Spoiler Free Summary: A Family Tradition by Ian J. Malone is the tenth story in the Four Horsemen anthology, For a Few Credits More. Taylor is a young man trying to keep his past quiet, but the nightmares of his older brother won’t go away, and he’s about to receive an offer that he never expected.
Character: What I like about this is that Taylor’s story is powerful even without what I think is context fans of the world will have. This story is strong just on the power of Taylor’s guilt and his memory for his brother. My thought is (and I’d love it if fans of the universe could confirm or bust my theory) that Taylor is a much more relevant character than just a solid solo story. Of all the stories in the anthology (though this isn’t one of my top three) this is the story that made it most tempting to delve into the universe. Taylor’s depth and conflict are the reasons why.
Exposition: When I started reading this, I really thought I was in for ten pages of back story that would really drag the story down, so I was really impressed when I realized that wasn’t the case. Sure, the story does have some info-dumps, but not nearly as much as a lesser writer would have trying to help the reader connect. For any author looking to study “show don’t tell” this is a solid story to read to find out how it’s done.
World building: Honestly, this is where the story fell short. Yes, I’m glad I didn’t get a multi-page pile of exposition on who these guys are and their relevance, I also didn’t really understand the scope of this story. If my theory above is true, than this is just a problem for those who, like me, didn’t read the rest of the saga. However, if the same theory is true, fans of the saga will enjoy this little peak into a character’s origin.
Dialogue: This was also a bit of a low for me. One of the pivotal plot points required dialogue, and it just didn’t hit with me. Perhaps it was the shorter nature of the story. I don’t recall that many internal narrative beats either. Ultimately, the conversation didn’t amp up the emotion, and when your plot point is based on dialogue, you really need that.
Description: This was just fine for me. I could have even used a bit more detail in the scenes, but I’d rather have “a little less than I’d like” than anything close to “more than I need.” It didn’t detract from the story, but I’d be lying if I said it added to it either.
Overall: This is an emotionally powerful story that would be orders of magnitude more powerful if the reader already had a connection with the story. Fans of the series who (perhaps) recognize this character and his unit will truly love this little vignette. However, people who know less will still enjoy it if they like character drama or moment of truth stories. I truly would like to know if my theory is right, and if it is, what was your opinion of this story?
Thanks for reading,
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