Q: How many Arnold Baringtons does it take to fix a communications dish?

Dear Readers,

We’re delighted to present Recommended Reading Vol. 2, No. 1, “The Adventure of the Space Traveler” by Seth Fried. It’s a Recommended Reading original, and it’s about a man floating through space:

“While repairing a communications dish outside the space station Triumph I, Arnold Barington inadvertently fired his rivet gun into a tank of pressurized gas. In the resulting explosion, Barington was thrown out like a dart into the vacuum of space at roughly five thousand feet per second. His heavy spacesuit withstood the force of the blast, and so he found himself, in a strictly immediate sense, unharmed. As he watched Triumph I rapidly diminish into a small, pale-white point in the distance, he greeted his predicament with a short grunt of embarrassment.”

Editor’s Note — Benjamin Samuel, Recommended Reading co-editor:

Why is it that we must spend time alone, writing or otherwise occupied, to understand what makes us human? Perhaps it’s because perspective is best gained from a distance, at a remove, and this is true whether you’re tucked away in your study, or, like Barington, sailing across the cosmos. Barington is cut off, yet he is preoccupied with how others think of him. He wonders, if rescued, what will make his a life worth saving, a story worth listening to.

“The Adventure of the Space Traveler” is about literal and figurative isolation, but it’s also about the way we connect with others. This is not a story built on suspense; it is not a question of rescue, but a question of endurance and how we discover who we want to be. In this story, Seth brings to light our own loneliness, our own struggle to make sense of the senseless, and our absurd capacity to find and pursue romance in the most unlikely circumstances.

Check out the Single Sentence Animation for “The Adventure of the Space Traveler”:

About Recommended Reading:

Great authors inspire us. But what about the stories that inspire them? Recommended Reading, a magazine by Electric Literature, publishes one story a week, each chosen by today’s best authors or editors.


Elissa Goldstein was born and raised in Melbourne. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College and is the Online Editor of Electric Literature. You can find her here.

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