Here are my brief notes for last week’s selected short story:“The Road, And the Valley, And the Beasts” by Keffy R.M. Kehrli:
Nice descriptive writing that starts to tell a short story and then stops. It has the air of a short, introductory, creative writing exercise. It felt like an extract from a story rather than a complete story in itself.
There wasn’t enough to write a review of it so I am going to draw my next card and see what comes up.
It’s the Nine of Wands, also called ‘Strength.’ This card represents spiritual truth and realization. It suggests that we can draw on our inner strength to face whatever obstacles arise.
The short story that corresponds to this card is THE ENDLESS FALL by Jeffrey Thomas. It’s taken from his 2017 collection which has the same title as this story. Instead of waiting a week, I will read and review this story today.
The Endless Fall (2017) by Jeffrey Thomas
‘He reached the crest of this hill and looked down ahead of him to see only more of the same autumnal forest, seemingly extending unto infinity.’
Jeffrey Thomas is a writer of horror, science fiction, and weird fiction. He is probably best known for his Punktown stories. I bought this collection after reading a couple of his interviews online. I had also heard good things about his Lovecraft-esque writing.
THE ENDLESS FALL tells the story of a lost astronaut who has also lost his memory. His capsule has crashed on a planet in the middle of an autumnal forest. As he searches for help, he has a couple of sightings of black triangular objects in the sky above. These objects are accompanied by a strange vibration that affects his surroundings.
This is an excellent short story which quickly drew me into its strange world. It’s a mystery in that we don’t know who the main character is nor where he has crash-landed. We learn more about the astronaut and his surroundings as the story progresses, but not very much more. I really liked this choice by the author to show more than tell the tale.
There is a tangible sense of confusion, almost paranoia, to The Endless Fall. Also, a creeping feeling of unease as the astronaut begins to explore this strange world. He appears to catch a glimpse of another person in the forest. But why doesn’t this stranger make contact?
I don’t want to reveal too much, only to say that I really enjoyed this story and would recommend it to readers with a taste for the weird in their fiction. It’s very well written and has got me hungry for more of Jeffrey Thomas’s work. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the stories in this collection.
If you are interested, here is a link to the first story in The Endless Fall, Jeffrey Thomas’s Jar of Mist which is available to read for free via The Lovecraft eZine issue 28.
Okay, on to next week’s story. It’s time to draw another Tarot card. And the next card is the Prince of Cups. This card indicates a combination of spirit and soul, and can suggest either open-mindedness or selfish pursuit of (his) own goals.
The story this card leads me to is THE STEAM-DRIVEN BOY (1972) by John Sladek. Great! I am looking forward to reading this one because I really enjoyed John Sladek’s 1983 BSFA-winning novel Tik-Tok.
Thanks for reading and see you next time.