What I enjoy about a collection of short fiction by one author is that each story is different; trying to accomplish something that the other’s in the collection could not, but that the authorial over tone is still present. I feel like I enter into a short term romance with the author. I get to find out the authors interests and sometimes what drives the author to write, something that I don’t think is always present in novels. I don’t think that I’m quite there yet with William R. Potter, but there are still two stories left.
In “May 18, 2010,” the reader will meet Trevor, a simple auto-mechanic who is struggling with a father who has Alzheimer’s, in a relationship with a woman he loves and loves to fight with, and he must survive the end of the world as caused by Ivan. Ivan is a comet on its way to Earth. Scientists predict that it will either collide with Earth or with the Moon. Either way, the impact will bring with it long term ecological changes in the environment, possibly even the extinction of human race.
The story is takes place on May 18, 2010, the day that Ivan is scheduled to hit. Trevor is at work. He realizes that he will never finish the jog he is on before needs to leave to pick of his girlfriend to go up top some sky slope and watch Ivan’s approach.
What is nice about this story is that in light of such a crazy, but not improbable situation, the plot is still driven by the character’s choices. Should I have a beer before leaving work? Should we all leave work early, play hooky? Should I get out of the car or stay in the car? Simple decisions like these help to give the illusion of control even when the plot is tightly written.
The story is broken up into three sections. Each section is the same day, May 18, 2010. I loved the first section, I whish that the story would have ended on the bottom of page 129. It didn’t. The first section is movie worthy or perhaps a play. Either way, I really like the dialogue and way the story moved through time and used up scenery. However, and I don’t know if it is just because I’ve seen too many movies, but the Groundhog Day, scenario is too over played.
Still, the third section was also executed well and had a few surprises at the end. Overall I liked it, but so far, it is not the strongest story in the collection.
Potter, William R. “May 18, 2010.” Lighting the Dark Side: Six Modern Tales. Xlibris, 2008. p. 114 – 161