The Last Question

big bang universeThe following short story, written by the famous science fiction author Isaac Asimov, is a gripping tale of Man and Machine’s evolution of consciousness, and their place in the infinite yet impermanent universe. The story was first published in the November 1956 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly, and is to this day considered by many to be his best work. The author himself even thought so, and in 1973 he said of it:

“Why is it my favorite? For one thing I got the idea all at once and didn’t have to fiddle with it; and I wrote it in white-heat and scarcely had to change a word. This sort of thing endears any story to any writer. Then, too, it has had the strangest effect on my readers…”

The short story is split into seven story arcs, with the first one beginning in 2061, and each one after progressing further and further into the future. Despite the changes in time, space, and characters, each of the stories share in common humanity’s relationship with a supercomputer called Multivac and its successors – every sub plot revolves around certain characters discussing the life span of the universe and then asking the Multivac computer whether entropy (destruction) of the universe can be reversed, which is a question it has insufficient data to answer until the very end. This is a great read from start to finish – I give it a 5 out of 5; it is WAY ahead of it’s time!

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A Short Story About the Buddha

BuddhaThe following very short story about the Buddha’s journey is written by the great author Paulo Coelho, author of the classic pilgrimage story: The Alchemist. If you have never read The Alchemist then I would highly recommend it, and if you want to read a longer story about the Buddha, which goes into much better detail, then read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I found this story on Paulo Coelho’s blog, which you should definitely check out if you like to read, or are a fan of the man, because he writes short stories very frequently!

The following story is divided into 3 parts, each part only about 400-500 words. It makes for a quick read, and definitely contains some of Paulo Coelho’s writing flair. But it is still very short, and leaves a lot to be desired. But I suppose this is fitting considering it is a story about the Buddha; he would say to us: Desire = Suffering. Meditate on this. At least I think he would say this. Anyway, here’s the story!

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The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved.

Hunter S Thompson

This is the article that propelled Hunter S Thompson’s writing skills to new heights and established his style known as ‘Gonzo’ journalism. Written in 1970, after publishing both The Rum Diaries and Hell’s Angels, Thompson was required to write a sports article covering the Kentucky Derby. However, he didn’t actually get to see the race, and instead wrote a manic first person account of his observations of the people attending the event. Faced with a deadline, and not having written anything resembling an article, Hunter tore out pages from his notebooks, and scrambled together this exciting narrative which was published in Scanlan’s Monthly. The writing of this article was later worked into his most famous novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, two years later, which has the protagonist Raoul Duke (Hunter’s alter ego) attempt to write a story on the Mint 400 motorcycle race in Las Vegas; unsuccessfully of course. If you’re a fan of Hunter S Thompson’s writing then you owe it to yourself to read this article if you haven’t already, and if you’ve never read any of his work, then this might just turn you onto him!
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The Egg

by Andy Weir:

womb

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
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Ted the Caver

Click here to read one of the scariest things you will ever read. It is a long short story (heh) about a caver called Ted and his experiences in a cave that he was exploring with a friend. Technically it’s not a short story, as it’s his first hand experience in the ‘mystery cave’, and is actually a chronological collection of his journal entries complete with photos he took. Ted was looking for a new cave to explore that no man or woman had explored before him, caving was the last frontier for explorers like him. However, what Ted finds in this cave is not what he expected at all, and will change him (and you!) for the rest of his life. It is a fairly long read and will take you about 30 minutes to an hour depending on how fast you read, but this is not a problem as the writing sucks you in and doesn’t let go for a second. It is a very engaging and chilling read!