Robert Sheckley was a joker, a satirist, a poker of fun at all of the silliness in life. But there’s something more going on in this short short story from 1953. Sure there’s the existentialist angle, and of course there’s the requisite Sheckley humor, but it’s the other quality in Beside Still Waters that makes this Sheckley story a bit different. You can see it right there in the title (taken from Psalm 23 of the Hebrew Bible), and you can see it in the Virgil Finlay’s illustration for the story too:
Beside Still Waters is an elegiac tale, offering only a cup of sadness to the reader, it’s the sort of story that Clifford D. Simak might have written. And that should be recommendation enough.
Beside Still Waters
By Robert Sheckley; Read by Frank Malanga
1 |MP3| – Approx. 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 28, 2010
When people talk about getting away from it all, they are usually thinking about our great open spaces out west. But to science fiction writers, that would be practically in the heart of Times Square. When a man of the future wants solitude he picks a slab of rock floating in space four light years east of Andromeda. Here is a gentle little story about a man who sought the solitude of such a location. And who did he take along for company? None other than Charles the Robot. First published in Amazing Stories Oct.-Nov. 1953.
And here’s the |PDF| I made from the original magazine publication.
Posted by Jesse Willis