I want to say this is the first short story I ever wrote, but that’s not entirely true. This is probably the first short story I wrote after deciding to become a writer. If I recall correctly, I was in fact planning to enter it in a short story competition – but that never happened.
This story makes me cringe a little, because I can tell I was just getting a handle on narrative flow. I was also following sci-fi tropes I was familiar with. Emotionless technology-dependant society living in a post-apocalyptical earth? Check. A novel symbolizing freedom from oppression? Check. The detective’s partner is, gasp, a secret agent??? Check. But I was 14, so I think those sins are forgivable.
If I wrote it today: I probably wouldn’t change the beginning too much, but as the story progresses I would add more with the detectives, leave more hints about Lars, etc. I would change how Ardis gets injured. It’s very forced and a little awkward.
Review Reply: One person said this story reminded them of Equilibrium and Fahrenheit 451. I’d read Fanhrenheit 451 the year before, so points for that one. Equilibrium came out about two years after I wrote this though.
If nothing else, this is a good story to read to see how my writing has evolved. Sing it, Drake…