Science Fiction Short Story Review: "Cully" by Jack Egan

@msiduri (5841)
United States
June 19, 2016 8:33am CST
Under 80 feet of black water, Cully is still breathing. It takes him a while to realize he can move. Gold sand sifts through the black water when he moves his arm. He finds the color pleasant. In addition to his breathing, he hears a burble of tiny voices in his mind. He can’t understand what they’re trying to say. But he understands now why he’s still living. He’s wearing a suit. Air tanks and their regulator, a radio and—the box. He can’t make his voice work. The words that are supposed to be there are not. The many voices call him. His body moves forward, not quite under his control. He realizes his foot is bleeding. He realizes he’s in pain and pain is not good, but doesn’t know how he could have been injured in a landscape that doesn’t change. He also knows there’s nothing he can do about it. He has a job to do. The box. He just doesn’t understand. The description, as partial and as muddled as it is, is fantastic, placing the reader in Cully’s predicament in the first handful of words. The reader knows Cully is injured, confused and probably lost deep under the ocean. Cully’s childlike delight in the gold sand only adds to the reader’s anxiety on his behalf. This is a wonderful depiction tight spot poor Cully is in. The twist at the end explains everything. No one will confuse this with great literature, but this is a worthwhile and poignant 10 minute read. This short story is available from Project Gutenberg and as an audiobook from Librivox. _____ Title: “Cully” Author: Jack Egan (b. 1945) First published: Amazing Stories Jan. 1963 Source: ISFDB _____ *An earlier version of this review appeared on another site. It has been expanded and updated for its inclusion in myLot.*
https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/26751
3 people like this
2 responses
@teamfreak16 (35280)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
19 Jun 16
I liked this a lot. Was not expecting the end, that's for sure.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5841)
• United States
19 Jun 16
:-) Glad you liked it. If I can find something that some likes—or warn someone away from a dud—I feel like I've done my job. I didn't the that end coming either. And I thought it was nicely written.
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (39016)
• Los Angeles, California
19 Jun 16
I am guessing the diver is hallucinating.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5841)
• United States
19 Jun 16
Nope.