C. Allegra Hawksmoor. The Labyrinth of Thorns. (Interzone #250, Jan-Feb 2014)

interzone250A story that I struggled to engage with as a story that I was reading, as I was more aware of the story that C. Allegra Hawksmoor was writing.

About a page or two in I realised that the author was guilty of excessive similation, with an overuse of ‘like..’ that I not only spotted, but had me reading each paragraph eagerly anticipating the next simile. “..like stars scuttering through your capillaries” “..pooling in the clearing like still water” “..passes over you like a hand…” “..like the tail of a comet..” appear in four consecutive paragraphs.

I then spotted (it wasn’t difficult) that C. Allegra Hawksmoor was using the fairly obvious technique of repeating a sentence, and repeating it at increasingly shorter intervals, in order to ratchet up the tension.

Which is a shame, as the setting shows promise, but the ending is a bit obvious, and not clear, so it’s a bit of a missed opportunity, like… well, like a story that’s missed an opportunity for a bit of polishing by the author (a quick check of the use of ‘like’ in the MS) and the editor (unless the editor has a penchant for similes).

More from this issue here.

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