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The Tell-Tale Soul Paperback – August 7, 2015
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About the Author
Christopher Conlon, author of the novels: Savaging the Dark, Lullaby for the Rain Girl, A Matrix of Angels, Midnight on Mourn Street, and The Unspoken: The Lost Novel, as well as some short stories and poetry, is the #1 authority on the Twilight Zone scripts of Jerry Sohl.
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"Beyond the Silver Horizon" starts with an unusual premise and one that kept me off-balance while reading the story. From clues in the setting, it seems the story starts in the American Midwest in the 1910s or 1920s. The protagonist, a child, says his brother is a robot and goes on to talk about some kind of robot revolution. This seems a little jarring for a setting in the early 20th century, but maybe the world of the story isn't our world after all. I began to wonder, again considering an unreliable narrator, if the boy really is a robot or if it's just his brother's imagination. The large middle of the story is concerned with the protagonist developing an unlikely friendship with a new girl in school, a tale told in an evocative, Bradburyesque fashion. Both story elements--the brother robot and the friendship--are tied up neatly at the end, one ending sadly and the other happily.
The intro mentions that both stories were inspired by other works. The first, by Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart," a story with which I am familiar enough to see the parallels. The other was inspired by Eugene O'Neill's Beyond the Horizon, a play which I do not know, so I can't comment on the connections.
Both stories demonstrate Conlon's lyrical use of language. I highly recommend this little collection.
The second story, BEYOND THE SILVER HORIZON, doesn't have any twists, but nevertheless packs a strong punch all its own. It's the somewhat depressing tale of two disparate youngsters in an alternate earth who are destined to be together despite all the problems they encounter, and which serve to tear them apart. Really powerful, nostalgic and bittersweet stuff here, folks.
Both stories are gems, and are written at my favorite length: the novella. Give these stories a try, because they are unbelievably good, and Conlon just keeps getting better and better! My highest recommendation!!!!