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Rocinante by Wes Boyd

 

Vagabonding in the seventies! The only thing that kept Mark going in Vietnam was his plan to spend some time wandering the country by air, like barnstormers did 50 years before. In the last days before leaving, he acquires a partner—a tall, morose girl named Jackie. They spend months on their aerial oddessy, falling in love along the way while having adventures that will turn into memories for a lifetime.



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Editorial Reviews

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Slow and . . . slow.

By Donna Sirianni, editor

Dec 4, 2008: Reading the first five chapters of this story was like slogging through mud up to my thighs. I’ve never taken so long to read what is rightly such a short amount of words but the tedium with which the story is told wore me down.

Every piece of minutiae, every asinine conversation, nearly every bit of movement was portrayed in these chapters in what I could only think of as a means to move the plot forward, as if there wasn’t anything else to drive it except a ticking clock.

I hope you want to find out how to build an airplane and what it’s parts are, because you’ll get a lesson in all of that just from the first five chapters. Aside from the gross amount of technicalities, a lot of description and what can only be described as emotion was redundant. Overly so. Jackie’s hesitance, for instance, about taking the trip with Mark is reiterated multiple times, sometimes within the same chapter. It made the length of the chapters unwarranted since most of them could be chopped down and the redundancy and unimportant, unnecessary details removed in order to further the story much more quickly.

The problem I see here is that the telling focuses on just that, telling the reader about stitching the wing and having them listening to unimportant dialogue instead of showing us how the characters are actually developing. I’ve read a handful of chapters into Busted Axle Road, also by Wes, and his particular method of storytelling is a bit dry but at least with Busted Axle, the momentum and pacing made the story advance instead of pull itself along at a painfully slow pace. I was actually driven to read more of Busted Axle. Not so with Rocinante.

To me, Wes writes more traditional stories. Nothing fantastical. Very grounded in reality and very anchored in ordinary people, places and things. I see nothing wrong with this so long as there’s a story to tell. The only part of this story that jerked me a little was at the end of the fifth chapter where Mark was leaving for his trip so suddenly. I wasn’t expecting it that soon and it took my by surprise and I thought ‘he can’t leave yet!’ But that’s it. The rest was too steeped in everyday reality to be of any interest. Not that reality can’t be interesting, but there’s got to be a better way to show character development than through ribstitching.

I wanted to see into the characters heads (there was hopping but I didn’t really find it jarring). I wanted to really feel them but I felt they were just an out of focus movie that I was watching. Or paint drying. I didn’t feel Jackie’s pain of wanting to go on the trip but "couldn’t." I didn’t feel her and Mark’s connection when they kissed and I just didn’t care about looking through the telescope because all Jackie did was ooo and ahh about it. I didn’t feel her love for it. I was just told about it. Everything these two did together felt like carefully coordinated steps instead of the natural progression of the story. It didn’t help that segues from one chapter, scene or chapter point felt just as staccato.

There’s a story buried in here somewhere but the day-to-day meanderings of the characters really need to be chiseled away and the attention refocused on the characters instead of their actions which really, for the most part, are irrelevant to the base of the story (are the technicalities of painting a wing necessary?), in order for the story to shine. At this point, that’s the only way I see that happening.

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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Wholesome and Risky All At Once

By GreenGlass, member

Nov 30, 2008: I read this story awhile back and I thought it was great, so I might as well add a review. Somewhere I got the impression that the story would be conservative, but it also turned out to be down-to-earth, sexy, inspiring, exciting, and sometimes edgy! Even the places where it wandered into the subject of religion seemed a bit unorthodox to me, and I didn’t feel pressured to agree with the character’s conclusions on that subject. Maybe it still is somewhat wholesome, but I throughly enjoyed this tale anyway.

It centers around a friendship and grand trip between two twenty-somethings that slowly grows into something more. The whole thing was believable adventure; it was a realistic story because of the tone it was written in, but the concept plays at the edge of ordinary. I haven’t traveled a lot, much less in a small plane, but it was easy to imagine traveling along anyway. The author comes up with some really interesting details and detours. The ending was satisfying and idyllic without making me gag or roll my eyes.

But that’s just me. I enjoy free wovels, and this one was a very enjoyable read! Take a look at it for yourself!

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