The Last Question and A Pail of Air

A short and sweet blog today to point you to two excellent science fiction short stories: The Last Question by Isaac Asimov, and A Pail of Air by Fritz Leiber.

1. A Pail of Air by Fritz Leiber

There is no atmosphere… bitter cold… only way you can breathe is to dig up a pail of liquid oxygen and heat it…

Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the Earth has been dragged far from the sun’s orbit, this is one creepy little tale that nonetheless grabbed — and held! — my attention. Well, I say it’s creepy, but then it takes an unexpected twist. You’ll have to read it to find out.

Read it now.

2. The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

Several trillion years of human history in the space of a short story…

Perhaps a little less immediately accessible, but a really interesting take on the creation of the universe.

Read it now.

What did you think of these stories?

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2 thoughts on “The Last Question and A Pail of Air

  1. I found it unsettling how long a short story seems now that I have become quite used to web-serials and friday flash.

    In saying that, they were both compelling stories, though with quite a different feel to each. I enjoyed A Pail fo Air, but found the conclusion wound up a little too fast or perhaps too neatly. As for Asimov’s, I can see why he liked it so much, and I did too.

    • I agree with you re: A Pail of Air… It wrapped up too neatly after the initial spooky promise. Felt like the author went “Oh, crap, I meant to write a short story, not a novel! How do I end this?!”

      Asmiov’s on the other hand is excellent.

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