Short Story Review: Baen's Universe Articles

A friend of mine sent me these Baens-Universe articles, written by Tony Frazier. From a writer's perspective, I am impressed with the tone of voice that emanates from the narrator, a retired superhero with an attitude problem. The story is written in first-person present tense, which gives the story a very powerful impact.

Astromonkeys, is the retelling of how Digger and Astro save the day when these nasty, green space monkeys attacked. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But the way the tale is told--with Digger sitting at the bar with a friend of his, explaining to the barmaid why promises must be kept--the reader gets easily sucked into Digger's sassy, disrespectful account of the events.

Double-Secret Weapon starts with Digger signing fan-pics at a mall when Professor Pierce, an evil-doer who throws needles, shows up in line to beg him to let him be on the show. There's nothing Digger could do, even if he wanted to It's a world where superheroes are reduced to the role of Hollywood heroes. Here's an excerpt:

Another picture slides in front of me, a little blond kid, about the same age as the last one, staring at me with big, round eyes. His mother nudges him. "Tell him your name, honey," she says.

"Darren. I really like your show," the kid says, "And my favorite character is Dig-Dog."

Jesus wept. Of all the things I hate about The Digger Family Amazing Power Hour, and there are several, the one I hate most is the extended family they've saddled me with: Kid Digger and Daisy Digger and Uncle Digger and the Three Lieutenant Diggers: Ditch, Posthole and Grave. But the worst, the absolute worst, is the Mighty Dig-Dog, mainly because he's the real hero of the show. They play me as a big buffoon, always getting in over my head until Dig-Dog comes in to save the day. Bastard.

But I try to keep a smile on my face as I write on the picture. I hand it back and say, "He's my favorite, too." Smiling makes my face hurt.

These two stories are excellent entertainment but also are good examples of writing with voice.

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Other topics on voice:
style and voice

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