Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Guest Blog: BOOKS! With Becca: Short Story Edition

Ah yes, another review. Did you miss me, my dear readers? Fear not! I have more suggestions for you, and quick reads at that. Indeed, the time has come for me to discuss some short stories, as today’s world keeps most of us too busy to read a full-length book.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
By: Robert Louis Stevenson

My first pick is The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Yes, yes, I know, you already know this story, right?  Wrong! This novella by Robert Louis Stevenson has been spun in a million different ways meaning that though the vast majority of society as a whole knows the storyline, almost none of them (and therefore you, lovely readers) grasp how beautifully imagined and well written it actually is.

Of course, the truly impressive part of this story is that it is primarily a story about the monster inside all of us. Oh sure, Jekyll drank a specific potion to transform into Hyde, but the point is that Hyde was always inside of Jekyll from the start, just waiting to be unleashed. This book does so much more than tell a story of a man gone mad, rather it illustrates the dark side of humankind and begs the question, under the right circumstances what are you capable of? What are all of us capable of? Do we all carry a monster inside of us, and if so, can you subdue it?

Read it! Trust me.

We Ate the Children Last
By: Yann Martel 

If Jekyll and Hyde is too well known for you (you hipster) then I strongly suggest that you find a copy of We Ate the Children Last by Yann Martel. I am under the impression that this short has been turned into a film, and as per usual, I recommend that you read the story first.

We Ate the Children Last chronicles the downfall of society due to our collective habit of meddling with things that probably shouldn’t be messed with. It proposes the idea that in the future we’ve begun battling ailments such as cancer and the like by replacing portions of our body parts (specifically intestines) with pig parts, as pigs are some of our closest relatives. At first everything seems fine until those people who underwent the procedure begin developing strange appetites for garbage, non-food items, and eventually, flesh. The story is laid out with the typical brilliance that Martel always brings to the table, and is made ever more chilling by the fact that procedures such as the one discussed in the story are not as far away as we might like to think.

Now, as I stated above, We Ate the Children Last is only a few pages long, and thus is not available as its own publication. I stumbled across the story in a book of shorts called Darwin’s Bastards, which calls itself a collection of tales from tomorrow and would be an excellent buy for anyone who has a thing for sci-fi, but if you are cheap, or busy, or just don’t want to support your local bookstore then you can find the story in its entirety online without much difficulty. Now get to it and read!!

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