Experiment 1919 by Richard Tornello


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Post September 14, 2009, 01:14:59 PM

Experiment 1919 by Richard Tornello

I thought this line was perfectly Orwellian. . .

Luckily for our purposes, nobody has any say in how the condemned are terminated once the paperwork is sealed. The families have no say at this point. These people belong to The System now, as they should. They violated the edicts of the State -- now they pay the price, and serve a useful purpose at last.


I liked this story. The narrative direction isn't particularly strong, but it isn't meant to be. Faceless letters testing faceless patients with horrible pain inflicted in numerous ways = cool. I would've liked to see more description of what's being done to the people, and I think the author's theme would be carried better if the Official was approving of their progress. Maybe even wanting to 'press the button' on a subject himself, that'd be creepy.

Anyway, nice job.

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Post September 30, 2009, 06:47:14 PM

Pretty good, Richard.

In contrast to kknapp, I was OK without further description of the experiments. But I have to agree that it seemed odd that the official was horrified by what he witnessed. Maybe I missed something. If you care to, Richard, do you mind explaining your thinking on that? Thanks.
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Post September 30, 2009, 07:50:10 PM

official response

The reality of the experiments was overwhelming. The coldness by which the experiments were carried out was horrifying to the official. The official was not the one who authorized them which is why one of the two experimenters is able to take care of things. He is not high enough. But he is astute and brave enough to attempt to stop the atrocity.

The story is rather creepy, even to me, and derives from a number of places, my own physical experience included:

The origins of this came from a number of things that I wanted to explore.
The first was having to do with the experience of a nail going through my foot when playing around years ago. That memory never got weaker. I could feel the nail in the foot signal running up my leg to my brain (just ahead of the pain signal) , the thought/realization hit it, then a scream, that's #1.

#2 and the rest are related:
1, Foreign Policy had an article on Capital Punishment in different countries.
2, People mention HUMANE methods of killing people regarding Capital Punishment. The term humane is bandied about as a sop to something, what I'm not sure.
3, Has any one ever mentioned what brain really feels before it dies in any of those premeditated and legal encounters?
4, And that brought me back to my first semi-crucifixion experience, the nail through my foot. (It happened twice. Teach me not to run around bare foot, oh no, do it twice!)

I put all that together and THE EXPERIMENT 1919.

This was not suppose to be n-i-c-e.

Does this answer your questions?

RT

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Post September 30, 2009, 10:36:04 PM

Re: official response

rick tornello wrote:And that brought me back to my first semi-crucifixion experience


So you have a (semi)messiah complex; that explains a lot. :P

Seriously, thanks for the response. However, with regard to the official's motivation, it strikes me as a trouble spot given the style of this story. With no room for characterization, his response seems out of step with what one expects from a government lackey in a dystopia. So it was distracting rather than disturbing as so many other elements in the piece are. But perhaps I've been too conditioned and am missing a fresh twist.

Anyone else have trouble with this aspect of the tale? Does the official's response work? Is Richard's intention clear here? Would the story be more or less disturbing had there been a more "traditional" reaction from the official? This is not a challenge to Richard at all. I'd like to hear what others think about this piece, which is Richard's strongest effort that I've thus far seen.
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Post September 30, 2009, 11:06:34 PM

I agree that the official's response just doesn't feel right. I still think the story would work better if he condoned their progress. Why stop the atrocity when you can pile on some fresh ones?

Then again, it's the author's story, so he can do as he likes.
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Post October 01, 2009, 06:31:55 AM

response

I understand your comments regarding the Official and his reaction.
However, I wanted to put a stop to it.

How many times in real life could atrocities been prevented by not going along, following the crowd, and mob psychology? And, maybe even sacrificing ones career or life, for a higher good? Could I do it?

That was part of my intent. Yes I could have gone on. One other thing, I like to keep many of my stories short allowing a wide berth for interpretations. My intent is not as important as what the reader may take away. Sometimes I don't realize what I have written.

AS for my complex, ha ha. But truly, my thoughts at the time were,
"oh shit this is what it must have felt like," as the nail went through my foot, and then PAIN!

That's something that still give me shivers.

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