Current Events by E.S. Strout

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Lester Curtis
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Re: Current Events by E.S. Strout

Post by Lester Curtis »

Typical fare from Dr. Strout, with his signature time-and-date scene markers and crisp writing style.
Again, he’s provided us with an intriguing premise to chew on.

Some of the characters in his other stories stood out sharply, but most of those in this story don’t.

A feature of this story that I don’t recall seeing in his other work is the level of repetition. For example:
Dr. Mason looked over Pete's shoulder as he read. "Unusual cardiac conduction system problem," he said. "Special stains for Purkinje fibers showed minute foci of lysis within individual fibers. This shut down the heart's inherent ability to maintain rhythmic contractions with absence of vagus nerve stimulation. Further studies indicated." The report ends there.
… and a mere four paragraphs further:
"The victim's heart muscle was unable to maintain its intrinsic capability to contract without external vagus nerve stimulation.
It gets worse toward the end:
"Jennifer tuned in on her brother's anger and frustration, initiated the pulse. Greg transmitted it and Jeff Morgan will be on a pacemaker the rest of his life.”
… then …
"It's you and me, Jen. There were times when I was really pissed at Jeff when you weren't around. Nothing happened then.”
AND then—
cupped her hand to Greg's ear. "I've got it figured out now. I forward you the power or current, whatever the heck it is, and you transmit it.”
Real big dose of overexplaining there, which slowed the story and took a lot of the fun out of it for me.

Most readers can absorb an important piece of information at first encounter and fit it in, especially since these stories are such fast reads. The repetition isn’t needed.
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?
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