Windows by Andrew Nagel


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Post July 05, 2011, 11:43:55 PM

Windows by Andrew Nagel

I enjoyed this story---but then, I have always suspected that God is a colossal squid. It stands to reason. "He" is supposed to have created us in his image. The very first creature on this earth with a huge brain, large, developed eyes and the manual dexterity that comes from having lots of tentacles/arms is (of course) the cephalopod, the name of the family that contains squid and octopus. Note that mollusks (oysters and slugs) evolved into the smartest, most highly developed invertebrates in the world after one of those huge environmental cataclysms that wiped out 90% of the life forms and put incredible stress on those that survived. Many millions of years later, another such cataclysm would give rise to the mammals---and eventually to humans.

Very well written.
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Post July 06, 2011, 01:00:10 AM

Re: Windows by Andrew Nagel

Yep, they were right . . . Cthulhu's one evil s.o.b. . . . I think they should give him a nuclear warhead to chew on.

Pretty horrific shit, there, well done as it is.
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Post July 06, 2011, 01:06:26 AM

Re: Windows by Andrew Nagel

Thank you very much for the feedback! Like the tag says, that was my first submission, and I'm proud that it actually got accepted. :)

Windows was an interesting piece to write. I wrote it initially as a serial at work. Whenever I had spare time, I'd bang out a section/chapter, and show it to my co-workers. They all liked it (even the ones who didn't know anything about the Cthulhu Mythos), and a few mentioned that I should try to send it in, and, well, here it is.

And again, like the tag says, this won't be my sole submission. I have a few stories I'm currently working on.

Thanks again for the kind words!!

Andrew.
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Post July 06, 2011, 10:25:09 AM

Re: Windows by Andrew Nagel

Welcome to the forum, Andrew. You did an excellent job. And, once in a while, it's good to be reminded that there might be someone out there that we really should shoot first, instead of trying to talk to!

I'm sure I'm not the only one here who's looking forward to more of your work.
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Post July 06, 2011, 12:33:00 PM

Re: Windows by Andrew Nagel

Very well done, Mr. Nagle. Truly.

This story would have been impressive from a pro. As a first submission, it’s astonishing.

I’ll start with some quibbles. . . .

Spelling and grammar—though much better than average—are still a little off.

Having others proof your work can be quite helpful. It’s not a lot of mistakes, just ‘mime’ instead of ‘mine’, and not hyphenating the word ‘self-hatred’, and things like that. Some of the compound words were separated (nonstop is one word, whereas blood loss, isn’t. . . .)

I only saw one true misspelling (structures) and one case of the double ‘the’s.
And I can tell that you put a lot of time into reading and rereading this thing. Yet there’s always just that little bit we miss.

Quibs over. . . .time for the good stuff.

First of all, I have to applaud the lack of any kind of ‘happy ending.’ It’s tough not to try and save your characters, especially a child, when you’ve spent the time and effort and love to create them in the first place. It shows a certain macabre maturity that you’d do this to these people on your first time out of the chute. I really want to read whatever else you have to offer.

I also found no major flaws with your dialogue, which can be one of the harder things to get right. Your Jeff character didn’t always speak like a normal five year-old, but then again, he wasn’t anything approaching ‘normal,’ so in many ways it doesn’t count. At other times, like calling the beastie ‘octopus man,’ was perfect. Each of your speaking characters had his own voice, his own personality, and his own little audible idiosyncrasies. Not an easy task.

The story was structured well, with a slow but steadily building ‘hook’ at the beginning. It had enough backstory to see how we ‘got to where we are’, without it seeming like an infodump. You had the past scenes well-intermingled with the current action, which always helps to keep them relevant. Masterfully accomplished, in my humble opinion.

This was certainly one of the best ‘first’ stories I’ve ever read.
Well done, Sir.

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Post July 07, 2011, 07:25:25 PM

Re: Windows by Andrew Nagel

Bill_Wolfe wrote: the lack of any kind of ‘happy ending.’


But ... well ... in the end the boy seems genuinely happy, the father content.

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Post July 08, 2011, 08:08:26 AM

Re: Windows by Andrew Nagel

Scary. Well-written, intriguing, but when you get right down to it a very scary story.

Well done, Mr. Nagel.
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Post July 08, 2011, 09:56:37 AM

Re: Windows by Andrew Nagel

vates wrote:
Bill_Wolfe wrote: the lack of any kind of ‘happy ending.’


But ... well ... in the end the boy seems genuinely happy, the father content.


The father wasn't so much content as he was resigned to his fate -- he felt that he deserved death for putting his son in a situation that resulted in his horrible death (and worse undeath). And the boy's body may have been smiling, but I wouldn't assume that the boy was the one in the 'driver's seat'.

(Yes, I realize that you were being ironic / sarcastic. Anyway, the ending was probably a happy one for the Great Old One, who quite enjoys a good bloodbath involving the puny parasites infesting his home.)
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Post July 08, 2011, 02:48:48 PM

Re: Windows by Andrew Nagel

Robert_Moriyama wrote:Yes, I realize that you were being ironic / sarcastic.

