Looking for a story where there are four people who think they are on a spaceship but are actually part of a isolation/simulation experiment. One of the females writes a short story that is a thinly-veiled version of their life, in which the spelling of the character's names is slightly altered. There is a love triangle of some sort. The experiment comes to an abrupt end and the participants are shocked when the doors open and there is no space beyond . . .

  • any idea if it was a TV show/novel, where and when you saw it/ how old it was?
    – Mikasa
    Sep 21, 2015 at 17:49
  • Possible dupe of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/33812/…
    – Valorum
    Sep 21, 2015 at 19:31
  • It was from an anthology of "Macabre" tales from the mid 1970's.
    – OpalSkies
    Sep 22, 2015 at 23:00
  • That is the anthology was from the 1970s; not sure from what era the included stories were.
    – OpalSkies
    Sep 22, 2015 at 23:00
  • 1
    Do you remember any of the following details: One of the male characters being named Bruno; an analogue of the same character being named "Bornu" in the female's short story; the experimenters subjecting the occupants of the "spaceship" to "strange events", including a baby's face appearing outside a window, red crabs invading the spaceship, and the food supplies vanishing; Bruno being revealed as collaborating with the experimenters at the end? Sep 23, 2015 at 11:48

2 Answers 2


This is Something Strange by Kingsley Amis. The anthology that I remember it from is Possible Tomorrows published in 1972 and reprinted in 1973, but as you mentioned in your comment, it was also in horror anthologies - The 2nd Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories and The Lucifer Society: Macabre Tales by Great Modern Writers.

I misremembered the name of Bruno's analogue in the story within a story that I mentioned in my comment - it was Norbu, not Bornu. The other characters in the "spaceship" were named Myri (the writer of the story within the story), Lia, and Clovis.

Another plot detail that I remember is that the final psychological test imposed by the experimenters was the reveal that the spaceship occupied by the four characters was the only one that experienced the "strange events" after maintaining the belief that this had happened to many other spaceships.

  • Many, many thanks. I found this online and am so grateful to know the author of this short story also wrote The Alteration (1976)—described by Philip K. Dick as the best alternative history novel ever written.
    – OpalSkies
    Sep 24, 2015 at 6:21

There was an Isaac Asimov story about astronauts who thought that they were going on the first trip around the moon and who got a shot when the simulation broke down. I don't remember the title. It may be the one you are thinking of. I thought that the crew was all male, though.

  • 2
    The Asimov story you're thinking of is "Ideas Die Hard" which you can read at the Internet Archive. It is about a simulated spaceflight but otherwise does not match the OP's description.
    – user14111
    Sep 23, 2015 at 7:16

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