Reviews - What do customers think about Rock Breaks Scissors Cut?
Might Have Been a Decent Short Story Apr 16, 2004
I've read the majority of Schow's short stories and two of his novels (The Shaft & The Riff) enjoying most, but Rock Breaks Scissors Cut was a chore to wade through. It seemed like an overblown short story and wasn't very impressive. The characters are bland and the ending 'twist' wasn't exactly the most surprising. Save your money, go buy one of his short story collections.
A promising story that doesn't quite pan out Jan 1, 2004
David J. Schow is best known for coining the term "splatterpunk" to describe horror that is steeped in gore, but Rock Breaks Scissors Cut, his first published novel in ten years, sets a different course, attempting to delve into matters of life itself and its ultimate meaning. The story shows great promise initially but seems to break down at the very end.
The story centers on the experiments of one Dr. Gold, who has received a great deal of funding for her experiments on the nature of dreams. Three voluntary test subjects come in several times a week to be hooked up to fancy scientific equipment for the recording of data. The three volunteers could hardly be more different. Melinda is a shy, awkward woman with a quiet job in a bookstore, no social life outside the world of her pet cats, and almost nothing in the way of communications skills. Jovana is a well-known model who hides a lot of insecurity and private pain underneath the face she shows so much of the world every day. Gilbert is a journalist who writes about entertainment and popular culture, and there does not seem to be much substance to his character at all. Initially, the three subjects leave the lab as they arrived, quite separately, but something strange takes place after one particular session. While Gilbert is dreaming of Jovana, he has a juicy little encounter with Melinda, and events soon take on some wild turns. Each character begins to become more aware of one another, and each takes drastic action of one sort or another on one significant day. Melinda basically disappears in all but voice, but we follow Gilbert and Jovana through a series of mental perturbations as they seek to understand why they suddenly seem to know so many secret things about one another. Gradually, the three subjects realize that they have all become linked in a very important, if not symbiotic way. With Dr. Gold nowhere to be found, their journey leads them to stranger and stranger revelations, and it is here that the novel begins to crumble somewhat. The manner in which these three characters come together is rather far-fetched, and the ultimate revelation about the true nature of the experiments really needed a lot more explanation and background if it were to have seemed remotely plausible. I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed by the conclusion of what had seemed to be a quite promising novel.
Rock Breaks Scissors Cut is not a long novel by any means, stretching out no more than 140 pages. I have not yet read any other of Schow's fictional stories and novels, so I cannot compare this novel to anything else he has written. This just has the feel of a very long short story to me, though, as it lacks some of the filler material, contextualization, and character development that an effective novel would seem to require. I'm not saying this is a bad book, by any means, as parts of the story are quite compelling and even insightful. Schow definitely has talent, and I would very much like to sample more of his work in the future.