Stainless Steel  by Robert Eggleton

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Stainless Steel  by Robert Eggleton

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

READ THIS STORY. It's funny and very dark, dealing with a serious subject in a worlds-weary, matter-of-fact way -- aside from the android, and Lacey Dawn (one of many entities fated to save the universe, apparently).

One wonders if the author knows of many social services workers who would be as -- understanding -- of the unorthodox solutions some of their clients might have to use when conventional methods fail to resolve their problems...

RM
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Re: Stainless Steel  by Robert Eggleton

Post by kailhofer »

I get the dark part, but which was the funny again?

I don't want to say anything until I know I didn't miss the whole point.

Nate
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Re: Stainless Steel  by Robert Eggleton

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

You have to see and hear the dialogue and interaction between the protagonist / victim and her supporters in your head. Consider the sad absurdity of counselors at the home giving their tacit approval to Faith's plan to poison her father -- again -- because they know it's the only way she can end the abuse.

Or Shelly and Faith's competition to see who has the most self-inflicted wounds (instead of comparing collections of Barbie accessories, this is the most fun THEY can have).

Or the closing line, where Faith expresses her disappointment in Lacey Dawn's inability to give her any effective help:

"Some savior you are." (Lacey Dawn is supposed to play a vital role in saving ... everything ... but she can't get rid of one lousy pedophile?)

The humor is dark, tending toward the ultraviolet; it's a bit like some of Kurt Vonnegut's stuff, where the absurd aspects of horrible things are brought to the fore ("Slaughterhouse Five", after all, involves time jumps into Dresden before it and many of its people were flambeed by Allied air raids, but balances it with aliens who resemble toilet plungers with cartoon gloved hands...). It's galllows humor, or in this case, chainsaw humor, in a story where the characters are doing their best to cope with unthinkable circumstances. Ya gotta laugh, or ya gotta cry ... (viz. also Roberto Benigni's movie "Life is Beautiful").

RM
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Re: Stainless Steel  by Robert Eggleton

Post by Megawatts »

Quite a read. Funny from the beginning to the end.

Good story telling, characters came alive, events even came alive, and the humor never stopped.

nice read!!
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Re: Stainless Steel  by Robert Eggleton

Post by kailhofer »

Ok, I've tried, and I just don't see it as funny. Sorry. I guess I'm just not wired that way.

However, I do understand how to interpret a story solely on it's mechanics, so let me try that. Perhaps a critique in those terms may be helpful, even though I don't "get it".

There are five general categories I've found to useful in reviewing a story: professionalism, setting, characterization, plot development, and dialog. (Honestly, I stole that from the Critters website, but I think it works.)

Professionalism--Is the writing easy to understand? Were the rules of grammar followed? Did any of the vocabulary or imagery confuse? Mostly, this was ok. It's hard to tell through all the dialect and perceptions of people so young, but apart from a spot or two, I had no major hangups.

Setting--Does the setting feel real? Were all the senses used to describe the world? I can't really say that any setting this piece every really came alive to me. Everything seemed to only be interpreted with only two senses: sight and sound. Does an institution like that smell so much like industrial cleaners that you can almost taste the lemon scent? Does sitting in a pool of your own father's blood as the truck lurches down the road feel cold, as well as wet? Or maybe it was warm, and comforting to her. Either of those facts could have made Faith's situation much more concrete to me in those scenes, as well as made those settings more real.

Characterization--Do you sympathize with the characters? Are their actions believable and consistent with their personality? Do they change and grow in order to solve their problems? Well, no, I never wholly sympathized with Faith, probably because I didn't see all which brought her to the institution in the beginning, and that I didn't see her as forced into a last possible recourse. It's clear that her dad is an abusive butthole who deserves to end badly, but it wasn't clear to me that Faith had no other option. She's actively seeking his death in what is at least a third attempt at murder. Sympathizing with a murderer... that's a big line to cross. It can be done, surely. In slasher movies, a lot of people root for the bad guy to see him take out those morons. But this is very different. This requires that we sympathize with her plight, and I didn't quite get there. Using only what I saw in the story, her dad gave her a bruised face once in the past, continually neglects her and her entire family, grabs her butt, and feels her leg... but doesn't do any worse than that (unless I missed it). It's clear that he probably will do even worse someday, but in the story he's mostly just a useless drunk.

Plot development--Does the story seem real? Did it unfold in a way that made sense? Does it have a beginning, middle and end? I've already admitted to missing the dark humor aspect. Plus, this story has a lot of deliberately unreal elements, so this is difficult to make a cut and dry assessment. I guess I'd have to say no to each of those questions. It doesn't end, because the dad is coming back and they'll have to try killing him again. Basically, even with the supernatural abilities of Lacy Dawn and her android "boyfriend", this story is really about a daughter trying to commit a murder. Faith feels she needs her father dead. She gathers drugs to numb his senses, finds a friend who can sabotage the chainsaw, then lures him into the trap. It's kind of splitting hairs, but it seems like a better character arc if Faith cuts the lock bolt, not Lacy. She knows the drugs won't stop him, so that's not a committed act. She does lure him, hoping he'll die, but only because of something that someone else did to the saw. It's not overt. For me, she needed to have a moment where she chooses to cross the point of no return or not.

Dialog--Basically, does it sound believable? I'd have to say yes. Strong marks here. The youngsters sound young, the "hicks" sound just like I would expect stereotypical, dirt-poor, hillbilly(?) trash to sound.


So like I said, I couldn't find it funny, but I could see it just as a story with foundation blocks that could be reviewed from within my world view. Perhaps the framework I tried to match it to should not apply. Regardless, I hope Mr. Eggleton can find some of it useful to him in the future.

Nate
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Re: Stainless Steel  by Robert Eggleton

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

... I got the impression that Faith's (step?)father had done a lot more than grab her leg, etc., that in fact he and his cronies may have raped her on more than one occasion. Worse, the local law enforcement and legal authorities were members of the club, so her chances of ending the abuse by any means except a fatal "accident" were practically non-existent. The tacit approval of her plans by the counselors at the group home seemed to indicate that they, too, were aware of the situation, but powerless to do anything except let Faith try to kill her abuser.

As for the full-sensory thing ... we should probably be grateful that we didn't get the 3D, all-singing, all-dancing, reeking of musk and sour sweat version of the episodes of abuse. THAT wouldn't have been funny at all. (As opposed to "Some savior you are." That's funny, at least with most of the nastiness happening off-stage.)

RM
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Re: Stainless Steel  by Robert Eggleton

Post by kailhofer »

I saw it as that result was implied that it would happen in the future, sometime, but it hadn't happened yet. I realize a perceived threat can be no different to the person threatened than a real threat... but without that overt bad thing made so plain a person like me could see it, I just couldn't get behind murder.

Nate
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Re: Stainless Steel  by Robert Eggleton

Post by kailhofer »

I'm trying to place another story to promote "Rarity from the Hollow." Does anybody know if Another Realm is defunct. I got two emails from its editor and my replies have bounced back.
I suggest you look where all of us look when we're trying to sell something, www.ralan.com. That will tell you if somewhere is defunct.

AnotherRealm is under 'Paying Markets'.

Nate
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Re: Stainless Steel  by Robert Eggleton

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

There's a topic called "Aphelion Authors Plug Their Work" under "Administrivia" (I think) that would be the appropriate place. That's where we unpaid authors go to find out who should be the targets for our seething, borderline psychotic jealousy. (Oops, better delete that before I hit "Submi
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

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