Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe


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Post January 12, 2006, 06:43:42 PM

Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

Sorry about the shortened title, YaBB wouldn't let me write the whole thing.<br><br>I found this story highly enjoyable. I liked the mood and the style, and found it very well written. I do have a couple of comments though.<br><br>Not being an American, I know that some references are bound to go over my head. We don’t watch American baseball in Europe (we don’t play it ourselves either), so I don’t know if I’m supposed to recognize any of the players mentioned, and if I am, if they have any special significance. (Well, I know who Babe Ruth was).<br><br>Many of the events of the story went largely unexplained, I think. If the reader is supposed to understand why Satan loses control over Ty, I think it needs to be explained in more detail. I didn’t understand any of the legal discussions (well, comments), but I didn’t mind so much because I understood well enough what was going on. I’d like to understand why as well though.<br><br>The bit about The Hand went right over my head. Is this a reference I just don’t recognize? This bothered me, because it seems to be the key element in the story, if the title is any indication (and I think titles should be).<br><br>I always enjoy Satan as a character. For some reason, every time he is used in a story, he’s described totally different from what his usual “image” is. And the possibilities for humor in any Satan story are endless. When I read this, I was reminded both of Heinlein’s “JOB: A Comedy of Justice” and of “South Park – Bigger, Longer and Uncut”, both of which contain memorable Satan characters.<br><br>There is little novelty in the way Satan and Hell is used in this story, it’s all been done before. Still, it works, and I like it. The description of Hell as being a place of unending bureaucracy and red tape is old news, but very well executed. And even though tons of jokes have been made about lawyers inevitably winding up in Hell, it’s still great fun every time :D<br><br>All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read.<br><br>- Wishbone
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Post January 21, 2006, 03:44:50 AM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

Am I the only one who read this story?<br><br>- Wishbone
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Post February 04, 2006, 02:02:01 AM

Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

nope, just read it too myself. not bad and its first sentence contained one of my favorite words in the english language.<br><br>however, like wishbone noted if you're not a baseball fan this will be an impediment, as the story truly revolves around the sport. and while the initial correspondence between Ty and Satan was spot on, later it all got a bit messy with the lawyers and contracts, leading to an angle i personally found less funny than the one used in the beginning.<br><br>by far the most likable character here was the secretary, too bad she turned out a mite typecast as a former street walker who offed herself.<br><br>Lee

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Post February 10, 2006, 08:36:25 PM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

I loved the story. I honestly couldn't stop reading it. That being said, I agree with you 100%... Unfortunately what ended up happening between the hand and such is kind of vague. I understand that at the end "Golden Boy" is going to do the same thing that got him in this situation to begin with to the secretary... (maybe?) but I don't understand what he is doing exactly. As far as the characters, the only truly nonfictional mention in the story is Babe Ruth. To my knowledge, none of the other references are real, or based on anyone real in particular. But of course, I could be wrong. Certain parts of the story did get a little confusing, but to me, it's mostly an issue of author style.
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Post February 10, 2006, 11:54:44 PM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

...To my knowledge, none of the other references are real, or based on anyone real in particular. But of course, I could be wrong. Certain parts of the story did get a little confusing, but to me, it's mostly an issue of author style.
<br><br>I'm no baseball expert, but I would ASSUME that 'Ty Corn' is a slight tweaking of 'Ty Cobb'. Dunno if Ty Cobb was renowned for underhanded play, but I know he's famous for something.<br><br>Robert M.<br>
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Post February 11, 2006, 09:38:03 AM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

I really liked the concept behind this story (but maybe I'm biased since I had my own hell story published here at Aphelion). Baseball as a backdrop to hell -- awesome! However, I thought the execution of this story left a bit to be desired. Satan seemed too ineffectual from the start. If the title "Prince of Darkness" is up for grabs -- Satan mentions having been a lower demon at some point in his past -- then how did this weak character attain it? I could tell from the start that Ty was a much stronger personality, and though I didn't expect him to take Satan's place, I knew he would beat the devil in the end. <br><br>Like the others, I didn't understand the hand reference at all. It seemed like this might have been a much longer story that was shortened and something important about the hand was left out. <br><br><br>-- david j.
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Post February 11, 2006, 10:02:52 AM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

Um, the phrase "give ... a hand" has two common meanings.<br><br>One is "provide assistance", as in "I could use a hand here", "give me a hand with this, would you?"<br><br>The other is "let's have a round of applause for ...".<br><br>Ty Corn didn't seem to need assistance, so I would presume that the title is a mocking reference to (say) a baseball announcer soliciting applause for a well-known player.<br><br>As for Satan's ineffectual nature -- hey, he's been the ruler of Hell for a loooong time. Corn would have been a relative newcomer, still fresh from his peak years of underhanded tactics, while Satan was ... well, rusty. The story seems to hint that Satan will have his revenge now that he understands his opponent better (sequel?)<br><br>Robert M.
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Post February 11, 2006, 12:21:59 PM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

I knew who Ty Cobb was, I just wasn't sure it was a direct reference to him. I never knew he was THAT dirty, hehe.

