Absolution by Jim Rudnick


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Post August 11, 2004, 09:18:04 PM

Absolution by Jim Rudnick

I like the concept of this story.<br><br>It tells, through lengthy narrative in the guise of confession, a tale about a pickpocket who steals a time-travel device from some "really out of town visitors", and then believes he conjured demons with it when the goon squad comes from the future to take it back.<br><br>Its an excellent juxtipostion to see the events from the pickpocket's view, and in his terms. Not understanding time travel, he believes the goons are demons. Also, even though he knows the new priest is not acting correctly as he hears Miguel's confession, the thief fails to put the two things togther. He's nabbed in the end, as we readers guessed from the clues Miguel did not catch.<br><br>I think the plot flows well, and logically. Dialog and setting are good. (Mr. Rudnick clearly knows a lot more about Latin and confession than I do.) Miguel seems very much to be a not very well-educated pickpocket in a Hispanic community, so plus points for characterization.<br><br><br>The only items that bothered me were: 1) some missing punctuation that made some paragraphs harder to understand, and 2) the identifiers given for long passages of narrative. Who was talking was always WAY at the end, even if that was a couple hundred words later.<br><br>Other than that, this was a good read. Well done.<br><br>Nate
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Post August 11, 2004, 10:13:23 PM

Re: Absolution by Jim Rudnick

"A trick that I use is to drop in a gesture," Dan shrugged. "Somewhere near the beginning of the narrative passage."<br><br>After that, you can let the character run on for quite a while and the reader still knows who is talking. <br><br>Dan<br>
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Post August 12, 2004, 10:30:49 AM

Re: Absolution by Jim Rudnick

Good concept, although I figured out the ending too quickly. As soon as the father asked for the locket, I realized he was a "demon". You might want to be more subtle here to surprise the reader. Quick question: How did he know Miguel would head to the confessional?<br><br>I have to agree on the punctuation as well. It seemed a bit uneven and distracted from the long stretches of dialog.<br>
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Post August 13, 2004, 08:36:59 AM

Re: Absolution by Jim Rudnick

Quick question:  How did he know Miguel would head to the confessional?
<br><br>The "Priest" does say he was asking about Miguel, so would have known that when in trouble, Miguel would go to confessional to see Father Padrone. <br><br>What I would like to know is why the "Priest" took Miguel to his own timeline, and what happened with Miguel there?<br><br><br><br>
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Post August 16, 2004, 03:46:05 PM

Re: Absolution by Jim Rudnick

Here are a few quibbles for a story that was, overall, a good read.<br><br>The story is set in Santiago, Chile, but Father Padrone (the title would normally be capitalized, wouldn't it?) teaches Miguel that the Mass and other rites are now celebrated in English? How arrogant you norteamericanos are, to think that the common language of the people in Chile would be ingles!<br><br>And 'Father Padrone'? Wouldn't that translate as something like 'Father Father'?<br><br>I am glad that Miguel thought the Latin passage sounded odd (although I'm not sure when, if ever, he would have heard enough Latin (a) to recognize it, and (b) to know that it wasn't perfectly recited. There were a few English words mixed in there ('of', 'sins'), suggesting that Mr. Rudnick was translating the hard way and didn't finish the job ... it's better than the completely ersatz Latin in the Harry Potter books, or the (I think) bent Latin in Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series, but not perfect by a long shot. (I studied Latin for several years waaaay back in high school, but have forgotten most of what I learned, as (for some odd reason) I haven't had much practice since then!)<br><br>If the timecops (to steal a Van Damme movie title) were trying to remove evidence of time travel, one would think they'd try to be a little less conspicuous. Primitive though Miguel's compatriots may be in terms of their superstitions, they are not completely ignorant of technology (knowing an expensive watch when they see one). There would be some risk that at least one of the many witnesses to the purple-glow trick would interpret what they saw correctly (time travellers) ...<br><br>Contrast this with the Van Damme movie and with the better movie, Millennium (based on a John Varley story), in which the time travellers take considerable pains to NOT reveal what they are, because this would tend to change the future. The references to 'timelines' suggest the possibility, however, that the travellers here are not from Miguel's future, but from an alternate reality.<br><br>In any case, removing Miguel along with the locket did make a certain amount of sense. For Miguel to disappear without a trace would add weight to the supernatural interpretation of events (as opposed to being 'disappeared' for opposing the government, to which Chileans might be accustomed -- where bloodstains and the like might be found); and as it removes the central figure of those events, and the only one who has had direct contact with the locket, it renders other accounts less concrete and provable.<br><br>Vaya con Dios, Miguel, whenever you are ...<br><br>Robert M.
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Post September 07, 2004, 07:52:54 PM

Thanks so much...

