Search This Blog

Monday, July 19, 2021

"Trading Ghosts" by David A. Elsensohn

Appeared in Writers of the Future 36, edited by David Farland.

A colony miner tries to drink his blues the Ninth Novena diner of Glief b where one can see many "ghosts"--whatever they are. The miner finally explains what has got him in a funk: the loss of his partner in an airlock accident. He meets up with an angel or ghost who wants to end it all.
Comment with some spoilery bits:
Some great scenes, some great speculation, and a good close, but somehow my mind wandered. It took a bit to bite into what was dragging it off.

It opens in a miner's diner, drowning sorrows in tumblers. Since we don't know why, it's hard to sympathize. Maybe pity. Once we learn, it's clear. Probably the opening should be moved to chronological order. Of course, that would mean developing the ghosts and characters in the second scene, but that should only enhance the work.

In one scene, a character said he didn't know why he was doing something. This is a signal from the subconscious to explore this to enrich the text. The title says where it's headed, but a little more character enlightenment wouldn't hurt. It is part of what should drive a scene--not necessarily knowledge but sifting knowledge to move toward a goal. Perhaps the initial story summary hints at this.

The speculation is a far richer vein than a story can tap into. It suggesta a vast culture. Perhaps a novel awaits within.

Exploring Elsensohn's work, I read his Every Day Fiction piece, which shows 1) how far he's advanced in a short period, and 2) his willingness to put characters through the wringer. This should bode well for his career as a writer. 

No comments:

Post a Comment