Every book has to end somewhere. Science fiction authors try to make the final lines meaningful, either to leave the reader with a satisfying conclusion, or to give hope for the future, or maybe to set up a possibility of further adventures. Whether or not they mean anything to someone who hasn’t read the entire book, you can tell they were meticulously thought out. But maybe they can mean something without the rest of the book.
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
“Loose Ends” is a literary supercut composed entirely of last lines from 137 science fiction and fantasy books. After gathering these lines, I found they fell into a number of patterns—some surprising, others obvious—in how writers end their stories. With these patterns in hand, I arranged them into a sequence of interconnected vignettes. In these ways “Loose Ends” doubles as narrative and archive, short story and data analysis. To read a version that reveals the names of the books, click here. —Tom Comitta
(Image credit: Elena Lacey)