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Life In Motion by Von L Cid

26 Stories from A to Z 

There are moments in life that we never forget. These are moments that move us, change us and forever shape our view of the world.

In this collection, from Von L Cid, you will find 26 moments in the lives of 26 people. There is a tale for every letter of the alphabet. Come along as Adam discovers death, Lenny gets revenge, Orion disappears, Roger connects with his father, Vicky gets trapped, and Zelda runs from her fears. Each tale told in about 800 words, you will cry, laugh, smile and, most of all, be entertained.

Note: Life In Motion contains some harsh language.

A collection of stories

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Listed: May 26, 2012


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Life in Snapshots

By Wildbow, author of Ward

Jun 11, 2012: Von L Cid took the A-Z challenge, setting himself the goal of writing one 600-1000 word story every day for the month of April, each corresponding to one letter of the alphabet. Life in Motion is the result.

I titled this review ‘Life in Snapshots’ because this is essentially what the story amounts to. Each entry is standalone, which gives the collection an episodic feel.

Reviewing such a collection is hard, because the structure of the work and the nature of the challenge Von undertook have their limitations. In figuring out how I would approach this, I had to ask, are the standalone stories interesting or appealing, is it thought provoking, or is there something new in there?

It pains me to say the answer is ‘no’.

I really wanted to be able to say that Life in Motion had some gems, and that Von’s efforts in the challenge produced something, but too many chapters are effectively pointless. Like the boy who tells us he hates bees and gets stung every time he goes to his beekeeper grandfather’s. After his internal monologue on the subject, he ventures out of the car to his grandfather’s and he gets stung. He still hates bees.

Like Bertram and his bees, there are too many stories with no character development, too few stories with characters that change between the start of a story and the end. For those characters who do undergo some small transformation, the effect is fairly shallow, like the boy who watches his ant farm die and loses interest in his hobby.

There are stories in there with a kernel of something amusing, interesting or funny, like Gail and the Girl or Lenny and the Lemonade, but I can’t give Von credit for them because they’re stories I’ve heard before, sometimes many times over, in different variations.

Inconsistency also plays a part in my frustration here. In writing style, the perspective changes from first to third person between stories, and some read as very stilted and simple in structure while simultaneously featuring young boys and girls who use words like ‘capacity’, ‘encompassed’ and ‘accomodate’. I could see some appeal if the stories all tied in to one another, between one mood or style, or with a common thread between them. Were all the stories like Adam’s Ants and Lenny’s Lemonade, the story might have some appeal to youths and new readers. The trouble with this is that you then get a story like Zelda and the Zamboni, which has a man getting falsely acused of rape. Not something for a children’s book, and arguably not something that is treated with the gravitas the subject deserves.

The site layout deserves a mention, because it is well done in terms of mechanics and layout (with the use of a free website builder), but also somewhat offensive to the eyes. The background around the text is a neon green astroturf, and the use of the ‘forward’ and ‘back’ buttons or clicking on the links prompts the stories to drop down from the top of the page or retreat back to reveal the selection of stories. It’s a good example of a site with excellent design that just happens to be very poor for reading. The pause as the pages rise and fall disrupts the smoothness of the reading experience (anyone who has used an ebook reader with a slow page turn time may know what I’m talking about) and the garishness of the background left me momentarily blinded any time I read a few stories and then changed tabs to something else.

I’m left with the impression that the collection is about the things that are meaningful to people at different stages in their childhood, but the end result is that there are some stories that readers will find dull, some that may pique some nostalgia, and if you’re lucky to have not stumbled upon them elsewhere, other stories that may hold some interest. I’m reminded of the chicken soup for the soul collections, but there is no message of optimism or goodness in humanity, nor is there the inverse, an exploration of darker things. It is just . . . chicken soup.

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