Click here to read it: "A Rose For Ecclesiastes"
Author: Roger Zelazny
Word Count: 12,500 approx
"A Rose For Ecclesiastes" was one of the best things Roger Zelazny wrote. In this story the lyricism of what was then New Wave writing melded into nostalgia for the old space operas. Written just before science could discover that there were no ancient civilisations on Mars or, indeed, any air, it assumes that WWII veterans could have gone on to become soldiers on other planets.
The narrator, however, is no soldier. He is a poet and linguist, which gives a good excuse for the poetry of his tale. There are some beautiful lines in the story, such as "... gaggle of guesses flew across my mind," and of course the final lines, words which were once beautifully realised in a graphic novel version of the story.