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Songs of Steam Lungs by D. D. H. Lee

PostPosted: May 24, 2005, 10:00:27 PM
by kailhofer
A truly interesting tale--a spiritualized version of WWI-esque trench warfare, wherein, I believe, a soldier comes face to face for the first time against tanks and machine guns.<br><br>The battle part of it was a bit overwhelming at first, and I Had to re-read it to be sure that I had it all correct. The revisualization of the enemy soldier as a glowing-eyed demon in the shell crater through me for a loop. (Of course, this is fiction, it could really have been a demon.)<br><br>On setting, I was sure the writer knew where he was putting the characters, but wasn't always quite so sure myself. Some of this was caused by the personification of spirits in the machinery of war, I'm sure. Warfare, logically, is a surreal environment to begin with, but the redrawing of some of the scenery in the spiritual view obfuscated some of the details perhaps a little too much for my own tastes. I couldn't always tell what was what. (Maybe I wasn't meant to. It's hard to say.)<br><br>I was curious about the metal speaking to the men. The hero says he cannot hear the metal, yet when combat begins, he is fully in tune with it's desires. Perhaps this is a oneness that soldiers achieve with their weapons. I could not say.<br><br>I liked the protagonist. He was an engineer at heart in charge of a squad of snipers--a fish out of water among a net full of them. I also liked how his own special talents allowed him to "speak" to the advancing armor, stopping it. <br><br>As strange as it seems on the surface, I thought this tale of men speaking to the souls of their rifles and killing "fire-breathing" demons rang true and was believable. I don't mind being in the dark about the plot if I can sense that it's on purpose, that the goal will be reached. It was.<br><br>The only thing I thought might have been out of place or perhaps I just didn't understand was the title. If indeed this was WWI, then the tanks would not have been steam driven (unless I know far less about tanks of that era than I think I do). Is it possible that the protagonist himself was "Steam Lungs", and that was why this was part 1? If it was a parallel universe, of course, things are different. I suppose it all depends on your perspective.<br><br><br>I was a great fan of "For the Love of Chicken," and I was pleased with this one. It engaged my imagination, as well as the rest of my mind.<br><br>Nate

Re: Songs of Steam Lungs by D. D. H. Lee

PostPosted: May 27, 2005, 02:36:16 PM
by ddhlee
Thanks and thanks again for the commentary! To be honest, I was unsure about this piece since this was one of the more ambitious titles I was trying to get written down, so as a result I'm still a bit reluctant about how to make this story run, but I can see from the remarks that I'm doing something right, so I'm going to keep trying at it. There will be serious revisions as well, but... I just hope someone doesn't look back at Part I when compared with Part 2 and wonder why some of it just looks completely askew. :o<br><br>Just some things that I guess I wanted to point out (nothing asinine, I hope, just things that I wanted to make sure I'm acknowledging).<br><br>re: Demons<br>The whole thing itself was to suggest dehumanization, yes, but it was also combined with other things: mainly, I wanted to make mention of flamethrowers. Note to self: introduce the tool before you introduce the concept.<br><br>re: Narrator<br>I agree with the flatness. I was hoping to see if I could make the protagonist's analytic attitude become reflected through the way his narrations were portrayed, and that included making himself seem more like a reactive instead of proactive character. Perhaps I should emphasize his technical examinations...? I just don't want to go overboard since I know too much of it will turn a character from psychological to satirical.<br><br>Thanks again! -and expect a second part, er... in awhile (currently have a (HOPEFULLY) short writing project I'm working on).