Dr Ty’s Strange Fiction Volume 1, by Ty Walsh Trez (2:47)

IOD-DrTyToday we see that adding something that most books don’t have can reduce the feeling of excitement if you do it poorly.

What I gleaned about the stories: Sometimes people leave… gaps when speaking about… odd things.

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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 on to the next one. As usual, I stop reading after the third WTF.

WTF #1: Odd ellipses

Analysis: Half way through the first paragraph, I encountered ‘the opportunity to do things that most people can only guess at… for example[…]’ The most usual use for ellipsis in fiction is a thought or action trailing off, so I expected a transition to something else. So when I discovered the sentence continued with neither a transition nor a missing section, I thought I had missed something and went back to reread it.

Rereading it, I decided Trez was attempting to mimic casual speech; unfortunately this pushed me out further as I then wondered why that pause rather than any other had been flagged.

Aware I had definitely lost immersion, I moved on.

Kudo #1: Interesting haiku

Analysis: The combination of formal structure and wacky ideas worked well, making me look forward to more of the poetry.

WTF #2: Low Quality Illustrations

Analysis: There are illustrations dotted throughout the work. Unfortunately, whether due to poor originals or failure to account for how some e-readers would render them, they were both small and lacking in contrast. So, after spending almost a minute trying to make out the fourth illustration without success I moved on.

WTF #3: Bathetic hyperbole

Analysis: The next story opened with a sentence mentioning the deaths of almost every animal on the planet along with nine billion people, leading into a paragraph that told me nine billion was big in several ways. By the second statement that trying to conceive that large a number could cause madness, I realised the author was right: I had no attachment to the events at all.

Without a point of emotional reference to both make the immensity real by contrast, and make me care enough about the fictional extinction to read 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.

The Shadow of the Gauntlet, by Casey Caracciolo (4:54)
Stranger Worlds than These by L J Cohen (40:00)

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.