Basilisks and Brian...


Tell us what you thought about the March 2010 issue.

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Post March 18, 2010, 11:53:15 PM

Basilisks and Brian...

If you liked "Receipt for a Dragon", check this one out. Most people have stories to tell about just how screwed up their first day on the job was. Now imagine how bad it could be if your job involved dealing with magical creatures that could kill you with a look...
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Post March 19, 2010, 06:53:25 AM

On the other hand, it could be worse. He could have to deal with HR.
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Post March 19, 2010, 12:04:16 PM

Well, it's clearly a sequel, and I'd have thought a little better of it if it had been done more as a stand-alone story. As it is, if you didn't read the first one, then I think this one might leave a reader feeling like they'd been left out of something.

The basilisk was a bit anticlimactic; ordinary lizard in a cage, but then something nasty happens to the bad guy . . . something missing there, not properly explained, perhaps.

Maybe the author was going for balance, throwing in just enough info-dump to bring the reader into the story without making the story a lot longer (which it didn't need). I think the info-dump could have been done a bit more gracefully.

One of our problems as writers is that readers may not encounter our works in the sequence we wrote them. I don't think there's a foolproof way to prevent that happening, so each story must stand on its own.

It's still a fun read, though.
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Post March 19, 2010, 02:08:30 PM

On basilisks

Lester Curtis wrote:...The basilisk was a bit anticlimactic; ordinary lizard in a cage, but then something nasty happens to the bad guy . . . something missing there, not properly explained, perhaps....


From Wikipedia:

In European bestiaries and legends, a basilisk (English pronunciation: /ˈbæzɪlɪsk/[1], from the Greek βασιλίσκος basilískos, "little king"; Latin Regulus) is a legendary reptile reputed to be king of serpents and said to have the power to cause death with a single glance. According to the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder, the basilisk of Cyrene is a small snake, "being not more than twelve fingers in length",[2] that is so venomous that it leaves a wide trail of deadly venom in its wake, and its gaze is likewise lethal; its weakness is in the odour of the weasel, which according to Pliny, was thrown into the basilisk's hole, recognisable because all the surrounding shrubs and grass had been scorched by its presence.
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Post March 20, 2010, 01:26:07 PM

I suppose we can say that the basilisk's evil eye (or bad breath, or whatever) only worked against the denizens of that particular alternate reality.

I don't know what excuse Pliny could have had for believing such stuff . . .

I just didn't feel any threat from it, but then, the protag didn't either . . .

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Post March 20, 2010, 02:30:53 PM

HR

stu wrote:On the other hand, it could be worse. He could have to deal with HR.


"Non-Magical Creature Guild that can kill your job with a look".

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Post March 24, 2010, 07:28:40 AM

Re: On basilisks

Lester Curtis wrote:Well, it's clearly a sequel, and I'd have thought a little better of it if it had been done more as a stand-alone story. As it is, if you didn't read the first one, then I think this one might leave a reader feeling like they'd been left out of something.


Actually I had read 'Receipt for a Dragon'. But being quite good at not remembering names. I did not make the connection to 'Receipt ...' when reading 'Basilisks ...'. That might qualify as a variant of "if you didn't read". From that perspective, the introduction of Peter Edgeborough and Cynthia Williams-Frothes seemed a bit rushed indeed. But I did not have a feeling of missing something or something missing.

Robert_Moriyama wrote:From Wikipedia:

In European bestiaries and legends, a basilisk ...



Maybe that can be summed up by:
Because this is a basilisk, of course, whose very gaze can kill a man. (Duke Regor in 'Basilisks and Brian ...' by Stuart Sharp)
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Post April 07, 2010, 12:01:26 PM

There were some humorous moments, although I agree the basilisk scene to be a tad underwhelming. A funny quip from the protagonist would have been appropriate there, but it's sort of swept under the rug:

The man in the mirror swore, shook his head, and opened his eyes. What happened to him next wasn't particularly pleasant. When he'd finished keeling over, Brian became aware of the soft pad of footsteps nearby...


Missed opportunity, in my opinion. It would have been far funnier to have Brian say something like, "Huh. I didn't know a person's eyeballs could vibrate like that," or "So... I'll relay your message, okay?"

Also, some of the narrative seemed a bit rushed. I think the pacing needs to be adjusted here and there.
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Post April 13, 2010, 02:16:51 AM

Re: Basilisks and Brian...

Robert_Moriyama wrote:If you liked "Receipt for a Dragon", check this one out. Most people have stories to tell about just how screwed up their first day on the job was. Now imagine how bad it could be if your job involved dealing with magical creatures that could kill you with a look...


March 19:
I did like Receipt for a Dragon. Oh look, there's a cool scaley thing out side my window, back in a ...

April 13:
minute... Uh... folks? Why y'all staring at me like that?
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Post April 13, 2010, 09:09:24 AM

Re: Basilisks and Brian...

TaoPhoenix wrote:
Robert_Moriyama wrote:If you liked "Receipt for a Dragon", check this one out. Most people have stories to tell about just how screwed up their first day on the job was. Now imagine how bad it could be if your job involved dealing with magical creatures that could kill you with a look...


March 19:
I did like Receipt for a Dragon. Oh look, there's a cool scaley thing out side my window, back in a ...

April 13:
minute... Uh... folks? Why y'all staring at me like that?


Fortunately for Taophoenix, he only encountered an immature basilisk. Instead of dying, he became comatose for a few weeks.
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Post April 13, 2010, 01:17:34 PM

Of course Robert is right. In my recovery I missed that I am still alive aka "baby basilisk" as opposed to visting all kinds of neat afterlife deities, like Thor's Hammer Caddy.

On topic to the story, the style is superb. The way modern humorous fiction allows sharper sentences is why I prefer that to olde classic fiction.

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