What Do I Read Next?
Whirligigs, a collection of O. Henry's short stories published in 1910, features the popular story "The Ransom of Red Chief," about two men who kidnap a boy so impossible that soon they are offering to pay his parents to take him back. This story has been made into films and is often anthologized.
O. Henry: A Biography of William Sydney Porter. Written by David Stuart and published by Doubleday in 1987, this biography offers a recent look at O. Henry's life.
"The Open Window," from Saki's collection Beasts and Super-Beasts (1914), is a short story that features many of the characteristics common to O. Henry's work, including brevity and a surprise ending.
Ambrose Bierce's story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," included in his collection Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (1891), is a suspenseful tale of a man's last moments before his hanging, ending with a dark surprise.
The play Our Town (1938), by Thornton Wilder, features a narrator who comments on and draws a moral from the lives of the play's ordinary, small-town characters, who are largely symbolic.
Damon Knight's science fiction story "To Serve Man"—published in Galaxy magazine in 1950, adapted as an episode of television's Twilight Zone, and anthologized numerous times—makes effective use of the surprise ending.