Kristine Muslim's Reviews > You Shall Never Know Security

You Shall Never Know Security by J.R.  Hamantaschen
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Feb 19, 12


You Shall Never Know Security is a short-story collection that is intended for someone who is looking for a quick fix. It equates to a B-movie. Some of the stories (especially the piece entitled “There is a Family of Gnomes Behind My Wall”) show remarkable daring, but I’m put off again and again by the extremely clunky prose (and the preponderance of ellipsis).

All of the stories can really use a thorough do-over plus a lot of editing.

For example, the story “A Parasite Inside Your Brain” was enjoyable until the final two sentences which ruined it. The attempt to deliver a punch line at the end deflated the whole story.

Moreover, there are so many “big” words which seem to me have been padded for effect. Some examples are cynosure, prestidigitation, kinesalgia (cramp or muscle pain will fit perfectly in the context of the sentence), scheudenfreude (according to Google, it’s shadenfreude), vermiculate, recrudesced, opprobrium (when the word “disgrace” would have sufficed), ukase (to mean “decree”), etc. All these words distract if the overall tone and the prose styling is not that sophisticated. “Big” words need to be interspersed with well-constructed prose, otherwise they will stick out in an off-putting way because they clearly don’t belong there.

The violence, the overplayed sex scenes – they all sounded forced and at times, unnecessary. There’s a story containing a badly written scene of a character who is taking a crap; it stretched for two paragraphs until the character used the toilet paper. Bentley Little wrote something similar in “Against the Pale Sand,” and how the scene came out masterfully -- the effect was disturbing and mesmerizing. The one in You Shall Never Know Security is just gross.

“Sorrow Has Its Natural End” was the strongest piece in this collection. It reminded me of a watered down version of the excellent “Muscae Volitantes” by Chet Williamson.

The back cover blurb must have raised my hopes because it states that the stories in the book are in the same vein as those of luminaries like Ligotti, Etchison, and Klein – writers I worship because of their writing flair and originality. Many of the stories in this book, specifically their execution, need professional editing and tightening to realize their vision. You Shall Never Know Security had promise if only the prose were sound.
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