REVIEW: End of Month Reviews #79 - July 2010 [spoilers]

Scott Eiler seiler at
Tue Aug 31 20:47:36 PDT 2010

On Aug 30, 8:32 pm, Saxon Brenton <saxonbren... at>
> Journey Into # 13
> 'The Five Graph Trap!'
> An Eightfold [8Fold] series  {high concept 11}
> by Tom Russell
>      Well, that's unusual.  A supervillain who in his more... I'm not
> sure whether to call them 'more lucid moments' or 'less psychopathic
> moments'... recognises that his solutions to the world's problems are
> just as much a threat to the world as the problems themselves.

... or that he needs something extra in his mindset so as not to let
his victories inevitably slip away.  Thanos in the Marvel Universe
sometimes has that problem, which I respect.

>      A minor quibble is that the often long and elaborate sentence
> structure that is used to reflect Shaka Zoom's thought processes is - in
> places - overly elaborate.  Now, in the discussion thread that followed
> in the wake of this story's posting it became clear that I wouldn't know
> what the proper definition of a 'run-on sentence' was if it came up and
> bit me.  I will cheerfully accept that these sentences have the proper
> punctuation to be grammatically legitimate.  Nevertheless, it remains
> the case that when I initially read the first paragraph I had to go back
> and re-read to make sense of it.  It's legible once the reader knows
> what to expect, but it's confusing when first encountered.  Just a minor
> something to be aware of.

I recall being the first to point out the long sentence.  (In
retrospect, I'm pretty sure I was trained to consider it a run-on,
because if it had been blatantly ungrammatical, my grammar teacher
would have failed it for grammar and not for style.)  But like I said
at the time, it made sense under the circumstances.

>      Finally there's the main point of the story: Shaka Zoom's plan to
> neutralise himself.  To lock himself away in such a manner that he cannot
> escape, and to be clever enough now to keep himself from later out-
> thinking the trap he's set himself.  But at the risk of going all
> grimdark, the obvious question is: if you think you're such a threat to
> the world, then why don't you just kill yourself?  Well, to be fair that
> issue was dealt with: he can't bear to end his own life.  That's fine,
> lots of people share the same visceral reaction.  But as a super genius
> there are also options like: synthesise the stereotypical 'cure for mad
> genius' that gets used in a number of mad science webcomics.  Well,
> maybe that type of 'self maiming' of yourself comes too close to suicide
> to be feasible.

If you're part of the subsection of humanity which believes in setting
deathtraps, the need to neutralize yourself with a deathtrap should be
obvious.  Besides, I figured it might result in a way for Shaka Zoom
to evolve into something new and whatever.

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