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Monday, April 08, 2013

March Reading – Part 2

 

Continued from previous post …

 

11. WGS Shorts: The Open Window by Hector Hugo Munro (Saki)

This one is a nice and scary tale about a man who comes to a new town and meets some new people and families and his experience at one of the houses. He visits a house where the French window overlooking the lawns is kept open and a young girl quickly tells him the story behind her mother keeping the French window open on the specific day. It turns out to be the anniversary of the disappearance of the male members of their family who had gone out hunting in the woods through that French window. He is still digesting the fact and wondering what a wrong day for him to visit … and the dead family members appear in the lawns coming towards the French window. Imagine the shock that our gentleman would have received.

 

12. WGS Shorts: The Image of the Lost Soul by Hector Hugo Munro (Saki)

Ancient buildings like cathedrals have a lineup of sculptors. This story revolves around one such innocuous sculptor and its relationship with a lone bird. A heartwarming story with a tragic end 

 

13. WGS Shorts: The Sex that doesn't Shop by Hector Hugo Munro (Saki)

A commentary on the 'shopping' instincts of the women and their peculiarities

 

14. WGS Shorts: The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

An epidemic of a ghastly disease is ravaging a kingdom. The Prince decides to take matters in his own hands and orders the most influential (read: rich) people to accompany him to a faraway castle which is stocked with food and luxuries; away from the danger of the disease; all this in a bid to escape the read-death. The story revolves around a party/celebration in this castle when a man in a mask arrives and his effect on the prince.

 

15. Short Novel: Murder in the Milk Case by Candice Speare

A housewife goes out for grocery and ends up finding a dead body in the milk case at the grocery. She gets involved in the investigations and gets drawn deeper into it. She begins to collect clues and realizes that the deceased was holding a lot of secrets about other people and was in fact blackmailing several people in the county, including her own Mom (and of course, herself) … making the suspect list way too long.

She finally manages to figure out the loops and untangles the mystery … while herself becoming obsessed with her practice of making lists of suspects and clues. She is a 'detective' in the making.

 

16. PKD Shorts: Colony by Philip K Dick  

A seemingly pleasing virgin planet which looks like an ideal place to set up a colony suddenly gets dangerous for the people on the space ship that are inspecting it. Inanimate objects begin to come to life and attack people. Soon they realize that the 'threat' to their existence is taking the shape of the inanimate objects and gradually eliminating them.

First a microscope, then a belt and even the doormat and their guns begin to turn on them and inflict fatal damage. They soon realize that they cannot fight this terror and have to leave the planet leaving behind this threat which takes the shape and size of inanimate objects. 

Their last hope seems to escape the planet without any material objects … including clothes. So they request a spaceship to pick them up while they all decide to board the spaceship stark naked … in a bid to avoid taking the threat onboard.

 

17. PKD Shorts: Prize Ship by Philip K Dick  

War between different races of the galaxy and a chance capture of a ship by one race. They begin experimenting with the Prize Ship only to end up experiencing the experiences similar to Gulliver's Travels. They end up meeting the tiny people and also the Giants … speculating that the worlds they read about in children's stories were actually real and they formed a sort of another parallel world somewhere. The climax reveals the true nature of the ship and the secret about the fairy tale worlds. 

 

18. PKD Shorts: Nanny by Philip K Dick  

The 'Nanny' is a machine who plays with the kids and takes care of them. The story is about competition amongst different people to have the best Nanny AND about Nanny's attacking other Nanny's. In a subtle way, PKD passes a comment on the blind race amongst people to outshine each other in terms of their worldly possessions … and the organizations who take advantage of this for their own profit.

 

19. Hitchcock – Shrouds & Pockets: Not Worth Flypaper by Ernest Savage

A man's wife is cheated. The story has interesting twists on how he takes his revenge with some help from an ex-sheriff. 

 

20. Hitchcock – Shrouds & Pockets: The Fake by Isabel Langis Cusack

This must have happened to you sometime. Sitting across an astrologer / palm reader / soothsayer / tarot card reader or any such person trying to predict your future … you might have laughed on the inside at him as you saw through his/her ruse.

This story is about a man who similarly sees through a fortune teller who is making erroneous predictions. The punch of the story is actually in the fact that the things that the fortune teller is actually saying the truth … at the same time hiding it for a reason.

 

21. Hitchcock – Shrouds & Pockets: The Revenooer by Janet Biery

An old lady with her house on the hills with seldom visitors and a big secret to hide. A young man who is going about his work and by chance happens to be in the neighbourhood. The old women thinks that the young man is out there to discover her secret … and even if he is not … he might accidentally discover her secret. The climax is about the fate of this young man.

 

To be continued …

 

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