Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ookle of the Broken Finger by Paul Gresty

Though there's a lot of fluff and color in Ookle of the Broken Finger, the humor was just a little too strained for me to get into it. There are a few good things: I really liked the creation of the jumblees and the detailed character and history they have. I really liked the naming of the skills and powers, which managed to be both very colorful and also very clear. I also really liked the light-hearted tone.

What I didn't think worked so well was... well, I felt like the jumblees were a bit schizophrenic--not as creatures, but as an authorial creation. They were trying to be very light-hearted and funny, yet in action, they seemed much more serious and ponderous. I mean, the whole opening is about one guy's death ad who's going to replace him. What's funny about that? The creatures were written about as if they were light-hearted, but they didn't really come across as light-hearted in the event of it. Some more synergy between thought and action might have been appreciated. I wanted the jumblees to be mischevious small creatures, intelligent but easily distracted. Instead they were just kind of big and serious and dull, which isn't really that funny.

Humor is something very risky to attempt on this scale. You up the ante significantly when you attempt it. If it works, it can really take off, but if it doesn't, it can fall flat on it's face, even if the story would otherwise have been a good one. You've got one wing, with the humorous, light-hearted writing style. But the other wing, having humorous, light-hearted, and genuinely funny things happening in the world--that's missing. Even if you do want to deliver something serious (which is probably a good idea sooner or later) I would suggest come at it a little sideways, later on. Perhaps have a jumblee discover the dead body in the linen closet, but then be most concerned with how he's going to get the linens out without letting anyone know there's a dead body in there. This could be a source of real concern to the character, (while the reader, meanwhile, is both intrigued by the plot possibilities of the dead body, while laughing at the ineptitude of the protagonist.) Hopefully that helps.

Oh, also, I found the intense repetitions of words to be a bit much. After a little while, it wasn't funny, it was just cumbersome. Keep working at it; you have the knack for a sense of humor, but in execution it was a bit hit or miss. Perhaps with practice you could hone the art and become the next Terry Pratchett ;)

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