The Visions of Carlos Rivera by Brian C. Petroziel


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Post October 19, 2005, 01:34:10 PM

The Visions of Carlos Rivera by Brian C. Petroziel

I hate to do this, but I just can't shake the image of Peter Falk as the dictator, in this one.  <br><br>Why?  <br><br>Here is a review of a Twilight Zone episode that I looked up after reading this.  .  .<br><br> " The Mirror (Episode 71, Oct 20 1961, 24:46 minutes) - Ramos Clemente has risen from the ranks of peasant farm workers in a Central American dictatorship to lead a revolution against the incumbent tyrant. However, his accession to the role of revolutionary leader is not a happy one as the recently deposed tyrant issues a sombre warning. The warning quickly eats away at Ramos who soon starts to see assassination conspiracies everywhere - courtesy of a mirror. Nothing really terrific here in this thinly disguised poke at the recent revolutionary regime in Cuba led by Fidel Castro. Lots of clichéd Cuban revolutionaries here and an excruciating performance by Peter Falk (and I thought his Colombo days were pretty bad...) in their own way create an unforgettable episode: this is certainly not a high point in The Twilight Zone oeuvre. Directed by Don Medford."  <br><br>Actually, I think this story was better than the original but you can only get so derivative before the story becomes trying.  I kept noticing the differences between the story in front of me and the old 'Zone--and stopped paying any attention to the story.<br><br>I don't think that's what most of us want from our readers.<br><br>Bill<br>
Last edited by Bill_Wolfe on October 19, 2005, 01:36:02 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post October 19, 2005, 08:11:17 PM

Re: The Visions of Carlos Rivera by Brian C. Petro

... Never saw that one (I would have been about 6 years old when it first ran). One major difference here was that Rivera was seeing and hearing (I think?) through EVERY picture of himself -- posters, probably images on currency, newspaper photos -- at once. In that sense, the Mayan shaman's 'gift' was a curse even if it didn't make Rivera vulnerable to attacks on his portraits.<br><br>Brian P.'s story probably reminded you of the T.Z. episode not so much because of the plot but because of the setting -- and let's face it, if someone with as ridiculous a mental storehouse of plots and images from genre stuff as I have didn't see it as reminiscent of anything, I suspect that your deja vu problem with the story would not be a common one. (The premise actually evokes the principles of similarity underlying voodoo/santeria -- which obviously predate T.Z. by a century or three.)<br><br>Robert M.
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Post October 20, 2005, 11:53:51 PM

Re: The Visions of Carlos Rivera by Brian C. Petro

Bill, I actually caught a few minutes of that episode on cable a few weeks ago. I have seen most of the Twilight Zone's episodes a couple of times, but "Visions" really didn't have anything to do with the Twilight Zone, or Fidel Castro, for that matter. The story was written during my first incarnation as a writer in 1982 BC (before computers). Back then I wrote the first two drafts longhand, and only typed the final ms on my tiny blue royal electric, using tons of Correct-type strips. The manuscripts were truly ugly compared to modern printers.<br><br>The story was inspired by two things. The first was the Sandinistas coming to power in Nicaragua, hence the name "Larristas" for the revolutionary movement. The second was a feature story in the July '82 issue of National Geographic, which detailed the Mayan civilization in this area. While the Mayans abandoned several large cities and ceremonial sites, they are still the indigenous population in this area. Geographically Costa Azucar would be nestled in between Belize and Honduras. Robert's take on the extent of the visions was correct.<br><br>There were some revisions to the original story due to a re-write request by Leading Edge. In the original, Chula Peten was sumarily executed, while in the current version, the jail scene was added. The revised story made the first cut, but not the final issue.<br><br>When I began writing again in "02, I decided to resurrect the 3 best stories of that era. In addition to "Visions", a story entitled "Across the Pages of Time" appeared in the October 2004 issue of Black Petals, and a humorous piece, "The Tunnel at the End of the Light", appeared in Issue 6 of Fools Motley in 2004.<br><br>I do try to avoid things that have been done. When I started writing again, I went through my writing journal. I discovered a 12/29/83 entry where a man is punished by being forced to relive his crime...through images saved from the victim's brain. Any fan of Star Trek Voyager will recognize that a the fate that befell Tom Paris in one episode. Oh Well, you snooze-- you lose.<br><br>I hope that sheds some light on the evolution of the story.<br><br>Brian C. Petroziello<br><br>web site: http://hometown.aol.com/bpetroz/index100.html<br>

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Post October 24, 2005, 12:51:46 PM

The Visions of Carlos Rivera by Brian C. Petroziel

"things are not sweet enough in Costa Azucar"<br><br>ah, one of the better lines recently, great irony.<br><br>as a complete package, the tale was a spectacular read until the very end, which was, again, too sudden and simplified for its own good. this kind of A Team resolution, with the bad guy crumbling like a comic book villain, just doesn't dignify a story so well written and thought out. i know it's easier said than done, but after getting all worked up over Sanchez, Chula and the others, to have things resolve themselves so neatly was a let down.<br><br>the very good points: excellent pacing, mood and set-up. loved the characters and the way they conversed, very effective and fitting. <br><br>cons: the rushed, convenient ending and banana republic theme, another A Team-esque ingredient that didn't work for me. no offense, but why not use a real place? it's so much more believable. i mean, Honduras was in there so might as well.<br><br>good stuff, tho!<br><br>Lee<br><br>
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Post November 18, 2005, 10:57:17 AM

Re: The Visions of Carlos Rivera by Brian C. Petro

I think the writer missed some golden opportunities in this story. It’s not bad, per se, but a few changes would have made this less clichéd:<br><br>1. The difference between a clichéd villain and a realistic villain is that the latter does not view himself as evil. A villain with some redeeming qualities is exponentially more interesting than one with shallow motivations. What caused Carlos to lose his way? Does he ever act with kindness? Is he inwardly tortured by the death and hypocrisy? How deep is his friendship with the main protagonist?<br><br>2. The setting is not described in enough detail. As a reader, I should feel immersed in this-- relatively speaking-- exotic culture, with children wandering the streets and the humid air of the jungles clinging to my skin. I should see in my mind’s eye the ravages of the revolution and the tired faces of the people as they struggle to exist. As the setting is now, you could easily interchange it with a number of locations. There is no specific reason why this story takes place where it does. For example, I could envision this taking place in a corporation, where an evil executive has taken control. When you can interchange elements so easily, that’s an indication that it might be formulaic.<br><br>3. There is no surprise or twist to the ending. The reader understands too early what the curse means and how it will bring about Carlos’ downfall. Foreshadowing is a subtle art, but there is no subtlety here.<br>
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