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Cecil Washington reviews "Jagged Glass Ballet" by Brendan Detzner

When reviewing a self-published novelette like this one, a reviewer can be swayed by the herd. The herd moans and cries constantly that "a self-published novelette is not a good one". A reviewer can try to unjustly compare a writer to his or her own favorites, rather than trying to see someone's style for what it is. This trying to justify the notion that only the Big Six can pick out good literary material can cause one to overlook good work.

The Jagged Glass Ballet is good work. If one must compare it to an author who is well known, think Samuel Delaney. Imagine "Dharlgren" being told with the sparseness of "Einstein Intersection" and you have an idea of the flavor of the novelette.

Like Dhalgren's Kid, Ballet's Dragon has fallen into a world without the memory of who he is. He and the others who fall into the new world claim descriptive names for themselves. And like Einstein Intersection's Lo Lobey, Dragon eventual goes on an Orphic quest to rescue a woman (in Dragon's case she is a girl named Scraps) from the clutches of death. But unlike Delaney's heroes, Dragon is neither insane nor alien. Dragon is a very human young man who becomes focussed on fighting the power of his new world outside of time and space once he gets his bearings.

The only complaint this reviewer makes about the book would be that I think he could make it longer. Add in a few sex scenes between Dragon and Scraps--- or Dragon and whomever, or tell us what various members of the cast look like unclad. Okay, perhaps that would not be a very intellectual method for story expansion. If one must play the Game of Padding, Detzner could a) start off each chapter with an obscure philosophical quote b) follow that quote with good poetry or bad poetry c) add in marginally relevant scientific, mathematical and/or mythological conversations in order to appear clever and/or d) have flashback after flashback in the plot.

Detzner is not about playing literary games, he is about telling a good story. And that is precisely what The Jagged Glass Ballet is: a good story.

The Jagged Glass Ballet gets four out of five stars. A fifth star would be had if he played the Padding Game. That way, those among us who insist that everyone draw from Greek Mythology whenever we write something, would be more at ease.

Read Excerpts from "Jagged Glass Ballet"

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