Hell Hound by Brian Lo Rocco


Tell us what you thought of the June 2010 issue!

User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1326

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kentucky

Post July 10, 2010, 07:57:13 PM

Hell Hound by Brian Lo Rocco

I've only read the first one-third of this story, but the language is so choppy and uneven that I'm having a tough time trying to understand it.
Another ezine I've written for has a policy that an author has to critique three stories from other authors before one of theirs can be submitted. This ensures that by the time a story gets into print, it has been reviewed at least six times for grammar errors, among other things.
I started trying to correct some of the grammar mistakes, but this is as far as I got:
"Days ago, I've heard"...should have been:" Days ago, I had heard.."
And "...the first time I've spoken with him"....should be "...the first time I had spoken with him...."
If you can't tell what's correct, take the contraction apart so you can tell if it is the right two words.
“Dreamland was steadfast...” might be, dreamland was steadfastly approaching.
Corrected text: It was a reminder that, once upon a time, I had dreams – visions – about the future.
Corrected text: Now, as a man approaching my golden years, I was already...
It's confusing to go back and try to figure out what someone meant to say, but I think the idea of the story is a good one, so I'm going to try.
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.
User avatar

Long Fiction Editor

Posts: 2668

Joined: January 11, 2010, 12:03:56 AM

Location: by the time you read this, I'll be somewhere else

Post July 10, 2010, 08:59:35 PM

I reread this one a little while ago . . . confusing punctuation errors, as bottomdweller pointed out, but generally, the dialog and characterization are quite good.
The part that bothers me is the ending . . . something happened, but the reader is left wondering just what that something was. A little mystery is okay, but I thought that ending was just a little too vague. It hints that the main character sold the "fish," while some of it seems to hint that his buddy killed it, or was going to (he wanted to, after all). And what happened to the buddy, anyway? Dead, or just sold down the river? Fish food, maybe?
No need to spell out all the details, but just a tiny bit more clarity would help.
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2528

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Mass, USA

Post July 11, 2010, 05:48:48 AM

HellFish?

I'll toss out the comment that the title could have been better. Funny thing is, the author knew it!

"it's a hound from ... hell even though it's not a dog."
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 845

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee    USA

Post July 13, 2010, 07:33:08 AM

Lester Curtis wrote: I thought that ending was just a little too vague. It hints that the main character sold the "fish," while some of it seems to hint that his buddy killed it, or was going to (he wanted to, after all). And what happened to the buddy, anyway? Dead, or just sold down the river? Fish food, maybe?
No need to spell out all the details, but just a tiny bit more clarity would help.


I found this one confusing from the very first line:
The greatest pleasure, I will always believe, occurs exhaling a single breath into a dark room.


What in the world does that even mean? Maybe it's just personal preference, but I get more pleasure out of an old episode of Pee Wee's Playhouse (which I freakin' hate, btw) than just exhaling into a dark room.

The story gets more clear for most of it. We know what happened, and we know that it was strange. Some chick got eaten by a scary-looking bioluminescent fish. Okay, there's a story there. The salesman's pal is a suspect. . .okay. . .and he managed to catch one and keep it alive. Once again, clear.

But like Lester wrote, I wasn't too sure how it ended. I got the impression that the salesman killed his friend, and sold the strange fish. Not sure about that, though.

The choppy style, the odd phrasing and the nonessential sidelines only add to the confusion. Yet the narrator doesn't really seem to be all that confused. He made a choice, and has moved his family to another coast to try and protect them from the 'Hell Hound' threat.

Interesting approach and concept, but the delivery left me with a sense of confusion, more than anything else.

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."

Critic

Posts: 154

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post July 20, 2010, 11:37:51 AM

Bill_Wolfe wrote:I found this one confusing from the very first line:
The greatest pleasure, I will always believe, occurs exhaling a single breath into a dark room.


What in the world does that even mean? Maybe it's just personal preference, but I get more pleasure out of an old episode of Pee Wee's Playhouse (which I freakin' hate, btw) than just exhaling into a dark room.


I didn't get it either. But it still tells me something. Mainly that the protagonist and I are worlds apart.

By the way, I believe it should not matter for the story, whether or nor you share that sentiment.
But they way it is stated in the first paragraph it seems to set some kind of motto for the story. Thus I had expected some meaning of the initital words to become clear in the course of the story. None did. While that my expectation has been disappointed, I was not. For one thing, I can relate so liitle to the inital statement that I found it easily forgotten. Another is the ending.

Lester Curtis wrote: I thought that ending was just a little too vague. It hints that the main character sold the "fish," while some of it seems to hint that his buddy killed it, or was going to (he wanted to, after all). And what happened to the buddy, anyway? Dead, or just sold down the river? Fish food, maybe?
No need to spell out all the details, but just a tiny bit more clarity would help.


I kind of really like the way events are hinted at rather than plainly stated in the end. Needless to say I'm sure I got the ending. Maybe I even got it right.

Return to June 2010

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware.