“A Long Walk Home” is a 2011 science fiction novelette by Jay Lake which was nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award and which also placed 11th in the 2012 Locus Awards. It is about a technologically enhanced man who is the last survivor on an alien planet.
The Ultimate Hermit
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be the last person left alive on Earth? I have, several times – ever since I was a kid and saw Charlton Heston in the movie “The Omega Man.” Since I am a bit of an introvert I think it would be kind of cool to be the only person on the planet, but I’m sure that wouldn’t last long. And just think how life would be if you had been genetically enhanced to live forever? Yeah, that could really suck! Here is a very cool story where the main character faces just that problem, and what he does to keep himself busy for a long, long time.
April 27th, 2977: while exploring a deep, underground cave, Aeschylus Sforza experiences some powerful shock waves – then the radiation level spikes and all his electronic equipment dies. He ventures out to see what happened but encounters no other humans – only ruined equipment and stranded animals. Oh well, he has a highly modified body, so he sets off walking towards the nearest town in hopes of getting some answers as well as some food. The problem is there’s no one there… or anywhere! Thus it is that he embarks on a long, lonely journey to see what he can find and how he can keep himself occupied. I wonder if he’s thinking that nearly-unbreakable body and perfect memory of his aren’t so useful now?!
My Two Cents
- Story: – I am a sucker for last-man type stories, so I really liked this one. The twist of an immortal person being stranded all by himself was an extra bonus!
- Writing: – The writing was just average, and in a few parts confusing. It conveyed all the right images, but I felt it could have been better.
- Fun Factor: – The story sucked me in, and I was fascinated by what Aeschylus found and experienced!
Where To Find A Long Walk Home
- This story first appeared in the Winter 2011 edition of Subterranean Online.
- You can still read “A Long Walk Home” online for free at the Subterranean Press web site.
- It is also included in the anthology The Best of Subterranean.
Craving More SF Stories Like This One?
If you liked “A Long Walk Home” then you may enjoy “A Walk In The Sun” by Geoffrey Landis. It’s another award-winning story, but this time about an astronaut stranded on the moon who must stay in the sunlight until she is rescued!