Next up: Harmonic Time Bind Ritual Symphony.
This one appears to be a bit of a wild romp through one man’s ongoing journey towards enlightenment. Or something like that.
I’m going to believe the story when it tells me it’s about a particularly magical period in the narrator’s life. There’s the alternate interpretation that he’s just crazy, but … okay, maybe both interpretations are true, and maybe one is a function of the other. The general plot appears to be our hero getting their life together and on track, what with embracing the world outside his home: art, exercise, love, people….
I think there’s actually a pretty good story under all this. There are a couple of decent puzzles too: the bit with the remote lens comes to mind. However, there’s this sense of the whole thing having been designed on a “throw it in” principle. There are a lot of plot elements, many of them barely related, and they seem pretty random. It felt like an explosion of incoherence; there was so much that a lot of the plot seemed arbitrary and illogical. That sort of thing makes it difficult for my mind to engage with the world, which in turn makes it difficult for me to care.
The manic attitude of the prose took things a little too high, I thought. We’re constantly told how wonderful things are, and I think this somehow diminishes our ability to actually experience the wonder. In a way, it’s a bit like being talked at rather than being talked to; and interestingly enough, one of the characters actually complains about the hero’s tendency to do exactly this. I really think those characters could have been handled with a little more compassion. A lot of the character interaction seems very concerned with what the hero does and how it affects him, and not much concerned with the other character at all. The result is that the characters often feel quite flat, in spite of an intriguing description; and that, like an arbitrary plotline, makes it difficult to care.
All of which is a pity because, as I said, there’s a pretty good story under everything. The author needs to tone things down from “manic” to “exuberant” (then again, maybe the mania IS the point) and perhaps think out the plot more carefully–trim it down to something stronger and more coherent, without tiny random bits getting in the way. Slow down. Focus. Let us interact more with everyone and everything.
Right now, it’s an eclectic mess … like a chili with too many ingredients, and too highly spiced to really taste of anything but pepper.