Fantastic Visions 2, by Julian M Miles (2:50)

IOD-FantasticVisions2Today we see that contradictions can damage immersion more easily than strong images can create it.

What I gleaned about the stories: Sometimes a methane-breathing octopus’s gotta do what a methane-breathing octopus’s gotta do.

Find this book on Amazon.

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: Basic punctuation error

Analysis: The second paragraph of the first story is “Mine.” She said. My immediate thought was that, if a mistake like that on the first page hasn’t been caught, has the book been proofed.

Trust that my reading experience would be damaged, I moved on.

WTF #2: Emotional distance

Analysis: The second story opens with the protagonist racing a spacecraft towards its destination as part of a race. After an amount of his narration showing the journey is risky anyway and that there is a special need for this journey to go well, he is told there is a serious problem. His inner dialogue is: Oh yeah. Forgot that little complication.

While saying this to another character might work as a laconic display of machismo, without the inner dialogue showing he does care about the problem it came across as a lack of interest. Which contradicted the sense of consequence that had been building.

Emotional connection deflated, I moved on.

WTF #3: Conflicting voice

Analysis: The third story is narrated in first person. It opens with the protagonist walking through a town on another planet, filled with little echoes of the Wild West. Several people harass the protagonist because his kind aren’t welcome, and shouldn’t be talking to other people’s girls. However, just as my image of frontier grit solidified, the protagonist responded without using contractions. This sudden arch formality clashed with the rudeness of the picture painted until then.

In addition, the protagonist’s previous internal dialogue did contain contractions.

This clash with both the scene and the character’s established voice shattered my mental image, so I pulled the plug.

Kudo #1: Strong images

Analysis: The author’s creation of a risky space flight and an alien frontier were strong. Strong enough that I had actually formed an image to be contradicted.

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 Cartel, by E G Manetti (3:49)
Finished With Life But Unable To Die, by Scott Bartlett (8:05)

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.