In the short story “How to Win an Unwinnable War,” a seventh-grade boy named Sam enrolls in a summer school class called How to Win a Nuclear War. The story traces Sam’s morbid reflections spurred by the course—“He wonders what the stars will see the day the war begins, the whole planet brightening, then going gray like a dead bulb”—as he simultaneously grapples with the dissolution of his parent’s marriage.
“It’s taking cold war theory and applying it to human relationships,” says Austin Bunn, performing media arts. The story’s premise is based on an experience Bunn had in middle school, when he, too, took a class on nuclear war. The piece is included in Bunn’s recently released book titled The Brink (Harper Perennial, April 2015), a collection of short stories about “people experiencing what you might call transformational, apocalyptic, end-time experiences,” says Bunn.
To read more about Bunn's work on the Cornell Research site, click here.