Zine Review: Circle Hills


Circle Hills
Zine, Benjamin Castle, [email protected], $2 

In half of the short television scripts (teleplays) collected here, what you see is what you get. In the other half, what you get is the last thing you expected.

When author Benjamin Castle prefaces “43rd St. Television Repair Shop” with the plot description, “Mundane conversations between Paul and Karen as they further develop their relationship,” for example, he’s not beating around the bush; Paul and Karen spend a minute or two chatting about fortune cookies. Likewise, the teleplay “Gina,” which is introduced with, “Gina, back from the dead, visits NYC to attend a pinball competition,” is literally about a ghost visiting old haunts.

A series of teleplays titled “Jelly Cake” operates by a reverse set of rules. Each episode carries the plot description, “Helen, a disgraced military commander from the Space Galaxy Marine X…is on a mission…” yet the scripts contain no aliens and no invasions. They mostly consist of Helen chatting on the phone with her friend, and a scene where a character named Gavriel argues with a store manager about the shelf placement of snack cakes.

Most of the incidents outlined in these scripts are built from such commonplace foundations, yet they always manage to enthrall. Castle has a knack for writing straightforward, believable dialogue, to the point where you can’t imagine a line like “Oh please. Whatever” being replaced by anything more suitable. (Scott Bryson)