15

Many of the facts that I'm giving about the story, I'm not 100% confident in, so if you think of something matching this roughly feel free to suggest

  • I think it's a short story, rather than a longer piece
  • I think it's by a very famous sci-fi author, back when I was a child (like 25 years ago) my favorites were Clifford Simak, Robert Sheckley, Roger Zelazny, Robert Heinlein, Philip Dick, Isaac Asimov and the like.
  • The story is about a teleportation station, with a single human inhabitant
  • This inhabitant was a "randomly" chosen human, and once chosen he became responsible for hard moral choices
  • He acts as a sort of immigration officer granting and denying others their wish to teleport
  • He has a "term", and when it ends another poor soul will have to fulfill these duties, there were many before him and there will be many after him.
  • 3
    For any people coming through google or other searches, the answer to the question is actually the second answer down written by the OP themselves, "Halfway House" by Robert Silverberg, – Edlothiad Nov 7 '17 at 7:24
21

It was Halfway House by Robert Silverberg.

Franco Alfieri is a very rich man, but the best doctors on Earth can't stop the cancer eating at his body. Fortunately, there are other worlds with advanced medicine. Alfieri applies to be sent through the Fold, an interdimensional rift, to a planet where his disease can be cured. But there is a price to be paid for such a privilege, and Alfieri's wealth will do him no good at all.

  • 8
    You should really be accepting your own answer here. So that people know this is the story you were looking for. – Edlothiad Nov 7 '17 at 7:23
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    @Edlothiad it was perfectly clear from the accepted answer until Valorum 11 hours ago on whatever whim he had, edited that out. – Andrew Savinykh Nov 7 '17 at 18:57
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    @AndrewSavinykh - I fail to understand why you've left a wrong answer accepted instead of accepting the correct answer. You might benefit from having a look at the tour and faq to get an idea of how the site works. Self-answers are perfectly valid and wholly encouraged – Valorum Nov 7 '17 at 19:12
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    Could you please accept this answer, to resolve the dispute about edits on SQB's answer? Important story-ID policies such as the one on duplicates rely on the accepted answer being correct, and it's really confusing (and could lead to incorrectly closed questions) to have an accepted answer which isn't actually the right story. – Rand al'Thor Nov 8 '17 at 1:22
13
+100

Could this be Way Station by Simak?

In it, there is a teleportation hub somewhere in fly-over country. The man who operates it, was born before the Civil War; he ages slower while in the station.

He rescues a little girl from his neighbours, who are afraid of her telepathic powers. Those powers turn out to be needed by the galaxy, to operate an ancient artefact that helps restore peace.


While this answer is incorrect, it did trigger the querent into remembering the story they were looking for.

  • 1
    Damn, your answer made it even worse =). I definitely read the Way Station, and initially when you mentioned it I thought, "yes! this is it!", but then I started leafing through it, and I think that there was also another story, and what is worse it might be it mixed in my brain with the Way Station. I'm almost wanting to delete my question now, because I feel bad that it might not be answerable at all. Thank you for you answer!!! – Andrew Savinykh Jan 31 '16 at 10:14
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    This is a most amazing coincidence. You see, I read the story in Russian, because I could not read/speak English back then. "Way Station" is translated as "Peresadochnaya Stantsiya" which roughly means "Transfer Station". But the story I meant also translated as "Peresadochnaya Stantsiya". However in English the name was NOT Way Station. It was Halfway House by Robert Silverberg. And that's the real reason why, when I saw "Way Station" in your answer I thought "this is it!" - you gave the right name, just a different author. – Andrew Savinykh Jan 31 '16 at 11:51
  • I know, I know. But I won't. It will not help future visitors, and also I'm convinced that you deserve the rep. – Andrew Savinykh Jan 31 '16 at 12:01
  • Comments on this post have been archived in chat. For discussion on the "NB" or the editing of this answer, please either join that chatroom or visit this meta post. – Rand al'Thor Nov 10 '17 at 20:20
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    @AndrewSavinykh thank you for the bounty! And I do think this is altogether the best solution. – SQB Nov 12 '17 at 7:20
4

Think Like a Dinosaur includes a teleportation station, a lone man (one of many that have had and will have the job) and a hard moral choice. The only issue is it dates from 1995, so might be of the wrong era.

Outer Limits Episode

  • I was not able to locate an electronic version for sale, and a physical could take a couple of weeks to arrive in this part of the world. However synopsis by the wikipedia article, makes me think it's not the piece I'm after. I'm almost certain that the protagonist was male, not female. – Andrew Savinykh Jan 31 '16 at 6:58
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    The Outer Limits episode produced from this story is a male operator. I suggest you check out the episode summary. It is more comprehensive. – Vicpylon Jan 31 '16 at 7:01

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