Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Church Peak Hotel: A Review

Eric James' The Church Peak Hotel is a kindle short (US, UK) listed at 26 pages.  A young married couple decides to take a hike through a ruined African landscape.

I don't know much about Eric James, and both the given and surname are common enough that any biographical details are likely to be confused with other authors.  He does appear to be the author of the Farmers and Cannibals episodic series.

The story is a jail house telling of an event that took place in August of 2070, in the newly conquered United-American territories of Africa.  The author is telling of the horrible event that occurred on a hiking excursion with his young wife.  In a very Lovecraftian way, the narrator is attempting to unburden himself from these horrors.  As there are only 26 pages, obviously modern adventurers get to the point a lot quicker than the old master of madness.

In effect, what you have is a slightly over setup campfire story.  It is a little clunky in the telling but I  did laugh at the ending.   I gather that 99 cents is its regular pricing, which at 4 cents a page, is a bit pricey, but a lot of these broken up tales are often rather expensive when bought in series.  I am not going to recommend such a slight tale, but it's not a complete waste of time.

We now come to our two descriptive (not qualitative) ratings: 1 to 7 with 4 the mid-point and 7 high.  Realism does not include the cause of the collapse or apocalypse, but is otherwise an assessment of how close to today's world is the setting.  Could you imagine your friends, or families living through the situation.  Readability is not literary merits, but literally how quick and painless of a read.

Realism?  It's a spooky story, modified to a somewhat distant future.  There is not a ton of probability to the events as outlined, and the story holds together about as well as your typical bloody hook hanging from the door handle at the drive-in movie type story.  No elves or leprechauns, so we will call it a 3.

Readability? We are going to have to adjust a little for story length, otherwise all short stories would rate a seven.   The delivery is a little clumsy, and as with many ghost stories, padded to delay the ending.  It's what makes them fun, but it is not a completely straightforward delivery.  It is a  5.


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