Wednesday, March 04, 2009

SSS: "Outside the Box"

That little theory I had about liking every other story? No sooner did I read the first page of "Outside the Box" did I know I was wrong.

Lynne Jamneck
's story is a hardboiled detective story, though the focus is more on the detective than the case. Fin talks the talk.

I can spot what you're thinking. That I got a soft spot for the ladies. Aren't you the smart-son-of-a-gun. Lookie here - you've gone and won a prize. But the prize ain't worth nothing so I'll just decline on your part. But stick around. Things could get saucy. I got a soft spot for that, too. - pg 108

"Outside the Box" has hardboiled detective style and it suckers the reader in. It is a comfortable, familiar rhythm that the narration has. It works because Lynne Jamneck does such a good job with the cadences of this style that I missed one rather important bit of characterization the first time around. Fin's "a girlie dick", a female private detective.

I'm not sure how that changes my reading of "Outside the Box". I know that it does demonstrate that my default is mostly male when a gender is not specified and the character is in a traditionally masculine profession. I can say that the realization did not alter my enjoyment of the story (either positively or negatively). It was just another detail - important but not one that knocked me off my game.

What matter was that even though I didn't really care about the investigation Fin was conducting on behalf of Stella I did care about Fin and that's what carries "Outside the Box".

For those keeping score at home, this is story #6 from Spicy Slipstream Stories. Not that this is an album and the track number really matters (though I do like the idea of anthologies being albums)

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