An Exercise in Latitudes

I am a die hard Michael Crichton fan. His works of accessible (dare I say "beach read") science fiction open a door into a genre that some readers hesitate to tread. Crichton not only created this door but flung it wide open, gesturing all readers to come in and explore the type of fiction that could grow from scientific interests. His work is universally known, critically acclaimed, and just darn good reading.

When I saw Pirate Latitudes on the shelf, posthumously published, I hesitated. Pirates? I'm a bit surprised, but okay. Then, halfway through the book, a terrible thing happened. I got bored. I put the book down and nearly forgot about it, something that has never happened with any of his previous works.

But I am nothing if not a dedicated reader, so I read through til the end. The novel let no remarkable impact, no overwhelming impressions. It lacked the polish and energy of his other works and felt incomplete. Perhaps it was a first draft, or an idea he never truly fell in love with, which is why it never fell upon store shelves until now. My final impression was that it felt more like a writing exercise, albeit a very good one by a phenomenally talented author, than a complete final draft.

Now there is word that the story, even before published, will be adapted for the big screen and by Spielberg, no less. The movie has been in production since before the book was released in 2009, but with Spielberg and Koepp (screenwriter for Jurassic Park and The Lost World) involved, it's more than likely going to end up on the big screen.

New Harry Potter Short Story

It's true! As part of her growing HP-related literature, JK Rowling has released a new short story about the wizarding world, told by everyone's favorite rotten-to-the-core reporter Rita Skeeter.
You can find the whole story at, but enjoy this excerpt:
Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final
By the Daily Prophet’s Gossip Correspondent, Rita Skeeter
There are celebrities – and then there are celebrities. We’ve seen many a famous face from the wizarding world grace the stands here in the Patagonian Desert – Ministers and Presidents, Celestina Warbeck, controversial American wizarding band The Bent-Winged Snitches – all have caused flurries of excitement, with crowd members scrambling for autographs and even casting Bridging Charms to reach the VIP boxes over the heads of the crowd.
But when word swept the campsite and stadium that a certain gang of infamous wizards (no longer the fresh-faced teenagers they were in their heyday, but nevertheless recognisable) had arrived for the final, excitement was beyond anything yet seen. As the crowd stampeded, tents were flattened and small children mown down. Fans from all corners of the globe stormed towards the area where members of Dumbledore’s Army were rumoured to have been sighted, desperate above all else for a glimpse of the man they still call the Chosen One.

Accepting Weekly Read Submissions

Dear Readers,
    Currently, we are accepting submissions from indie authors for our Weekly Read short stories. Short stories can be any genre, previously published, never published, really anything you think we'd find delightful. The Dying Book Affair holds no first publishing rights, first online print rights, etc. We are simply looking to share dynamite short stories with voracious readers. If you have a work you'd like to submit, details are below.

Happy reading!
TDBA editors

Genres accepted: All
Manuscript chapters: Accepted as long as they function as a short story
Word count: No more than 1,500 per story
Multiple submissions: Yes, but each story should be sent in a separate email
Closing date: 9/1/14
Submissions sent to:, subject line Weekly Read Submission

I Saw You on the Manhattan-Bound Brooklyn Q Train

This delightful short story comes from an inventive missed connection found on Craigslist. It is beautiful in its simplicity and lyrical in its musings. Enjoy.
I saw you on the Manhattan-bound Brooklyn Q train.

I was wearing a blue-striped t-shirt and a pair of maroon pants. You were wearing a vintage red skirt and a smart white blouse. We both wore glasses. I guess we still do.

You got on at DeKalb and sat across from me and we made eye contact, briefly. I fell in love with you a little bit, in that stupid way where you completely make up a fictional version of the person you're looking at and fall in love with that person. But still I think there was something there.

Several times we looked at each other and then looked away. I tried to think of something to say to you -- maybe pretend I didn't know where I was going and ask you for directions or say something nice about your boot-shaped earrings, or just say, "Hot day." It all seemed so stupid.

At one point, I caught you staring at me and you immediately averted your eyes. You pulled a book out of your bag and started reading it -- a biography of Lyndon Johnson -- but I noticed you never once turned a page.

My stop was Union Square, but at Union Square I decided to stay on, rationalizing that I could just as easily transfer to the 7 at 42nd Street, but then I didn't get off at 42nd Street either. You must have missed your stop as well, because when we got all the way to the end of the line at Ditmars, we both just sat there in the car, waiting.

I cocked my head at you inquisitively. You shrugged and held up your book as if that was the reason.

Still I said nothing.
Creative Commons License
This work by H.E. Saunders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.