for even reading my story! <br><br>It's me, Jim Rudnick and Absolution is the 4th story I've ever written, and the nice eds at Aphelion liked it enough to publish it.<br><br>First, I am getting "here" late as I didnt' know that these forums even existed....<br><br>Next, to actually "read" feedback from readers -- and I suspect writers some of them is outstanding! THIS is how it should be!<br><br>So...to the story...it was an idea I've had for quite awhile, and while most of my work involves some degree of timetravel, this one was hard. I'd never written in first person, before, and now 4 months after completing the story, I see some areas that I'd fix in an instant. <br><br>Yes, I too will admit that I should somehow indicate who's doing the talking much easier for the reader to understand (thanks Dan!) I also know little latin, but got that exact phrase out of an online Eng to Latin translator...which as I suspected, is not "quite" up to par.<br><br>I also quite freely admit, that I think now, I DID offer too many clues on who the Priest really was, and my foreshadowing was a bit "stilted" ...<br><br>I also know that English is NOT the universal Catholic lang; not being a Catholic myself didnt' prevent me from talking about confession, priest's garb, language etc. etc. with friends who are....and I think my research holds up for the most part....lang perhaps not with standing....<br><br>And yes, in this story and others of my own, I do subscribe to the theory of alternate universes....hence "timeline" means as you thought Robert M. that Miguel must leave this one...<br><br>I thank you one and all. This was so much fun for me, discovering the forum AND the feedback too! <br><br>I'll drop a line to the Apehelion editors too...and I'll be back...<br><br>Hmmm...now I wonder what kind of trouble a GREAT pick-pocket might cause say 1000 years in the future? <br><br>;-)<br><br>Jim Rudnick
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Post September 07, 2004, 08:13:13 PM

Re: Thanks so much...

First, I am getting "here" late as I didnt' know that these forums even existed....

Next, to actually "read" feedback from readers -- and I suspect writers some of them is outstanding! THIS is how it should be!
<br>You'll find that an awful lot of us are writers (or a lot of us are awful writers, depending on your point of view :) .) Feel free to check out our stories & voice your opinion on anyone's work. We promise we won't shred your opinions, or at least, not terribly. ;)<br><br>Nate
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Post September 08, 2004, 12:54:45 AM

Re: Absolution by Jim Rudnick

As often as not, I don't get a chance to read every story in each issue of APHELION. Absolution was one of the stories in the August issue that I missed this time. But after seeing the comments on the story, I took the time to read it.<br><br>It was an intriguing story, and I enjoyed it. However, because I read the comments of all the others before reading the story myself, I read it with a jaded eye. <br><br> My knowledge of Latin is nil (my high school and some college were completed through GED in the army).<br>I'm not Catholic, though I'm of Irish heritage. If I hadn't read the comments of others, I'd have read through the story without noticing anything out of the ordinary. The only thing I might have questioned was the universal use of plain English by the Catholic church.<br><br>I'll have to agree with Robert's comments about the arrogant North Americans (and some Brits, too) and our views about English being universal. I remember a little old English lady on the old Johnny Carson show (or maybe it was Jack Paar) who believed that if you woke any person in the world in the middle of the night, before they had a chance to think, they'd speak English.<br><br>I suggest that the story might work better if the time travelers were at a super bowl in Dallas or Miami, or perhaps the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, where there would be no question about the use of English.<br><br>There's no question about the story, though. It gets an A+ from me.<br><br>Donald<br><br>
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Post September 08, 2004, 01:04:23 AM

Re: Absolution by Jim Rudnick

What I would like to know is why the "Priest" took Miguel to his own timeline, and what happened with Miguel  there?
<br><br>It's my guess that they wiped the incident from his memory and sent him back.<br><br>Donald
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Post September 08, 2004, 11:20:29 AM

Hmmm...

You know, your comment Donald, about being in another city, a NA one did cross my own mind when I was researching the story. Most likely, it's my own bias that made me choose Santiago, Chile for the tale; something made me think that SA folks, in a heavy Catholic culture would be a better setting -- and I don't know why, really I thought that.<br><br>Maybe because I know that pickpockets work big cities; they prey on tourists....so maybe Rome would have been good too...I don't really know.<br><br>It does work however, in my mind, that Miguel would be brought "back" to his own timeline, with that incident gone from memory, so that he could "deny" that the event at the bodega ever happened...<grin> but that's for the sequel!<br><br>Again, so very nice to 'hear' my readers...this is one SUPERB way to get feedback...thanks again ALL for adding your comments....<br><br>Means a lot...honestly...to a new writer!<br><br>Jim
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Post September 14, 2004, 04:40:40 PM

Re: Hmmm...

from memory, so that he could "deny" that the event at the bodega ever happened...<grin> but that's for the sequel!
<br><br>I found Absolution to be an intriguing story, and would look forward to reading the sequel.<br><br>Kevin<br>

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Post September 23, 2004, 01:37:46 PM

Re: Hmmm...


Again, so very nice to 'hear' my readers...this is one SUPERB way to get feedback...thanks again ALL for adding your comments....

Means a lot...honestly...to a new writer!

Jim
<br><br>That's one of the things that's great about APHELION, Jim. We have the opportunity to give and receive feedback on our stories. I've been on other sites where you could post your story and never hear a word of feedback, and sometimes days would pass without a single posting.<br><br> It's pretty discouraging to work so hard on a story, post your "baby" on a forum, and then get no feedback. You get the feeling that your story just vanished in the ether of the cyberworld without anyone ever seeing it. Better bad feedback than none at all; at least you know someone read it!<br><br>Donald<br><br><br><br><br>
A really good story can compensate for less-than-brilliant writing, but brilliant writing will not save a bad story.

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