I’ll Never Write As Well As They Do

It’s easy for your favorite authors to intimidate you. When you grow up enjoying reading, and when you study fiction by the world’s best writers in school, it’s natural to put them on a pedestal. They are geniuses, titans, specially gifted demigods with an ability beyond your understanding.

At some point, you might be tempted to try writing fiction yourself. Immediately you reject the notion out of hand. In your mind, you compare yourself to those great authors and dismiss the idea of creating any fictional work. Impossible. Laughable. Pretentious. You’ll never write as well as they do.

I’ve mentioned this phenomenon before, but I’d like to explore the problem in greater depth.

Just for fun, let’s give our intimidating scribblers some names. You have your own favorite, famous novelists in mind, but we’ll say that you idolize Bes Werdsmither, Gray Trighter, and Rhea Noun Dauther.

Okay, not the funniest puns, but they’ll do.

When I mentioned this issue in a previous blog post, I made two points:

  1. You can’t know today, before you begin writing, how you’ll eventually stack up against your imagined pantheon of Bes, Gray, and Rhea. Remember, all three of them started out as unknowns, too, like you are now.
  2. Even if you’re right, and you never end up writing as well as Bes, Gray, or Rhea, remember that there’s room in the world for lesser-known writers. You don’t have to aim for eternal fame or a mansion on your own island. You can still write your own stories, reach some readers, and make a little money.

Great writer comparisonEven though you worship Bes, Gray, and Rhea, I’d advise you not to try to imitate them, anyway. For one thing, why should readers read your copy-cat stories when they can purchase the real thing? Also, it’s best to allow your own inner voice to emerge, rather than attempt to channel some famed author.

Sure, you adore the characters, style, settings, and plots of Bes, Gray, and Rhea, but I suggest you strike out in a different, but related, direction. Write in their genre if your interests reside there, but make up your own characters, style, settings, and plots.

If you find some success as a writer someday, I assure you it won’t be because you copied someone else. It will be due to the separate and distinct course you charted, or the path your own muse led you along.

By the way, when your muse does whisper something outrageous (and she will), listen to her. She may implore you to write a story quite different from anything in the bibliographies of Bes, Gray, and Rhea. The muse might pull you in a strange and new direction you never imagined. Don’t ignore her. She’s your inner creativity, the voice of your soul calling you, so don’t hang up.

You can still enjoy novels by Bes, Gray, and Rhea, without dreaming of writing like those three. Your goal, one you should visualize, is to become the best author you can. It’s a process of continual improvement.

My personal geniuses, titans, and demigods are Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein. As readers of my blog know, my stories aren’t like theirs at all. I’ve taken off in a different direction, a unique course steered by—

Poseidon’s Scribe

That’s Classic!

Today’s lesson is: how to write a book that becomes known as a classic. Good news—we can identify some attributes of classic literature. Bad news—no book becomes a classic in the author’s lifetime, so you won’t find out if your book made the list until after you’ve been dead awhile.

ClassicsI’ve blogged before about the attributes of good, quality short stories, but today’s question is about the few books that attain true classic status. These must pass a more stringent test.

Easy, but Unsatisfying Definition

Many people say that a classic is that which endures, stands the test of time, and which people still read long, long after the author is dead. In his book Antifragile, Hassim Taleb states that you can make a rough prediction about how long a book will remain in print. The average time a book will remain in print from this point on is equal to the time it has been in print so far.

To me, this definition of a classic, though true, doesn’t really settle anything. It begs the question, why do readers today still want to read this book? Let’s accept that a classic must endure, but I want to explore why this is so.

Other Folks’ Definitions

I’m not the first to knock on the door to this party; in fact I’m way past fashionably late. Many people before me have come up with great definitions of what makes a classic.

