The old adage goes that “you should not judge a book by its cover” and though it is a virtuous sentiment it is not one that is typically followed. Welcome to day Twenty Three of my 31 Days of First Impressions Challenge! In this challenge I will be reading the first entry or chapter of a different serial (or web fiction) and then give my first impressions on them be they good or bad. In short: I will be judging a book by its cover.
Today’s post is a little unlike the others, as the site Denham’s Dentifrice is not a singular traditional serial, but rather a collection of short stories and short serials. For this post I chose to read the first chapter of The Blooms of Perennial Wisdom, by Phineas Clockword.
Denham’s Dentifrice is aesthetically pleasing and well laid-out. The white font used for the website’s title is appropriately silly looking and contrast nicely against the darker grey background and header image. The site is easy to navigate and has actually restored my faith in the Blogger platform it resides on. Up to this point the other serials I have read that elected to use Blogger over WordPress felt dated or somehow restricted, this is not the case here!
It did take me a moment to choose what I wanted to read, as the website’s catalog is lengthy, but once I got over a panic of indecision starting my read was no problem.
“It was around sundown. Although, sun rarely visits these parts. The light filtering through the dark blanket of clouds was fading and oil lanterns took its place. Heavy rain was pouring down like God’s rods, crumbling Theodore Hold’s constantly malfunctioning parasol and aptly revealing him to be as out of place as he already felt.” –The Blooms of Perennial Wisdom, Chapter 1.
I am a bit astonished at how Phineas Clockword was able to make “it was a dark and stormy night” feel interesting and not cliché. I have an immediate sense of the character and the weather clearly establishes mood. I felt that this was a good start to this short serial, and I was left curious to what circumstances brought us here.
“Phineas Clockword” is likely the most appropriate pen name for their work I have seen so far. Phineas Clockword’s writing flirts spectacularly with purple prose without crossing the line into it being unreadable. Though much of it felt overly silly, it is tongue in check and entertaining. If you could somehow genetically splice the Monty Python crew with Frank Zappa and give it a monocle I imagine it would look something very close to this.
The chapter almost reads like it was written in the 19th century. I often lost my footing while reading it and often found ground right before losing it almost immediately again. Given the humor and nature of it, this was not entirely unpleasant. The chapter itself was not very long, only about 650ish words, but I found this welcoming and refreshing.
Before I move any further, I have to admit that this sort of irreverent, anachronistic, and over silly humor is EXACTLY my kind of thing. I felt right at home at Denham’s Dentifrice, and will likely loiter there like an unkempt vagrant. So, yes, I would continue to read Phineas Clockword’s prose. If you are looking for something serious, you need to look elsewhere.
Join me tomorrow for my impressions on AtiyaTheSeeker’s serial Lion-Daughter Nichole, or check out my own serial: