02 October 2010


Locus Focus: Take Twenty-One!

Welcome to the Scary Settings Challenge!

Locus Focus will be all about Horror this October!!! (I feel like an honourary Scream Queen already!)

Remember that 30 October 2010 is for Scary Settings: The Movie Edition! I've always wanted to open Locus Focus to great settings from film, so this new part of the challenge already has a special place in my Horror-loving heart.

(Note: since my "book blogging" consists of writing about books without reviewing them, I'm going to make this count as my first entry for for Peril the First of the RIP V Challenge. It's already linked up at the RIP V Challenge Review Site.)

Our Lady of Perpetual Reflections
Full Tilt
by Neal Shusterman

As I dodged and crawled through the reflective battle zone, I began to get an understanding of the mirrors themselves. Some appeared to be plain old fun-house mirrors, pulling and twisting your reflection into something barely recognisable. Other mirrors were far worse. When you looked in some of them, your reflection appeared exactly the same, but the way you felt about what you saw was warped and distorted. There was this one mirror that made me see myself as weak and cowardly and another that made me feel so overwhelmingly inadequate, I felt I'd shrivel into nothingness if I looked too long. Another mirror made me feel as if I were intensely stupid, and another magnified the fear in my soul so much, I was afraid I might scream and never stop. No mirrors in the real world had the ability to reach inside you the way these did . . .

At first I hesitated over this choice. I've already featured a Neal Shusterman novel for a Locus Focus Challenge (The Downside for Subterranean Settings) and thought I should spread the love around a little more . . . and then I remembered that Shusterman doesn't get half as much love as I think he deserves. And so, here he is again . . .

Full Tilt is set in a postmodern Inferno: a hell for people who don't believe in hell. Or to be more specific, an amusement park that wants your soul.

Its rules are simple: a) everyone who enters must take seven rides; b) they have until dawn to use up this ticket; c) anyone who isn't finished by the end of the night cannot leave the park; d) anyone who dies on a ride is claimed by the park. Good luck! (Bwahahahahahaha!)

While I had seven diabolical attractions to choose from, I settled on my favourite: a fun house the size of a Gothic cathedral, full of mirrors that can reflect what is in your soul. But of course, they only reflect the bad things. And if you are unlucky enough to stumble into one of the evil mirrors . . . well, let's just say you no longer look like yourself when you come out of the other side.

One reason this "ride" is my favourite is that it perfectly fits the idea of a "personal" hell. A hall of mirrors gives the illusion of infinity even when one is in a tight, enclosed space--which is exactly what you're trapped in when hell exists only in your own mind. And what else would there be to look at but your own self-image, distorted even at best: endless reflections of your worst thoughts about yourself, over and over and over . . .

The second reason I like it is that of all the rides in this park, "Our Lady of Perpetual Reflections" would have the easiest time trapping me forever. Its mirrors take "tiny truths, swelling them out of proportion--and the fact that there was a kernel of truth in what they reflected made the effect devastating." I'd never stop wandering around its mirrored passageways, lost, deformed, wailing at the sight of my own inner self, and terrorised by its blood thirsty clowns. (Oh, did I not mention the clowns?)


Now it's your turn!
Leave the link to your Locus Focus post in the linky
and take some time to check out and comment on those of others.
I can't wait to read what everyone has to say! =D

Other Loci Foci for This Week . . .

J. Bernlef's Human Mind @ Pearls Cast before a McPig

Edgar Allen Poe's House of Usher @ Spike Is Best

J.R.R. Tolkien's Old Forest @ Null Epistolary

Ray Bradbury's Carnival of Mr. Dark @ Birdie's Nest

Aola Vandergriff's Wyndspelle @ This Miss Loves to Read

* * * * *

Announcing the winner of the
First Ever Locus Focus Giveaway


Sullivan McPig!!!

Congratulations, Sully! =D E-mail me to let me know which book you want and your shipping details. Thanks for supporting Locus Focus!

Image Source: Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman


Cozy Book Nook (Lesa) said...