  • Italo Calvino says you can’t feel indifferent to a classic. That definition makes it a personal connection between book and reader. However, that’s not so useful to an author trying to write a classic.
  • Blogger Chris Cox builds on Mark Twain’s definition. There are two kinds of classics, those we’re embarrassed not to have read yet, and those we nag others to read. Funny, but again it concentrates on the reader-to-book connection.
  • The French literary critic Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve said the author of a classic “….has enriched the human mind…caused it to advance a step; who has discovered some moral and not equivocal truth, or revealed some eternal passion in that heart where all seemed known and discovered…who has spoken to all in his own peculiar style, a style which is found to be also that of the whole world, a style new without neologism, new and old, easily contemporary with all time.” This is closer to what I’m looking for—let’s hold those thoughts.
  • Goethe said it’s not a classic because it’s old, but because it’s forever new. I like that one.
  • Some blog commenters have said a classic had some impact or effect on the age in which it’s written. That may be true for most classics, but not all such books endure.
  • Others say a classic is that which is new or innovative in its time. But, again, it’s not clear to me why such books would necessarily stand the test of time.
  • Jonathan Jones, a writer for The Guardian, says a classic must be elastic. That is, it endures despite plagiarism, satire, criticism, etc. Hassim Taleb would hasten to add that such pummeling of a classic makes it stronger, more enduring, and to use his word, antifragile. I like this attribute too, but it’s more about the reaction to a book rather than the writing of it.

My Definition

Borrowing the attributes I like and rejecting the rest, here are my rules. A classic for the ages must:

  • capture its time
  • be well written
  • say something profound and permanent about the human condition

There you have it. Write your book that way, and it might become a classic someday. Something for your great-grandchildren to enjoy. Currently at work on a classic, I’m—

Poseidon’s Scribe

November 2, 2014Permalink

Dreaming of Success

Do you fantasize about being a best-selling author?  If so, what form does your daydreaming take?  Are you being interviewed by a famous talk-show host?  Receiving a call from someone in Hollywood who wants to turn your story into a movie?  Throwing a huge book launch party?  Swimming through money in your mansion’s vault?

Dreaming of SuccessToday’s ramblings are about whether your Walter Mitty-type  flights of fancy are helpful or harmful.

First of all, I think such dreaming is normal.  It’s typical when a person embarks on any new endeavor.  It’s natural to wonder, “What if I turn out to be really, really good at this?”  My guess is that everyone considers this question whether they’re throwing a football, playing a piano, or writing a story.  After all, someone has to be the world’s greatest, and maybe it could be you.

Further, some experts see the practice of visualizing future success as useful, even necessary.  Sports trainers often urge players to imagine succeeding on the field or court.  However, I believe the focus of such training is on actual moves or plays while engaged in the sport; the players are not encouraged to dream about lofting trophies high in the air while confetti rains down.

If you’re a beginning writer who envisions instantly skyrocketing to the New York Times bestseller list, it’s important to understand that such stratospheric success is a low-probability thing.  The overwhelming majority of authors get nowhere near that.

However, I’ll be the first to admit that such literary victories, however rare, are possible.  In my view, though, if you do become a famous writer, it won’t be because you daydreamed about it first.

Here’s my list of ways you can know if your dreams of success have become harmful to you as a writer:

  • The fantasies take time away from writing.
  • You begin to see your visions as the measure of your success.
  • Fame or fortune becomes your sole goal, rather than becoming the best writer you can, or creating the best stories you can.
  • You become disappointed or frustrated when you can’t achieve the exact scene foretold in your dreams.
  • The dreams become a fixation, a dominant part of your life.

On the positive side, here’s my list of ways you’ll know that such dreaming is okay, or even helpful:

  • Your flights of fancy are occasional.
  • You see your daydreams as motivational and inspiring.
  • After your visualizations, you feel like writing.
  • You understand that your visions represent unlikely events, and you regard them as fanciful, innocent fun.

When the glittering fame and fortune of your imagination collides with the dreary reality of long, solitary hours spent writing followed by numerous initial rejections, it’s important that you learn certain things:

1.  You can enjoy writing for its own sake.  The goal is a well-crafted story, not any accolades that might ensue.

2.  Two of the prime factors determining whether you’ll be a well-known author are skill and luck.  You can work to improve your skill.  You can’t control luck.

So dream your dreams, novice writer, but keep a bit of perspective about the whole endeavor.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to try on my tux and practice my acceptance speech for the big award dinner.  Or perhaps that’s all in the mind of—

                                                    Poseidon’s Scribe

Dear Ray Bradbury

I just had to write to thank you, thank you, for the great times, the pleasures of reading your work.  There’s no sense letting a little thing like your death in 2012 prevent me from expressing my gratitude, is there?

