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.
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