What I gleaned about the stories: Manifest destiny is a lot more fun for the destined than the other.
Find this book on Amazon.
Note: This is a short story collection, so the rules are slightly different from standard Immerse or Die: instead of reading on every time I lose immersion, I stop reading that story and move onto the next one. As usual, I stop reading after the third WTF.
Analysis: The front matter contains a disclaimer that the author doesn’t agree with all the actions the characters take in the second story. Part way through, I encountered: These descriptions exist only due to the context provided by the story’s fictional premise. I immediately ground to a halt. I parsed the overall sentiment as, “This book is fiction,” but it seemed a verbose way to say so (assuming it even needed to be said in the first place).
With a strong premonition that the remainder of the book would be similarly overwrought, I moved on.
Analysis: The first story is told from the perspective of some sort of interstellar traveller. A few paragraphs in this being narrates: My subconsciousness has already arranged the more prominent emissions for my attention. The individual part of a specific mind not actively thinking is commonly called the subconscious, so I tripped over the extra letters. “Subconsciousness” refers to a trait differentiating some minds (i.e. possessing processes neither conscious nor autonomic), but I’ve never encountered it as a synonym for subconscious. (Checking several dictionaries while writing this report, not all of them even include subconsciousness.)
My faith in smooth prose further shaken, I moved on.
Analysis: A couple of paragraphs into the second story I discovered: For half an hour she had been stalking the kitchen like a caged lioness, feeling tense and fearful without clear reason, until the first warning cries had come echoing down the street outside, stark and lonely in the still morning air, their familiar urgency loud enough to filter through all the boards and barricades and into their fortress home.
The effort of holding the clauses in memory started to tell around stark, when the subject of the verb changed for the first time. The final straw came with their fortress home; my mind considered and rejected it relating to the warning cries then glitched again when it didn’t fit the her of the first clause either.
A moment later, I reassembled the sentence into several separate descriptions and my mental image stabilised. However, with a third issue less accessible than the previous two, I felt as if previously the shin-deep marsh had suddenly reached my waist. Lacking motivation to forge on, I pulled the plug.
Take the Pepsi Challenge: Want to know if my own writing measures up? Download one of these free short stories, in the format of your choice, and decide for yourself.