The Morning Place by Mary Brunini McArdle

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Post August 10, 2007, 08:30:47 AM

The Morning Place by Mary Brunini McArdle

A gentle, whimsical story, with a well-sketched central character.  The alternate world looked to be intriguing, but then was ruined, for me, by references to Alice in Wonderland.  Then there was no explanation as to whether it was real or not.  Maybe it didn't matter as he found what he was looking for in the real world, but the 'maybe I imagined it / it was all a dream / it was all virtual reality / I've got paranoid schizophrenia (see my comment on Chris Allen Clark's story) explanation are ultimately unfulfilling.  It's fiction, so we know it's not real; there's no need for the character to think it's not real too.  Anyway, as you can probably tell that's my favourite bugbear.  Other than that the writing was lovely.

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Post August 11, 2007, 06:00:31 PM

Re: The Morning Place by Mary Brunini McArdle

The basic storyline, boy meets girl, was fine. Nice language, nice flow.

However, I didn't understand what the aside to see the girl of his "future" was all about. Why was it needed to go there? If he didn't remember of any of it, what influence did it have?

Writing about falling in love is great. That's good thing to focus on, and a surprising many SF writers won't tackle that, but I needed to know the connection for the whole story to make sense to me. Without that, it seemed to be like the SF bit was "tacked on" just to make it qualify in a different market, which I'm sure couldn't be true.

Am I just missing it? Anyone?

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Post August 11, 2007, 07:34:02 PM

Re: The Morning Place by Mary Brunini McArdle

Oddly enough, the story in this issue that resembles this one in some respects is "Bloody Angles". In both cases, the protagonist is living an excruciatingly ordinary life, in one case further burdened by physical challenges, in the other by a lack of anything to make him "special" -- money or athletic or academic talent or unusually good looks.

In "Angles", the narrator uses his knowledge of Civil War battles in which an ancestor participated as a sort of time machine, replacing his mundane surroundings with a world more interesting (even if it is interesting in the "Chinese curse" mode). In "Morning Place", the protagonist is allowed to step outside his normal world for at least one brief interlude, and is given a hint of better things to come. Has the "place" always been there? Would it be there and provide similar insights for anyone who happened to venture there? Would it even be there for him if he returned?

Ms McArdle could use the Place in other stories, showing how it affects different people in different ways. In this story, it gave a moment of hope to a young man who was coming to expect little from his life. What might it do to/for someone who sought it out expecting some kind of useful foreknowledge, out of greed or ambition? For someone mourning a sudden loss?
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)

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