Angels Fall is a play by Lanford Wilson, addressing themes of hope, love and the future. The play follows two couples and some locals who must stay at a Catholic mission in New Mexico after a nuclear accident. The two couples are a professor and his wife, and an older woman and her young lover. Father Doherty and his son Don are both Native Americans and run the mission. The play revolves around their interactions and the questions that face them if and when they can leave the mission.
Nightfall is a short story set on a planet in which it is never fully dark. A group of scientists has discovered an irregularity in the orbit of the planet around its six suns; it is determined that soon, the planet will be plunged into the first true darkness it has known for centuries. As another scientist discovers evidence of past societal collapses, the consensus is that full darkness will drive people insane. This story contains themes of solitude, the vastness of the universe, and existentialism.
Snow Falling on Cedars is a novel set in the 1950s which tells the story of Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese American, who has been accused of killing a fisherman, Carl Heine. It's still only a few years after WWII, and prejudice against Americans of Japanese descent is common. The narrative follows Kabuo's trial, flashing back to past events to depict the relationships between townspeople and the old tensions that may have led to the false accusation of Kabuo.
Through a series of second-person monologues, Jean-Baptiste Clamence, the narrator of The Fall describes his initial success as a Parisian lawyer and his ultimate downfall, to a stranger in a bar in Amsterdam. The novel explores themes of power, innocence and guilt, and justice. At the start of his story, Clamence believes himself to be a good and pure person who only helps others. His life changes dramatically the day he realizes that is not the case.
The Fall of the House of Usher is a macabre story about the final fate of the titular family. Madeline and Roderick Usher, the last of their once-proud line, live in squalor in a dilapidated manor house. An unnamed guest visits the Ushers, witnessing their descent into madness and poverty. After Roderick prematurely buries Madeline, themes of incest are addressed before Madeline's apparent return from the grave occasions Roderick's total collapse and the destruction of the manor house.
Things Fall Apart, a novel, follows the life of African man Okonkwo, who lives in the village of Umuofia. As a young man, Okonkwo seeks to distinguish himself, and through hard work becomes a leader in his village. When white men invade his village, Okonkwo wants to fight and drive them out. He soon realizes that the old values and customs he has lived by are disappearing, driving him to despair in this classic exploration of masculinity and the conflict between tradition and change.