220px-Ray_Bradbury_(1975)_-cropped-Sorry, I haven’t read all your books and stories.  I’ve read less of your canon than I have of Jules Verne’s, Isaac Asimov’s, or Robert Heinlein’s.  But, oh, the few of your books I digested left lifelong mental imprints:  Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, The Illustrated Man, Now and Forever, and The Martian Chronicles.  In high school, I read your short story, “The Flying Machine,” and my recollections of it inspired my story, “The Sea-Wagon of Yantai,” written decades later.

At one point, you declared you wrote fantasy, not science fiction.  In my view you blended the two.  You made science sound like fantasy.

Moreover, your flowing style of writing contrasted with that of the hard-science fiction writers.  Their stories conveyed a love of machines, of science.  Yours proclaimed a love of word imagery, of the magic of English, of poetic prose.

The authors of hard science fiction told me tales of technical detail.  You sang me stories of marvel and wonder.

I guess I’m trying to say that I write more like those other guys, but wish I could write like you.

On occasion, you related a particular memory from when you were about twelve.  At a carnival, one of the performers known as Mr. Electrico touched an electrical sword to your nose which made your hair stand out.  You claimed he told you, “Live forever!”

In a very real sense, Mr. Bradbury, you will.  Thanks again.

                                                            Poseidon’s Scribe

December 22, 2013Permalink

Dear Arthur C. Clarke

Though you’ve been dead these past eight years, you live on in your stories.  That’s true for me and for millions of others.

ClarkeThroughout my life I’ve read many of your works, including more of your short stories than I can remember, and the following novels:  Childhood’s End, The Deep Range, 2001:  A Space Odyssey, 2010:  Odyssey Two, 2061:  Odyssey Three, Rendezvous with Rama, Rama Revealed, The Songs of Distant Earth, and The Hammer of God.

I recall purchasing your book 2001:  A Space Odyssey (or maybe my dad bought it) just two weeks before the movie was due in the theaters of my childhood town for the first time.  I was about ten years old, and determined to finish the book before seeing the movie.  Finish it I did, and I enjoyed the book much more than the film.

At that time, the year 2001 seemed a long way off, and fantastic things would happen by then.  To a boy growing up starry-eyed in the Sixties, the future appeared extraordinary.  Your books helped me see it that way. More than most authors, you conveyed the pure wonder of a scientific future.

That’s what comes through for me in your tales, the positive vision of science as a way to solve man’s problems, and to explore.  You even believed science could solve political problems.  In The Songs of Distant Earth, you depict human societies living under a utopian “Jefferson Mark 3 Constitution,” suggesting a political evolution toward better government.  In Rama Revealed, you show an alien race with enormous military power but a staunch unwillingness to enter into conflict.  The reason becomes clear when one of the aliens says their politicians can declare war, but anyone voting for war is put to death.  Strong disincentive, indeed!

Another thing I learned from reading your work is that aliens might not be bent on invading.  When many other authors wrote of aliens attacking Earth, you wrote about creatures who either helped mankind (Childhood’s End), led mankind on series of strange advancing paths (the Odyssey books), or completely ignored us (the Rama series).

It’s possible that your novel The Deep Range influenced me, in some subtle way, to serve in the submarine force.  That story took the Old West struggles between cattle ranchers and crop farmers and set it under the sea, where whale herding competed with plankton farming.  Science fiction stories with an oceanic setting are rare gems, for me.

A reviewer of my stories would be hard-pressed to find your influence on my writing.  However, your fiction has been described as technical and the style as somewhat dry at times.  As a trained engineer, I strive to include sufficient technical detail so that people can understand how my gadgets work.  My fellow critique group members say the details sometimes get in the way of the story-telling.

Like you, I’m enamored of the science.  I love it, and can’t help including a sense of awe and wonder in my tales.  There will be those who grasp that, and those who skip those paragraphs and feel unfulfilled by the rest of the story.

That said, thank you so much, Sir Arthur, for passing the wonder to me.  In 2010:  Odyssey Two, Heywood Floyd asks, “What’s going to happen?”  Dave Bowman answers, “Something wonderful.”  That says it all, or so it seems to—

                                                         Poseidon’s Scribe

 

 

December 1, 2013Permalink

10 Reasons You Really Are Good Enough to Write Fiction

Perhaps you have a story inside you, but you feel too scared or intimidated or inadequate to believe you could ever write fiction.  Here are some ways to banish those feelings.

