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Man Overboard!

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Published: 1898
Language: English
Wordcount: 1,070 / 4 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 121.2
LoC Category: PZ
Downloads: 1,159
Added to site: 2009.12.24 26108

ht was clear, though the moon was hidden behind clouds. The warm air was laden with moisture. The still surface of the waters was only broken by the movement of the great ship, from whose quarter the long, slanting undulations struck out like the feathers from an arrow shaft, and in whose wake the froth and air bubbles churned up by the propeller trailed in a narrowing line to the darkness of the horizon.

There was a concert on board. All the passengers were glad to break the monotony of the voyage and gathered around the piano in the companion-house. The decks were deserted. The man had been listening to the music and joining in the songs, but the room was hot and he came out to smoke a cigarette and enjoy a breath of the wind which the speedy passage of the liner created. It was the only wind in the Red Sea that night.

The accommodation-ladder had not been unshipped since leaving Aden and the man

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4.2 from 5 reviews: *****
Lisa Carr

A good lesson on the dangers of smoking. An Englishman returning home on a ship in the Red Sea falls overboard one night. What an inconvenience!

Short, blunt, and businesslike.

Sonnet Monger

This is a micro-story written in 1898, full of a level of joyful cynicism that would make the Nihilists proud. Then, again, with another round of "For the Rowdy Dowdy Boys" playing in the background, I'm amazed some bitter 1970s BBC producer didn't film this to answer the burning question, "what would happen to that wastrel Bertie Wooster if he fell overboard?" For a 1087-word story it is well worth the two and a half minutes!


Well written short that I remember reading in an old horror anthology years and years ago. It must be good because it always stuck in my memory. Most people mistakenly think this is the same Winston Churchill who was the powerhouse behind Britain's defeat of the Nazis. In fact, this is Churchill the American novelist. No, not that Great Man, but still a great man, and a great writer.

Rich Meyer

I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that this rather short short story lives up to it's title. It's about a man who falls overboard.

It's also a fairly well-written story, with a pseudo-twist at the end. I agree with another review who supposed that Churchill was probably depressed when he wrote it. Kind of glad he was, considering the quality. I enjoyed the barely-two minutes it took to read.

Andrew Ives

A very short, short story which would be rather unremarkable were it not for the author's renown. Churchill was known to suffer from bouts of depression and this story reflects that. Well-written but miserable.



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