Saturday, December 8, 2012

Four Short Novels, by Joe Haldeman

One more today, this one a bit more remarkable.  Short stories are where most writers cut their teeth, and an ordinary one seems relatively easy to do (I say relatively.  I have only written one, so the opinion may not be informed).  But writing a good, remarkable short story would seem to be way hard.  One is trying to convey a fully formed, interesting story idea in a very compact form.  Some very good ones are close to poetry.  And one could read Four Short Novels that way--as four somewhat long form blank verses.  It would work.  This is a short story, nominated for the Hugo in 2004.  But it is really four shorter stories, each one quite complete, and might possibly have garnered award nominations on their own.  But they are definitely chapters, possibly verses, and hang together beautifully.  They are four riffs on immortality, each beginning "Eventually it came to pass that no one had to die...", thus the poetic overtone.

Joe Haldeman is a veteran writer, and it would take one to pull this off. This is 15 minutes of your life you will want to do again.  Four stars, go check it out.

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