New and Improved by Ezra T. Gray


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Post October 17, 2005, 04:27:34 PM

New and Improved by Ezra T. Gray

What undermines a great idea is too much telling. The info dump at the outset not only kills the action it weakened characterization with too much author intrusion and sort of lofty, noble savage language.<br><br>Strikes me that such a short piece like this must be propelled by action and an economy of explanation. I think a lot could've been accomplished in terms of info provision with the POV shift at the end and an (oblique) exchange between characters there.<br><br>SPOILERS<br><br><br><br><br><br>I would've liked to know whether we were dealing with an apocalypse leaving only civvies to hunt for survival or whether this was a mere "outbreak"; ie, were authorities still in authority?<br><br>Along the lines of the above critique: why would the beast not recognize his brother in law when he still possessed enough humanity to relate to the readers in a fairly sophisticated manner all this info on the implants? <br><br>I also wondered why, at the end, the beast was condemned to hell for unintended consequences? Why damn the primitive? Is the desire to be better, faster, stronger seen as a deadly sin? Vanity, maybe? I'm just curious about that. Although I wonder if this third POV shift is too much for the length of the piece.<br><br>Dan E.
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Post October 17, 2005, 06:14:37 PM

Re: New and Improved by Ezra T. Gray

...
I would've liked to know whether we were dealing with an apocalypse leaving only civvies to hunt for survival or whether this was a mere "outbreak"; ie, were authorities still in authority?

Along the lines of the above critique: why would the beast not recognize his brother in law when he still possessed enough humanity to relate to the readers in a fairly sophisticated manner all this info on the implants?

I also wondered why, at the end, the beast was condemned to hell for unintended consequences? Why damn the primitive? Is the desire to be better, faster, stronger seen as a deadly sin? Vanity, maybe? I'm just curious about that. Although I wonder if this third POV shift is too much for the length of the piece.

Dan E.
<br><br>1) My impression was that the implant was expensive enough that there wouldn't be that many 'beasts' running around.<br><br>2) Despite the coherence and even eloquence of the narration, the protagonist (like many a serial / mass murderer before him) was likely incapable of viewing others as anything but (a) competition, if they were also Prometheans, or (b) prey. The euphoria and exaggerated sense of omnipotence prevented him from recognizing a third type: (c) an armed threat.<br><br>3) It wasn't so much vanity and the desire to be more (with little or no effort) that made our beastie-boy hell-worthy -- it was the murder and cannabilism! Actually, given the revelations in the final paragraphs, it may be that very FEW Prometheans turned into psychotic killers.<br><br>Robert M.<br><br>
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on October 17, 2005, 06:15:15 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post October 17, 2005, 06:31:33 PM

Re: New and Improved by Ezra T. Gray

Hey Robert:<br>re: your point (1), the following is from the story:<br>"The man had watched as much of the population regressed into a feral state." So it sounded like more than a few had succumbed. Not to mention that the humans may have found another as the story closed. <br><br>re: your points (2) and (3), you refer to beastie as a murderer/serial killer, but is predation murder? I had the sense that this guy was hunting for food rather than purely for the kill, but maybe the feasting was merely a by-product of a mere lust for murder? Hard to tell with certainty from the story. At keast for me.<br><br>Dan E.
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Post October 17, 2005, 11:15:25 PM

Re: New and Improved by Ezra T. Gray

Sigh. I suspect that once the feral impulses started to take over his mind, the protagonist wasn't exactly doing a lot of reading / scanning world news. And as a predator-to-be, it might be that other occurrences of predation would stand out to him, seeming to be more common than they really were.<br><br>Toronto has seen a horrendous number of homicides involving guns over a relatively short period. However, a statistician noted that clustering of this kind can occur by random chance ('random' and 'evenly distributed' are NOT synonymous, although it is tempting to expect them to be) -- it is not necessarily indicative of a trend or a microcosmic reflection of conditions at large.<br><br>So -- you're turning into a psychotic with cannabilistic urges. While you're still human enough to do things like watch newscasts, you see reports of others who have gone further and acted on those urges. You assume that the anecdotal reports are typical ('assumption of mediocrity', or something like that).<br><br>I would expect that the Prometheus implant procedure was about as common as, well, another kind of implant procedure particularly popular among Californian women of a certain IQ (Kate would be exempt on that basis, of course). There would be a lot of Prometheans, but as a percentage of the population, they would be very much in the minority. Maybe the hunters were 'deputized' by the authorities (since hunting thousands of berserk feral killers would be beyond the combined resources of police, National Guard, and regular army combined) ...<br><br>Robert (See, I CAN rationalize anything) M.
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Post November 05, 2005, 01:59:51 PM

