The Kill By Mark Phillips

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Post April 10, 2008, 06:28:28 PM

Re: The Kill By Mark Phillips

The practice of earning a different adult name is not unheard of -- the idea that there would be only ONE name for all male children (? who knows what rite of passage is imposed on female children) is unusual. Personally, I anticipated that the target of the Kill would be human (maybe an exiled Joey) -- but the second twist came as a surprise.

We are, of course, left with the question of how they reconcile the presence of executioners in their midst if the capacity to kill is itself a capital crime... They seem to be at least a couple of generations into this system (since Joey's father took the test himself), but they have deliberately retained killers in their midst. It might have made more sense if the failures were killed in a less direct, less violent way (something gentle, like the euthanasia process in "Soylent Green").

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Post April 21, 2008, 06:15:28 PM

Re: The Kill By Mark Phillips

Good story, and one that has a moral. But in all honestly I can’t say that the story is new. I’ve read so many similar stories---some set in space on far-away planets, some in literature---but the moral is the same.

Now to the good points. This one is well written with all the techniques needed to hold a reader’s interest. Good description, good use of dialogue, and good use of non-verbal communication such as sensory inputs, and wording that gives one a fell for the setting. And easy to read and follow.

Peter’s son had just been eliminated from this society--I think that is a better expression that killed. Yet, Peter didn’t show much emotion, just red around his eyes and tears on his cheeks.

What is to be, must be. Almost like a religious cult, for Peter accepted it. But this was not a fair test!

"Dad…" Joey paused. He shifted his glance from Peter to the side window. "What if I don't make the kill?"

Silence hung in the air. Joey didn't want to look. He kept staring at the snow outside. Then, when there still was no answer, he turned. His father was smiling at him.

"You'll succeed, don't be nervous." Peter brought a hand down on Joey's shoulder and squeezed. There was steel in that squeeze, but Joey didn't cringe.

This dialogue tells me that Joey believed that his father wanted him to kill! A thirteen-year old will unquestionably follow a parent’s wishes in most cases!


Joey lowered the gun and looked at Peter. "Dad, I can't kill that, it's a person. Everything we've ever learned has told us that taking a human life is wrong."

Peter looked into his son's eyes. "Is that your decision then, are you rejecting your kill? Are you willing to risk being sent away?"

Think about Peter’s answer here and go back to when you were thirteen. True, we can’t hear Peter’s inflections as he speaks nor his tone, but to me a kid would interpret it as if his father wanted him to do it!

A well written story, however, the exchange between Peter and his son didn't work for me.

Good writing!
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Post April 22, 2008, 01:43:49 PM

Re: The Kill By Mark Phillips


The propensity to kill others would show itself without any external stimutation.

Place a gun in Joey's arms, explain that he can kill the animal or not kill the animal, then set back and watch.

Remain completetly neutral as to if you want him to kill, or don't want him to kill!

Get the picture.

We all do thing against our nature. External forces can turn a mild person into a raving idiot.

A child will follow a big brother, sister, father or mother. At thirteen, a boy is still under the hynotic
eyes of a father or mother. In general that's the way it is. There's alway an exception, but for the most part a boy will try to full-fill a father's wishes, at that age!

I was an exception

At ten I ran away from home and joined a circus. They trained me to be a pick-pocket and work the crowds. Boy was that fun. However, me and the ring-master got into an argument!! I finally stabbed him with a knife that I had picked out of someone's pocket the day before.

I ran out of the big-top----clowns and an elephant man was chasing me with ball-peen hammers but I got away from them, then....
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Post April 22, 2008, 07:00:21 PM

Re: The Kill By Mark Phillips

I see your point, and it is a good one. Escpecially when all the children are called Joey! They harvest
the best and eliminate the rest. A society such as that one could be very critical about who makes it
to manhood. I'll have to re-read the story again from a fascist standpoint and see if I connect.

Got to got now. That clown with the ball-peen hammer is trying to hide in a crowd of Obama and Clinton supporter here in Johnstown, Pa.  But I see him. Personally, I still like Ike!!!
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