7

I can't remember where I read this short story, but the plot is that a cowboy perches on the edge of a cliff looking for Black Bart or some such other villain to ride up.

From behind the cowboy comes a psychologist who explains kindly to the cowboy that he's experiencing a delusion which has thrown him back into the old West, and that none of this is real - no gun, no cliff, no Black Bart. To prove it, the psychologist walks out in front of him, and promptly falls off the cliff to his death. The cowboy shakes his head and picks up his rifle because he sees Black Bart riding up in the distance.

Any clues? No idea as to title or author but it might have been in an anthology of Hugo or Nebula winners.

  • What about it is scifi/fantasy? – Valorum Sep 11 '15 at 16:57
  • 4
    Probably the psychiatrist falling off the imaginary cliff... – FuzzyBoots Sep 11 '15 at 17:02
  • An alternate scifi/fantasy element is that it is set in a universe where psychology is a hard science. ::turns snark mode off:: – dmckee Sep 12 '15 at 21:03
17

It's called "Texas Week" by Albert Hernhuter. You may have read it in 50 Short Science Fiction Tales edited by Isaac Asimov.

  • It's available via Project Gutenberg, although the links are not working for me today. – FuzzyBoots Sep 11 '15 at 16:59
  • Wow that was crazy fast. Thanks for your help Sean. – Hamburger Sep 11 '15 at 17:00
  • :) I just edited the link in. – FuzzyBoots Sep 11 '15 at 17:03
  • Oh wait... he's Sean too. Now that's confusing. – FuzzyBoots Sep 11 '15 at 17:50
  • 1
    @dmckee Vol. 016 it says here. Why do you people hate the ISFDB? – user14111 Sep 11 '15 at 21:26

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