The Skirl by David Alan Jones


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Post April 12, 2007, 11:44:44 AM

The Skirl by David Alan Jones

The writer skillfully draws the reader in with a romantic premise, then things turn horribly wrong. The author does a good job of creating an atmosphere or horror, but for me the ending was a bit of a downer. Stan seemed like a good guy, and a victim of injustice. He loses his humanity and the villains go unpunished.

what is the message here? It is an evil malevolent universe and something is going to get us?

To borrow Ronald Reagan's favorite phrase: "Oh, I don't think that's true." :'(
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Post April 24, 2007, 02:48:03 PM

Re: The Skirl by David Alan Jones

Not all stories can have happy endings. This one is pretty bleak, though, by any standard.

Mr. Jones does an excellent job of, for lack of a better term, creeping me out. As much as the story made my skin crawl, that's nothing compared to what was crawling on, in, and through Stan's skin. A smooth writing style and ample description made this an enjoyable read. However, the plot is straightforward with few surprises. As Cary alluded to, there's an inevitability to the whole piece. First the protagonist was manipulated by the girl, then her fiance, then the government, and finally the Skirl. Never, at any moment, does he control anything, which I suppose could be the theme. Stan is a pawn from his beginning as a shallow womanizer until his metamorphoses at the end as a super bug.

The cyberpunk feel to an alien horror story is a nice mix. I'm sure it's been done before, but I can't recall one off the top of my head (although my head is pretty fuzzy at the moment due to this cold). Good potential here for a sub-genre.
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Post April 27, 2007, 06:06:37 AM

The Skirl by David Alan Jones

the dawn of bugs-meets 1978 body snatchers intro segment worked well for me, but then the immediate switch to a Mos Eisley kind of bar mood was a major surprise and rather out of place.

this was quickly made up for with competent story telling and Dr. Kolov, who was an excellent character and totally imaginable. Stan...well, he was the kind of redshirt everyman tons of sci fi movies, shows and stories used briefly...at least in this story we got to see what happens to this archetype later on.

another interesting twist was the religious vibe the bugs had going for them...in a sense like being the arachnids from starship troopers.

so, David Alan did well in allowing us entry into a few realms that are usually in the backdrop but seldom explored properly.

and even though the story was quite lengthy, it read fast. i'm not particularly enamored with the subject matter here, and would have liked to have more input about the government or even make it to Mars and there have some kind of rebellion, but this was a good story.

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Post April 30, 2007, 05:55:20 AM

Re: The Skirl by David Alan Jones

Thank you all for your comments.

I never thought of Skirl as bleak, at least not overall. I agree, what happened to Stan was nasty, but I submit that he was living a vapid, almost useless, life before he bugged out. In the end, he found a greater purpose than he would have ever discovered as a simple human.

But that's the fun of any type of art; we all see it from different perspectives.



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Post April 30, 2007, 09:01:10 AM

Re: The Skirl by David Alan Jones

Anybody besides me notice how very similar this whole concept was to what happened to Leto Atreides in God Emperor of Dune?

I mean.  .  .worms in the flesh, physical metamorphosis and the superhuman powers.

The only thing missing was the Spice trade.  Derivative plots is one thing.  We all use FTL and beam weapons and intergalactic bar rooms, but sheesh!

All this being said, the story was well paced and very professionally structured.  I, too, thought that it was actually a story that  was more hopeful than otherwise in that there is certainly no reason that 'standard' humans should be the only possible future for the species.  As long as they don't pull an Invasion of the Body Snatchers and try to change all of them.  Humans are pesky but they do have their moments.


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Post April 30, 2007, 03:48:30 PM

Re: The Skirl by David Alan Jones

Bill, I am no hack. I have never read Dune or any of the offshoot Dune books. I saw the Dune movie years ago, but it didn't have anything to do with becoming a worm so far as I remember.

Although I did once use a novel as the basis for one of my stories (A Clock and a Carriage [used James Clavell's Shogun]), that was only for the setting. I would never rip-off someone's entire idea. Obviously this is a case of the million monkeys typing. Folks working in the sci-fi genre will, sometimes, come up with the same ideas and perhaps even the same approaches. But I don't steal.


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Post May 02, 2007, 03:44:41 AM

The Skirl by David Alan Jones

didn't see anything to do with Dune while reading, and frankly still can't after Bill brought it up. i wouldn't call this one dervative.


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Post May 02, 2007, 07:15:20 AM

Re: The Skirl by David Alan Jones

Thank you, Lee.

I'd like to also point out that I have no need to steal ideas. That has never been my problem. I have more ideas than I have time to write/develop them.


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