169: But a Walking Shadow

But a Walking Shadow

"The last real smell I remember is burning flesh. I suppose it's fortunate that the aural simulators run a bit better, because the last real sound I heard was Brock's whimpering. Second to last was the gurgle of metal tearing apart flesh. Much less pleasant than, say, 'The Forest Awakens,' or any of the other audio tracks we've got here."

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Well, I rather liked this story. It's a nice concept story, and a thoughtful exploration of the idea of digital life after death.

Well done.

There are two types of ways to scare people: cheap scares and "..." scares. Cheap scares are the ones where scary things jump out of the dark. Great when it's used once or twice, but it soon gets old and, depending on the thing jumping out of the dark, you know you could take it on were it not for the sudden attack. Then you've got the latter, where the horror takes place over a long(er) period of time. It unsettles the audience, shows them things slowly. It all depends on atmosphere, and should it work, you've got an audience that won't be able to sleep for weeks.

Your story falls into the latter, although more unsettling than "OMGZ, I'm dead!". It's a great example of how to manipulate information (and how to feed information) to scare the reader... or at least, me. Thanks for the great story, regardless of whatever nightmares of this hell will haunt me for weeks to come.

Edit: Expanded thoughts.

Why the hell aren't there videogame storys like these? FANTASTIC read, do you have any books out?

Your main Characters loneliness is palpable. In the context of this story for a digital representation of a person to have such emotional dearth is intriguing. albeit part of me would like to follow these characters further, see what they are free to do, what distinctions life and death have in this new world. Your story has given me a lot of food for thought

The way you controlled the information the reader had was rather good. The beginning was lovely, well structured and well worded. You answered enough questions to make the ending satisfying. Things like who the enemy was, and the exact nature of the Wheel, are unexplained; they didn't need to be explained. The story wasn't about them. Very nice.

Enjoyable; one of those reads where I could easily see it fleshed out into something more.

Oh my god this was some of the best "..." literature I have EVER read.


Now there's a story that explores in depth some implications of 'the last question'.

Dear God that was awesome! Your imagery was amazing!

Anyone know where to find more of this?

I loved that. Will read more from this Escapist.

I've written quite a bit of stuff (including lots for games), but not much of it is available online. "Mere Potential" -- http://www.ideomancer.com/sf/Yohalem-Potential/Yohalem-Potential.htm -- is thematically and stylistically pretty similar. There's a much older story of mine called "The Procedure," which has maybe some resonance.

Probably my favorite published short story is a horror piece called "Taniwha," which is in a back-issue of The Book of Dark Wisdom. I tried to sell The Escapist on reprinting it, but to no avail.


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