Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rediscovering A Si-Fi Favorite

On the day that marked the end of the life of one of the most acclaimed science fiction writers ever, Ray Bradbury, I coincidentally rediscovered my all time favorite si-fi short story.

Let me fill you in on some history. When I was in school (I don’t specifically remember how old I or which grade I was in) I read a short story in one of my English Literature text books I really liked.

The story was a science fiction tale about a man who goes in search of short vacation and ends up being offered the getaway of a lifetime. I don’t want to go into too many details for reasons I’ll get to later in this post.

I found the story fascinating and mentioned it to my best friend and cousin, Gary. He went to a different school in the town across the river. However his English Lit teacher used the same text book. He also expressed his admiration for the story. We talked about it for years afterward.

As time went by we continued to remember the details of the story especially its ironic ending. But the title would eventually fade from our minds and beyond our recollection.

Let’s fast forward to today. My cousin, who still lives in Pennsylvania, sent me a message on Facebook asking me if I could help him remember the title of the story we used to always talk about. He said he had tried searching for information about it online but had come up empty.

I told him I didn’t know the title. I suggested that he search Facebook for some Science Fiction fan pages and or SiFi message boards and ask about it. His inquiry got me curious as well.

Knowing that if you put the right key words into a search engine you can find just about anything on the web I decided to try a search myself. I entered a descriptive phrase using some key words to see what I could find. Googel and Wikipedia came through for me once again.

I found out that the title of the story is “Of Missing Persons.”  It was written in 1955 by Jack Finney, whose most famous work was “The Body Snatchers;” the book that served as the basis for the iconic 1950s si-fi movie.
Happy and a bit surprised that I found it relatively easily I sent the Wikipedia link to my cousin along with a link to a PDF file of the actual story.

This discovery was serendipitous for couple of reasons. It happened on the day Ray Bradbury died. Just this past weekend I was listening to Beach Boys music on my I-pod. Their songs really remind me of all the great times Gary and I had together as teenagers. I found myself missing those days and the distance geography and time has put between us.

Helping my cousin rediscover of “Of Missing Persons” closed that gap just a little bit. It may read and sound like a cliché but in this instance its true. Finding this old story was really like finding an old friend.

If you are a fan of science fiction stories you I recommend you read “Of Missing Persons” for yourself. Here is the link:
Check it out I can almost guarantee you will enjoy it especially the way it ends.