1. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Lying, dog-faced pony Marine Supporter Contributor

    Feb 12, 2015
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    Face down in the dirt
    Currently Reading::
    Telemachus Sneezed

    Tender Wings of Desire, by Colonel Sanders

    Discussion in 'Discussion of Published Works' started by Iain Aschendale, May 7, 2017.

    Okay, so I read the damn thing. It's currently a free kindle download, what the hell, why not?

    I believe this is the first romance novella/story that I've ever read. I mean, I've read stories with romantic aspects to them (Atlas Shrugged, Time Enough for Love, Nyarlathotep), but I've never read a flat-out romance, so I'm probably the wrong person to review something like this. Still, I'll give it an honest try.

    First, the basic story. Spoilers to follow, of course. A young woman with a younger sister is ambivalent about the idea of marriage, but her dad is some sort of gentry, and he betroths her to a... duke? Something like that. Anyway, little sis wants to get married, but can't until older sis...Madeline, sorry, I'm crap with names, does first. So Madeline is ambivalent, barely knows the man she's to marry, and little sis is over the moon because it opens up the field for her.

    Night before the wedding, Madeline gets on her favorite horse and bails, with a bag of simple dresses and a few coins in her purse. Two days' ride away, she finds a little fishing village and manages to get a job as a tavern maid, with a wise slightly older woman in charge of her. The fisherman who frequent the tavern are all perfect gentlemen and no one ever tries anything untoward, and her employment includes not only (a private) room and board, but also enough money to keep her horse in the local livery stables.

    Did I mention this is a period piece? They never say which period, but apparently pre-steam and pre-telegraph, which makes the cover art just ridiculous, but I understand that's fairly traditional in romance novels. I know it is in SF, so...

    Then Harland Sanders comes in. He's the only sailor Madeline's ever seen who wears glasses, and she's head over heels. Her mentor cautions her that not all the sailors are honorable men, but he turns out to be, and they spend several nights together, although it's not clear how far they go. Lots of kissing, definitely, but if you're straight and looking to get your bits aroused, well, I suggest the Sears catalog.

    Then she finds out his dark secret, that he's not a simple sailor, but, in fact, a Colonel, American gentry, and she fears that she'll be stuck in the life she wanted to escape, but realizes that she loves him, and they live happily every after, with her younger sister marrying the duke that Madeline left at the altar.

    Like I said, it's the first romance I've ever read, but it sounds like what I believe an early AI tasked with turning out a romance would write. There was absolutely nothing in the book that couldn't be predicted ten pages prior to its occurrence, and I never felt anything for or about any of the characters. The writing is also what I'd consider sub-standard; there is an almost complete absence of contractions in dialogue, and there's quite a bit of repetition of words. A couple fairly typical examples:

    And a few sentences that just knocked me right out of whatever engagement I'd achieved:

    All in all, I think Col. Sanders should stick to his chicken. Which, by the way, features nowhere in the story.

    Oh well, it was free.
  2. Frostbite

    Frostbite Member

    Apr 24, 2017
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    First when I've read the title I thought it was some kind of satire or joke, but that's an actual novella made it even funnier than any joke could be. Thanks for making me laugh, this really made my day. "Tender wings of desire by Colonel Sanders" will be the thing that sticks in my mind and makes me laugh every time I think of it for the days to come.
    Iain Aschendale likes this.

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