This is not the worst story I have read, but after over 100 years of its original publication, it no longer is a new plot. I picked it up because one of the Arthur Clarke's stories - "Herbert George Morley Roberts Wells, Esq" - referenced it.
Full text of this story can be downloaded here.
Story summary.Carter Esplan & Burford are both story writers. They know each other, but there is no love between them. Esplan can pen a plot better, but Burford always publishes original plot first.
During a discussion with Vincent, a friend & a physician, Esplan claims Burford has been stealing (anticipating) his plots somehow from his head even before he has penned the story! He has had several rejections because an editor had accepted a story with similar plot from Burford weeks ago.
Burford, of course, thinks Esplan cannot think up an original story.
During a particularly low period - with his girlfriend dead, & he a drug addict - Esplan decides to kill Burford. But ends up dying himself - with a hint by narrator that murder action was anticipated by Burford already! There is also lightening at the eleventh hour; I could not be sure from last para if end came by lightning hit, or was actually due to Burford's actions.
- Will McIntosh's "One Paper Airplane Graffito Love Note": A woman's thoughts keep appearing in others work. But she has a different way of taking control.
Fact sheet.The Anticipator, short story, review
First published: 1898