Special Effects By Chris Sharp

Tell us what you thought about the November issue.

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Post November 20, 2009, 07:05:47 PM

Special Effects By Chris Sharp

Stephen Crane huh? Nice to see someone original getting conjured. And he's not as scary as Poe.

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Post December 01, 2009, 03:38:43 PM

Had kind of an interesting reaction to this one.

On one level this did not entertain me in the manner that I like "ghost" stories to do. That's just a preference thing and ought not carry much weight here.

Some of the writing struck me as heavy handed, eg, the color red was a bit overdone as was the exposition on dinner's entree. I found Christian to be pretentious and, while not a bad person, ultimately not likable. But then I didn't have much to go on. Maybe I need to get to know him better.

One small thing: according to Christain, the wife was preparing a pot roast, but then served a chicken dish. Was the pot roast for a special meal on another night?

That all said, I finished the story and had a sense that it was a personal project. Yeah, all creative writing is personal, but this was different, kind of like a poem. I had the sense that the writer really just enjoys celebrating the possibility (or perhaps for him, the knowledge) that there exists a spirit world. So, for me, this piece carried with it a kind of honesty that I have huge respect for even if the story itself isn't too my taste.
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Post December 07, 2009, 01:20:47 PM

Special effects

There were many things I liked about this story, including the addition of pictures. I’m glad to see a premise for the story that I hadn’t seen before.
Just one small quibble: while reading through the text, I wasn’t sure anyone would take out $100 and just hand it to a stranger to pay for 5 tickets – unless the money no longer meant anything to the person paying.
I liked the understated way the subject of the ghost (or ghosts?) was handled. Even the death of the chickens being eaten was dulled. “It takes them out of their crazy misery. Chickens are crazy anyway.” Later it says, “Christian returned to eating his own dead, grim chicken.”
Throughout the story, the characters seem to be barely interacting with each other. “Then he did his sleep walk into his bedroom.” The clothes in the wives’ closet are ‘so last year’. Even the car is old and ‘a sort of time machine of Southern Californian road history. The main character, Christian, tries to get his family involved in conversation – but they’re in their own dreamlike existence.
It’s nice that the author included a nod to why some dead people become ghosts. “…died so young, and that’s why he had so much life that he put into becoming a ghost.”
The rest of the audience is dressed in white and muted colors. They seem to agree with the ghost giving the talk that one has no choice in whether to be dead or not, as ‘nature knows best’.
I just wonder if, in spite of the children’s statements that they are the only live people on the beach, if maybe that is not truly the case.
Other readers are invited to read it for themselves and decide.

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Post December 07, 2009, 02:50:36 PM

Yeah, while I felt that some heavyhandedness occurred, there is also some subtle, sophisticated writing in this story.


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Post December 17, 2009, 11:26:35 AM

Everyone conjures Poe, or Shakespeare... I've seen a few Chaucers. But I have never seen anyone Conjure Crane.
James Mascia


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