Tuesday, October 31, 2006

CSFF October Blog Tour -- Day Two of DKA

Once again, I went to Dragons, Knights, and Angels and read one of the short stories in their current issue. This time, I chose Plaque by ct matthews.

The reason I chose this one stems back to the ACFW conference. At the conference, John Olson told us the story of how one of his first manuscripts he tried to sell was a Christian vampire story. Needless to say, I was a bit curious as to how to even produce a Christian vampire story.

Well, that's exactly what CT Matthews has written and, for the most part, does a pretty good job. There's not a lot of action to the story, but at five pages long, that's to be expected. He also came up with an interesitng twist to how Christians and vampires would interact. I especially appreciated the communion hymn at the end of the story. Very nice touch.

That being said, there were three things that bothered me about this story.

The first is the title. I think Mr. Matthews intended to title his story "Plague", not "Plaque". It's a minor thing but still...

The second two things had more to do with history and theology. The first is the statement that Cain was Jewish.

That may seem like an odd thing to quibble about, but it's actually one of my pet peeves. It's historically inaccurate to refer to someone as Jewish if they died before approximately 587 BC. That's because, historically, nobody was called a Jew until after the people of Judah returned from the Babylonian Exile. Then they're called Jews. Before that point, they were called Israelites, children of Israel, or Hebrews.

It's not even right, really, to refer to Cain as a member of the Chosen People either, since the whole "Chosen People" business didn't get started until Abraham, who lived many centuries (maybe even millennia) after Cain died.

To put it in modern terms, you wouldn't refer to the ancient Maya in Mel Gibson's upcoming movie as "Mexicans", even though they lived and died before Mexico was even formed as a country. It's just sloppy, historically speaking.

The second thing that threw me off was the statement that Jewish people couldn't be turned into vampires yet converts to Judaism could. That just doesn't seem right to me.

Anyway, perhaps the reason why I'm being so picky is because, ultimately, I enjoyed this story and I hope to see more from Mr. Matthews. This guy's got potential.

Once again, don't forget to visit the other members of the Blog Tour:

Jim Black
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Frank Creed
Christina Deanne
Beth Goddard
Rebecca Grabill
Todd Michael Greene
Leathel Grody
Karen Hancock
Elliot Hanowski
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Joleen Howell
John Otte
Jason Joyner
Oliver King
Tina Kulesa
Kevin Lucia
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Cheryl Russell
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Chris Walley
Lost Genre Guild
Speculative Faith

See you tomorrow for the last day of the tour!


Becky said...

Hey, John, you should have saved your review of Double Vision for our blog tour. I think it's February we're highlighting Randy. I suppose you can reprise this without any trouble. ;-)

I like your review of "Plaque" or "Plague," whichever. I think your points are valid and something every Christian needs to remember, even SFF'ers. When we touch on reality, whether historical or contemporary, we need to do the same work as any other writer.


Anonymous said...

Love the nit-picking (I don't mean that pejoratively) - it's great to have such sharp readers to keep everyone on their toes. Good points.

Mirtika said...

Hey, John!

I wasn't on the editorial panel that reviewed "Plaque"--but the title is, as I'm told by the top editor, correct. (Perhaps a play on plague and plaque--the turning of a letter, the TURNING...and the thing on one's teeth. Vampire's teeth. Get it?)

I would have suggested a clarification on what is meant by Chosen. The line of the chosen did not come from Cain, so that was, well, quite questionable at minimum.

Again, this is a vampire, and one can also say the narrator is somewhat unreliable. :) Perhaps amidst vampires, the truth is warped as much as their hungers.

I think I've read too many GEne Wolfe stories. :)


Mirtika said...

Looky here. Selena Thomason, Managing Editor of DKA, said this:

Hi, John:

Thanks for blogging about DKA.

I just wanted to let you know that the author actually did intend "Plaque" instead of "Plague" for the title. (But believe me, I had the same question!) It's a play on how a Christian's blood rots the teeth of vampires. You can see that meaning a little in this line from the story:
"His victim's blood had not yet dried on his razor sharp fangs, now badly corroded and about to dissolve altogether."

Glad you enjoyed the story, at least partly.


Selena T