Thoughts on Suicide: Prism Break

Sentinel Studios tackles Suicide

Suicide in Fiction

To tackle such a perceived controversial subject as suicide takes a lot of gumption to even attempt. Almost as hard as it is for someone to take their own life, knowing the pain it’ll take to get there and the uncertainty of life after death. The writer of this short story manages to open up strong, not beholden to either side of the issue. He gets you inside the head of a character who is dealing with his own demons as well as taking on everyone else’s. In fact, the motivation behind his suicide is a bit muddled. The story is told in first person and the main character feels neglected and abused by the people in his life. This makes the protagonist’s depression relatable, but it’s a tell to gain instant sympathy for the character. The effect is there and it’ll hit close to home for many who struggle with depression and have had thoughts of suicide now or in the past.

Once the main character commits suicide by overdosing on medication, he wakes up in a strange place. His sense of time is gone and essentially has the same form of amnesia as Leonard Shelby in Memento. He remembers killing himself, but nothing afterwards. It’s all just one big, infinite blur. After roaming for a lifetime and more, the narrator finds someone else named Kip who he befriends after learning where he is. The afterlife for the ones who committed suicide. Or, as Kip puts it, a pun on the word prison. Hence the title of the story: Prism Break.

Void and the Afterlife

After his first encounter with Kip and learning he’s a red soul because he took his own life, the main character meets the all powerful deity who rules over the land: Void. The vocal effects used here work well and it’s never over the top to where the filters overpower the actual words. In fact the overall production quality rivals works like We’re Alive and Edict Zero FIS. What’s even more surprising is one or two people were responsible for creating this entire short audio story.

Upon meeting Void, the narrator looks for Kip in quick three part try-fail cycle told in a single paragraph. It doesn’t detract from the enjoyment, but it could’ve been cut. If it had, the metaphoric nature of the ending would’ve been less noticeable.

The story’s ending only had one way of concluding in a satisfying way. Of course, one person’s “satisfied” is another person’s “unfulfilled.” Towards the beginning of the second act, you begin to wonder how the narrator is telling the story. If he’s dead, is he a ghost? The question is in the back of your mind. So far back that you don’t realize it consciously as you’re enjoying the story unfold.

Preaching at the End

During the climax, the story shifts from a complex treatment of suicide to a one-sided argument about judeo-christian belief and faith. In short, it’s heavy handed and destroys the major thematic promise in the beginning that the story will tackle the issue with fairness and non-biased attitudes. Add in the fact that Kip’s voice returns in another, christ-like, character and the motif of the story is abundantly clear.

All in all, Prism Break is a good listen for relatively long car rides or hour-long commutes. It’s opening will bring you close to tears, the middle intrigue and creep you out, and the end will leave you feeling preached at in a way that nobody enjoys.

4/5 Stars

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Next Time

The Tales of Sage and Savant (Season One)

Tales of the Otori: Across the Nightingale Floor

A historical Japanese fantasy set in the feudal period of the nation. The setting isn’t so much important as the places may or may not be real. It walks that line between “secondary world” and our “world, but with magic” well in some areas, but not in others. Overall, it doesn’t affect the enjoyment of the story, so its not worth going into further.

This story was highly influential—both subconsciously and perhaps consciously—in the writing of my book: Moon and Star. Not going to go into depth, except to say it’s available on Amazon for $2.99.

Moving right along, the way the first Tales of the Otori book handles multiple POV’s is wonderful. There are only two, but each one is handled in such a simple, yet brilliant way. The male protagonist scenes used first=person, where the female lead utilized third-person. It wasn’t until halfway through the audiobook that I realized the author was doing this. That speaks volumes on the immersive-nature of the story. The narrators certainly helped too.

The story centers around a young boy who watched his entire village destroyed by Iida and the Tohan. By fate, the boy is saved by a man who then goes out of his way to adopt him. The boy develops an attachment to the man, who later on reveals his true motive for being in the right place at the right time.

The twists and turns this story makes are most of the time predictable, but the way the overall arc unfolds is entertaining to the say the least. Unfortunately the ending kind of fizzles out after a the antagonist is defeated—in a non-satsifying, yet unexpected way. Aside from the slow burn out after the lackluster climax, this story is worth the time you spend listening.

4/5 Stars

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Part 1 of 3)

Originally published on graphicaudio.net

I finished reading the Final Empire sometime in the fall of 2011. However, I don’t remember much of the opening chapters, because I took a long gap of about 3 months before picking the book back up again.

Having read half of the second book in the trilogy, all I can say is “wow” at all the clues and hints I missed.

The one downside is that the narration is sometimes not needed. and seemed to drone on in places. A really good sound effect could do much of the heavy lifting in the “action” department. If I hear a coin being tossed, I don’t need the narrator telling me the same exact thing. It’s redundant.

That aside, it’s a shame that this part ended where it did. The book kicked it into high gear, during the heist planning scene and hearing it again was a real treat. Then again, it got me wanting to buy the second part.

Rating: 4/5 stars

The 33: Episode 1 Pramantha (Part 1 of 4)

Author J.C. Hutchins has a new story out there in the world and, damn it, can it be February 28, please? This is a serialized story released in both ebook and audiobook. The only way to get the audio is via his website: jchutchins.net.

HTML links aside, this series promises to be a great read or listen (or, in my case, both). The introductory scene was confusing at first, but that’s probably the point. The scene goes to a dark place rather suddenly, and from the scene’s conclusion it was smooth sailing until … well, the end of the episode.

The author’s narration is faster than most professional audiobooks and that’s a good thing. Actually it has more to do with pacing, but there was never a moment where my eyes wandered several paragraphs ahead to find out what was going to happen next. J.C. narrates at a similar speed in which we [sentient beings] read.

There’s not much to review in terms of story. From what is in the episode, there was never a moment where it seemed to drag on. The beginning may have been a bit slow, but it ramped up quickly and efficiently all the way to the end. And by the time it reached the end, I was completely caught off guard. Time really does fly by when your having fun.