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Short Story Review: Melancholy Elephants

Interesting post on the promising new site Prometheus Unbound, “A Libertarian Review of Fiction and Literature”. The post is a review of a short story concerning copyright law–I, like Alexander, found the story to have flaws, but still worth reading.

Short Story Review: Melancholy Elephants


Melancholy Elephants, a Hugo Award winner from 1983,  is the kind of story you get when a talented craftsmen, after some genuine contemplation on a topic, has come up with a unique perspective on an issue, discovered something worth thinking about.  For the libertarian, it has the added attraction of advocating freedom of artistic expression, as well as a frank depiction of government corruption.  Though Spider Robinson’s short work fizzles at the end, it’s engaging and thought-provoking and ultimately worth your time.

Despite the mildly disappointing ending, I cannot find fault with the beginning.  Even the title is exactly what a title should be: odd enough to be intriguing while encapsulating what the story is about, but this becomes obvious only afterwards.  It gives away nothing of the tale at the outset.

The short story format affords an author little time to grab his reader’s attention; Spider Robinson does it in the first paragraph.  The main character, Dorothy Martin, has such a bizarre reaction to a situation she is subjected to that any impulse to put the story down evaporates, rather like what a startle does to the impulse to yawn.

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To the extent possible under law, Stephan Kinsella has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to C4SIF. This work is published from: United States. In the event the CC0 license is unenforceable a  Creative Commons License Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License is hereby granted.