By: Mallory Kane
Of all the genres and subgenres of books, my very favorite has to be science fiction and fantasy. I knew about fantastical places and creatures before I could read, because my mother, who was a librarian, read me fairy tales. And I'm not talking about the sweet little Disney versions where everyone lived happily ever after. No. My sweet, proper Mama read me the real Grimm faerie tales, from books without pictures, and Hans Christian Anderson’s lovely and tragic stories.
Once I was old enough, not just to be able to read, but to choose what I wanted to read, I began to devour the library. I started at the beginning of the alphabet, the As. Now, I didn’t read everything in the As, simply because most of the books didn’t interest me that much.
Instead, I skimmed the beginning of the fiction section in our local library, until I came to the phenomenal writer, Isaac Asimov. At that instant, a tradition began that would continue through puberty, through all the joys and horrors of my teenage years, through college, marriage and on until now.
And there is where I found what I consider arguably the best science fiction short story of all time. NIGHTFALL. NIGHTFALL was written by Asimov in 1941 and first appeared in Astounding Magazine. NIGHTFALL, the short story, which is now over 70 years old, has held up remarkably.
Years later, Asimov and Robert Silverberg collaborated on increasing the story to novel-length, but the longer work does not (IMHO) hold a candle to the original short story. Some stories should be told concisely and with little embellishment. NIGHTFALL is one of those. It is at once tightly and beautifully written.
I’m not going to spoil the story for anyone who hasn’t read it, but I will entice you by saying that it is possibly one of the most innovative plots in all of fiction.
If you have a few minutes, you can read the complete short story here.
It's not long and I believe it will enrich your life, plant questions in your mind that you can ponder for moments or years, as is your bent, and at the very least will entertain you for a few minutes with some of the best writing of one of the best authors ever.
No matter how the story affects you, I do believe you will be amazed.
What's your favorite short story (or faerie tale or myth)? Doesn't have to be SFF. I love all short stories and would love to hear from you about your favorites.
For those who may not know me, I write for Harlequin Intrigue. My May, 2013, book, SPECIAL FORCES FATHER, a part of my ongoing series, the Delancey Dynasty, is my 31st Intrigue. But as I said above, my first and longest love is science fiction.
Currently on Amazon, I have a futuristic time travel novel, TIME RIDER. I invite you to take a look at it here.
And happy reading, everyone.