Deal Me In, Week 43 ~ “[Answer]”

20140105-160356

Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“[Answer]” by F. Paul Wilson

Card picked: Nine of Clubs

From: David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible

Review: The title of this story is a five letter word. It looks like ROPED, but typed over a few times. This word is the Answer.

Yuppy-wannbe Michael Moulton discovers the Answer when an audio cassette tape is accidentally substituted for his Three Months to Financial Independence video cassette. He calls the company to complain and is told to box up the tape and a replacement will be provided immediately. Immediately isn’t fast enough, Michael listens to the tape before the owner of the self-help company, Dennis Nickleby himself, arrives to retrieve it. There is only one thing on the audio cassette, a garbled word. The Answer.

Nickleby is concerned that Michael has listened to the tape and Michael lies through omission about it. All is well until Michael talks to his stock broker about the strange tape and the Answer. His stock broker misunderstands the conversation and makes a trade for a stock he thought he heard Michael say. The stock soars and Michael realizes that the Answer is always the best Answer to whatever question is being asked. Unfortunately, an omniscient cabal zealously protects its usage. Will Michael be smart enough to use the Answer against them?

This is a decent story, a solid take on what happens when an unwise man gets hold of a magic word. The minor trick of a typed-over word works really well narratively, though I don’t know how you’d pull it off in the digital age. If updated, a CD-ROM and a DVD would make a more likely switch-out than an audio and video tape.

About the Author: F. Paul Wilson is a horror writer I’ve been meaning to read more of for ages. He’s known for The Keep, which was adapted for film in 1983 by Michael Mann, and his Repairman Jack stories/novels.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Deal Me In, Week 43 ~ “[Answer]”

  1. Pingback: Deal Me In – Week 43 Wrap Up | Bibliophilopolis

  2. I’m a little confused by the title of the story, but I like the concept of “the answer” – feels a little Twilight Zone-y too, reminiscent of the episode where an old peddler sells people odd items saying,”it’s what you NEED”…. which later turns out to be true.

    1. If there had been a Twilight Zone episode with a money-grubbing yuppie, this would have been it.

      The actual title of the story is the over-written word. I probably should have opted for translating it in wingdings, but my brain decided to equate it with an album title by the band KMFDM that’s written in symbols and is usually called [Symbols].

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s