Edward's Visitor by John Pegg


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Post June 21, 2007, 04:36:31 PM

Edward's Visitor by John Pegg

Hated the subject matter.  .  .angels 'n stuff.  .  .but I couldn't help but admire the vivid sensory detail that Mr. Pegg managed to put into this tale.  The sounds, smells, tastes and sights were immediately evident in the prose without seeming to be purposely placed there just in order to fill-out the story.  It ain't an easy thing to do.

His character-building was very well paced in that just about every scene told us just a little more about what kind of fellow we were reading about with poor Edward.  Nor did Mr. Pegg succumb to the temptation to make the guy some sort of heroic figure who overcame great odds through grit or training.  He was stumbling, fumbling, embarrassed and more than a little self-centered in his motivations.  All-in-all, a believable person.

And the twist, where the 'angel' showed up a little early for their appointment, was also cleverly done.  I've never considered the possibility that one of the 'bad guys' might show up at the end, posing as one of the 'good guys' to undo everything.  Very neat, and even a little scary, when you think about it.

I did have a couple of problems with the story, though.  First of all, a martini isn't supposed to be salty.  A little more research by the author may be in order.

Second of all, if the bad guys can just show up, clamp their little claws on a person and whisk away their soul.  .  .why don't they?  Edward made no demonic pact, committed no nefarious act at the demon's bidding, and as far as we can tell, didn't even vote Republican.  So how was it, exactly, that the critter was able to claim is soul?

I know ecclesiastical matters are supposed to be irrational, but most of the time there is a strange kind of logic involved.

And in this case, I couldn't see it.

An overall good read, with some decent humor and some very good storytelling but in the end the story left me unsated.  I didn't feel that I learned anything from it.

Bill (still the unbeliever) Wolfe
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Post June 21, 2007, 05:11:39 PM

Re: Edward's Visitor by John Pegg

To follow the format I used for comments on "Alien Mosquito" (not "Allen Mosquito", or "Philips TseTse Fly" either):

MAYBE he had olives in his martini and the salt was from the brine on / in the olives.

And I'm not sure the demon-in-disguise took Edward's soul -- MAYBE it just killed him before he could be rewarded and set on the path to do more good works. Remember the old "Quantum Leap" TV series (and miscellaneous SF plots, including "The Terminator")? Edward may have been destined to save the lives of others who would be forces for good (even if he followed the bizarro scavenger-hunt instructions for the unspecified Reward, his actions -- instinctively saving the woman from danger -- indicate that he was a decent guy at heart), a Sam Beckett without the multiple PhDs and time travel schtick.

What's that, you say? Demons don't run around killing people? How can you be sure? How many incredible tales of fluke accidents do we hear in an average year? How many tales of miraculous survivals?

Robert "I'm not an Angels' Advocate, I'm just filling in for the regular guy" M.
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Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on June 21, 2007, 05:13:23 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post June 22, 2007, 08:36:26 AM

Re: Edward's Visitor by John Pegg

"No, I am not your guardian angel. I am quite the opposite. You humans are so easily mislead." The angel closed his eyes and clamped down hard.

Edward screamed as the last inch of his soul was extracted and his world slipped into darkness.

                                                                             ####

The angel, Eblis, stood over Edward's lifeless body, sprawled out at the foot of the stairs. His timing was flawless. Another soul was lost and completely removed from this world.


Maybe you're right, Robert.  In my initial two reads of this passage I thought the demon claimed the soul, but it is a little ambiguous.

Should we appeal to the HP  (Higher Power), Mr. Pegg, himself, to clarify?  

Did the beastie just kill him or did it harvest his soul.  .  .and kill him.


Enquiring minds want to know.

P.S.  I tried to verify the salty-olive theory of Martini tasting.  .  .but I kept waking up naked in the park with half a cup of dimes next to me and a strange array of scratches on my body.  Further research may be required.
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Post June 23, 2007, 01:25:20 AM

Edward's Visitor by John Pegg

first reaction was liking Edward and wishing i could lead that sort of solitary, quiet life, which is also why i'd rather believe this wasn't a cautionary tale, rather a lament. Ed was normal person and didn't seem to bother anyone, certainly didn't deserve the end he got.

this was also very funny...the cheese danish incident had me rolling on the floor. the tasks were witty and the flow of the story excellent. what got in the way, and here i agree with Bill, are simply the angels. that was a bit of a let down unless you look at the story on multiple layers: Ed did save that lady, so even tho he died, there was a reward there.

Lee
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Post June 26, 2007, 12:57:44 AM

Re: Edward's Visitor by John Pegg

http://www.aphelion-webzine.com/shorts/ ... sitor.html

Well, if the martini had olives, it was probably a dirty martini, which is 1/3 olive juice, 2/3 vodka, and a dash of vermouth. Yummy! :)

Mr. Pegg is a gifted writer. His prose is smooth and professional, descriptive but not lyrical. I can't say that I cared for the end, although Edward is far from innocent. He accepted the angel's task not from goodwill, but for a reward. Does his materialism deserve damnation? I don't think so, but at least he saved an old woman's life. Maybe he'll get a suspended sentence.

As a side note, Eblis (or Iblis) is associated with Islam. I'm not sure if the author realized that or chose a random demonic/devilish name. It was a bit jarring for me since Indiana is known for the other white mea-- er, the other religion, Christianity. Yes, it's a quibble, yet if others are going to be adamant about the sciences, then someone needs to look out for the mythologies... :P
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Post June 26, 2007, 11:56:08 AM

Re: Edward's Visitor by John Pegg

Hey thanks for the kind words, everyone. I'm a fairly new writer, this is only my third year into it and was flabbergasted to hear that Aphelion was publishing one of my stories.