Actually, no, I don't think so.

Let me just outline what I consider one possible reading of the story.

As it seems some people are more prone to fall into rapport with octopus man than others. The fate of mother and son seems to indicate that that ability might be hereditary. Unfortunately such contact tends to have a fatal end for the human party involved; whether by ill intent on the side of octopus man or because of some kind of accidential overload on the human side I cannot tell from the story. However the octopus man seems to keep memories of possibly all such contacts.

It is in these memories the boy finds the mother he never knew. And is in rapport with octopus man that he is reunited with her. In rapport that kills him.

So never mind his death, never mind the ugly circumstances. He died happy.
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Post July 08, 2011, 03:22:03 PM

Re: Windows by Andrew Nagel

vates wrote:
Robert_Moriyama wrote:Yes, I realize that you were being ironic / sarcastic.

Actually, no, I don't think so.

Let me just outline what I consider one possible reading of the story.

As it seems some people are more prone to fall into rapport with octopus man than others. The fate of mother and son seems to indicate that that ability might be hereditary. Unfortunately such contact tends to have a fatal end for the human party involved; whether by ill intent on the side of octopus man or because of some kind of accidential overload on the human side I cannot tell from the story. However the octopus man seems to keep memories of possibly all such contacts.

It is in these memories the boy finds the mother he never knew. And is in rapport with octopus man that he is reunited with her. In rapport that kills him.

So never mind his death, never mind the ugly circumstances. He died happy.


Oh my gods! A C'thulhu apologist! Elder Gods aren't evil -- they're just misunderstood.

"Shucks, I didn't mean to make that puny -- er, cute l'il boy's eyes explode. Anyway, I made things right by animating his mutilated corpse and letting him see a vision of his mother, whose mind was another tasty morsel -- I mean beautiful addition to my Octopus-man's Garden in the Sea..."

::)
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Post July 08, 2011, 06:02:19 PM

Re: Windows by Andrew Nagel

Robert_Moriyama wrote:
vates wrote:
Robert_Moriyama wrote:Yes, I realize that you were being ironic / sarcastic.

Actually, no, I don't think so.

Let me just outline what I consider one possible reading of the story.

As it seems some people are more prone to fall into rapport with octopus man than others. The fate of mother and son seems to indicate that that ability might be hereditary. Unfortunately such contact tends to have a fatal end for the human party involved; whether by ill intent on the side of octopus man or because of some kind of accidential overload on the human side I cannot tell from the story. However the octopus man seems to keep memories of possibly all such contacts.

It is in these memories the boy finds the mother he never knew. And is in rapport with octopus man that he is reunited with her. In rapport that kills him.

So never mind his death, never mind the ugly circumstances. He died happy.


Oh my gods! A C'thulhu apologist! Elder Gods aren't evil -- they're just misunderstood.

"Shucks, I didn't mean to make that puny -- er, cute l'il boy's eyes explode. Anyway, I made things right by animating his mutilated corpse and letting him see a vision of his mother, whose mind was another tasty morsel -- I mean beautiful addition to my Octopus-man's Garden in the Sea..."

::)


Actually, vates pretty much nails it. In "The Call of Cthulhu", artists and psychics have dreams of the Elder God before He briefly wakes up from his nap. I figured that sort of thing would keep on happening, and that that trait would be passed down genetically. If you remember, the protagonist's wife died while she was pregnant with Jeff. That's why he was more... attuned to Cthulhu's dreamings than his mother.

I never really thought of Jeff dying 'happy' seeing his mom. In my mind Jeff never showed a lot of emotion at home. He was an odd kid. Maybe had signs of autism (focusing on things, unable to connect emotionally.) He never said he loved his dad, or that he loved his mom. He never seemed overjoyed at seeing his mom (every time he mentions her, it's always matter-of-factly, without any love or joy.)

And I've never really thought of Cthulhu as having any sort of intelligence that humans could understand. I think of Cthulhu as more a force of nature--sort of Godzilla on a massive scale, both physically and psychically. He doesn't have any plans that we can conceive of with our limited minds, and he doesn't really care about humanity. The fact that some people are on the same psychic wavelength as He is, well that's just an oddity. He doesn't really care. He just wants to sleep until his gods come back. :)

I'm glad to see some discussion coming out of the story, though. That's awesome!

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Post July 09, 2011, 08:27:47 PM

Re: Windows by Andrew Nagel

Oh my gods! A C'thulhu apologist! Elder Gods aren't evil -- they're just misunderstood.


I think the story itself suggests this. The first three/quarters are devoted to the boy's innocent joy at the thought of seeing the sleeping, dreaming (whatever it is). In mystical fiction and in fantasy, children are often better able to appreciate the divine than jaded adults. So, the reader anticipates a mystical experience, a first hand encounter with something godlike.

In mythology, those who aspire to be or know god often end up getting burned. And so the ending is consistent with either giant squid as God or giant squid as Devil.

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