Pythias by Frederik Pohl #DealMeIn2018

My Deal Me In deck turned up hearts again this week, which sent me back to East of the Web. And what should I see right off the bat but a story by Frederick Pohl, one of my favorite science fiction writers? So I read it.

by Frederick Pohl

It begins with the narrative character murdering a man who saved his life and calling the police on himself.

The bulk of the short short story is a flashback, glossing over how the characters met, lost touch, and came back together. 

The climactic incident shows the victim to be in possession of very dangerous knowledge, for which the narrator kills him. The victim can’t be trusted with such knowledge. No one can. Except guess who.

Pohl might be a writer’s writer: His style is transparent and his flow is flawless. The story has no pyrotechnics, but the simple telling makes the outlandish content feel realistic.

Highly recommended.

If YOU need a short story to read, I have free ones here on my Free Reads page. I also have four collections for 99 cents each linked from my Short Stories page.

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Write about a secret.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Pythias by Frederik Pohl #DealMeIn2018

  1. Jay

    December 10, 2018 at 8:17am

    I’ve read some Pohl stories in the past, but don’t know if I’ve ever included any in my iterations of the Deal Me In challenge. Maybe 2019 will be different. I’ve also used East of the Web as a frequent resource for reading material. There’s really almost an inexhaustible amount of short story challenge “fodder” available for free on the internet. I like the title of your story this week too. Always happy to see “Classical” references popping up in more contemporary work!

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      December 10, 2018 at 9:11am

      I got the East of the Web URL from you, as a matter of fact. 🙂

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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