Ambrose Bierce
AMBROSE BIERCE (1842-?1914)
BIOGRAPHY
Although a harsh critic of many of the conventions of his day - stating his disaproval of 'human institutions in general, including all forms of government, most laws and customs, and all contemporary literature' - Ambrose Bierce was perhaps most deeply affected by his belief in the waste and futility of war.
Bierce was born in a log cabin in Ohio. His family, though strongly religious, provided him with no formal education and he left home in his teens for a military academy in Kentucky. At the outbreak of civil war, he enlisted in the Union Army in which he served with distinction - rising quickly from private to major. At the end of the war, Bierce settled in San Francisco where he began contributing articles to a number of journals. He married in 1971 before heading off to England where he completed three collections of stories. Returning to San Francisco, he worked for several papers, most notably William Randolph Hearst's 'San Francisco Examiner' where his cynical but popular columns earned him a reputation as the 'literary dictator of the Pacific Coast'. It was also during this period that he completed the two short story collections 'Tales of Soldiers and Civilians' and 'Can Such Things Be'. In 1896 he was set to work on another of Hearst's papers in Washington and the entire capital reportedly 'ran for cover'. But his divorce in 1904 and the deaths of his two sons from suicide and acute alcoholism took their toll. In 1913, at the age of 71, Bierce settled his affairs and headed off to Mexico - the scene of a bloody civil war; he was said to have exclaimed: 'To be a Gringo in Mexico - ah, that is euthanasia'. The exact circumstances of his death remain unknown.
STORIES
BY TITLE
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At night, in the autumn of 1861, a brave but sensitive Federal officer sits alone in the heart of a forest in western Virginia.
- Length: 8 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Fiction, Horror
4 Stars
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A compilation of the facts and testimonies of witnesses following the return of a dedicated shop keeper from the dead.
- Length: 6 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Fiction
4 Stars
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Late one night, a mysterious man witnesses the strangely silent movement of a large army.
- Length: 6 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Fiction
4 Stars
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In the town of Blackburg - home of raining frogs, crimson snow and Hettie Parlow's ghost - a young tramp stands on a street corner in the rain.
- Length: 4 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Fiction
3 Stars
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A man sets sail from Liverpool to New York on 'The Morrow' where he becomes attracted to a strange young woman.
- Length: 5 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Sci-fi
4 Stars
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A man wakes from thought and realises he is wandering on an unfamiliar and desolate expanse of plain.
- Length: 4 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Sci-fi
4 Stars
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A man stands on a railroad bridge; his wrists are bound with a chord, a rope encircles his neck. This story was adapted into the most popular ever episode of The Twighlight Zone.
- Length: 11 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Fiction, Sci-Fi
5 Stars
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A man explains to his doctor how he came to believe in ghosts.
- Length: 4 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Horror
4 Stars
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An incident that takes place during the American civil war begins with a sentry asleep at his post. Neatly examines the personal amongst the duty and professionalism of war.
- Length: 7 pages
- Age Rating: PG
- Genre: Fiction
5 Stars