"The Thing that Mattered" (continued)
On the other hand, I found the author's dialogue not quite up to that of the narration. Perhaps in an effort to maintain tautness; perhaps in an effort to stress the laconic virility of his characters, I nevertheless found the characters' penchant for speaking in short, simple sentences and fragments a tad overdone and somewhat unnatural.
Although most of the principal players of the story are lifted denizens from a movie renown for its memorable lines, I found not a one from this story. The closest the author comes to memorable dialogue is from a flashback paragraph spoken by the victim: "She was like any woman. She was like one of the girls upstairs. Not as good, maybe." Devotees of the classic movie might indeed be outraged by the passage, considering whom it refers to. Still, I can visualize an older and more jaded character expressing such sentiments.
In a final confrontation between characters, one of the movie players remarks, (Page 10) "You think I killed [the victim]." This line makes no sense to me whatsoever in context and is perhaps another indication of the weakness of the dialogue. Then again, perhaps I've missed some nuance the author intended here.
Although Eclectica Magazine is a handsomely presented and well put together E-zine, it is not quite up to professional standards as, of course, it is not, like most internet zines, a professional publication. I found some aspects of the punctuation questionable and at times inconsistent. There are also some styling concerns. For example. there is one instance of a paragraph (Page 5) which contains dialogue from two different characters, which is not normative.
All in all, the story's virtues outweigh its shortcomings. It's taut and suspenseful, and the novel creativeness of the scenario renders "The Thing that Mattered" a worthwhile read. Three stars out of five.
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