- Vivid imagery of all the machines, the nursery, and the fire
- Indirectly develops the setting and context of the post-nuclear house
- The nuclear after-flash of the family against the side of the house was an amazing description that required some thought and prior context to understand
- Repetition of the house announcing the schedule/time serves to tie the whole piece together and serves as a motif
- Nature vs. development possible theme
- Constantly and rhythmically shifting the small-picture focus of the story, while keeping the big-picture in tune
- You get a sense of the past life these people lived, but it’s all described in the present. It describes current and past setting all in one go – very clever
- Speaks to the human condition, specifically their permanency
- Nuclear catastrophe
- Holds a unique idea: a house that self-functions even after humanity is erased
- The lack of dialogue forced me to reflect more, and invent/imagine more
- Situation is plausible
- Good imagery of the fire, exploding glass, rising vapor, etc.
- Speaks to the human condition, and their permanency (again)
- Sunrise – symbolic for a new day, and change and renewal – cleansing
- Nature vs. development theme
- Environmental catastrophe
- Thought the dialogue wasn’t completely necessary, or them being knocked out for a single sentence. The focus of the piece seemed to be on the people, and their experiences and realizations, but it wasn’t explored very in-depth in my opinion. I would’ve liked to see more of it
- Perhaps the setting was over-explained in the beginning. A couple short sentences could have provided context, then the story could have been longer, and focused on the relationships more
- The idea was unique, and somewhat grounded in science
- Good use of the glowing moon – it foreshadowed just how catastrophic the super sun would be
- Motif of fire – passion and cleansing, between the girl’s hair and the sun
- Call for reflection at the end – #YOLO, right? Use your time wisely
- Situation is plausible
As a quick note, I really enjoyed There Will Come Soft Rains, and thought Finis was good, although I didn’t like the style of the latter as much.
These two pieces had a lot in common, and these similarities reveal some truths in good apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic and general storytelling design. They had great descriptive imagery, but didn’t spend too long in any one scene – this captures attention. I particularly liked the way Rains described things in an unordinary way. For example, the description of the family’s flash-shadow on the side of the house, or the way the author brought the animals on the walls of the nursery to life. The setting of these stories were described indirectly, and both of the settings were plausible, which makes for more enjoyable science fiction, I believe.
Furthermore, both stories held motifs, themes, and called for reflection on the human condition. How long until we’re all snuffed out? On that note, there was a particular focus on human structures and architecture, which symbolize sturdiness and permanence. Our creations will outlive us, but even those wither over time as nature takes its course. Even though we are in the realm of fiction, it calls attention to the real power of the natural universe, and, given the small scenarios these stories provide, it gives us great context by projecting our fragility. This context, perhaps, can allow us appreciate our condition more. Any good story provokes reflection.
As for what didn’t work for me, I thought the focus in Finis was somewhat sloppy. The author provided characters who were not characterized enough to be strong, and not left vague enough for me to project myself onto them. The in-between doesn’t do it for me, and the ending was cheesy. I wasn’t struck by the devastation in Finis, I was struck by the indifference of nature and machine alike to our existence in There Will Come Soft Rains.