Friday, December 19, 2014 • Afternoon Edition • "Those who arrive survive. Maybe."

The Ultimate Twist Ending

Written by Eli Katz on Wednesday, August 03 2011 and posted in Columns

Eli Katz discusses and links to some of the best short fiction available for free on the Web. This week's pick: Henry Slesar's "Examination Day."


Henry Slesar was a novelist, screenwriter, playwright, and prolific short-story writer. He wrote for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, and the long-running soap opera The Edge of Night. Incredibly versatile, Slesar worked in every medium and published stories in just about every genre, including fantasy, mystery, and romance. I don't know much else about Slesar. But I consider him one of the great pulp writers, and place him alongside giants like Ira Levin and Harlan Ellison.

Slesar's most famous short story, "Examination Day," was published in Playboy in 1958. An instant classic, it was eventually turned into an episode for the 1985 revival of The Twilight Zone. Most people familiar with the story, however, probably remember reading it in a high school English class. It has been anthologized many times, and has often been included in school curriculums. Much like "The Monkey's Paw," "The Most Dangerous Game," and all those other great stories that grade 8 students are made to read, it has a dark setting, a cool premise and, of course, an unforgettable ending. If you haven't read "Examination Day" before, you're in for a real treat.

Enjoy!

(Below is a photo of the late Mr. Slesar, who passed away in 2002 in his hometown, New York City. He was 74.)



Written or Contributed by: Eli Katz

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