Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Morley Roberts' "The Anticipator": A telepathic connection, or a coincidence?

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.

See also.

  1. 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
Rating: C