Selected Shorts: It's Too Late

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Drastic solutions, last chances, and it’s too late, in three stories hosted by Wyatt Cenac.

This program features three very different stories about drastic solutions and last chances.  Master fantasist Steven Millhauser imagines the world covered by a gigantic plastic sphere in “The Dome,” read by Alec Baldwin. Millhauser is a Pulitzer Prize winner, and his novels include Edwin Mullhouse, Portrait of a Romantic, and Martin Dressler.  His short story collections include Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories and We Others: New and Selected Stories.  Scholar Robert Scholes labeled Millhauser’s type of work "fabulation"; see for yourself.

I’ve been interested in disaster for long time,” says Jim Shepard of his shattering miniature of a tale, “Cretan Love Song,” which slices through time to 1600 B.C., and the moment when the volcanic island of Thera erupts and eclipses Minoan civilization, changing the landscape of history forever.  Shepard researched the story for months, but comments laconically, “when you start with the greatest disaster in history, you can’t write a really long story!” 

Shepard is the author of ten books, the most recent being his collection, You Think That’s Bad.   He teaches creative writing at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  Joe Morton gives “Cretan Love Song” a powerful rendering.

Author Nicholson Baker’s eclectic oeuvre includes fiction and non-fiction books that range from Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper to House of Holes: A Book of Raunch.  In his eerily comic “Subsoil,” read by Thomas Gibson, Mr. Potato Head is not your friend.

“The Dome,” by Steven Millhauser, performed by Alec Baldwin

“Cretan Love Song,” by Jim Shepard, performed by Joe Morton

“Subsoil,” by Nicholson Baker, performed by Thomas Gibson

The SELECTED SHORTS theme is David Peterson's “That's the Deal,” performed by the Deardorf/Peterson Group.

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

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 And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at