A good writer knows, at least a little, about how sentences work. A good writer can carry on a story without boring a reader. A good writer knows when to stop a bad idea, and how to create a great one. A good writer knows how to make their story work effectively in the reader’s mind.
I read two short stories recently. Both were science fictions and both were very well written. One was about time travel. “The Sound of Thunder”, by Ray Bradbury, was about a man, Eckels, who wanted to shoot a Tyrannosaurs Rex. But this foolish man’s temperament was not very resilient like he had originally thought. When he saw the giant beast for the first time he became too scared, but not just scared—completely terrified. He scrabbled and ran away, off the Path, and changed the course of history, and in turn, the future, forever.
The second story I read was “Nethergrave”, by Gloria Skurzynski. Skurzynski’s story seems so much like modern day life. There is a typical teen-age boy being bullied at school and ignored at home. But one day after chatting with his online friends Jeremy falls into a virtual world of beauty and make-believe. He meets the man who runs the domain, a Magus, who lets him pick whatever he wants to be. Jeremy choose an avatar quite different himself and decides living forever in an online world is much better than reality.
Personally I thought both stories were exceptional. They were written by well thought authors, and have been popular since they were written. But which one was more effective than the other? After thinking it out I decided that the first story, “The Sound of Thunder” was more effective than the other.
“The Sound of Thunder” provoked a stronger reaction after the story concluded. When I read the line, “There was a sound of thunder,” I sat dazed for a minute. I wondered, “Did Travis just kill Eckels?” Out loud I told my sister, “I...