For my short stories, I chose to read There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury, and Finis by Frank L. Pollack. Here are my thoughts:
Overall, I liked them both a lot. I think I preferred Finis because I personally identify more with stories that have humans in them and characters, and There Will Come Soft Rains only showed that human life used to exist there and mainly focused on the house. While I think it was definitely important to focus on the house, I wish it would have delved deeper into who used to live there, what happened to make them disappear and what made the city turn to rubble.
I think Finis was a bit harder to get into because it just dove straight into the middle of someone’s life with no background, so for a while you’re just reading what seems like meaningless details about something and someone you know nothing about. Eventually, though, you realize more of a backstory and it’s very interesting. (I’m going to try to avoid talking about the content too much just in case people want to read them, I don’t want to spoil anything!)
There Will Come Soft Rains instantly intrigued me because it reminded me of a movie I loved as a kid called Smart House. I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with the movie as it was on Disney Channel all the time. If not, it’s basically about a boy who enters a contest to win a smart house that takes care of all of the family’s needs via computer, and how once they win, the system can become problematic.
I was instantly drawn in because of this, but I thought it was quite anticlimactic. I thought, as I said, there would be more information about who used to live in the house and what happened to them, and instead it just seemed like a very long story about what this futuristic house was able to do- which is cool I guess, but it just seemed a little purposeless for a story.
There Will Come Soft Rains didn’t have any characters except for a dog that sadly dies, so I can’t really speak on how Bradbury developed his characters. However, I think Pollock’s vision of the characters were very unique and interesting, I just wish there had been more information on each one because it was very easy to get them confused. Even at the end of the story I found myself going back and re-reading and saying “wait, which character is the one who lives again?”. I think he was on the right track, he just could have fleshed them all out a little more.
I definitely feel inspired to read more short stories because they’re easy to read and very interesting. If I had to recommend only one to you, I’d say to read Finis.