First, there are at least three levels of fiction-writing.  (1) These days you can write and publish something yourself without an editor, at near zero cost.  (2) You can get your writing accepted by a publisher, but not make enough money to live on.  (3) You can write fiction as your sole means of support.  I’ll limit myself to discussing level (2) today.

Never be a writerTrue, some people aren’t cut out to be writers at all.  My purpose today is to keep you from cutting yourself out of the running at the start.  Let’s look at ways you might think you’re not fit to be a writer:

  1. I just know I could never be a writer.  Where is your resistance to writing coming from?  Do you immediately think “I could never do that” when presented with other opportunities in life?  Maybe this isn’t about writing at all, but your general negativity toward trying new activities.  How many amazing human initiatives haven’t happened because somebody said, “I could never do that,” hmm?
  2. I don’t know anything about writing.  Don’t let this stop you.  That’s the part you can get help with, through critique groups, writing courses, books about writing, writing conferences, etc.
  3. I’d never write as well as [insert your favorite famous author’s name here].  Stop comparing yourself to the great authors.  You can’t know today how you’ll stack up against them one day.  So what if you’re not quite as good?  You can still get published and win over some readers.
  4. I’m unknown, and people only read books by known authors.  Think about it; all published authors started off unknown.  What if your favorite author had talked herself or himself out of writing?
  5. No editor will read my stories because I’m unpublished.  Not true.  Consider that latching on to a new, undiscovered top talent is every publisher’s dream.  All they need is one (you?) to make their career.
  6. Novels seem so hard to write.  No need to begin with a novel.  Try a novella, a short story, flash fiction.  Do blog posts for a while.
  7. My teacher told me I’d never be a writer.  Is one long-ago English or Language Arts teacher still in your head criticizing you?  Keep that teacher in your mind, but dedicate yourself to showing how wrong he or she was; sweet revenge will be yours one day.
  8. My story idea seems trite, or already used, etc.  At this point your idea is just a story concept; it might match hundreds of already-published stories.  Once you flesh it out and write it down, it becomes uniquely yours, different from all others, and possibly publishable.
  9. It takes too long to write a story.  True, writing takes time.  But, of all the skills and abilities you’ve developed in life, how many did you master in a day?  Let the strength of your story idea sustain you.  If it’s truly grabbed you, you’ll persevere until you write it all down.
  10. I couldn’t stand being rejected or getting a bad review.  That does stink, no denying it.  Any creative endeavor requires a thick skin.  Look at editor’s rejections as permissions to send your story elsewhere.  As for bad reviews, remember it’s far easier to be the critic.  At the worst, the reviewer may actually have a valid point you can use to improve your writing for the next story.

See?  You are good enough to at least try being a writer.  Shake off those negative emotions.  Let your imagination soar.  Allow yourself to try it out.  Someday, when you’re a famous author, be sure and give partial credit to—

                                                Poseidon’s Scribe

November 17, 2013Permalink

Write like Leonardo da Vinci?

Leonardo da VinciTrue, Leonardo da Vinci was an anatomist, architect, botanist, cartographer, engineer, geologist, inventor, mathematician, musician, painter, scientist, and sculptor.  Arguably he was the greatest genius of all time.  But…he never wrote fiction.

Still, it may be possible to adapt da Vinci’s methods to the task of writing great fiction.  “But wait, Mr. Poseidon’s Scribe,” (I hear you objecting), “Leonardo was a genius.  I wasn’t born a genius.”

It’s been argued before that genius is some combination of luck and time spent at an activity.  You can’t do much about the luck, but you can spend time learning, practicing, honing your skills.  If you’re going to spend that time, why not ask how Leonardo spent his time?

how-to-think-like-leonardo-da-vinci-160x197In his book How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, Michael J. Gelb has already researched the methods Leonardo used and distilled them into principles.  You need to get this book and read it to understand the seven principles.  As you read the book, you’ll be able to extrapolate how each one applies to writing fiction.  Here are those seven principles:

  • Curiosità:  An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning
  • Dimonstrazione:  A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes
  • Sensazione: The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience
  • Sfumato:  A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty
  • Arte/Scienza:  The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination; “whole-brain” thinking.
  • Corporalita:  The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.
  • Connessione:  A recognition of, and appreciation for, the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena; systems thinking

Just reading through the list should remind you of what you know about da Vinci. Leonardo never wrote down these principles himself; he was far too disorganized for that, though he intended to get around to it someday.  Michael Gelb developed the principles from what is known of da Vinci’s life.

Even the bare descriptions of each principle should suggest to you how each one applies to writing fiction.  Maybe you’re scratching your head at the Corporalita principle, wondering how that one relates to a sedentary activity like writing.  It does, trust me.  I will devote seven future blog posts to a discussion of each principle, and how you can use each one to improve your fiction writing.

LeonardosLion5At this point, I can’t resist a personal plug.  Leonardo da Vinci is such a fascinating historical figure, I wrote a story about the mechanical automata lion he constructed for the King of France.  Had that been all da Vinci did, it would have been achievement enough, far beyond the norm of the day, but it’s barely a footnote in any list of his accomplishments.  My story, “Leonardo’s Lion,” deals with the question of what eventually happened to that clockwork marvel.

Right after you buy my book, buy How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, and get started writing with the skill of your inner genius.  When you become famous and people ask how you learned to write so well, be sure to tell them it was all due to a blog post written by—

                                                 Poseidon’s Scribe

Better Writing through Chemistry?

If you consume alcohol or mind-altering drugs, will that improve your writing?  Many people think so.  Supposing it’s true, it’s nice to have that short-cut to greatness available, isn’t it?  Why struggle to choose the right words while sober or clean when you can snort, inject, or imbibe your way to literary greatness?

The connection persists because so many of the top writers, it seems, had a reputation for using drugs or alcohol.  The two that spring to my mind are Edgar Allan Poe’s use of opium and absinthe, and Ernest Hemingway’s consumption of wine, mojitos, and daiquiris.  The list of famous authors who wrote under the influence also includes Anthony Burgess, William S. Burroughs, Raymond Chandler, Jean Cocteau, Phillip K. Dick, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Aldous Huxley, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Stephen King, Carson McCullers, Dorothy Parker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, and Tennessee Williams.

The effects of alcohol that might benefit a writer include a loss of inhibitions, which might stimulate creativity.  However, other effects would be less helpful: blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, impaired memory, blackouts, shaking, lack of muscle coordination and balance.

Drugs vary in their effects, but some of the reactions that might aid an author include euphoric pleasure, confidence, and extended wakefulness.  I suppose hallucinations could be of use to a writer, so let’s include those.  However, the known downsides of drugs can include delusions, aggression, paranoia, drowsiness, respiratory depression, nausea, blurred vision, headaches, disorientation, impaired memory, slowed reaction time, diminished judgment, mood swings, and addiction.

On balance, it seems to me there would be more harm than good in drinking or using drugs to improve your writing.  Some of the things said about the writers I listed above may not even be true.  The Edgar Allan Poe Society has debunked the myths about the writer of “Annabel Lee” and “The Bells.”  It’s not entirely clear if some of the other writers took drugs or alcohol to improve their writing or to cope with their troubled lives.

I remain skeptical about using drugs or alcohol as a path to quality writing.  Joanna Penn, whose blog I follow, has written a very thoughtful piece on the subject.  I have to commend author Eric Kuentz for actually conducting an experiment and being willing to share his experience.  His results seem rather mixed and it appears he’s disinclined to recommend the practice to others.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on, or experiences with, this subject.  Please leave a comment.  As for my own experiences, well, my scribing job occasionally takes me to Olympus where I’m sometimes allowed to partake of ambrosia and nectar.  Those are the substances most recommended by—

                                                    Poseidon’s Scribe

November 4, 2012Permalink

When Authors Speak

When you’ve had a few stories published, you may be asked to speak at a conference.  It may be a chance to speak alone about a topic, to speak on a panel, or to read some samples of your writing.

I’ve had that honor twice.  In February 2010, I read a portion of my story “Within Victorian Mists” to an audience at the Crossroads Writing Conference in Macon, GA.  I was with a group of other steampunk writers (Emilie P. Bush, Kathryn Hinds, Alexander White, Lainey Welsch, Dwayne DeBardelaben, and Austin Sirkin), and here’s a picture from that event.  In November 2011, I served on a panel with some steampunk experts (Mark P. Donnelly, Elektra Hammond, and Kevin Houghton) at the DarkoverCon in Timonium, MD.