Re: New and Improved by Ezra T. Gray

<br>quite the nice halloween romp, and unlike Dan E i didn't find anything wrong with the protagnist recounting things. i always believe we as readers are onlookers, peeping toms who just happen to understand what characters say and think courtesy of literature's big great universal translator. vanity is to deem every fictional entity out there as existing merely to address us as an audience: the man-beast was thinking to himself, not us. therefore his supposedly coherent words may have been just primal concepts.<br>the tale itself was well-told and tantalizing but too short, although i for one didn't detect any dumping at all. and yes, it will be nice to know how far the infection/mutation has progressed. shades of Res Evil anyone? could have been an excellent zombie POV number.<br><br>Lee
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Post November 11, 2005, 12:25:43 AM

Re: New and Improved by Ezra T. Gray

I thought this was a neat techo-lycanthrope story. It might have been overly wordy, but I still enjoyed it quite a lot.<br><br>One thing that I didn’t care for was the ghost ending. It’s jarring and unnecessary, in my opinion.<br><br>Overall, a nice job.<br>
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Post November 11, 2005, 09:43:09 AM

Re: New and Improved by Ezra T. Gray

Hey Lee,<br>Frankly, I tend to think characters exist for the writer, and readers are allowed access for any number of (sometimes dark) reasons... <br><br>I would argue that the kind of license you're suggesting has implications for generating a sense of immersion for the reader. If primal concepts are presented in articulate and sophisticated ways, reality is compromised. Rather than situated in the story world the writer is trying create, the reader winds up behind the scenes, in a sense, back where the gears are turning. <br><br>Dan E.

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Post November 14, 2005, 12:40:39 PM

New and Improved by Ezra T. Gray

<br>yeah Dan but isn't fiction an interpretation of reality to begin with? or maybe the other way around? i don't see any problem with the angle i laid out, suspension of disbelief was never a big deal for me, since fiction is enjoyable in its own right. look at the matrix argument: i'd take the blue pill and ask to remember. what's cooler than living in a reality you know is "fake"?<br><br>Lee

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Post November 17, 2005, 08:44:09 AM

Re: New and Improved by Ezra T. Gray

Hey Lee,<br>I agree that writing is an interpretation of reality and quite often has to be sort of an exaggeration of what we accept as real or believable in order to be accomplished. And I too can suspend my disbelief rather easily. It's a deep-seated desire to escape that allows me that freedom; but I'm looking to swap one reality for another and for that period that I'm immersed in a story, I don't want to know that I'm simply traipsing around the Matrix (which is not to say I wouldn't enjoy such an experience, but that would be for different reasons). <br><br>What I'm getting at is this: I'll accept ftl space ships and vampires and androids and wormholes in time and just about anything else, but it has to be realistic. So I'm put off by a primal beast that's ruminating on existential ideas. Unless that law was established at the outset. In this story here, I don't think it was. A good example is Stephen King's IT. A tour de force story that brings us monsters in a small-town setting. I accept the monsters no problem, but the story worked for me because King was able to evoke such a nostalgic sense of small-town life (which I think is [was] really King's greatest talent--his sense of setting). It would've failed had he not set out to create that feeling, had the children in the story all been able to articulate profound ideas or had an overly mature sensibility or if he was lazy in the realization of his small Maine town. I was swept away by that setting and characterization, and that gave the fantastic aspect of the tale far more impact. Had he not bothered trying to relate the story in the idiom of small-town Americana and from the varying perspectives of children, it would've been a read memorable only for how poorly written it was. <br><br>In other words, while there are no fixed rules in writing or other creative ventures, the creation of a story in which the reader can lose him or herself requires a logic, if you will, that remains consistent and allows for a sustained suspension of disbelief. <br><br>Don't know if any of that makes sense.<br><br>Dan E.
Last edited by unforgibbon on November 17, 2005, 08:46:53 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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