Monday, June 9, 2008
My favorite horror story, "The Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs, could serve as a definition of The Law of Unintended Consequences. It's one of the greatest short stories of all time, not just horror. This reprint is from Startling Mystery Stories #15, from 1970.
The Law of Unintended Consequences applies to the publication of this 1902 story as well: It may be the single story W. W. Jacobs is most remembered for, when stories of the macabre made up only a portion of his large body of work.
This story could also fit Murphy's Law: "If something can possibly go wrong, it will." Or even the bumper sticker, "Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it."