You can download the first short story in my Mindscapes: Ten Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories from Amazon in the U.S. here: (Outside of the U.S., just search for the title and/or my name for the relevant free download page.)
Eternal Quest is one of my first short stories, written when I was 19 for a fiction class in college along with some others that have been lost over the years. Although I’ve lightly reworked it over the intervening thirty five years or so, it remains largely as I first wrote it and is still my personal favorite among my short fiction. As is true of most of my short fiction (published and unpublished alike), it reflects more than a little of my own neo-Platonist philosophy and romantic core and delves into questions at the center of human existence. It is about sacrifices willingly made for love and friendship that can make even the white-hot pain of unrequited love bearable. It is about putting the needs of others above our known, about the mindless pursuit of answers in all the wrong places and about lessons too often learned in life much too late for solace, comfort or salvation.
But this story is also about much more than existentialist despair, or the tragedy of the unrealized promise of a life lived with blinders on. Ultimate it is about friendship, about the need to balance what Plato called the Appetites, Reason and the Spirited Element (what Freud later “borrowed” and renamed the Id, Ego and Superego) in each of our own lives. More than anything, it is is about transformational friendship and its ability, for those of us lucky enough to experience it, to make us far stronger than we could ever be without the balance it brings to our lives. I blush to admit this, but more than thirty years after writing this story, I still tear up when I read it to the end not because it strikes any sort of responsible chord but because it reveals what is for me the most important truth of human existence when all the layers are pealed off at the end of life and we are left with the fundamental truth of our existence as we breathe our final breath. The personal subtext is not important, then or now, but the knowledge that there is no greater truth we can learn during our short sojourn through life than that which is taught only by pure, unselfish, love–of the required and unrequited varieties–is essential, at least for the young author who has learned nothing of greater importance himself in the middle age of a life devoted to the dissemination of knowledge and doubts he ever will.