On Wednesday, I posted a review of Richard Paolinelli’s Escaping Infinity, in which I lamented the inclusion of an extended post-script that felt like a separate story in its own right. After giving this book more thought, I have to revise my opinion of it.
The #PulpRev channel has been crackling over the last few weeks with discussions about the foolishness of the traditional hero’s journey story structure, of which Dario Ciriello’s post at the Castalia House blog is just one example. It occurred to me after writing my review of Escaping Infinity that my view of it has been unduly affected by a lifetime of exposure to the standard 3-act story structure. This book defied my expectations, and my initial response was one of confusion, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that Paolinelli should be commended for taking a huge risk.
He didn’t stick to traditional story structures, and instead let the story unfold in a far more natural manner than if he had tried to squeeze it into a formula. Risks like these are what the #PulpRev is all about, and we should always be on guard against adhering to the old rules. Richard Paolinelli has the guts to ignore them to craft a better story. As readers, we should learn from his example.