Visitation Rights by Lawrence Dagstine

Publisher: Damnation Books

Length: Short Story

Rating: 1 chill, no nightmares

A retired couple seek the visitation rights with the supernatural remains of their only son.

Interesting concept. I think… A young man dies in a futuristic society where there is a link of some sort between stem-cell research and ghosts. It’s never thoroughly explained, but I’m assuming that dead people can possess bodies created from stem cells. The story felt a little weak, regarding the explanation of this process.

The story isn’t bad, it’s just a little hard to get into. I couldn’t really find a lot of excitement, much to really grab me and keep me in the story. Mr. Lawrence has a rather extensive publishing history, so I was expecting something with a little more active storytelling, rather than so much passive writing. The author’s voice is more literary than I prefer, especially in short fiction.


5 thoughts on “Visitation Rights by Lawrence Dagstine

  1. He is considered “published” but as an amatuer. He is not “professionally published”. Damnation Books and Samsdot Books do not offer advances on contracts, so Dagstine is being published for free. Hence he is an amateur.

    As I work with people in many professional, I talk to those in the small presses, and I know for a fact that Mr Dagstine is hardly earning any royalties. His work doesn’t make money.

    Yes, his writing style is antiquated but that is not the reason why he can’t get a professional deal. It is his grammar and punctuation that is appalling and stops him moving on, as well as his flat characterizations and contrived, cliched plots.

    And he uses passive voice a lot, which is what an “author” is not supposed to do and a reason why professionally markets pass him by.

    Not disrespect intended to Mr Dagstine. These are just the facts. Moreover, Mr Dagstine himself has stated on more than one occassion that he writes for the fun of it, not to be a professional.

    But it is still amazing that years of experience have not made him any better. Even a novice would get better. Mr Dagtine simply stays the same. There is no difference between his recent work and work done 15 years ago.

  2. According to the SFWA and publishing houses, small presses that do not pay do not qualify as professional markets. Many of the markets Mr Dagstine has been in either do ot pay or offer a tolken payment of $10 ro $20 bucks. Moreover, they lack an editorial screen which keeps badly written stories from getting into their publications.

    Therefore, Mr Dagstine is not a professional writer. His many “credits” are worth nothing more than toilet paper and wasted time.

    Try reading his many other stories. You;ll be just as bored as you were with this one. The strange fact about Mr Dagstine is that in all his years of writing, he never gets better as a writer.


    • He is still technically considered ‘published’. He receives royalties from a publisher. He just isn’t eligible to join any of the larger national associations. If his story is offered for sale through a legitimate publishers, as Damnation Books is, he’s considered a published author. Perhaps ‘professional’ isn’t the correct term. I assume he isn’t making a living off of his books, which would deem writing as his profession.

      From the way he writes, I can only assume Dasgstine is middle-aged to elderly, from the original ‘Twilight Zone’ generation of writers (if he’s not…wow. He really needs to get out and read some modern books!). In my experience as a writer, a reviewer, and as a reader, writers from that ‘era’ rarely alter their techniques. I don’t want to say his writing is worth nothing more than toilet paper, just that he’s writing in a style that’s antiquated and not very widely accepted any longer!

  3. Dagstine has a long publishing history publishing his own work–or publishing stories in non-paying amateur markets. If you want professional fiction, you need to look elsewhere. Dagstine is not a professional but a well-meaning amateur.

    • He’s published through a legitimate, PROFESSIONAL, small press. Hence, this is a professional publication. As of now, he has reached the rank of ‘professional’ publication, because small press is widely accepted as a source of ‘real’ publication.

      I understand everyone has to start somewhere, but I absolutely expect professional-level writing skills when I receive a book from a publisher or purchase a book from a store or online bookseller! “Amateurs” have no place in this competitive industry where well-meaning means absolutely nothing.

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