Written By Angeline Hawkes-Craig
Naked Snake Press, 2005
From the first sentence of Through a Glass Darkly, one is immediately thrown into a mash of chaotic events — both fictional and grammatical. This brief chapbook deals with the political hot button issue of stem cell research, the religious dogma surrounding the existence of the Anti-Christ, and the government’s involvement in tracking him.
Despite the book’s being littered with run-on sentences and missing or misplaced punctuation, the author is able to convey enough valid information in the opening to convince the reader to turn the page. However, the hook that is contained within the next several pages is somewhat weak, mostly due to the fact that the character meant to involve the reader deeply in the story is gone too quickly to make us care, which is unfortunate since it leads up to the strongest section of the entire story.
Major Arundel and Colonel Allan are the only characters that are fleshed out enough to make them stand up off the page, and their interaction and dialogue form the heart of the tale. Within their encounter is where the facts come to life and begin to walk and talk, where the reader can become interested in what’s happening. Regrettably, this vibrancy of storytelling is short-lived as the conclusion rushes toward the reader at the speed of light. While Major Arundel and the Colonel are discussing the situation, we become fully aware of the possibilities of what could happen. These two characters build up the tension, only to have it diffused so quickly that the ending, which should be a “Dun, dun, dun….” moment, falls flat. The dread and horror we should be feeling are woefully absent.
The basic idea for this story is a solid, if not particularly inspired, one. But the execution leaves much to be desired. If having to keep the story short meant sacrificing character strength and cohesion of storytelling, it should not have been written. Given the brevity of the medium, each line should be pulse-pounding and enthralling. Ultimately, this reads more as a first draft than a published work. With fine-tuning and rewriting it could be a tantalizing tale, but as is, Through a Glass Darkly merely rates as a so-so sci-fi/horror hybrid.
2 out of 5
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