Monday, June 10, 2013

Library of America Story of the Week Read-Along 48: Jack Snow, Midnight (#96)

Jack Snow, "Midnight" (1946) from American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now:

I don't  quite know what to say about this. It has the form of an EC Comic, like Tales from the Crypt: a man is so obsessed with evil that he studies it in various forms around the world, finally sending his spirit out to occupy many horrific situations at midnight--only, he's put in the position of the victims of horror and he can never escape since it's always midnight somewhere.

Which would be a fun twist if it wasn't given away somewhere halfway through. I appreciate the fact that this is a six-page story, so instead of pointlessly dramatizing the "I like horror" scenes, Snow can simply narrate that in summary. After all, it would be somewhat rhetorically hard to keep topping the horror.

But as a story, going from sentence to sentence, this prose doesn't move forward very well. The summaries are too quick and the character is too unbelievable and the instances of horror just don't really horrify since they too are barely described.

The best part of this might be the description of the over-the-top evil clock, which is campy, but at least gives an image.

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