Saturday, September 26, 2009

R. I. P. Short Story Sunday 9/27

Subterfuge by Ray Bradbury

Published in Astonishing Stories, 1943.

A very different take on the alien invasion story.  Humanity knows it cannot stop this invasion.  So the leaders develop a plan that has half of the population committing suicide.  When the only hope for mankind involves the death of that many humans, you realize how scary it has become.The rest are … changed.  I will not reveal the rest of the story.  You need to read it for yourself. 

Highly recommended.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

R. I. P. Short Story Sunday 9/20

By Water by Algernon Blackwood

Published in Day and Night Stories, 1917.

Algernon Blackwood is an author who is not well known today.  This story focused on a man who is given a prediction that he will drown but will not realize he will drown.  He is leaving for to work in the desert before his wedding.  Understandably, his fiancee does not want him to go.  He points out that the desert does not contain large bodies of water.  In the classic tradition, you know the prediction will come true.  The question is how.

Blackwood’s writing is very descriptive.  The drawback to his style is that he talks about the action instead of showing it.  I think it would have been a better story if we had seen the action through the eyes of the main character.  Still it was worth reading.

I would recommend this to others.  Blackwood deserves to better known. 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

R. I. P. Short Story Sunday 9/13

The Graveyard Reader by Theodore Sturgeon

Published in Science Fantasy, 1958.

This is a different type of story to read for R.I.P. IV. The title led me to believe this would be a scary story. I was not exactly sure what a "graveyard reader" was but it sounded like the title to a good spooky tale. What I ended up reading was an excellent story that initially was not frightening. But then, upon further thought, it was a very scary story.

How many people would be happy to find that others could read their grave after they die? Would you want all of your secrets and actions revealed to others? Probably not. Sturgeon is an author I have not read much. After reading this story, he goes on my must read list. It is not a flashy story but it is well written.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

What do you think of when you see a copy of The Invisible Man? Normally, I think of a man's descent into darkness. Wells is able to create numerous full blown characters in this short novel. What amazed me this time around was the sympathy I felt for the Invisible Man early in the story. It seems like he is being discriminated against. Children make fun of him. Adults don't even try to think of his feelings. It turns out that they are right. He is evil but would his story have taken a different path if the villagers had shown him compassion? I don't know but it does make you think. Next time you see someone being ignored or picked on, think back to this story.

It makes me think that sometimes people are the scariest things in the world.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

100 Shots of Short

In this challenge, the participant reads 100 short stories.

I will update my list as I read more stories.

1. Beast in the House by Michael Shaara

R.I.P. IV Short Story Sunday 9/6

Beast in the House by Michael Shaara

Published in Orbit#4(1954)

Beast in the House was a very interesting story. The beast in the title is an ordinary looking dog that wanders into the yard. Nothing sounds scary so far. Then, the mother notices that the dog seems to be watching her. But something else does not seem right. The dog's ears do not move when sounds are made. Every dog she has ever seen has it's ears move in reaction to sounds.

In another part of the neighborhood, a man finds the dead body of a dog. The dog has been skinned. What would do something like that? And why?

After reading this story, I know I will be looking at stray dogs more carefully.

Highly recommended.

"Beast in the House" was read for R.I.P. IV and the 100 Shots of Short reading challenges.

Monday, August 31, 2009

1% Well Read Challenge

I have signed up for another challenge. I will read 13 books from the list of Books You Must Read Before Die list by March 31, 2001.

My 13 will probably be from this list...

1. Robinson Crusoe-Daniel Defoe
2. Crime and Punishment-Fyodor Dostoyevsky
3. Notes From the Underground-Fyodor Dostoyevsky
4. Silas Marner-George Elliot
5. The Death of Ivan Ilych-Leo Tolstoy
6. The Master of Ballantrae-Robert Louis Stevenson
7. The Invisible Man-H. G. Wells-read 9/9/09
8. The War of the Worlds-H. G. Wells
9. The Island of Dr. Moreau-H. G. Wells
10. The Time Machine-H. G. Wells
11. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
12. Heart of Darkness-Joseph Conrad
13. Billy Budd, Foretopman-Herman Melville
14. Casino Royale-Ian Fleming
15. Foundation-Isaac Asimov
16. I, Robot-Isaac Asimov
17. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich-Alexander Solzhenitsyn
18. 2001: A Space Odyssey-Arthur C. Clarke
19. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?-Philip K. Dick
20. One Hundred Years of Solitude-Gabriel Garcia Marquez
21. The Maltese Falcon-Dashiell Hammett
22. Red Harvest-Dashiell Hammett
23. The Thin Man-Dashiell Hammett
24. The Glass Key-
Dashiell Hammett
25. The Vicar of Wakefield-Oliver Goldsmith
26. Madame Bovary-Gustave Flaubert
27. Erewhon-Samuel Butler

Sunday, August 30, 2009

R.I.P. IV Reading Challenge Update

I started reading The Invisible Man this weekend. After reading the first 3 chapters, Wells has captured my attention. An interesting beginning as the suspense begins to build.