Tuesday, April 10, 2018

"The Fiery Stars in the Murderous Sky"

"The Night the World Ended."
By Fredric Brown (1906-72).
First appearance: Dime Mystery, January 1945.
Collected in Mostly Murder (1953; HERE) and Carnival of Crime: The Best Mystery Stories of Fredric Brown (1985; HERE and HERE).
Filmed for TV in 1957 (see "Resources").
Short short story (6 pages).
Online at Archive.org starting (HERE) and concluding (HERE).
(Parental warning: Strong language.)

". . . his throat and his soul felt raw, and there was no surcease in the quiet of the water below him."
A joke is just a joke—until somebody takes it for gospel . . .

Comment: The editor's headnote blabs too much; the story reads better if you skip to the first sentence.
- The barebones e-zine (HERE) has a detailed and SPOILERS-filled discussion of "The Night the World Ended," both text and TV episode; the latter is detailed (SPOILERS again) on the IMDb (HERE). In any event, READ THE STORY FIRST.
- As possibly the greatest exponent of the twisty short story since O. Henry, Fredric Brown has never been far from our notice (HERE).

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