Yeah, there is some ambiguousness to the ending. It's a basic tale of good vs evil.

Bill, my martinis always taste salty. "Two green olives rested at the bottom of an empty glass." Of course, a splash of olive juice never hurts. :)

Jaimie, you're right about the name Eblis. I wasnt familiar with it when I originally wrote and submitted the story. I did a search on "Demon names" and that came up. Shows my lack of research skills...


Thanks for reading,
john
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Post June 26, 2007, 02:57:06 PM

Re: Edward's Visitor by John Pegg

http://www.aphelion-webzine.com/shorts/2007/06/edwardsvisitor.html

Well, if the martini had olives, it was probably a dirty martini, which is 1/3 olive juice, 2/3 vodka, and a dash of vermouth. Yummy!  :)

.........

As a side note, Eblis (or Iblis) is associated with Islam. I'm not sure if the author realized that or chose a random demonic/devilish name. It was a bit jarring for me since Indiana is known for the other white mea-- er, the other religion, Christianity. Yes, it's a quibble, yet if others are going to be adamant about the sciences, then someone needs to look out for the mythologies...  :P


Jamie? A dirty Martini? Hmmmm. . . perhaps a little more research is in order. Besides, I can use the dimes. . ;)

And why not an Islamic demon? Are they any less likely to show up than those commonly associated with Christianity? Maybe he was covering for the Indiana-based demon. God, Jehova, Allah and 8,999,999,997 other names for the same thing. (. . .or should that be the Same Thing?)

Bill Wolfe
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Post June 26, 2007, 03:14:28 PM

Re: Edward's Visitor by John Pegg

The gods of older religions become the demons of the new. And the priests and priestesses become evil "witches" and "sorcerors". Eblis was probably a minor god before the advent of Judaism and later Islam...

It still seems bizarre to me that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all have some early prophets and holy places in common -- but at one time or another, the three religions have been mortal enemies. Of course, Christian factions have fought Christian factions (although the reasons have been more political / cultural than religious in recent times), and Shiite and Sunni Muslims are killing each other NOW. But I digress (as usual).

If you consider the scenario in "In Deep Cover" (from last month) as plausible, then all the "sides" are part of the same thing (or Same Thing, as Bill would have it) anyway.

Robert M.
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on June 26, 2007, 03:16:33 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post June 26, 2007, 05:18:51 PM

Re: Edward's Visitor by John Pegg

Actually, I'm fairly certain that Iblis was solely Arabic in origin. His title "the Shaitan" does have a common origin with Christianity (but not Judaism).

From pantheon.org (http://www.pantheon.org/articles/i/iblis.html):
Iblis is the name for the devil in the Qur'an. Although the term "devil" comes from the Greek diabolos, the Muslims derived the name from the Arabic, balasa, "he despaired," which can be interpreted "despaired of the mercy of God" but he is also al-Shairan, Satan, and "the enemy of God." The latter aspect of Satan is a commonly shared belief of both Muslims and Christians. According to one tradition, when Allah ordered the angels to bow down to the newly created man, Adam, Iblis refused to do so because he, being made of fire, thought himself superior to a creature made of earth. He continues tempting humans, especially through the whisper (waswas, "he whispered") and false suggestion (haiif). In the end, it is believed, he will be cast into Jahannam (Hell). Another commonly shared belief held by both religions is that the universal existence of evil in personal lives is usually experienced as a consequence of a personal agent, the devil.

Although both Satan and al-Shairan are identified, Shairan also has a distinct existence, perhaps as the leader of the jinns, a personification of temptation. This coincides with the Muslim belief that each individual is accompanied by two personal spiritual entities; an angel records all the good deeds the person performs, and a shairan who records the bad deeds.
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Post June 30, 2007, 01:08:54 AM

Re: Edward's Visitor by John Pegg

I’m not a big fan of ghost stories, nor Dark Fantasy, but I do read them occasionally. I should read them more and am planning to.

The intro was Okay, and the setting right for a ghost story. A classic with the wind blowing, a snow storm approaching and a fire warming the living room with an orange glow. A little like Edgar Allen Poe---I almost expected a raven to come knocking at the door.

The intro worked, but a more creative approach could have been developed.

The thumps, then Edward climbing upstairs to his attic-- too stereotype for me. Too much like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

But, the descriptions and word use was good, and I could feel myself in Edward’s shoe! Nice, I like how he described the encounter with the ghost in the attic, and how just the right amount of description and sensory input ... he should be feeling their breath upon the back of his neck... built towards the climax, when he noticed the ghost.


The dialogue between Edward and the ghost worked, and I enjoyed reading it. But again, it was just a rehash of other stories in which a ghost pops up and wants something!

Now we get to the part I  liked!! The dialogues!! At Bernie’s store, the story started to come alive for me! Yes, I like the dialogue with Bernie! ( I’m assuming that the clerk was Bernie.)  Edward and Bernie started to take on personalities, a little, and I started getting into the story.

At the cafe, it was even better. I could see and hear the other patrons looking, smiling and making comments about the guy that just walked in wearing a life jacket---too little for him and in the dead of winter!

The dialogue was good, and I could get a feel for the cafe and its atmosphere.

For some reason I expected someone to know Edward at the cafe. I get the feeling that Edward lives in a small town, and everyone knows everyone else. I guess I got that from how the story unfolded, but there is no way to determine how large a city Edward lives in or near!

I really like the body of this story and thought it very amusing in which I was entertained.

The ending didn’t work for me at all, but I must say that I did like how Eblis got the upper hand on Raphael. Yes, even in the afterlife one must watch one's back!!!
Tesla Lives!!!

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