Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Favorite Short Story: "How Interesting, A Tiny Man"

"How Interesting," Indeed
The story appeared in here.
I was sitting around thinking about how I enjoy short stories, and have at various points read books that collect them. I've tried the quarterly offerings from McSweeney's and Lapham's, looked at various monthly mini-magazines, and more. That makes it all the more interesting and somewhat bizarre that my favorite short-story was first read by me in a comic-book anthology.

"How Interesting, A Tiny Man" was in the first issue of one of the re-launches of "Dark Horse Presents" and caught my eye with its being an island of prose in a sea of comic-art. As someone who has dabbled in reading science fiction at various points in life, I of course am familiar with the name Harlan Ellison. I may not be someone who has read/viewed a ton of his works, but I have seen enough entertainment that involved his writing being put into a form of media that I know I generally like the guy's output. This story he made originally was in a now-defunct science fiction magazine, won a Nebula award, and found its way into the comic anthology with some minimal art. I'm glad it did, but you may be wondering just what is it about?

"How Interesting, A Tiny Man," follows a scientist who creates just that, a tiny man. He gets some fun press-attention for it, but then the tide turns against him and people get mad at his playing God. It sounds pretty straightforward but much of the pleasure comes from reading how Ellison tells the story itself. Plus, it has a fascinating dual-ending in that it offers for you to imagine a bunch of things that could have happened between the majority of the story and two quick conclusions.

In one ending the story has stayed relatively grounded with our scientist exhausted of the world's hate and destroying the tiny man by slamming a telephone book down on him. The other version takes us in a direction of the Tiny Man having become a God, destroying the world, and now looking down at his creator, the true tiny man. Both endings are equally "valid" and allow the reader to draw in their mind how the story could get to the point each describes.

I've read many short stories, but for some reason this one easily sticks-out in my mind as being a favorite. Others have discussed a fondness for it too and I would recommend trying to track it down and giving it a read, you might agree with me!

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