Tithonus Redux by Richard Tornello


Tell us what you thought about the November issue.

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Post November 29, 2009, 01:12:06 AM

Tithonus Redux by Richard Tornello

Richard,

There is a great deal about your story that I liked quite a lot.

First off, I really think you handle first person narrative well. I've thought this after reading your other stories and this story didn't disappoint either. The narrator is a very believable rounded character. The dialogue sounds natural as well.

Secondly, you did a very good job in this story of keeping me as a reader interested in the story. Using Chip to ask questions that hinted at something not being quite right with the situation was one of the ways you did this. Chip commenting on the woods or saying Artie hadn't lived in Maryland since he was young are examples. The story was also a very original take on the genie in the bottle story, for me at least. Introducing ideas like having Artie's descendents inherit the benefit from his wishes was also original and interesting. I also liked the way the wish is fulfilled. Artie is able to travel, but it seems the ability to travel somehow results in an altered reality. This idea opens up all kinds of possibilities in the story.

My biggest hang up with the story is that you left a lot hanging in the air at the end. I wanted more. You may be subscribing to the idea that it's always good to leave the reader wanting more, but I think the story needs more resolution. What is the real motivation of the cat? It was in the road, seemingly waiting for someone to come along and do what Artie did, or was it waiting specifically for Artie. It kind of leaves me wondering whether Artie’s good fortune really has anything to do with his good deed or not. Does the cat really have evil intentions or good intentions? We don't know until we see the real long-term effects of the wishes, which we don't in this story. And what about the effect on Artie's children? Do they get into a load of trouble because of their new abilities? Artie wonders about this in the story, and so, I did too as a reader, but the story ends before any of it is addressed.

I'm also not sure about the reference to Tithonus in the title. The Tithonus from Greek mythology is granted immortality via a wish, but eternal youth is not asked for as well, so Tithonus continues to age without ever dying. This is one of the classic examples of the back-firing wish. There doesn't seem to be any direct link between the wishes in your story and the myth other than the fact that Artie mentions Tithonus in reference to his thinking that he is wise enough to avoid the back-fire when he makes his wishes. But choosing this as the title suggested to me that there would be more of a tie to that myth, which there didn't appear to be.

I think the point of my criticism is that you could easily go a lot further with this story. You've packed a lot into the beginning, you could play out a lot more of those elements and see where they end up. The story is interesting and well crafted and I would have been willing to read more of it to get my questions answered.

:)

Hero
Last edited by davidsonhero on November 30, 2009, 01:55:07 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post November 29, 2009, 12:36:37 PM

Tithonus Redux by Richard Tornello

I have to say that I liked this story, though I hadda' thinka' 'bout it, some.

It was one of those where I probably should have understood it, the first time, but I didn't.

It seems as if the character can go anywhere he wants, but he ends up in the body of someone who is already there.

There is a certain logic to this, but it also seems that he's sharing the persona with the original occupant.

Now, this is a very cool concept, but it is one that (if accurate) needs to be more clearly delineated in the story. Don't make the reader guess too much. Some of them will, and some won't.

So the guy gets his wish, but it's not quite what he wanted. That's classic genie-in-a-botle stuff.
And also quite good.

Tell you the truth, I like it. I like it a lot.

But what if I'm wrong?

Something to think about.

Regards,

Bill Wolfe
"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."

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Post November 29, 2009, 01:08:31 PM

Bill wrote:

It seems as if the character can go anywhere he wants, but he ends up in the body of someone who is already there.


If this is the case, I missed it. However, that might explain why the narrator knows enough about Chip at the beginning of the story to describe him in such detail, which was something that didn't fit quite right when I rescanned the story. Artie is familiar with the coffee shop because it's near his brother's house. Did he jump into the body of his brother? Chip does seem to know him.

But here's the kicker to disprove your theory Bill, both Chip and the cat call the narrator Artie. So, if he was in a different body when he teleports, wouldn't Chip be calling him by a different name?

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Post November 30, 2009, 01:25:18 PM

Tithonus Redux

I don't think the wandering soul takes on a different body either. Chip knows Artie (the narrator), and Artie is doing what he always does - telling a tale at length.
I wasn't satisfied with the ending either - it's a lot of story for such a weak ending. It's like - you can go anywhere in the world, and you go to a coffeeshop in CA?
I like the writing style - there are bubbles of bad grammar - but not enough to take away from the story.
I know Artie doesn't end up in someone else's body because he says: "And I was here. I don't know if the teleportation thing comes with some kind of stealth function, or people are just too busy to notice when someone appears out of thin air, but I was able to order my expresso and a couple biscotti and nobody so much as blinked."
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Post November 30, 2009, 01:48:29 PM

ARTIE

Okay now I have to answer.

Artie likes THIS coffee shop. It's rather pleasant unlike the franchised places all over the planet. He's in no hurry to go anywhere. I think I mentioned he wasn't much of a traveler. He's getting his feet wet with all this. He somewhat cautious.

To answer another earlier comment, Artie has one more wish in the bag. He's smart enough to know he's not smart enough to figure this all out on the initial go-round. That's the part of meaning of Tithonus.

The comments inspired me. I am working on a follow-on(s). This ending is just a new beginning.

Grammar, a big issue, and not my strength. No excuse but the only one I have. I run my stuff through the spell and grammar check and send the story to two other people to Q.C.

In the end it's my responsibility.

I'm glad you liked it.

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