What I gleaned about the stories: If being at a particular point at a particular time is vital to survival, don’t rely on time estimation with a 75% error rate.
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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 first story opens with the protagonist having been transported to another time and place for exactly an hour. Her landing zone isn’t where she expected so she starts exploring. A couple of pages in, she started wondering how long had elapsed and speculates wildly different times. Immediately, I questioned why she didn’t know. She’d been transported through time and space by some technology, so why didn’t she have access to a watch or other time piece?
I speculated that potentially the travel method messed up electronic devices, but why didn’t she have a mechanical watch, or even an hourglass? The author might well have an explanation, but without knowing what it was, I could only speculate. Which made me wonder what else might not be explained.
My trust in the level of description damaged, I moved on.
Analysis: The second story opens with Prussis undertaking an experiment. After a few paragraphs of her actions and internal responses to them, I hit …Hertna, Prussis’ supervisor, came in. As people don’t refer to themselves by name when relaying events (for example, I wouldn’t think – or say – “Then Dave’s wife came home”; I’d think “Then, my wife came home”), I parsed this as Hertna being a third character’s supervisor, then stumbled when my mind caught up with that being the protagonist’s name.
I realised a moment later that the story might be in an omniscient PoV, but close third person is more common, so – without evidence to the contrary – I’d assumed it was. After re-reading the first paragraphs, I still wasn’t certain whether it was omniscient PoV or the use of the character’s name was a glitch.
Being uncertain on the first page after a re-read was a clear issue, so I moved on.
Analysis: The third story opens with a sentence that names the protagonist as Geoffrey. The next sentence calls him Geoff. With nothing to indicate why the narrator had abbreviated his name, I slammed to a halt. Was this a deliberate choice? Had it slipped through editing? If it had slipped through editing, what else had?
Unsure whether this was missing description or a sign of issues with the line editing, but sure that my trust that the prose would be smooth was gone, I pulled the plug.
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