the thrill ride just leaves them yelling for more.<br><br>Nate
Last edited by kailhofer on June 22, 2005, 10:40:22 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post June 27, 2005, 12:38:37 PM

Re: Within by Joshua Scribner

The demon presumably jumps between bodies at will, and possibly over long distances.  Consider X-Files baddies like Eugene Toombs, who would commit a series of impossible 'locked room' murders every 40 years or so.  Only a loon like Mulder would make the connection.  Similarly, while the doctor was able to see the pattern in crimes widely scattered in space and probably occurring over more than a human lifetime*, a conventional law enforcement official would not.  At most, the current host/killer could be captured based on forensic evidence; but without hypnosis or magic to hold the demon in its host, killing or imprisoning the host really accomplished nothing.<br><br>(*perhaps in the process of studying abnormal / criminal psychology texts?)<br><br>Robert 'Magic Has Rules, Too' M.
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on June 27, 2005, 12:39:22 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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