The Juice and Other Stories, by Bill Jones Jr. (40:00)

IOD-TheJuiceToday we discover that the best writing is writing that doesn’t show its workings.

What I gleaned about the stories: To each outsider, it is the rest of the world that is colouring outside the lines.

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WTF #1: Non-euphonious neologisms.

Analysis: I was flowing through these stories, barely even noticing the breaks between stories, when I struck “Christianicists”. I don’t vocalise under my breath as I read, but it still felt like my tongue had become tangled. So I had to go back and take another run-up to unpack how the word should sound.

Unfortunately, this gave another part of my mind long enough to realise the word was neither “Christians” nor “Christianists”, and drag me off into seeking the meaning.

Re-reading the entire paragraph, I deduced it from context, but by that point I was thinking about the difficulty of reading that sentence on several levels.

I surged past 40:00 minutes without hitting another odd word, so this might have been the only tripping hazard in otherwise smooth prose.

Kudos#1: Varied narrators united by a belief their perspective is the default.

Analysis: From protagonists living among nomadic alien tribes to recovering coma victims, each narrator described events not by the differences from a common normality but the differences from what the narrator thought was normal.

Kudos #2: Unconscious competence

Analysis: Perhaps the greatest indication of quality is that I was so immersed in the stories that I wasn’t consciously aware of common techniques.

I will definitely be reading the rest of this collection for enjoyment.

And then reading it again to analyse the technique.

Sarah's Spaceship Adventure, by Stan Morris (7:48)
Warrior's Scar, by Shawn Jones (13:03)

About the author

Dave Higgins has worked in law and IT for both public and private sector organisations. When not pursuing these hobbies, he writes poetry and speculative fiction. He was born in Wiltshire, England. Raised by a librarian, he started reading shortly after birth and has not stopped since. He currently lives in Bristol with his wife, Nicola, his cats, Jasper and Una, and many shelves of books.