December 7th, 2017, Conversation With The Worshiper by Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and Other Stories.
Blurb: Like many short stories by classic authors, this one too, seems like more of an anecdote than a full plotted story, complete with the constructs that make a story fulfilling from beginning to end, i.e. inciting incident, complications, crisis, climax, and resolution (not necessarily in this order).
This story is about a man who visits a church in order to see a woman he has fallen in love with. However, there is also a man who attends this church who prays in an almost violent manner, with his hands on his head and rocks back and forth. For whatever reason–maybe none at all–the narrator finds this infuriating and confronts the man. The man tells him a story about the unreality of life. How he constantly feels like he is drifting through a void in which everything happens around him. He doesn’t perceive his own agency within his own life.
The issue I take with this story is that nothing from the beginning comes back and makes sense in the end. While that would be fine if this were a piece of nonfiction, the paradox of fiction is that it has to make sense, or else it feels nebulous and those stray threads (such as the love the narrator feels for this woman) just feels like a distraction rather than a meaningful part of the story. While the constructs of the piece, I feel, are lacking it is a well-written piece in the sense of word choice and sentence structure. (C-)
December 8th, 2017, Awakening by Kenton K. Yee, Science Fiction Daily, 2017.
Blurb: Like some pieces written by new or elementary writers, this piece falls victim to the “it’s a dream,” symptom. The story revolves around a man who believes he’s living in a dream and for the only way to wake up he must kill himself. Readers are left to wonder whether this is the case or not. I suspect not, but I think there’s an issue with dreams within fiction. That issue being: they are just used way too often. While this piece tries to turn that idea on its head, it feels a bit empty and contrived. However, this piece is short enough that any reader who starts it will likely stick with it until the end. (C-)