On its surface, this speculative fiction short story (7,800 words) deals with one man's obsessive quest for knowledge and the devastating price he must pay for the knowledge he ultimately acquires. Beneath the surface, this story is about deep friendships complicated by unrequited love, split loyalties, the interplay of id, ego and superego, (or Plato's appetites, reason and the spirited element that Freud "borrowed" and "re-labeled" for his own purposes) and existentialist lessons learned much too late in life.
It is about looking for truth and meaning in all the wrong places and about the deep tragedy of misdirected efforts in the single-minded pursuit of all the wrong things. It is also about love, and the noble and often tragic self-sacrifice that true friendship requires and that true friends give selflessly, unquestioningly no matter the cost. It is also about the pain of unrequited love and split loyalties, and ultimately the very real tragedy of too many lives spent in the single-minded pursuit of lesser important things. Nothing else I have ever written since those happy, productive days as a college sophomore means more to me, and it remains little changed from the original. Since this story was written, I've gone on to a productive life as an academic in the intervening four decades since writing this short story, but my combined output of "serious" publications (textbooks, scholarly books, articles in peer-reviewed journals, etc.) contains no greater truth than that which I knew as a young old man of 19 for whom the world still contained endless possibilities.
You can download a free copy of the short story until November 27, 2017 by clicking on the cover above or by clicking here. If speculative fiction is not your cup of tea, please share this with friends who might find it of interest. For more information about my published works, you can click on the links below. Thank you!