Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review: The Glass Coffin: A Zombie Tale by Mark C. Scioneaux

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Greetings Fright Fans, Fiends, Freaks, Perverts and Sickos, and welcome to the, oh so, horrifying House of Master Vyle Blog.  And yes that introduction is a little different, and that is because I happen to be a lot of bit different.  Plus I figured it was about time to make the, um, BOG post introductions a little more in step with my House of Master Vyle Presents intro.  Now, if you have never watched my hosted horror show, let me just say that I’m not surprised in the least.  Hhehehehehe.
Anyway, it’s review time, and the story in question is The Glass Coffin: A Zombie Tale by Mark Christopher Scioneaux.  Now, of course, over the past decade or so, zombie fiction has been all the rage in the horror world.  As a genre it has only been around since the end of the 1960’s, unlike many other subgenres in horror which have their initial basis in medieval, if not ancient, mythology and folklore.  That said, zombie fiction, is still pretty much in its infancy, and there are only a handful of authors with the skill and imagination to add anything new.  Of course it’s not always necessary to add anything innovative or new to the Romero Zombie Mythos, however a compelling and character driven story are a necessary element to make one stand out and really grip the reader.
Unfortunately The Glass Coffin lacks those things.  It starts off seemingly strong, but quickly falls apart, introducing characters who are quickly killed off, so quickly in fact that one wonders why Scioneaux even bothered to describe them or add anything about their personal lives.  Plus, despite its strong start, you don’t have to be an expert in zombie fiction to know exactly what is going to happen.
Tyler, the more of less focal character of this story, because most of this story is unfocused, is so unlikable that you’re hoping he will die a horrible death from the moment he is introduced.  During a powerful storm this guy has nothing better to do than to leave his wife at home to tend to their deathly sick daughter while he bangs his girlfriend.  Now, his wife Sharon and daughter Morgan are the only characters in this whole story that you might feel any sympathy for, however they die so quickly that whatever sympathy I did feel for them felt pretty wasted.
Anyway, our erstwhile hero, and trust me when I say hero I mean that thinking that this guy is a hero is like thinking of your local meth dealer as a hero, blows his wad and returns home, making it into the glass elevator of his apartment building just in time for the power to go out.
Glass elevator?  Yeah, yeah, yeah…  This is the titular “Glass Coffin”, which I am sure Mr. Scioneaux thought was a cool and innovative idea, and I guess it would have been if this story were written by someone with actual writing talent.  Like Danvers Asylum this story smacks of high school writing assignment, and, to be fair, ninth graders were probably the author’s target audience.
So, again, yeah, if you figured out what the “Glass Coffin” was from the title alone, you pretty much know where this story is headed from the opening word.  I will not bother telling you how the whole glass coffin bit is played out.  I think you know it only has one of two possible outcomes.  I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you or anything.
All the other characters in this story are pretty much nothing but zombie fodder, although there are a couple I think who may have been thrown in to show that Mr. Scioneaux knows a couple of words in Spanish.  Yes…  Yes, he does decide to make the story multicultural, which is also a failure on his part, because it’s painfully obvious he doesn’t know anything about Latinos or Hispanics…  Well, other than the fact that they speak Spanish.
I give The Glass Coffin: A Zombie Tale One Star, mainly due to the fact that I was able to read it in less than ten minutes, and therefore was not subjected to the endless tedium this would have been if it were a novella instead of a short story.  My opinion is clearly not universal having seen other reviews on Amazon, but you know me, I tend to be a little more discerning, and I like my reading on my level.
See You After Vyle,
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