Reviewed: 2010-10-24 - (Review Updated: 2010-11-16)
For fans of "The Lottery," Dark Vision's "Lady Guinevere" can be considered a slimmed-down version of the author's magnum opus. It has so many of the same elements (coming-of-age joy and angst, romantic sibling incest, open-minded and supportive parents, fishing, fishing, more fishing), but it has half-as-long chapters, and only half as many of those, plus a cast of characters that's only half as big (well, at first).
Best of all, it's better written and much better edited than Dark Vision's original tale of learning about life, love and sports fishing.
"Lady Guinevere" follows the maturation of Jenny Shockley, the daughter of a Florida yacht builder, who's reached the age at which her mind is turning to things sexual. In addition to attending to their respective libidos, she and her older brother, Eddie, learn responsibility and the joys of fishing when her father buys for the family the titular vessel.
The story is actually two in one. The first -- and better -- half chronicles Jenny's awakening desires and her early experimentation with Eddie. It's charming coming-of-age material, all the more so because Dark Vision's writing is better in Jenny's first-person view than it was in the third-person presentation of the character-heavy "Lottery."
The second half revolves around a familiar Dark Vision theme, the banding together of like-thinking people around a sexually enlightened nexus, in this case Jenny's parents. While Jenny and Eddie develop their fishing skills and bring in friends and lovers to share their time on "Lady Guinevere," her parents collect the sexually and socially damaged parents of those friends into a happy group. It's a pleasant concept, although watching one adult after another have all of their psychological afflictions instantly washed away after no more than a common-sense chat with the Shockleys greatly strains the story's credibility.
Then there's the fishing . . . it will help you get into "Lady Guinevere" if you enjoy deep-sea sports fishing, but it's not necessary. I admit to rolling my eyes each time a teenage character opines that fishing is even better than sex, because I can't imagine any hormonal young person actually feeling that way. On the other hand, I have no doubt that Dark Vision holds that view. But give the author credit for making the text dealing with angling -- and the contests the young crew enters against older fishermen -- an enjoyable read, not unlike the way other teen-oriented pieces recount the big football game.
"Lady Guinevere," like its predecessor, doesn't build to a dramatic conclusion; the story basically just ends, but that's for the purpose of bringing together the casts of Dark Vision's two fishy tales for the ongoing "Unique Adventures," which, as of this writing, is four years in the making and past the 50-chapter mark. It's intriguing to imagine how the author will choreograph a cast of horny teens of up to 16. The guess here is that there will be fishing involved . . .