Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Kind of Face You SLASH!!: Day 17 - My Name is Beelzebub

Just a quick one...

Hey, remember when I did that short series of posts about contemporary "literary" authors who had, however briefly, thrown their hats into the ring of horror fiction? Well, I was flipping through a couple of wide-ranging anthologies tonight, and I came across a couple of very short horror stories, written by people not even associated with fiction.

The first one is called "Man Overboard", by Winston Churchill. No, not that Winston Churchill -- I'm talking about the one who was Prime Minster of England during World War II. Anyway, this story is about a man on board a ship, returning home to England after seven years in India. And he falls overboard. Since the story is only about three pages long, it's best to let the synopsis go there, but I have to say that "Man Overboard" is notable primarily because Winston Churchill wrote it. It's not bad, but it's also not exactly a jaw-dropper. Judge for yourself by reading it for free here.

The other story is called "The Queen of Sheba's Nightmare", and it was written by philosopher and scientist Bertrand Russell. This one is written as a parable, and it deals with with the titular queen returning home -- with her Grand Vizier -- after visiting, and being romanced by, King Solomon. She's quite a bit over the moon about Solomon, and believes she will never find a more perfect match for herself. As she's revealing this to her Grand Vizier, they encounter Beelzebub, who proclaims himself a friend of King Solomon's. And Beelzebub has much to tell the queen about him.

I liked Russell's story quite a bit more than Churchill's. It has the primal draw and momentum of all good parables, and it made me want to seek out the book by Russell from which the story was drawn, Nightmares of Eminent Persons. Unfortunately, this one's not available on-line, but you should look out for it anyway.

2 comments:

W. Ridendus said...
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W. Ridendus said...

I googled "Nightmares of Eminent Persons" and found the complete text online, here:

http://www.archive.org/details/nightmaresofemin032011mbp

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