Dream House by Steve Cuffari


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Post March 21, 2012, 09:09:28 PM

Dream House by Steve Cuffari

I liked the dialog and characterization in this story, but -- I'm just not much affected by most horror stories, and this one fell into the pile with so many others.

Maybe I'm just not susceptible to being scared by stuff that isn't real, like oppressive governments and the threat of nuclear holocaust.

A couple minor gripes: one -- Uncle Eddie never gets to finish his explanation of his bad vibe. Two: they never look up the word huaca to find out what it means. And, there are a couple of false leads, like Mary in the kitchen with a nasty knife, and their prescription meds that never get into play. Seems like the author is throwing in scary-sounding stuff just because it sounds scary, and not bothering to tie it into the story.

I was sort of expecting -- and somewhat hoping -- for the story to end with them standing outside the house while it burnt to the ground, or at least dragging the bed out and burning it. The ending provided by the author seemed anticlimactic.

Ho-hum . . . next . . .
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Post March 21, 2012, 09:38:54 PM

Re: Dream House by Steve Cuffari

Lester Curtis wrote:I liked the dialog and characterization in this story, but -- I'm just not much affected by most horror stories, and this one fell into the pile with so many others.

Maybe I'm just not susceptible to being scared by stuff that isn't real, like oppressive governments and the threat of nuclear holocaust.

A couple minor gripes: one -- Uncle Eddie never gets to finish his explanation of his bad vibe. Two: they never look up the word huaca to find out what it means. And, there are a couple of false leads, like Mary in the kitchen with a nasty knife, and their prescription meds that never get into play. Seems like the author is throwing in scary-sounding stuff just because it sounds scary, and not bothering to tie it into the story.

I was sort of expecting -- and somewhat hoping -- for the story to end with them standing outside the house while it burnt to the ground, or at least dragging the bed out and burning it. The ending provided by the author seemed anticlimactic.

Ho-hum . . . next . . .


I suggested tying the deaths of our One-Percenter protagonists more obviously to the ombu wood, but the author declined...
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Post March 24, 2012, 12:34:13 PM

Re: Dream House by Steve Cuffari

In response to Lester, I don’t believe the couple incidences were false leads. Mary with the knife was foreshadowing her possession by the “demon”. I saw that coming immediately when I saw the sentence in question. Also-- and I may be wrong here-- in reference to the meds, I believe the couple passed away by a combination of excessive alcohol and alprazolam/diazepam. That’s how they died in the “real” world by dying by knife in the “spiritual” world. I believe the demon tricked them like it did with the vibrator/toothbrush earlier.

There was a ton of foreshadowing in this story. Not subtle, but that’s okay. I like the technique and wished more writers used it. Here were the ones I noticed:
Afterward, Amanda was the first to go to the bathroom before going to sleep. Michael put on his underwear, turned on the TV and waited for her. She came back out with the vibrator they had misplaced.
...
Amanda laughed. "I'm so happy that I'm spending the rest of my life with you."

Michael said jokingly, "Let's get through tonight first."
...
Amanda handed a huge knife to Mary.

Mary took the knife and was surprised at its heaviness. It glinted, menacingly sharp in the light of the kitchen.


One quibble I had was right at the start:
October, Winter, 1992, Vermont


October isn’t winter, even if the snow comes early. The “winter” part added nothing but confusion.

A more serious problem I had with the story is that I just didn’t care for the main characters. They were shallow and pretentious, which I think the author was going for. However, if you’re not going to make them likable, at least make them interesting. I mean, really, flying down to the Amazon forest to cut down a tree? That’s just annoying on so many levels.
"Even the straight arrow needs a crooked bow."
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