Pearce Hansen's Reviews > Fractal Despondency

Fractal Despondency by Trent Zelazny
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Feb 11, 12

Read in February, 2012

This story upset me and as a result I give it five stars, because it accomplished the mission. I'm unsure if pissing off little-old-me was actually Trent's prime objective however: the piece was more like a very personal account -- I'm unsure if I'd wish to know just how much of this was literally autobiographical.

I've sat in that same ditch homeless, holding a substance representing the last few dollars and cents I had access to (whether the drug was alcohol, or heroin, or crack is no matter -- I won't specify which was my bane of choice). Such addictive, self destructive behavior is confusing to onlookers, but just as confusing to we addicts ourselves.

You ask us "Why are you doing this?" and when we shrug, we're not blowing you off -- we're as clueless as y'all. Is it to feel something different? Feel more? Feel less? We can't tell you, and Trent captured that ambivalence perfectly, along with the sense that the addiction and the unspoken motivations behind it are an indigestible lump that will choke us if we try to swallow it, but that's too heavy for us to set down.

The writing was top notch, and kept me reading what I increasingly considered an unpleasant tale -- kudos for that seductiveness Mr. Zelazny. The characters were surprisingly sympathetic and well rounded. At it's best, the writing was redolent of James M. Cain or Jim Thompson without being at all derivative.

This story is worth your reading and I recommend it, despite me not liking it -- but then, I've slammed books to the ground when they've pissed me off too much, so take my ambivalence about this piece as a RECOMMENDATION, rather than a snipe on my part -- Trent evoked real emotions in me with this story, it wasn't a walk through for either of us.
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