I'm trying to find a story where a time traveler goes into the future and, attempting to explain himself, people think he is senile or has mental problems.

In the future he's arrived in, people can retire to VR scenarios like being a pirate or living in a harem, but it involves a non-reversible operation on the spinal cord or brain. He's tranquilized and retired out of pity for his mental condition.

This was a short story. I think it was written before 1980 though I probably read it around 2000.


1 Answer 1


This is John Macdonald's 1950 short story "Spectator Sport".

Dr. Rufus Maddon arrives in the future, but no one cares, they think he is crazy. Everyone lives for the VR TV and the society is falling apart. Maddon gets a lobotomy and stuck in the VR machine.

It ends "Rufus Maddon wiped the sweat from his forehead on the back of a lean hard brown hero's hand." (He is in a Western)

  • I loved that story when I read it as a kid.
    – Buzz
    Sep 3, 2016 at 0:35

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