For both conference speaker and conference attender, there are likely to be some unmet expectations.  I fear that conference attenders who hope to be authors someday think they will learn the hidden secrets of great writing and be handed the golden keys to fortune and fame.  In some cases, conference speakers may expect to earn flocks of new fans, all captivated by the speaker’s charm or wit and eager to part with their cash in exchange for the author’s books.

So if you’re the writer who’s given a chance to speak, what should you expect?  Perhaps one or more audience members will feel moved to purchase something on the spot.  Others may think about it and investigate your presence online later, before deciding to buy and read one of your books.

Those attending your panel, or lecture, or reading, must lower their expectations as well.  After all, it’s not like you have surplus fortune-and-fame keys to hand out.  The most they’ll receive are a few nuggets of wisdom about becoming an author, or reminders and reinforcements of previously learned knowledge.

As the speaker, then, your purposes are clear.  (1) Present yourself as an engaging, interesting personality.  (2) Convey some useable advice or recommendations about getting published. (3) Inform the audience about your books without being pushy.  In this way both speaker and audience can leave knowing they’ve received something of value.

Trouble is, the skills you developed while becoming a published author differ from those needed for speaking at a conference.  Public speaking scares most people at first, and only practice and experience lessen that fear.

If you’re the sole speaker during your session, I suggest you come prepared with an outline, so your talk doesn’t ramble.  Remember too, even a lecture is an interactive event, never the same twice.  Watch your audience members for their body language and facial reactions; you’ll know when you’ve said something controversial or provocative, etc.  Be gracious and attentive during the question-and-answer period.

When serving on a discussion panel, now group dynamics enter the picture.  Don’t monopolize the panel; that turns audiences off.  Don’t sit there saying little; you won’t entice future readers that way either.  If you must disagree with another panelist, do so with respect and consideration.  Never get drawn into an argument; that runs counter to your purposes.

If reading from one of your stories, select an engaging passage.  Project your voice.  Enunciate your words.  Modulate as you speak, stressing for emphasis and altering your timbre or accent for different characters in dialogue.

Was this advice helpful?  Let me know with a comment.  Remember, readers love to meet and engage with authors, especially those they find intriguing.  So get out there and be intriguing.  Soon you’ll be winning fans, including–

                                                         Poseidon’s Scribe

Book Review – Something Wicked This Way Comes

Ray Bradbury died June 5th of this year, a day this universe lost a literary giant.  I just finished reading Something Wicked This Way Comes for the first time.  I have read some other Bradbury works, including Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, The Illustrated Man, Now and Forever, and The Martian Chronicles.  His short story “The Flying Machine,” in part, inspired my story “The Sea-Wagon of Yantai.”

I listened to the Recorded Books version performed by Paul Hecht, ©1962 by Bradbury, renewed 1997, and ©1999 by Recorded Books.

The novel takes place in a Midwest town in the month of October sometime in the early to mid-1900s.  A traveling carnival comes to the town and strange things happen, including the disappearance or alteration of some townspeople.  Two boys and one of their fathers start to believe the carnival is evil and try to find a way to deal with the problem.

That synopsis sounds inexcusably bland, and doesn’t at all convey the magical experience of reading the book.  Bradbury’s works are always poetic, alliterative, and metaphorical, and this novel is no exception.  You find yourself swept along with the cadence of the words, caught up in whatever web Bradbury chooses to weave, and you’re glad of it.

The work deals with eternal themes of good and evil, as well as old and young.  With the first, he examines the weapons wielded by forces evil and good.  With the second, he explores the absurdity of the old wanting to be young and the young yearning to be old.

No one better expresses that delight, playfulness, curiosity, and sense of wonder of being a young boy in a Midwest town, than Ray Bradbury.  I was once such a boy and can relate.  The details he recalls and sensations he can–with lyrical prose–rekindle, resonate within me.

I’m not sure whether to classify the novel as horror or fantasy.  Perhaps it’s a horror…poem?  In any case, I loved it and give it my highest rating of 5 seahorses, the first work I’ve reviewed to have earned that rating.  Do you disagree with my review?  Leave a negative comment and you may find out “by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes,” and that something is–

                                                  Poseidon’s Scribe