Our Timid Friend by Robert Starr (SPOILERS)


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Post August 09, 2004, 07:57:04 PM

Re: Our Timid Friend by Robert Starr (SPOILERS)

This story is like a darker "Stand By Me" without the annoying presence of Wil Wheaton.<br><br>I couldn't help wondering if Benny was something more than a crazy kid, perhaps a supernatural denizen, the way he was written. I expected when he was kicking at the floorboards of the shack to have them open, exposing a shaft into the nether regions of the universe. This was the only logic that I could find that the boys would fall under his spell so completely and so quickly. <br><br>I also really HOPE that you can't break someone's neck that way. It is something we all should not know, in case any of us had a nightmare and killed our spouses in our sleep. (Although a homicidal sleepwalker would be an interesting story idea.)<br><br>Nate
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Post August 10, 2004, 12:29:34 AM

Re: Our Timid Friend by Robert Starr (SPOILERS)

All right, already! (Note the distinction: 'all right' is two words, 'already' is one word. 'Alright' is no word at all.)<br><br>Yes, the punctuation was on the sparse side. It was a little annoying, but (considering the narrator's age) might even have been deliberate. Run-on sentences are common things -- until teachers pound punctuation into our skulls like those pins studding the head of a Clive Barker Cenobite. Sometimes the commas and semi-colons and such work their way out like splinters only loosely caught under the skin; better that than having them work their way in, causing all manner of havoc.<br><br>Nice use of language here, as in most of Mr. Starr / shado's work; the description of the sound and feel of dragging the body over gravel is particularly vivid.<br><br>As for a boy dying from being tripped while running -- stranger things have happened. If there was a large enough rock where his head happened to land, or he landed so that his neck took his full weight ... Benny's murder of Randy, on the other hand, would have to be attributed to that ol' debbil hysterical / maniacal strength, since Randy was apparently the largest and strongest of the group. Of course, it's always the quiet ones who read up on pressure points and How To Kill With One Blow.<br><br>The story does hint at Benny's obsessive nature, and obsession / depression are closely related. Seeing someone killed because Rules Are Being Broken (you don't trip someone to butt in ahead of them; it simply isn't done) would be the ultimate violation of The Rules and a devastating example (to Benny) of The Consequences. Benny then tries to restore the balance by executing Randy for his transgressions, and then ... loses interest, as shock sets in.<br><br>Nasty. Reminiscent not only of King, but of McCammon. (Not of Koontz, however -- no treacle.)<br><br>Robert M.
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Post August 11, 2004, 06:56:00 AM

Re: Our Timid Friend by Robert Starr (SPOILERS)


Perhaps, and giving the narrator a voice that suits their age and personality is necessary, but I wouldn't agree that this excuses deliberately using bad grammar (not saying this was the case here). After all, people still have to be able to read it, and the mechanics of writing have to allow that. It should be possible to give the 1st-person narrator a unique voice and still write well.
<br><br>I find even properly-punctuated dialogue or narration more annoying than this dearth of punctuation, when it's done in dialect (droppin' yer 'g' and such-like) ... but maybe that's just me.<br><br>
The explanation for Benny's reaction is okay, but it came out of the blue. Maybe I would have been more satisfied had we learnt more of his thoughts- of course that is not easy, given the narrator does not know what he is thinking!
<br><br>The only way around this would be to have Benny say more about his reasoning (or lack thereof). This might detract from the overall creepiness of the scenario, however. (Imagine Benny giving a speech where he explains that "I had to do it because ...")<br><br>Robert M.<br>
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Post August 11, 2004, 09:16:21 AM

Re: Our Timid Friend by Robert Starr (SPOILERS)

Robert

  You must find Faulkner a horror.
<br>Perhaps I should say I find excessive use of dialect annoying when it sounds wrong, or fake, or just unnecessary.  (I must confess I haven't read as much Faulkner as I should have.)<br><br>As for punctuation, I tend to do it 'by ear' as much as by grammatical rules.  Fortunately, the two seem to coincide most of the time.  (I do use "--" and "..." more than I probably should, particularly in dialogue, but I think people actually talk that way -- (damn, did it again) -- interrupting each other, trailing off when they don't really know what to say next.)  Your (shado's) 'ear' is tuned a bit differently, I guess.<br><br>Robert M.<br>
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on August 11, 2004, 09:20:11 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post August 11, 2004, 01:41:09 PM

(Re: Our Timid Friend by Robert Starr (SPOILERS)

  Maybe our ears aren't so different--I read your story and was quite impressed with yours. Nice style. My radar works like this: I'm willing to believe almost anything if the prose sings in my noggin; the lyricism of great writing triggers my emotional response and suspends my disbelief.

Anyway Robert, my 'ears' just heard the NHL/NHLPA talks broke off again. I'm sure we both won't feel lyrical with no hockey next year, eh?
<br>(a) Thanks for the positive comments -- with my slowly-growing 'pile' of rejections (many are e-mail, so it's hard to actually make a pile of them), I'll take any ego-stroking I can get. As my comments indicate, I do like your stuff; in fact, I was defending your punctuation in Our Timid Friend as being insignificant in light of the quality of the writing and impact of the story when I first got into this kerfuffle.<br>(b) viz. Nate Kailhoffer's story this month. Followers of Toronto sports teams could probably qualify to work in that factory ...<br><br>Robert M.
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Post August 19, 2004, 11:44:43 AM

Re: Our Timid Friend by Robert Starr (SPOILERS)

All in all, a good read, combining King and the Matrix quite neatly.

Lee
<br>The Matrix?  More like Lord of the Flies ...<br><br>Robert M.<br><br>PS Lee! Only one more post to reach the next Star rating!
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on August 19, 2004, 11:45:23 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post August 21, 2004, 10:22:57 AM

Re: Our Timid Friend by Robert Starr (SPOILERS)

Hey, I liked Wil Wheaton, even as Weasely, er Wheezly, um the brainy kid :)
<br>I was at a convention to hear Jonathan Frakes speak and I'll never forget the huge "Boo" that went out from the crowd whenever Wesley's character was mentioned. It was as if the audience knew something...<br><br>Anyway, Ashley Judd was way out of his character's league.<br><br>Nate
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Post August 23, 2004, 06:52:45 PM

Re:  Our Timid Friend by Robert Starr (SPOILE

Robert: sorry again for neglecting my duties and taking forever. it feels great to be a junior critic!!
will everyone get off wil wheaton's case? he wasn't half bad, and gates mcfadden (dr. crusher) ruled-she preceded all the later trek babes.
our timid friend had a lot of matrix feel for me, somehow. the desolate vibe, nothing is what it seems etc. maybe i'm just weird, though.
Lee
<br><br>The problem with Wesley Crusher was that he was essentially an older Will Robinson -- boy genius, deus ex teenager, etc., on a show that was in most other respects more "adult" (as in grown up, not pornographic) than the Original Trek. The very existence of his character was annoying to many as a blatant attempt to appeal to Geeks of A Certain Age and to give Patrick Stewart (or rather Picard) someone who would make him uncomfortable (as Picard noted that he really had no idea how to deal with children).<br><br>Anyway, Tasha Yar was sexier than Dr. Crusher, and Deanna Troi could counsel me anytime ...<br><br>Robert M.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)

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