Don’t have second thoughts about reading today’s story.
[Tragedy] • 4,033 words
There’s been an accident, in the desert…
Based on Robert Calvert’s 1972 poem Ten Seconds of Forever.
FROM THE CURATORS: Poetry-phobes take heart — despite the story description, there’s nothing but prose here. That doesn’t mean, however, that the story’s afraid to take chances. “Here’s a lovely little experiment, based on a poem, that finds an intriguing way to tell the story of a life and how it led to tragedy,” Present Perfect said. “The poem, I should mention, provides the structure of the story, but reading it first isn’t necessary — the author’s note explains everything.” That re-envisioning was an impressive one. “It’s great to see someone take a piece of poetry and use it as a springboard this way, without being too slavishly devoted to a literal, one-for-one retelling,” Chris said. “This really does stand on its own.”
The success of this unusual piece was primarily due to the power of the prose — something that virtually all of us commented on. “It is a very well written fic, full of nice turns of phrase and some fantastic imagery,” Soge said, and Chris agreed: “The snapshots are well-chosen, and the imagery is evocative; this combination left me engaged by the construction itself.” That let the emotions of the piece shine brightly through, AugieDog said: “Even though the story ends literally in the same place as it began, in getting to know the characters, my emotional involvement grew to an extent that surprised me.”
Our appreciation extended down to the little touches. “It’s an appropriate use of the ‘tragedy’ tag, too, something about which I’ve been known to get a little blustery,” AugieDog said. And working on so many levels, from the big down to the small, added up to an exemplary piece. “There’s so much beauty in here — #5 in particular — that it’s easy to forget within each individual moment that the story is framed within the literal wreckage of a crash,” Horizon said. “The overall effect is properly haunting.”
Read on for our author interview, in which OleGrayMane discusses telegram delivery, paper tapes, and face-down drooling.