- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 315 KB
- Print Length: 18 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Lincoln Street Books; 1 edition (28 May 2014)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00KNCOB8W
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,007,758 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Polybius Kindle Edition
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First off, I loved all the little evocative details in this piece (set in the early 80s, I think). There's the old school video game machine, the pizza parlor, etc. It was like a trip down memory road.
Then there was the creepiness of it all. I loved how the kids start playing just to become entranced, glossy eyed zombies. (Which reminds me a lot of playing games, sadly...)
As with Prestin's other short stories, this one impressed me with its good use of detail, fast plot, and characters who feel like someone who might live next door. A fun read.
Howard orders an arcade machine called Polybius to be delivered and installed at his gas/service station shop. His employee, Josh, is a fourteen-year old kid who begins to play the game. Soon, kids in the neighborhood line up to play it. But Howard notices a change in Josh and the other kids. They're sleep deprived, have had nightmares of the game, and yet, they cannot stop playing it.
The story is well written and is fascinating due to why the kids go to such extreme lengths to play the game, as the reader will discover by the end. It reminded me of the days I used to go to the arcade, of kids lining up, crowding around a machine to play a game.
I could not put this story down, and by the time I finished, I wanted it to keep going, to learn more about Polybius' origin and why the kids couldn't stop playing it. I highly recommend this story.
This short story is very well written, and it utilizes the idea of the lines around the arcades, or in this case, a gas station where the elderly manager receives a "Polybius" cabinet from questionable origin-- men in black install it, they don't want the coins, they only swing by every so often to collect the data in the machine-- the reason remaining unknown. When the machine appears, the young clerk working for the elderly manager quickly becomes addicted, raising concern from the elderly man who acts as something of a father figure to the boy. When more kids from town begin lining up around the station (which wasn't uncommon with arcades in the early 1980s) he becomes suspicious of the machine's power and decides to deactivate it. However, the kids manage to reactivate it and continue playing, even after hours, quietly, always paying, never speaking-- almost like voodoo zombies.
Set in the early 1980s, "Polybius" is the first story I've read by Nicole Prestin, and I must say, I'm very impressed. While there's a lot of things I'd have done differently, this is her take on a timeless urban legend and it's not bad at all. I don't want to spoil too much of the story, but I must say, it feels a bit like a Stephen King story, in fact, it reminded me a bit of "Apt Pupil," I'm not sure why, but that was a pleasant and familiar feeling to approach this story with. I liked the story so much that I was a bit disappointed with its brevity, but perhaps that's what makes it so eerie is that much like the real story behind it, it leaves much to be imagined and a lot of the time, what you don't see is the scariest, because the fear of the unknown could be the fear of anything.
If you're a fan spooky short stories, then this is for you, especially if you're an old-school gamer I think you might find this one a bit more hair-raising than the usual fare. I give it five out five and I'm particularly happy to see this fairly obscure urban legend getting some press. The story is well worth the ninety nine cents it costs and if I could say anything else it's that I hope maybe Miss Prestin can expand this into a full length novel, or write a sequel or successor continuing the 'Polybius' myth. Pick this one up, it's a short, easy read and it's well worth your time!