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Billy Budd, Sailor and Other Stories (Bantam Classic by Herman Melville

By Herman Melville

If Melville had by no means written Moby Dick, his position in global literature will be guaranteed through his brief stories. "Billy Budd, Sailor," his final paintings, is the masterpiece within which he can provide the ultimate summation in his "quarrel with God." it's a impressive examine of the tragic conflict among social authority and person freedom, human justice and summary strong.

Melville additionally explores this subject matter in "Bartelby the Scrivener," his well-known tale a couple of Wall road legislation clerk who takes passive resistance to a comic—and eventually disastrous—extreme; and in "Benito Cereno," his impressive account of oppression and uprising on a nineteenth-century slave send.

Completing this number of nice stories are the eerie "The Encantados," the gorgeous, romantic "The Piazza," and Melville's chilling technological know-how fiction parable, "The Bell-Tower."

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Example text

Ground undulations were few. There were not signs of permafrost beneath. After a time a fox could be made out trekking southward some way off. Some larger tracks, not hooved, showed by the edge of a bog pool. If one wandered far from the vehicles and men, the silence was broken only by the thin sound of the wind where it combed a grass mound, the zizz and skrittle of insects, the distant yipe of fox or other hunting animal, and the secretive giggle of seeping water. Here and there on the north side of a mound or clump traces of rime showed, and a few of the pool edges were lightly frozen.

Also the trees are bigger. The two professors with German names step outside and sniff the air. It is even better than Earth's. They take a stroll. 10 Whereupon something appears. It is a crowd of Jovians and - bless my soul! - they prove to have a silicon-based metabolism. So one of the professors wins his argument. They shake hands and marry the housekeeper, whose carbon-based metabolism has always had a certain appeal. Doubtless some of my more cynical readers will find this story a little naive, comical even.

There is no mistaking 'The Sack' for anything but an sf story; yet we can see that it is also a fairy story, with all the traditional virtues of that genre: a grain of unpalatable wisdom incorporated within the fantastic, the medicine within the spoonful of jam. The wisdom cornes in the form of a fairly standard, but continually necessary, precept concerning the rightful use of knowledge and power. 'The Sack' was first published in the USA in 1950, one of those awful years that have trudged by, when Senator Joe McCarthy was just beginning his inquisition of anyone suspected of being a Communist; Morrison's senator is less interested in the truth than in his own career.

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