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The question of whether Vance was dead or not became more than academic when he found himself in a bathtub up to his chin in ice water like some forgotten cocktail garnish, a demonic woman standing over him, and no memory of how he got there.
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Read free chapters of The Red Rook here (or get it here). -- Fritz Freiheit

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Template:List of dialogue SF critiques

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Brenda Starr dialogue

A form of authorial laziness where long sections of talk have no physical background or description of the characters. Such dialogue, detached from the story's setting, tends to echo hollowly, as if suspended in mid-air. Named for the American comic-strip in which dialogue balloons were often seen emerging from the Manhattan skyline. (Source: Turkey City Lexicon ) (e)

mime conversation

An authorial laziness where the dialogue is supposedly loaded with portentous significance to all participants - contorted facial expressions, heavy word emphasis, significant looks - but completely opaque to readers because relevant facts are neither stated nor inferable.
"But when you told me that - "
"-s! And thus he couldn't - "
"Of course, and I was such a fool, so now if -- "
"not if, but-when! And -- "
Such conversation is infuriating to the reader and also cheat him of the genuine emotional conflict and change that are core to viable fiction. (CSFW: David Smith ) (Original source: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/being-a-glossary-of-terms-useful-in-critiquing-science-fiction/ ) (e)

"Said" bookism

An artificial verb used to avoid the word "said." "Said" is one of the few invisible words in the English language and is almost impossible to overuse. It is much less distracting than "he retorted," "she inquired," "he ejaculated," and other oddities. The term "said-book" comes from certain pamphlets, containing hundreds of purple-prose synonyms for the word "said," which were sold to aspiring authors from tiny ads in American magazines of the pre-WWII era. (Source: Turkey City Lexicon ) (e)

Tom Swifty

An unseemly compulsion to follow the word "said" with a colorful adverb, as in "'We'd better hurry,' Tom said swiftly." This was a standard mannerism of the old Tom Swift adventure dime-novels. Good dialogue can stand on its own without a clutter of adverbial props. (Source: Turkey City Lexicon ) (e)


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