TPG Reviews: two free shorts
Today, I thought I’d do something a little different and review the two free short stories that I reblogged so recently. These stories are The Oldest Man in the Universe, by Tuan Ho, and Adam, by Justine Allen. Both of the stories remain free at the time of writing, so be sure to snap them up soon if you haven’t already.
As its name suggests, The Oldest Man in the Universe is centered around the oldest living man in existence. That man is Carlos, who has finally decided that he’s seen everything there is to be seen and now simply wants to let himself die. Carlos invites his many friends, who comprise of almost every known sentient species in the universe, to come and watch the occasion. The story is very well written, with good pacing and well-realized description and dialogue. The science was…rather off, to say the least, but this didn’t hurt my enjoyment one bit (which is probably saying something, really). My only real criticism is the ending, which comes largely out of left field and seems like it was intended to lead into a larger piece. I would give this one somewhere in the region of 3 to 4 out of 5.
Adam, meanwhile, is…well, “haunting” would be the easiest way to describe it. This story shows the progression of a seemingly Utopian society through the perspective of Adam, the last human ever intended to be born. What follows is an amazing amount of worldbuilding is crammed into only a handful of pages. The writing here is exceptional on the whole, with hardly a single word wasted. There were a couple of times where it seemed to be moving along a little too quickly, but this is only a minor thing. After following through the lives of both Adam and the civilization he lives in, the story caps itself off with an ending as masterfully written as it is chilling. I would give this story a solid 4 out of 5, and am not even remotely surprised that it was commended in a competition.
If you’ve read these, then I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on them.
PS: the novel is now up to 22700 words. I’ll be sure to make a proper update on it the next time I post.
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