Posted on February 2, 2018
This Is The Way The World Ends
This week I read two different short stories. I have separated my reflection in two so that I am able to go in depth on each story.
The Screwfly Solution
The first short story I decided to read was “The Screwfly Solution” by Raccoona Sheldon. I also decided to listen to an audiobook of this while reading the text. I found this one very enjoyable. The people reading really drew me in, I think even more so than if I was just reading it in my head.
I really enjoyed “The Screwfly Solution” as it has a lot of mystery and buildup in the story. At first, you reading it and you know something is up.
Then throughout the story you are given little hints to what is going on, but never the full situation. This is what really drew me into the story as I had to keep reading to know what was happening. This also made me feel like a detective as I had to put everything together and conclude to what was going on.
However, these little hints did cut both ways. At times I was like, “TELL ME WHAT’S HAPPENING?” You know, sometimes you just want to be told forthright was the situation is.
Moreover, what worked really well in the story was its use of exposition. Throughout the story, the reader listens to letters and articles from the protagonist’s’ wife and friend. This aspect was something I really liked as it provided information in an interesting way, as opposed to receiving information mainly from dialogue. This somewhat reminded me of my own writing style. I am not one to share big blocks of texts. I like to insert different media (gifs/video/audio) to add and extend information.
I do have to say that this story was a lot, like emotionally and mentally. A lot of heavy material happens in this story. I think that this is the part that stuck with me as it demonstrates how *dark* the apocalypse would be. Additionally, the ending was such a twist.
This plot twist really brought everything together. This short story was definitely enthralling so give it a read. If you don’t like dark material I would suggest not reading this short story.
The second short story I read was “Finis” by Frank L. Pollack. Once again I decided to listen to an audiobook while reading this. This helped me understand what I was reading and pick up on little words that I could have missed.
This story I did not enjoy as much. I feel like the late point of attack caused me to feel disconnected from the characters. I especially felt this at the end because the protagonist kisses a woman. The ending lost meaning for me because it was just a kiss and not a *kiss*. Thus, I wish the author had put more character interaction into the story.
On the other hand, I did appreciate the author’s detailed explanation of where the “new” sun is coming from and the destruction it released on New York City. This part really drew me into the story as I was able to read about the chaos that New York City was thrown into during the apocalypse. Moreover, this really formed a sense of place and rooted the story in the setting. Through this, I was able to imagine the buildings and streets they were navigating as they attempted to find a safe place to hide.
One line from this story really resonated with me. Alice says:
“Think of it,” she went dreamily, ”for a thousand years this wave of fire has been rushing towards us, while life has been going on so happily in the world, so unconscious that the world was doomed all the time. And now this is the end of life.”
This line stuck with me because I think it reflects our current feelings on climate change. We’re currently sitting around just focused on other things, while the world is slowly getting destroyed. I think that this is how the world will end as we will all be focused on life while in the background everything is slowly getting ruined.
In general I really enjoyed these readings. I also think I learned what aspects of storytelling I like and don’t like. I believe that I will be able to insert these features into my own writing and make it more interesting.
That’s all folks, I’ll catch you on the flipside
You picked two of my favorites. I actually debated putting Screwfly Solution in because I thought it might be a little too disturbing. But it’s so good, and a classic, so I decided you guys could handle it.
I think what fascinates me about Finis is that it was written in 1906. For me, while it feels a little dated, in other ways it feels very modern and very in-tune with our own current fears about the future of the planet.
“The Screwfly Solution” was a little disturbing but I think that that jolt of “WTF” really makes you think. I agree as well that “Finis” seems very in accordance with our current fears. I always love reading books that express feelings that we also go through today. Like how “The Handmaid’s Tale” is just eery today.