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The Glass Cage by James Lecky

PostPosted: February 17, 2009, 11:00:58 AM
by Megawatts
Nice intro, captivating; it worked for me, held my attention and quickly drew me into the story. Good description and one that also contributed to the mood for the remainder of the story. However, I would not want to live in PameValdas since life insurance premiums must be quite high!

The writing good, and the characters sprang to life for me. The mixture of show and tell especially used in the same sentence worked. And the dialogue was crafted better than average.

Sword and Sorcery offers a broad stage for creative writing, and this story demonstrates some bits and pieces that are core to that genre. Science, Witchcraft, Magic, Folklore, Urban legends, Time Travel, other Dimensions----all can be mixed in with ‘Sword and Sorcery’ to produce a pure imaginative tell that takes us to worlds that can even be peopled by space aliens!

Ulphia wants to remain beautiful for eternity, and she will let nothing bar her from fulfilling that desire. And Barcaradin had the power to give Ulphia her deepest wish. She left Flavian for the darker world in which her beauty might find an eternal youth.

It might seem cruel to some that she gave up her unborn child for eternal beauty, but this technique demonstrated how Ulphia would do anything, anything within the canopy of heaven to reach her mortal desire.

Flavian broke the glass and released Ulphia from the glass cage, which reminded me of the old Phantom Zone from Superman! Flavian got stabbed with a piece of glass and died in Ulphia’s sinister embrace. The story suggests that Ulphia transformed from the Harlot that she was known for to a demon like creature with no concerns for her former lovers.

The story ended with Ulphia in time’s arms again, and she decided to end her life rather than grow old. And it is interesting how Ulphia could mesmerize Vedreem into killing her just with the power of her beauty.

I had some minor issues and I think a little better proof reading would have cleaned them up.

Some words were questionable: ‘poring’, ’ civilisation‘, and ‘colourful’ seemed wrong; I’m not an English Major so I can’t be sure about the difference between America and Ireland with language use.

Good story in accordance with what we expect from ‘Sword and Sorcery.’ The characters Ulphia, Vedreem, Flavian, and Barcaradin all came alive in this short story, and the story was entertaining form beginning to end.

Good story, Okay character development, interesting plot and entertaining to the end!

Better than average!!

PostPosted: February 17, 2009, 12:15:05 PM
by James Lecky
Hi Megawatts

Thanks for the kind words about the story. It was my first attempt at a ‘straight’ sword and sorcery tale and I’m glad you found it entertaining. I've been reading a lot of Clark Ashton Smith of late, particularly the Zothique stories, so The Glass Cage was definitely under the influence of the great CAS (although nowhere near the same class, I would never dare to compare myself to the Master).

One quick word about the language – as George Bernard Shaw said ‘England and America are two countries separated by a common language’ and of course the same thing applies to the US and Ireland, so things like ‘poring’, ’civilisation‘, and ‘colourful’ are all standard British spellings. I’ve tried in the past to use US spelling, but for the life of me it never seems to look right on the page when I read it (more or less the same problem you had with British spelling, I reckon).

Thanks once again for the comments.


PostPosted: March 10, 2009, 10:09:53 AM
by 1Alexander2
James Lecky : YOU CAN WRITE.

If this is your first time writing fantasy, then please let me know when you write it again.

The dark and spooky tone that you sen in the first few lines was not only maintained throughout the story, but deepened by the end of the tale.

Heck YEAH she gave up her bastard child in order to have some kind of macabre eternal life...she did a great evil in order to have a twisted form of forever, all because she was too wrapped up in her looks.

Such a good job describing and representing what evil is all about, and the consequences.

This is the best story I've read here at Aphelion so far.

Please write more fantasy, sir.


PostPosted: March 10, 2009, 11:17:39 AM
by James Lecky
Hi Alexander

Wow! To say that I am both taken aback and somewhat humbled would be an understatement.

Thank you so very, very much for the kind words and the encouragement, I’m glad the story struck such a chord with you.

To be mildly narcissistic for a moment: This particular story is part of a very loose sequence which I refer to as The Shining Cities, so far only two of them have seen publication (this one and a story called What Dread Words which appeared in the November ’08 edition of Sorcerous Signals) and with another two due to appear later this year (All That Grows in the June edition of The Absent Willow Review and The Bone House in Beneath Ceaseless Skies at some stage).

If you’re a real glutton for punishment you can find a bunch of links to my fiction on my blog, Tales From the Computerbank (under the entry A Little More Shameless Self Promotion).

Thank you once again.