[8Fold] Template #4

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 2 22:37:31 PDT 2007

It's time to review an Eightfold story!!!

This happens so seldomly that it's got me appropriately giddy.  While
the more surreal Incarnate, two installments of which have also been
posted this month, has proven somewhat difficult for me to wrap my
mind around enough to write an actual review just yet, the fourth
issue of Template (by the same author, my co-conspirator Jamie Rosen)
is a bit more accessible.  That's not to say it isn't, by turns,
surreal, mysterious, and thought-provoking-- it's all that and more!

The Borgesesque plot begun in 2005 continues to slowly reveal itself
to the reader, one piece of the mystery at a time.  This issue changes
narrators, substituting third-person for first.  The character taking
center stage at this point is the woman whom Billy Kidman prchased his
book store from.  She finds herself confronted with a bit of
metafictional weirdness, from the TEMPLATE logo appearing in a dream
to a costumed crusader who extends a hand before saying, "Continued on
next page".  (A minor quibble here: shouldn't the hero say something
like "Continued on third page following"?  I've yet to find any old
comic book that said "continued on next page". :-)

I'm not usually one for serious metafiction; I can stomach it, and
loads of it, in a humourous setting like the LNH.  Even my own
experiments with metafiction (THE HOUSE OF FICTION) leave me uneasy.

But I am enjoying Jamie's take on it very much.  Partially, this is
because the whole thing is unfolding in steps, gradually revealing
itself to the reader.  Secondly, this is because it feels somewhat
appropriate for the story; the Template belt gives its wearer the
abilities of characters from literature.  And so, the spilling over of
literature into reality is a very palpable-- and appropriate-- theme
for the book.

All-in-all, I'm excited about this story-- and I have a feeling that
the payoff will be worth the wait.  (As long as Billy Kidman doesn't
have a heart-to-heart with Jamie Rosen.  The meet-the-author-and-
discover-you're-a-fictional-character thing has, to my mind, _never_
really been pulled off very well.)

Keep up the good work Jamie!


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