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Post February 11, 2006, 12:57:35 PM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

But at the end Satan pulls out a "hand" and finds it was the wrong one. . . that's the hand reference I didn't understand. I certainly understand the standard idiom, "Give that man a hand." <br><br><br>-- david j.
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Post February 12, 2006, 04:56:22 PM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

<br><br>The orginal material this story is based on is so HUMORLESS that of course I thoroughly enjoy reading ANY humorous story of this type. <br><br>After I got over that thrill, I too missed the key reference of a hand, switchable, which ... means something. <br><br>I'd be curious if the author posted a reply. <br><br>A while back, someone noted that authors sometimes fail to find the LetterCol, and fail to reply to the burning questions in story lettercol threads. <br><br>--TaoPhoenix, finally making 150 posts. <br>
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Post February 12, 2006, 06:53:46 PM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

After I got over that thrill, I too missed the key reference of a hand, switchable, which ... means something.
<br>Okay, so nobody else got the bit with the hand either. That's comforting, for me at least. Not for the author though.<br><br>
I'd be curious if the author posted a reply.

A while back, someone noted that authors sometimes fail to find the LetterCol, and fail to reply to the burning questions in story lettercol threads.
<br>Indeed. It's like they lose interest in the story as soon as it's published. Strange. I'd want to know what people thought of my work, and I'd like to be able to reply to any issues they might have. Which I do, whenever I publish anything. A rare event, but it happens next issue ;D<br><br>- Wishbone
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Post February 12, 2006, 07:48:30 PM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

I think I'm gonna start adding a note to acceptance e-mails telling authors to visit the lettercol to see what (if anything) readers have to say about their work. For that matter, I should probably add a note to rejection e-mails so rejectees can see what the 'published' authors have to put up with!<br><br>Robert M.<br>
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Post February 13, 2006, 12:07:51 AM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

Lol... yeah, I guess we are a demanding bunch. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in my bewilderment. I wasn't understanding the hand part, but I ASSUMED it's like an ancient relic or part of an ancient ceremony... but defintely it's not the author's job to leave such a central mechanic an enigma.

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Post February 17, 2006, 07:56:00 PM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

I assumed the same... ???
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Post February 17, 2006, 08:48:10 PM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

Lessee now ... there's the 'Hand of Glory' <br><br>Notes from http://www.shadowdrake.com/folklore/hand.html<br><br>An excerpt concerning the Hand of Glory from a book entitled, "The Golden Book of the Mysterious":<br><br> "A fearsome talisman called the Hand of Glory was prepared by some sorcerers for robbers to use as they went about their work. Its preparation started with cutting off the hand of a hanged criminal. This had to be wrapped in cloth, placed in a pot with various herbs and minerals and left for two weeks, after which it was to be dried in the sun." <br><br>And at Cat Yronwode's "The Lucky W Amulet Archive", we find a list of 'Hand' charms and talismans:<br><br>http://www.luckymojo.com/luckywindex.html#h<br><br> hand of Power, Roman <br> hamsa hand, Jewish and Moslem <br> hamsa hand and cresecent amulet, Arabic <br> Helping Hand (of God), hoodoo <br> Helping Hand on hoodoo votive candle <br> Helping Hand on Lucky Mon-Gol Curio Number XI <br> eye-in-hand amulets <br> Lucky Hand root <br> Lucky Hand Alleged Indian Grandma formula in Sonny Boy Products <br> mano cornuto (horned hand) <br> mano fico (fig hand) <br> mano fico hand on a South American package amulet <br> mano fico (called mano poderosa) in South American charm vial <br> Mano Poderosa, the Powerful Hand (of God), Catholic <br> Mano Poderosa, the Powerful Hand (of God), on Catholic votive candles <br> Mano Poderosa, the Powerful Hand (of God), in a Peruvian package amulet <br> milagro hand in Mexican snow-globe pyramid of luck <br> "mojo hand" as alternative name for conjure bag<br><br>(At the website noted, each of the above is a link, so there's a lot of material for anyone curious enough to go exploring!)<br><br>Robert M.
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on February 17, 2006, 08:49:03 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post February 17, 2006, 08:54:41 PM

Re: Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

That's all well and good Robert, but which one is it? This shouldn't be a guessing game. I assume the author already did the necessary research in order to write the story. I don't wanna have to do the same in order to understand it. Especially since there seems to be an abundance of "hands" to choose from.<br><br>- Wishbone
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Post February 28, 2006, 01:33:22 AM

Give That Man a Hand by J. A. Howe

<br>hey what about Maradonna's Hand of God from back in Mexico 86? there's a case that can be argued there...<br><br>and great to see us discussing references in a story for a change, i think that's awesome.<br><br>Lee

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