I love rides--- probably wouldn't last long here if my ride was a spider ride. And bloodthirsty clowns? clowns don't scare me but Yikes!!

hahhaa--Now I get it!! For some reason I thought you were hosting a scary challenge-- I've been waiting for you to post about it. I may still join up but doesn't sound quite as fun now.

Enbrethiliel said...


LOL! RIP V isn't mine. =P I'm too afraid to host a Reading Challenge because I imagine nobody would show up! *blush*

Birdie said...

Woot! We are getting kind of frighteningly alike XD I, too, chose a carnival as my scary setting for this Locus Focus! I've not read the one you're writing on though, so I might have to.
Have you read Johannes Cabal the Necromancer? It's set mostly in a carnival as well.

Props and congrats to Sully!

Sullivan McPig said...

I won!!! *does happy dance*

This setting sounds scary and cool I must say. Mine is scary and disturbing I think.

*runs of to check what books there were to choose from*

antiaphrodite said...

I like carnivals, and I like rides--though I really don't remember going on a scary one.

Belfry Bat said...


Belfry Bat said...

And a joining-in link, up there. What's this Paul's got, now?

Paul Stilwell said...

"c) anyone who isn't finished by the end of the night cannot leave the park"

Yikes! And fun houses are already the worst, without the mirrors reflecting (and magnifying) the bad things in one's soul. That is really quite terrifying.

Enbrethiliel said...


Birdie: And what an interesting time to be frighteningly alike! (Bwahahahaha!) I'll zip over to read your post as soon as I can!

PS--I have not yet read Johannes Cabal. I'll keep an eye out for it, though. Thanks!

Sully: Congratulations again! =D I've already received your e-mail and ordered your choice from Amazon. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Let me add that I'm very glad to have this chance to thank you for being such a great supporter of my blog. Your online friendship means a lot to me.

Antiaphrodite: Would you, by any chance, remember Fiesta Carnival in Cubao? There was a scary ride there. I only went on it once, but I liked looking at the lurid pictures painted on its outside whenever I had a good view from the cable car ride.

Bat: Yay! =D

Stilwell: I didn't share half of what is in that "fun" house, in this post. If you ever get a chance to read this novel--or any of Neal Shusterman's books, really--I think you'll be in for a real thrill!

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

You chose a VERY Gothic and scary setting! Many mirrors in one place freak me out, I confess, so reading your post gave me chills. But the sort of chills that make me want to go there nonetheless, if that makes ANY sense.:) Awesome post!

Sullivan McPig said...

@Enbrethiliel: Awwww.... Thanks!
Likewise here

antiaphrodite said...

Oh I totally remember it!!! Though...it was more because we passed it on the way to the clinic instead of actually going on the rides :-(

Kailana said...

I have to admit I have never read Neal Shusterman before. I have heard of him, but even before now I am not even sure if I knew what he wrote... I will give him some attention now, though!

Enbrethiliel said...


Irena: The house I grew up in--which many people (myself included) felt to be haunted had mirrors almost everywhere. One of the big bathrooms had mirrors on all four walls--full length sliding mirrors on the closets lining three walls and a regular mirror over the sink on the fourth wall. You could stand in front of two of the full-length mirrors that faced each other and see the back of your head going off into infinity . . .

Yes, mirrors are scary! =D

Antiaphrodite: Awwww! =( Well, it wasn't a huge loss. It's not as if you drove past Disneyland every day . . . Still, it was gaudily, creakily 80s--with a small touch of class every Christmas from the COB holiday show a few blocks over--and I'll always have warm feelings for it.

Kailana: Thanks for stopping by again! =D He has written quite a bit of Horror. Since my first Shusterman novel was an off-beat mix between urban legend and fairy tale, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he's usually shelved in the Horror/Suspense section of the YA aisle.

antiaphrodite said...

I miss that carnival. I think my childhood has been fair-ly deprived!! :-P

Sorry. I couldn't resist.

Enbrethiliel said...


That's okay. It was a good pun! =)

I'm feeling fair-ly deprived at the moment as well, now that I think about it . . .