A Weekend At Stanleys by Simon E. Bond
A Weekend At Stanleys by Simon E. Bond is a novella about an 80-year old man who, quite frankly, isn’t quite all there. When an intruder breaks into his house, Stan ties him up in the basement. While this is happening, Stan is completely oblivious to the chaos going on outside.
I think this story has a lot of potential, but desperately needs an editor’s eye.
The story is written from third person point of view in present tense – something I have always found interesting to read – but there are a lot of grammatical errors that range from punctuation to sentence structure. This could have easily been fixed with the eye of a good editor. Looking beyond those errors, there is a skill in setting the scene that I can appreciate. I just wish the story was more polished because there are a lot of things that could have been great with just a little tweaking.
The same goes for dialogue. It wasn’t quite there and could have used an editor to smooth things out and make it sound more natural. The meaning is there, but the phrasing is off, making it come across as stilted and not very realistic. The wrong punctuation was used often and near the end, an onslaught of exclamation points were used to demonstrate the ‘drama’ of a situation, rather than just letting the writing do the job. Once again, having a good editor would have helped tremendously.
As for the characters, well Stan was certainly interesting to read. He was old, filthy, perverted, and surprisingly, I kind of liked him. Not in a way that I would ever want to meet him, but as a character he was entertaining and so different from what I usually read. Most of the time, it’s hard to find actual flaws in a main character. With Stan, it was hard trying to find something that wasn’t a flaw. It made him more realistic and Simon Bond did a great job in helping the reader to know the character without spelling it all out. Most of the secondary characters also came off as realistic, though there were some moments where I questioned motives.
As for plot, I found it very different in a good way. It was like looking at two different worlds, both chaotic for different reasons, and while both were happening at the same time and in the same place, they were completely separate. I think Bond did a good job of combining two different plot lines in a way that was cohesive and that added to the main character, Stan, and his development. I think the end needed work – it was a little rushed and could have used some fleshing out – but the beginning and middle were done well and with a rewrite or two, I think the ending could be fixed to be at the same level.
I can’t say much for the ‘aliens’. There are hints at what was going on and I like the way that was written, but I couldn’t really get behind what was happening when left so completely in the dark. I think a tiny bit of explanation would be good. Not a lot as the ‘invasion’ isn’t the main focus of the story and it really would take away from the point of the novel if everything were explained, but knowing more of what was going on, or at least the scale of it (Just one part of the world? Global?) would have added to the tension.
Overall, I found this to be an entertaining read. It’s in dire need of editing, but the writing has a lot of potential to be great and if it were to be edited with some work done on the ending, I would definitely revisit it.
Alien Encounter: 2.5/5
Entertainment Value: 3.5/5
Average Overall Rating: 2.42/5
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