Vox by Ian Cordingley


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Post April 21, 2012, 11:16:17 PM

Vox by Ian Cordingley

About the best thing I can say for this story right now is that there were no info-dumps in it. Too bad; I could have used a few -- to inform me of just what the hell was going on. It was like getting a phone call over a really bad connection; I can only to guess at what information I was supposed to receive but didn't.
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Post May 05, 2012, 11:09:38 AM

Re: Vox by Ian Cordingley

This story had the potential to be a masterpiece. However, as Lester noted, there is scant information provided by the author, so it can leave the reader frustrated trying to figure things out.

I found the trick to enjoying this story is stop trying to understand things and just immerse myself in the writing. Things do get revealed-- it’s just a long, slow reveal that requires the entire story to be read.

Here’s what I gleamed:

Humanity was augmented by cybernetics. Everyone was connected to a central computer. That computer crashed with horrific results. Almost no one retains use of all their five senses or complete mental faculty; the crash crippled folks in various ways, depending on their makeup and how they were augmented. Society has become divided into two camps: East and West. They vie for the limited resources in an ongoing war.

Ben and his father escaped the crash. Ben’s father had torn out his cybernetics and somehow hid Ben so the son also avoided being a computer victim. One day, a girl named Mallory arrives, captured by soldiers. She seems fairly whole, although she appears to be deaf. Ben communicates with her via his handheld computer.

Ben and Mallory then proceed to be transported through the concrete ruins of a fallen city. They are escorted by some soldiers. It’s never mentioned why there were traveling. I’m not sure if they were on a mission or just relocating. However, enemy soldiers, trying to “rescue” Mallory, ambush the party. For a rescue mission, the enemy seems to have little regard for Mallory’s physical safety as bullets riddle their car. Soldiers die and Ben and Mallory flee into the service tunnels.

Snaking their way through the underground, they come upon the control centre. Ben, relying on his father’s tutoring, changes the electrical and water resources to be balanced between the East and West, resolving the need to fight as long as both sides manage their resources properly.

End of story.

In terms of style, the author uses a lot of sentence fragments. It gives it a degree of brutality that matches the grim world they live in. Although plot seems secreted, it doesn’t mean the writing isn’t descriptive. In fact, it’s almost lyrical at times. I believe the writer chose to keep the reader in the dark so often was to reflect the loss of humanity’s senses and sanity. If that’s true, there’s a certain mad genius at work here. However, regardless of intent, there needs to be more information for the reader. I think it could have been interwoven into the backstory without hindering the pacing or the author’s intent. Heck, even a better title could have accomplished some of this. “Vox” is Latin for voice, which, by the way, I had to look up, so it was meaningless to me at first.

I don’t think most people will like this story as it can be a bit frustrating. I enjoyed it despite its flaws.
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jaimie l. elliott

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Post May 05, 2012, 12:06:39 PM

Re: Vox by Ian Cordingley

Jamie, I got the same as you did out of it . . . it was just damn difficult. And for all the focus on Mallory, she doesn't seem to have much of a role in the story. I'm just guessing: potential mate for Ben; possibly of more desirable stock . . . ?

Wasn't it one of our own Aphelionites who said that, as writers, we owe the reader an easy ride (or something to that effect)?
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Post May 05, 2012, 01:15:40 PM

Re: Vox by Ian Cordingley

Lester Curtis wrote:Wasn't it one of our own Aphelionites who said that, as writers, we owe the reader an easy ride (or something to that effect)?

That was Bill Wolfe and I never forgot it! I also have never been able to do it.

I've never been much of an "Easy Rider".
My stories have been more like "Five Easy Pieces".

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