Partial Eclipse

All posts tagged Partial Eclipse

Short Stories Challenge – Partial Eclipse by Graham Joyce from the collection Tales For A Dark Evening

Published November 2, 2014 by bibliobeth


What’s Partial Eclipse all about?:

Partial Eclipse is a story about aliens – but not as we know them, and about the primal importance of dreaming.

What did I think?:

Graham Joyce has a real talent for blending a little bit of the supernatural into the lives of ordinary people and from the very first line of the short story Partial Eclipse, we are taken on a journey that will have an “other-worldly,” element:

“I know that Myra goes to bed every night and whispers, “Dear God please let the aliens come back.”

This is not just your typical alien story. These aliens are probably unlike anything you’ve ever read about before and were doing a very important job in our world. That is, they were the source of mankind’s creativity, storytelling, music, religion, scientific ideas and even jokes suggesting to our characters their visions through dreams. Unfortunately, they have now left and with them they took all opportunity for man to create something new.

The story focuses on a married couple, Jonathan and Myra who is pregnant with the couple’s second child. Each morning when they wake up they are desperate to know if the other has dreamed as it may suggest that the aliens have returned and things can return to normal. But seven years have passed since the aliens left Earth and when they ask each other the question, daring to hope after such a long time, there is a standard negative response. The desire for “something new,” seems to lie with the new generation who were born after the aliens departure and theatres are usually sold out when a new child prodigy performs, the audience desperate to hear something they haven’t already heard before. After seeing yet another suspected prodigy turn into bitter disappointment as the stories he tells are recognised, Jonathan begins to ruminate on the day the aliens left. Everyone can remember exactly what they were doing as is always the case with big events and the aliens appeared to each person in a dream in the form of a person/animal the dreamer has loved. They apologised for such a brief stay on the planet (five hundred thousand years to be exact), and hoped that each individual had enjoyed “the fruits of their presence.”

“Since then our stories have dried up. Our music has frozen, Our science is arrested. No one has had an original notion in seven years. We are lodged in the mud of time, fossilized. We are consigned to limbo, and the cold wind of uncreation howls in our ears like a demon. Our species, all of humanity, has become the preterite, the passed over. Our psychic teeth, pulled.”

The quote above, which is one of my favourites in the story, explains precisely the state that humanity now finds itself in. Myra even suggests that there were never really any aliens but that the voices in their dreams was the voice of God that gave them everything and then left them abandoned. It’s certainly an interesting concept and could be compared to an apocalypse or the end of the world as we know it. I don’t want to say too much more about the story but for some reason, this particular tale got right under my skin. I loved the unique way in which Graham Joyce’s imagination ran riot with this idea and I found myself wondering what it would be like to live in a world where we’ve “heard it all before,” and there is no scope for something original and different. For me the ending was absolute perfection and really rounded everything off quite nicely while suggesting hope for the future. Read this story and it will definitely stick in your head for a while, hard evidence of a master storyteller at the top of his game.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):


NEXT SHORT STORY: The Fly And Its Effect Upon Mr Bodley by Michel Faber from the collection The Apple: New Crimson Petal Stories



Challenge: Short Stories October to December

Published October 9, 2014 by bibliobeth

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It’s that time again short story fans! This is what I’ll be reading short story wise from now until the end of 2014.

Week beginning 6th October

 Looking Up Vagina by Jon McGregor from the collection This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You

Week beginning 13th October

The Pool by Daphne Du Maurier from the collection The Breaking Point

Week beginning 20th October

Partial Eclipse by Graham Joyce from the collection Tales For A Dark Evening

Week beginning 27th October

The Fly And Its Effect Upon Mr Bodley by Michel Faber from the collection The Apple: New Crimson Petal Stories

Week beginning 3rd November

Busted by Karin Slaughter (stand-alone)

Week beginning 10th November

Nocturne by Kazuo Ishiguro from the collection Nocturnes: Five Stories Of Music And Nightfall

Week beginning 17th November

The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter by Angela Slatter from the collection A Book Of Horrors

Week beginning 24th November

The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft from the collection The Definitive H.P. Lovecraft

Week beginning 1st December

The Common Enemy by Natasha Cooper from the collection The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime Volume 7

Week beginning 8th December

Note To Sixth-Grade Self by Julie Orringer from the collection How To Breathe Underwater

Week beginning 15th December

A Terribly Strange Bed by Wilkie Collins from the collection Stories To Get You Through The Night

Week beginning 22nd December

Mrs Todd’s Shortcut by Stephen King from the collection Skeleton Crew

Week beginning 29th December

Everything I Knew About My Family On My Mother’s Side by Nathan Englander from the collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank