Negative Spaces: (Holiday Spectacular Story #36)

As noted here, I’m commenting daily on the WMG Holiday Spectacular—which is a great project that releases a story every day. These might be reviews. Or not. They might be interesting. Or … um … not. They will be fun, though. For me, at least.

Here’s the next story.

“Negative Spaces”
Annie Reed

[warning: I’m going to touch on some of the content of this story as I go along here. Like some of the other times I’ve given this warning, I am not intending to give any true spoilers (though this set of comments is closer to the core than others). However if you read these comments in advance of reading the story, there is a reasonable chance you will see what’s coming before it appears. If you are like me, this means that you would be better off reading the story first, then coming here if you’re interested in my yammering’s.]


With my warning complete, let me dive in.

We find in the first line of the story, that we’re going to be riding along with and unlikeable and disagreeable kind of a guy. Benny—who we also discover in the first sentence is a pickpocket—is going to make somebody’s New Year’s Eve a miserable event. He is not a good guy, and he’s fine with that.

This kind of thing is a tough gig.

I don’t mean Benny’s job. I mean Annie Reed’s.

Writing from the point of view of the bad guy—especially while in such a tight POV—can be fun or it can be difficult or … well … it can be many things. And among those things is that it can be very hard to bring readers along, because there exist readers who just flat out don’t want to be in the head of disagreeable people. When I finished this story and let it settle, though, it struck me that this might be a case of the media being the message. I’m reading “Negative Spaces” inside the Holiday Spectacular project. It just feels like it’s going to turn out all right, so it’s easier to let things run as Benny justifies his existence. Easier to give it the full chance it deserves.

And it does turn out well. For now, anyway.

In what is essentially a micro retelling of the “Grinch who stole Christmas” (but set in the cold and ugly streets of modern day Reno), Benny encounters his moment of change—and though he doesn’t seem to completely understand it his heart will soon be growing an extra size or two. No, we won’t see him slicing roast beast anytime soon. He’s just not that kind of a guy, and this isn’t a fairy tale. But his ship’s been nudged in the right direction, and, because Annie taken us on the full ride along with him—through the ugly muck and mire of his existence—she also bring us into the New Year with a sense of hope.

It’s a bit of audacious storytelling, actually, but that’s Annie Reed for you. She’s not afraid to go anywhere, and she can pull off pretty much everything.

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