A Review of ‘Infection‘ by Aaron Bunce
‘Infection’ is a carefully constructed work chocked full of strong images, realistic and believable dialogues, as well as a compelling character who leads the reader down an uncomfortable and quickly escalating path. Bunce has created a small story that feels like an episode from an entire, fully realized world right down to the marital strife of Jacoby, our protagonist. Poor guys just trying to get by in life and when he finally catches a break, it turns out to be more than he’s bargained for and damned if I don’t want to know what happens to him! Here’s some specific feedback:
– Alliteration ‘wives, crappy work gear. Why can’t anything just work’ provided a ‘wa wa’ beat that adds to the monotony of the job, and life, in which Jacoby finds himself
– Love the metaphor of a dumpster fire for a fight with the wife Anna as well as the return to the reference a few lines later with her parents ‘filling her head with garbage.’
– The line ‘warning void detected’ is so easily overlooked in the information presented to the reader in the computers voice, but it works well. Jacoby is going to ignore it, think of as an afterthought, why not just leave it in the same monotone as everything else the electronic voice says, yes?
– Fossilized face – ha! Lovely
– Jacoby seems to be constantly trying to fool himself into believing that everything will be alright, when some small voice inside of him is screaming to stop, turn back, and fix things ‘It’s just the saw, probably needs resonance adjustments.’ ‘Maybe it’s just ice, or the scanner acting up again.’
– The detail of the description is delicious, such as the ‘florescent lights set the wrinkles around her eyes into sharp contrast, making her appear withered and hard.’ You could have easily become clichéd here but avoided the trap. Well done.
– Its interesting how different characters have different name for the protagonist, as if he plays different roles in the many parts of his life. This is a very human and real aspect. We all have different coats to done at different times.
This work could definitely grow into something larger, though it could become dangerously close to a Jekyll and Hide motif. While the story of good man becoming monster is an old one, done and redone over and over, Bunce has found a way to make it fresh again. I think that there is a lot of room around what he’s has here to construct an entire fully equipped world for the characters. So far, they each have enough life to be real and have interacted on a close enough level to the reader as to feel like we should care about them. Anna is little flat, but she’s also had only a small personal part so far, and we haven’t gotten to experience much for the story from her perspective. We did gain an interesting glance into it, when Jacoby mentions that she will love him no matter what, but then we are presented with a contradictory image of her explaining how her parents feel about him… to him. Yes, this is something that happens in relationships.
I’d absolutely love to see what more happens to them, with them, and how the environments around Jacoby will be effected by his transformation. It would also be interesting to understand where the ‘gas’ came from. I get the impression of an egg, almost, that he’s popped and now the infection is spreading in an organic host. Of course, that impression could come from the huge amount of Alien research I’ve buried myself in, too.
Thank you for giving us something to read and think about, mull over, and experience. I hope the author grows this one, allow it to become something larger, and I can’t wait to watch the limits expand.
Sarah Ockershausen Delp