Twisted Rixter, by Gretchen Rix (40:00)

IOD-TwistedRixterToday we discover that demonstrating competence with obscure words makes the errors stand out more clearly.

What I gleaned about the stories: To the inhabitants, the most fantastical worlds are mostly filled with tedious and mundane tasks.

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Kudos #1: Individual covers for each story

Analysis: Illustrations in adult fiction books are unusual, so discovering each story began with a cover made the book feel more exciting than I expected.

Kudos #2: Apposite if unusual word choices

Analysis: Each story has a consistent narrative voice, with a good mix of accessible language and character-appropriate jargon. For example, when a little distance into the third story, the narrator uses the word ‘gaingivings’ I felt happy assuming from context that it was an archaic version of misgivings because the author had already established this narrator as using old-fashioned words for effect.

WTF #1: Typographical error highlighted by context.

Analysis: A character is described as being given strength so she can “…expiate in her relations’ behalf.” As usually people expiate for something, when I hit ‘in’ I expected a series of sub-clauses such as ‘expiate in her relations’ place for their actions’; so ‘behalf’ was surprising enough that I had to read the sentence several times before I decided it was a typographical error (“…expiate on her relations’ behalf.”) rather than a deliberate choice with a different meaning.

Although I did unravel the sentence, reading it several times while questioning whether or not it was a mistake definitely broke my flow. It also distracted me enough from the wider description that I felt I needed to go back a page or two to be certain of picking up the thread again.

Quantum Tangle, by Chris Reher (31:23)
Lodestone, by Wendy Scott (11:20)

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.