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, 09:51:18 AM

Within by Joshua Scribner

<br>cmon Nate, how's about some suspension of disbelief? this was a truly polished story and i enjoyed reading it to the hilt. you can tell Scribner's experienced in horror and suspense, especially in moments like when Beth's in no. 34 and you're just waiting to share in the horrible face she sees on her little-girl self from 23 years ago!<br>i foresee televised/cinematic rights all over this one, or at least a PS2 game. as for Dr. Caffer, he felt just like those classy university professors that show up in horror flicks as advisors, and i loved him. he was like a sheltering figure in the plot, although for all his prowess i feared the end would have him become a victim.<br><br>nice one, i can't really think of any major criticisms.<br><br>Lee

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Post June 27, 2005, 12:30:43 PM

Re: Within by Joshua Scribner

I liked the manner in which this story was told. <br><br>But at the time of the reveal (and it was a creepy reveal, I mean I could really see what Beth looked like--nasty) boom, all the action and danger was, well, ended. And the confrontation was skipped over. <br><br>I also wonder how Beth/demon could've gotten away with multiple homicides over the last 23 years without getting busted for at least one of them. If the demon is so easily bound by physically constraining Beth with the hypnotic word, then it would seem it might also be governed by the kinds of physical laws that dictate the generation of evidence at crime scenes. It's maybe a quibble.<br><br>I liked the doc, and wanted to know more about him. I also would've liked to know more about how Beth's illness manifested (beyond a fear of children).<br><br>All in all this story worked well for me and had some genuinely creepy moments. <br><br>Dan E.
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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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Post July 02, 2005, 11:29:53 PM

Re: Within by Joshua Scribner

"Within" kept my suspense of disbelief running in high gear. This one was a tale of suspense from the get go, turning into gripping, white knuckled suspense near the end. I, for one, was creeped out.<br><br>I had no doubts about how or why Dr. Caffer knew about the demon. I think the story made plain that the doctor had mucho experience in dealing with the evil creatures. But I think that Caffer's smugness was calculated to lead the reader into suspecting that the doctor had overlooked something--something critical that would do him in. At least that was my take. A sigh of relief when the doctor triumphed!<br><br>If I were an editor, I'd shell out prozine rates for this one.<br><br>Donald<br>
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