Klondaeg Omnibus by Steve Thomas (4:25)

IOD-KlondaegToday we see that even if events are nonsensical, the descriptions must still make sense.

What I gleaned about the stories: In a world where the names of gods are bad jokes, lives are somewhat farcical.

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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.

Note: The Table of Contents does not seem to match the episodes that the book is divided into. This made navigation from story to story frustrating.

WTF #1: Delaying obvious details

Analysis: On the first page, I encountered:

Yes, charge him with an axe. I’m sure that never occurred to the miners before they summoned you,” said Sinister.

Hasn’t failed us yet,” said Dexter. The King’s Rest had a mind for each head, one wise, one brash. Neither was often helpful.

Like most readers I start forming an image of a character as soon as they are mentioned, and rely on the narrator to point out things that would be obvious. As there are no special qualities mentioned, I thought Sinister was Klondaeg’s companion. So discovering a short while later that Sinister was actually one personality in a talking axe destroyed my existing mental image.

As I was still on the first page, little else had been confirmed, so this had the unfortunate effect of undermining my trust in my image of everything else. I therefore moved on.

WTF #2: Lack of description

Analysis: While fighting a vampire, Klondaeg hits it in the chest with his axe. The vampire performs the traditional laughing gloat, so Klondaeg reaches for a stake. Then the axe falls out of the vampire’s chest.

As the description didn’t mention the axe becoming lodged, this came as a surprise. So I reread that section of the fight. And then I reread it again. When I still wasn’t sure on the third reading whether Klondaeg had let go when it became lodged or held on and reached for the stake with his other hand, I moved on.

Note from Jeff: As a rule, if any physical action or event has consequences later and it makes sense that the narrator/protag would be able to see it, that fact should be mentioned in context at the time it occurred.

WTF #3: False suspense

Analysis: The third section opens with a smith monologuing the repair of King’s Rest. Each time he refers to his instructions, he describes them as being from his patron. As Klondaeg had seemed a comical monster hunter, it seemed both unlikely he would be described as patron rather than customer, and entirely reasonable he would lose his axe to someone else at some point.

Therefore, having Klondaeg arrive, using his own name with no explanation of why the smith might not use the name, deflated the comic suspense that had been building.

Doubts about the solidity of descriptions confirmed, I pulled the plug.

Kudo #1: Consistent farce

Analysis: The book lists the world’s pantheon at the start (including O’Plenty, a god of wealth, and Bakfyre, a god who twists wishes), so I anticipated a farce. And received one. The sections I read are consistently absurd.

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.

Witch's Sacrifice, by Crissy Moss (3:20)
Fencing Reputation, by William L. Hahn (26:50)

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.