Thursday, December 10, 2015

The End of the Sentence

The End of the Sentence is a novella by Maria Dahvana Headley and Kat Howard. It's a mystery, suspense, horror sort of story, where the tension rises because vague warnings are sort of menacing, and the psychological tenor of the writing suggests the horror of the unknown. It's fear-porn, for those who like the titillation of the uncanny.

I read it because I sometimes just follow recommendations from I should know better. The uncanny and unknown doesn't titillate me; it makes me want to set up a falsifiable hypothesis and a series of experiments. It makes me want to find out what exactly is going on; I don't enjoy wallowing in the feeling of mystery and uncertainty. Ominous, unknown monsters are only as scary as your mind can scare itself; my mind is much more interested in the known monsters. Given the choice between fearing a haunted house and fearing earthquakes, I'd certainly fear earthquakes more: they're real, they're measurable, they're hard to predict.

So obviously I wasn't crazy about this novella. It was well-written, but the morsels of information that were dangled as horror-bait just irritated me. Every vague allusion to "the crimes of my past" or "my guilt" just made me impatient for the reveal. What were the actual crimes? I can completely suspend judgement until I know; it seems useless to judge the narrator for how guilty he feels or acts.

I will admit, with some guilt of my own, that I read to the end in the hopes that the title would be a pun, and that the "end of the sentence" would be the end of an actual, verbal sentence, and not just the end of a jail term.

My bad.

This post's theme word is flagitious, "extremely wicked or criminal." The flagitious behavior was duly punished.

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