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Can anyone identify this story?

(10 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by Gordon Van Gelder
  • Latest reply from Gordon Van Gelder

  1. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    Does anyone here recognize this story?

    Hi, I’m searching for a sci-fi short story I read in the 80s or early 90s: a person about to face a firing squad is allowed a final sentence. He uses rather latinate language to describe the mental capabilities of his shooters-to-be, their ancestry, etc. The single sentence goes on for some 1500+ words, and finishes with “not with a whimper, but a …..BANG!” I have the impression that the author was translated out of perhaps Spanish… Can you help?

    Posted 6 years ago #
  2. Chris DeVito
    Member

    I can't identify the story, but I wish I'd written it.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  3. ByronBailey
    Member

    I don't know the story, but from the description, it wouldn't surprise me much if you're talking about a Gabriel Garcia Marquez story.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  4. MilesMcNerney
    Member

    This is a lot like a Jorge Borges story, about a man facing a firing squad who has a year's worth of life experience play out while waiting for the bullets to hit. I couldn't remember the title, but it turned up in a search, "The Secret Miracle".

    But Wikipedia says that story was published in the 1940s.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  5. C.C. Finlay
    Charles Coleman Finlay

    Over on Facebook, a reader asked for help identifying this story. Does anyone recognize it? (Sadly, I don't.) Thanks.

    I'm looking for the title of an old story that I believe was In Fantasy & Science Fiction. It was about Death as a character. It tells of his going to gather souls and how the people react. The last one he gets is from a very old woman who is not in any way scared of him. While following her outside her house into her garden he briefly glimpses her as a young, beautiful, woman and realizes she's a Witch. Knowing she is immortal he tries to convince her to live and stay with him because he’s lonely, but she is tired of life and wants to die and does. Has anyone else read this?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. dolphintornsea
    Member

    It sounds very similar to Ray Bradbury's "There Was an Old Woman", originally published in Weird Tales, although some details don't fit. Here's a summary: https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/b/bradburys-short-stories/summary-and-analysis-the-october-country/there-was-an-old-woman

    Posted 1 month ago #
  7. dolphintornsea
    Member

    Here's an even better attempt---Ray Bradbury again:

    "Death and the Maiden", first published in F&SF, March 1960.

    I read it many years ago, but I kept a summary, part of which reads:

    "Old Mam is a legendary recluse who lives all alone in the woods. Ninety-one years old, she has barricaded herself inside her house to prevent the intrusion of Death. But of course, one day Death comes knocking, in the guise of a twenty-one year old suitor of seven decades earlier. He makes her an offer: in return for being restored to the age of eighteen for one day and being taken out to paint the town red, she must consent to sleep with him ... forever."

    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. Marian
    Member

    Here's a link to the story Death and the Maiden https://talesofmytery.blogspot.com/2013/06/ray-bradbury-death-and-maiden.html
    In all honesty, it doesn't sound like the story C.C. Finlay described.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  9. Greg
    Member

    @dolphintornsea, re: "Death and the Maiden"

    That, in turn, sounds a bit like an old Twilight Zone episode, "Nothing in the Dark". "Old Mam" has barricaded herself in her urban downstairs apartment, and Death, masquerading as a young and wounded police officer, convinces her to let him in. Much to her relief, as it turns out.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    A reader asks if anyone can identify this story, which probably ran in F&SF in the 1990s:

    What I remember of it: the main character began the story living in a
    very small rented room, much like a closet. Near the end of the off-
    world adventure, having met up with an alien from yet another planet,
    he (and she) need to escape the planet they're on, and have only one
    brief chance to do so. Very shortly before their moment arrives, she is
    devastatingly injured, and he has to decide whether to betray her by
    leaving without her, or to lose his only chance to escape by staying
    with her. Then, his deliberations are interrupted by her voice telling
    him he'd better get moving since their moment is about to arrive.
    When he turns around, she's completely healed, and responds to his
    shock with something like, "What? Doesn't your species heal?"

    Posted 1 month ago #

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