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Customer Discussions > Science Fiction forum

Immortality short story


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Initial post: Feb 28, 2013, 11:00:45 AM PST
Some years ago I read a SF short story in which some government scientists imprisoned 3 friendly aliens to try to discover their communications secrets. Two of the aliens killed the third, whereupon the "soul" of that alien was able to send for help. The scientists asked why the aliens, who were apparently effectively immortal, hadn't shared that human had immortal souls as well, and were told "You don't", which were the last words of the story. It's one of the best endings I remember, but I cannot for the life of me remember the title or author. Anybody know?

Posted on Feb 28, 2013, 11:47:14 AM PST
"You don't"

HAHA -- a great ending. But sorry, but I haven't read it.

You might want to check the list here and see if it triggers anything and/or ask folks there since it seems a good thread-> http://bestsciencefictionstories.com/2011/02/25/38-awesome-alien-stories/

Posted on Feb 28, 2013, 10:06:51 PM PST
It's "The Martyr" by Poul Anderson. I'm Christian, but I can't help but admire the skill and imagination that went into that story.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2013, 1:50:25 AM PDT
Thanks!

Posted on Aug 16, 2013, 7:24:49 AM PDT
Wow...how ever did you know that, Lee?

I did some searching to see if I could find where it was available. I found this which lists all the places->
http://www.authorwars.com/books/titles/58305/the-martyr

[BTW...it was first published in March 1960 in F&SF. I used to have a subscription to them as a kid but I think I started it in the mid-60's so I missed this!]

From that list of publications, Amazon shows a number of them available as used from various buyers->
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction, Tenth Series
The Gods Laughed
Nebula Awards 33: the Year's Best SF and Fantasy Chosen by the Science-fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (v. 33)

Posted on Aug 16, 2013, 4:23:03 PM PDT
I read it in THE BEST FROM FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, 10TH SERIES when I was 10 or 11 years old. Many stories in that book enthralled me and helped make me a longtime devotee of SF.

Posted on Aug 19, 2013, 5:49:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 19, 2013, 5:51:06 AM PDT
W.T. Keeton says:
Another interesting story about immortality is "The Dying Man" by Damon Knight. In a future where humanity has found the secret to humanity and everyone lives forever in a perfect world, one man has a disorder causing him to actually age. Shunned as a freak by almost all those around him, he finds that growing old and dying is a path to the real meaning that the rest of of world seems to somehow lack.

It's written in a very annoying present-tense throughout the entire short novel, though. I guess that's meant to be a "living in the moment" sort of thing, but it didn't really work. But the story is excellent otherwise.
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  4
Total posts:  7
Initial post:  Feb 28, 2013
Latest post:  Aug 19, 2013

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