Back when I was a kid I was very deeply impressed by Arthur Porges’ classic 1953 sci-fi ‘The Ruum‘, which I read in a later collection of such tales. I’ve re-read it since, and am even more impressed.
It’s a simple enough story – a classic man-vs-wild survival tale in the theme of Jack London’s 1908 ‘To Build A Fire’. Of course it has its own twist, being sci-fi: alien ‘bio-collector’ robot is accidentally left on Jurassic-age Earth. It’s still hard at work 130 million years later when a rugged outdoorsman runs into it on a hunting trip. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that under the hood it’s a classic man-vs-wild survival tale – with a stunning twist, an absolute archetype of all that a short story of this type should be. It has:
- A simple and sharply contained plot – one man, one task, one thread.
- Character-based drama of the highest order – the inner struggle by the woodsman to find strength in himself to stay alive.
- Sustained conflict – pursuit of the man by the Ruum – moving in rising waves.
- A surprise twist at the very end.
There are lessons to be learned here about what constitutes a compelling story – check it out, it’s online and it’s not a long read.
If you want to learn more about writing and some methods to upskill yourself – fast – check out my short book How to get writing… fast. Available on Kindle.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016