Home › Forums › Dare 2 Discuss › Agents of Dreamland – March 22nd Dare to Discuss Forum › Oh so pretty and shallow and liiiggghhht (Imagery and characterization)
- March 20, 2017 at 4:26 pm #27347
Question submitted by S.A. Barton:
Imagery and characterization: trying too hard, too baroque, not enough, or just right?
- March 22, 2017 at 7:01 pm #27363
Definitely trying too hard. Its trying to make it feel deep and… Its not a deep story. Ya know ?
- March 22, 2017 at 7:05 pm #27366
Super agree. What turned me off from the get-go was how hard it was trying to be cool. And make Signalman cool. Ooooh, “the Signalman.” Did anyone see a train? I didn’t see a train. WTF is with that name? And the whole tone of the opening was this casual oh-look-that’s-cool and oh-so-jaded and oh-look-how-scruffy and… geez. Just let things be things sometimes.
There was a big effort to set a tone and for me the tone was a no-go. I am not agog with amazement, and that made the story flop like a dying fish from the start for me.
- March 22, 2017 at 7:08 pm #27368
The story definitely got bogged down in extraneous, overly wordy speechifying and descriptions of things that frankly didn’t matter. At times it felt self-indulgent (look at all the words I can use!) at others it felt like the author was padding to add to the page count. Tightened up and with fewer sub-plots (seriously, aliens, time travel AND killer fungus??!!) this might have held my attention better.
- March 22, 2017 at 7:13 pm #27375
Now that you mention it, self-indulgent and wordcount-padding feel right as criticisms. I was a little surprised I reacted so strongly to it — I’ve read plenty of books that went a bit too far on look-how-cool-this-is — and now my reaction makes more sense. I think it offended me as a writer, not just as a reader.
- March 22, 2017 at 7:08 pm #27369
You nailed it. Wtf was with the mysterious name? And some of the comparisons she made. Like nuclear explosions to,a bright sky. Please.
- March 22, 2017 at 7:15 pm #27377
Yeah. Sometimes there’s a point to a wild comparison. Foreshadowing, linking up with later imagery. But it’s one of those things that must be done very sparingly. Comparisons need to live between the cliche and the crazy nearly all the time, and to venture off to either extreme must happen rarely and with purpose.
Here, it was neither rare, nor often with purpose.
- March 22, 2017 at 7:20 pm #27383
I found it interesting how she made the Signalman very noir detectivey but Immacolata felt like some anime good-bad chick.
- March 22, 2017 at 7:37 pm #27405
The stories I have read by her do seem to read the same. A lot of fantastic (in the fantasy-sense) imagery, no real plot and no end.
Has anyone here played Half-Life? The whole train thing reminded me of the G-Man from that series.
And yeah, I think the ‘edgy’, weary alcoholic figure has been done to death.
- March 22, 2017 at 7:57 pm #27424
Lots of emphasis on the train theme (the Signalman and his watch, long scenes actually ON a train. You suppose there was some deeper meaning or symbolism behind this or did she just like the train aesthetic?
- March 22, 2017 at 8:25 pm #27457
I honestly haven’t got a clue. Good question, though!
- March 22, 2017 at 8:34 pm #27462
So, to recap, we’ve managed to tie in Lovecraft, X-Files, Harry Potter, Pilgrims, and now… Thomas the Tank Engine. Good job, guys!
- March 22, 2017 at 8:46 pm #27464
Especially since, as far as I know, there are very few passenger trains running in America right now. Maybe a time thing? Since trains either run in exact patterns or forwards and backwards…I don’t know. I think my brain derailed, I thought I was on to something.
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