A short story probably over 30 years old.

Man is convicted of political crimes and sentenced to suspended animation for 100 years without possibility of parole.

On defrost he gets apology and wanders into a changed world. He makes his way to old neighbourhood that is much changed except his old house. On a whim he tries the biometric door lock and it actually opens.

He discovers his partner has waited for him and is scared he won't like her wrinkles. She took on relativistic space flight stewardess work to gain maximum time dilation effects.

Makes me kind of emotional every time I think of it.


1 Answer 1


One Love Have I by Robert F. Young.

Our hero, Philip Lorring, is sentenced to:

He had forgotten, but he had remembered. He had remembered on that bleak morning in April, when he heard the puppet judge intone the sentence—"One hundred years suspended animation for subversive activities against the existent governing body, term to begin September 14, 2046 and to expire September 14, 2146. Gradien cell locks to be employed, so that any attempt by future governing authorities to alleviate said term shall result in the instant death of the prisoner."

Philip returns to his house:

He knew of course that there was very little chance that the house would still be standing—a hundred years is a long time for a house to live—that if it were still standing it would probably be changed beyond recognition, decayed beyond recognition.

And yet, it was still standing and it had not changed at all. It was just the same as it had been when he had left it over a hundred years ago, and there was a light shining in the living-room window.

and finds everything as he left it, and there is a diary in his wife's writing. Reading the diary he finds:

February 9, 2081—Today I was officially notified that my application for the Arcturus run has been accepted! I have been in a kind of ecstatic trance ever since, dreaming and planning, because I can dream and plan now! Now I know that I shall see my beloved again, and I shall wear a white gardenia in my hair, and the perfume he likes the best, and I shall have our house rebuilt and everything in it restored— there'll he plenty of time if the 65-year estimate is correct; and when my beloved is released I shall be there waiting to take him in my arms, and though I shall not be as young as he remembers me, I shall not be old either. And the lonely years between the stars shall not have been in vain.

It is a ridiculously sentimental story, not at all the sort of thing we hard SF fans would consider reading, and if I have a lump in my throat after reading the story it's only because I have a cold :-)


By popular demand I hereby give away the end of the story. Hankies at the ready folks:

Silly girl, lovely girl ... His eyes misted and he felt the tears run down his cheeks. He stumbled into the room, and she came hesitantly forward to meet him, her face beautiful with the new years. A goddess in the room, a mature goddess, the awkwardness gone forever, the schoolgirlish charm left somewhere in the abysses between the stars; his goddess —and then a goddess in his arms, warm and suddenly tight-pressed against him, her dark hair soft against his face, her voice whispering in his ear, across the years, across the timeless infinities, "Welcome home, darling. Welcome home."

  • 4
    Please tell me he finds her and not just the diary ...
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 20, 2016 at 12:53
  • 1
    You might also like Joan D. Vinge's novella, Tin Soldier.
    – Joe L.
    Apr 20, 2016 at 14:02
  • 3
    Available online here: archive.org/details/1955-04_IF Apr 20, 2016 at 14:26
  • 1
    I have a real weakness for happy endings in films and books. This one takes the prize though. Thank you John for finding it for me, I thought it was lost in time and space. I also very much like Fireship by Joan D. Vinge (most of her stuff is enjoyable).
    – KalleMP
    Apr 20, 2016 at 18:20
  • 2
    The story is in the May 1955 issue of If which is available at the Internet Archive.
    – user14111
    Apr 20, 2016 at 20:38

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