Covenants by Frederick Foote

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Post November 06, 2014, 10:06:09 PM

Covenants by Frederick Foote


The setting of this long story is its strength: Mr. Foote gives us an ugly, brutal world very similar to our own. In the nostalgic opening, the protagonist rides a streetcar through a gritty cityscape. This is a fantasy future—with vacant seats on the trolley.

Our hero seems to be personally invincible as well as stupendously wealthy. He defeats a trio of street thugs without breaking a sweat. He cruises about on freighter number 007. Written in first person, this playboy hero probably appeals to males who dream of being worshipped for their power and, ahem, prowess.

The closing scene did not convince me. The adult mistress, who seems to function as another secretary, has motive, means, and opportunity to terminate the relationship to her own advantage. Yet, she meekly surrenders her independence for no apparent reason.

I enjoyed reading this story, despite some misspellings. The dialogue shines between Teakwood and his talented, nubile assistant. It reminds me of a Saturday afternoon adventure series.
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Post November 27, 2014, 06:03:07 PM

Re: Covenants by Frederick Foote

This story was a bit confusing to me because several characters and power-plays seemed to be unconnected with the overall story. A major incompletion was the part about the cousins, Roman and Wild. A fair amount of space went into Teakwood's interaction with them, and then they just disappear. I suppose they were included as illustrations of how very busy and involved Mr. Teakwood's life is. The political intrigues themselves were fascinating and very complex, and while I liked the formality of the higher-level exchanges, some aspects of those were confusing. For example, in the meeting with Chang and the assassin, why did Teakwood and Kiyatana switch roles? No reason is evident; I can only guess that it was done to throw the other side off guard. That makes little sense, though, since all the parties should have known who they were dealing with prior to the meeting.

There wasn't a lot of plot movement evident. If Teakwood's Big Problem was Kiyatana, the resolution was rather anticlimactic. Maybe it felt that way because I wasn't given enough reason to care much about the characters; I couldn't identify with them. I need to be convinced to care more deeply about the outcome.

Some of the dialog came across as too stiff, even beyond the formality. A few contractions would fix that.

I liked the choice of names; it gave more of an exotic flavor to the setting. The social structure clearly tells us that this is not a world we're familiar with. Nice setting package, overall, though I was a little bothered at being unable to figure out if this was Earth or someplace else.

The biggest mechanical problem I saw was in the omission of needed commas. This seems to be every writer's most common punctuation error lately, and I can't help wondering why I see it so often. Missing and misplaced quotation marks run a close second in this story.
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?

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