Short Stories You Must Read: 4. ‘A Good Man Is Hard To Find’ by Flannery O’Connor (1953)

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What to expect: A dark and unsettling story about a family’s confrontation with death and violence in the South while travelling from Georgia to Florida. Themes of redemption, grace, comedy and tragedy culminate in a story that is once read and never forgotten.

Best known for: Its unnerving and controversial ending, which throws the morals of the main character into dispute (but we wont spoil it).

Interesting Fact: The story was adapted into a folk song by Sujfan Stevens telling the story from the antagonist’s perspective.

Best Quote: “She would have been a good woman,” said The Misfit, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”

Final Words: This is a classic, and Flannery O’Connor’s best known – read it if you want to see how a short story can really pack a punch in so few words.

Storms, Lies & Wildcards out today!

The compendium of winning short stories from our writing competition, The Cracked Eye Weekend Challenge, is out today!

Storms, Lies & Wildcards…

Available in print or on Kindle. Click here to buy from the US, or here to buy from the UK.

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Storms, Lies & Wildcards

The compendium of winning short stories from our writing competition, The Cracked Eye Weekend Challenge, is out on the 5th of June!

Storms, Lies & Wildcards…

SLW_cover_final

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Short Stories You Must Read: 3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber (1939)

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What to expect: A short story first published in The New Yorker in 1939 about a non-descript and ineffectual man who, during the course of a routine visit to town with his domineering wife, has a series of five heroic daydreams triggered by everyday occurrences.

Best known for: Being one of the most widely anthologized short stories in American literature and for it’s adaptation into film, most recently in 2013, where Ben Stiller directed and starred.

Interesting Fact: ‘Walter Mitty’ and ‘Mittyesque’ have been included in the English dictionary to denote ‘An ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumph.’

Best Quote: The best quote is actually the very last line, but we wouldn’t want to spoil the ending. So here’s another gem, “We only live once, Sergeant,” said Mitty, with his faint, fleeting smile. “Or do we?”

Final Words: If you’ve ever imagined yourself to be somewhere or someone else; like an astronaut when you look at the stars, a war hero when you see the news, or an explorer the minute you turn on to a country lane, then you’ll want to read this classic.

Short Stories You Must Read: 2. Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut (1961)

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What to expect: A satirical and dystopian short story set in a 2081 world where, due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, the Handicapper General and its agents enforce equality on the population by law. The story is centred on George and Hazel Bergeron when the government imprisons their smart and athletic fourteen-year-old son, Harrison.

 

Best known for: Being set in an unsettling society where the strong, intelligent, and better-looking citizens are forced to wear ‘handicaps’ that set them on a level playing field with the rest of the population. The intelligent must wear in-ear mental handicap radio transmitters, the athletic must wear weights, and the beautiful wear ghastly masks.

 

Interesting Fact: Justice Antolin Scalia wrote a dissent that drew upon the story in the PGA Tour, Inc. v Martin (2001) case, where The Supreme Court ruled in favour of a disabled golfer who argued the PGA Tour couldn’t stop him riding a golf cart between shots.

 

Best Quote: “Some things about living still weren’t quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime.”

 

Final Words: If you like your dystopia thought provoking, satirical, and a little tongue-in-cheek, then this one’s for you.

Short Stories You Must Read: 1. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (1950)

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What to expect: A collection of nine science fiction short stories interwoven through the character Susan Calvin, a robopsychologist, which chronicles the development of robots from basic beginnings to complex beings with the potential to render humanity obsolete.

Expect robots that glitch, make jokes, read minds, and secretly control the world.

 

Best known for: Redefining our perception of robots by creating the fictional laws that govern them, The Three Laws of Robotics:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot may not injure its own kind and defend its own kind unless it is interfering with the first or second rule.

 

Interesting Fact: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Isaac Asimov coined the word robotics, in his short story, Liar (1941).

 

Best Quote: “It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time. People say ‘It’s as plain as the nose on your face.’ But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you?”

– Isaac Asimov, I, Robot

 

Final Words: If you love robots – read it. If self-aware robots freak the bejesus out of you– definitely read it.